How to find a true partner when online dating – one woman’s account
How to find a true partner when online dating – one woman’s account
Everyone wants to find someone to love. So where does one start? There is always the possibility of meeting someone through work, through a friend or at a night out. People always say, “When it’s meant to happen, it will happen”. There is some truth to this statement but I believe if you want to find a true partner, you need to be open to looking, and also, very importantly, looking at yourself.
I felt the best way to find my future partner was online. I was also aware that I was going to go on a journey of discovery, not only of the men that I would potentially meet, but also of myself.
There are a few things to consider before the dating starts. There is the choice in dating site, the photos that you are going to upload, and what you are going to write about yourself. It would seem here you have the opportunity of showing your ‘best’ self as you want to increase your chances of finding the ‘best’ partner, right? But there’s a couple of other questions that one needs to ponder on. What kind of man are you wanting to attract? And what is wrong with just showing you?
Yes the dating starts with this profile, but it is not about getting it right or getting it perfect. From my experience, as I started ‘changing’, my profile changed with me. The men that I was attracting at the beginning were very different to the men that I was attracting at the end. My profile changed in accordance to me and my development, without me changing a word of it.
There’s also the advice that family or friends might give you. About what to wear, what to say (and not say), what to ask; (“Have your questions ready” I was once advised, “You want to know as much as possible so you don’t waste your time”, and to “have an escape plan in case the dude is a dud”). But all of this seems so limiting. You have reduced yourself to showing only your ‘good’ side and the man has already been rejected even before the first question has been asked.
Another thing to consider is your approach to dating and what dating means to you. For example, I had been in a relationship for 12 years and single for 3 years, so I wanted to have as many dates as possible. When I started dating, I had about 4 dates a week. I felt I needed the practice!!!
Though I want to be clear about something; dating for me meant holding myself with respect and to meet a man for coffee, brunch, lunch, drinks or dinner. It did not mean ending up in their bed at the end of these dates. I was not just after sex; I was after my future life partner. So even with understanding what your approach to dating is, it is important to be very clear with ourselves about our own standards and values.
Ooh, and of course, there’s the age question! Do you put an age to love? Do you place importance on the man’s profession, on their height, hair or no hair, single/divorced/widower, children/no children? What’s more important, looks or personality?
These and many more questions can only be answered by you – though I do believe it is important to consider the possibility that your priorities might change. Not because you are willing to accept less, but because as you get to know and love yourself more you start to see what you have allowed within yourself that has been less, such as the lack of self-worth, and then you get to know and see more clearly what is truly important for you in a partner.
You might come to feeling and realising the disregard and abuse that you may have accepted from previous partners, and there is the possibility of experiencing some sadness because of this; but there’s nothing to fear, because, every discovery leads you a step closer to the realisation that you are an amazing woman and being, without the need to lower your standards, compromise or settle for less.
In all of this online dating there is the man to consider too. The man as a human being with his own points of view, feelings, life experiences and insecurities. If we were to stop for a few seconds longer, and put aside why we signed up for online dating, we will discover that every man will also have his own story to tell that deserves the space to be heard, and a willing listener.
This does not mean taking pity on him or rescuing him or forgetting about ourselves, but simply feeling from the interaction what is the specific purpose of this meeting, and what are we here to genuinely express and learn from one another. It may be the healing that’s on offer might just need a single date. And so, respectfully and lovingly saying “you are amazing but not for me” can take dating to a totally different level, rather than the usual dismissal and rejection that permeates the dating scene.
There is also the dark side of online dating. There are the offensive messages, the inappropriate photos, the person showing up for the date is not the person on the profile, the no-shows and ghosting. It is heart wrenching meeting someone that you feel you have a connection with for them to suddenly disappear without a reason or explanation. What makes a grown man become a ghost? There could be many reasons and it can be easy to go into self-doubt, to take it personally.
It is also tempting to want to give up the search or to become angry and blame every man for the behaviour of a few. However, if we decided to dig a little deeper, we will discover that there are men who do not know how to express, that they are driven by their fear of rejection and that they have hurts they’re protecting and have not dealt with. By bringing this understanding we are in no way saying that these behaviours are ok, because they are definitely not. What this is calling for is for everyone who is dating to ask themselves, “Where have I set my bar?”, “Have I ever lowered it?”, “Have I ever accepted anything less than love?”
If every woman or man set a standard that demanded at least decency and respect, would there be room for anyone to behave irresponsibly?
It is up to every woman to say, “This is who I am and this is where I am at. If you want to be with me, meet me here”. With this stand, there is no arrogance or protection, but a deep appreciation of yourself and the man in the relationship.
In the journey of loving and claiming yourself as a woman, you naturally come to reflect on what you are hoping to get at the end of all of this. If it is a man, any man, then that is easy to do. With enough compromising one can pretty much make any arrangement in a relationship work. But is that enough? Is this why you signed up for online dating? Or are you going to hold yourself with enough love to be willing to ask for what you truly deserve? Because at the end of the day every woman wants to be loved, and we want to be cherished for who we truly are.
I remember someone very wise telling me once, “Laura, you deserve a man who is willing to move mountains for you”. The process that I had to go through was by no means easy. I had to unpeel the layers of protection, let go of the expectations and the romantic pictures. I had to give myself the space to go through the process and the learning. But the learning was not about what men to avoid or to be stricter about the boxes that needed to be ticked; instead, it was a willingness to know me and love me better, a determination to not give up on love, and be open to love and the possibilities of how love would present, not based on any previously held pictures.
I needed to discover and feel that I too deserved to be loved and cherished.
The experience of online dating will be different for everyone. It could be a short process where you find your life partner on the first date, or it could take you five years. There is no time in love so it will take just the perfect amount of ‘time’. If you trust, your Soul will get you there.
So the last question to ponder on is, “Are you willing to go through the process and the learning so that at the end of it all you too find a man who is willing to move mountains for you?”