real world dating

Dating for Adults in An Online World: The Lover You Are Looking For

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Don’t kill the high because you are scared of getting burned.

Finding a true lover in the haystack that is modern online dating is a daunting task. It’s even more troublesome if you don’t like to go out much. But here’s the truth: your next partner is unlikely to show up at your door and ask you out on a date. And if they do, they are unlikely to give you a second chance if you say no.

How Do We Get To Yes In Online Dating?

Before the yes, we’ve got to gather a lot of “maybe” potentials. So, online dating is a system that allows us to do several parts of this dating process in a new and innovative way. It’s also problematic for several reasons. First, let’s start with the benefits:

  1. Writing your online dating profile and selecting photos of yourself, gives you the initial opportunity to define your goals and objectives as you enter the dating world again.
  2. Describing the kind of relationship you are seeking is also a wonderful process. You’ve got to think about what you really want to do with someone else. (Hint: don’t put going out to see live music, if you never actually go out to see live music. What kinds of things do you do on your own, when single? How can you make those activities sound enticing?)
  3. There are hundreds of potential partners out there on any given dating site or app. At first, it seems like a lot, like a needle in a haystack kind of situation. It’s not as great as that, but we’ll explore how that works as well.
  4. Just looking at potential partners may spark a renewed commitment to getting your act together. Want a fit partner? What’s your fitness level? Want a partner who runs? How’s your running coming along?
  5. Getting sparked up over a few exciting matches. Just the hint of attraction can go a long way to starting a conversation. The conversation begins in your own heart. Then, as you text and explore the potential of getting together with someone, the conversation begins to include the actual person, rather than the imaginary person you’ve been creating in your brain.
  6. Online dating can lead to a substantial number of opportunities to connect with another person. And, for the most part, these people are also interested in dating, and perhaps dating you.
  7. Going on your first few dates will provide you with a lot of information about your own process for finding and courting another person. (Example: Meeting a first date at a bar was never my favorite venue. I don’t like bars. I don’t intend to spend much time in a bar with my future partner.

Online Dating Is and Is Not a Numbers Game

There are a ton of potential mates out there. They are on apps (Bumble, Tinder, etc). They are on sites (OK Cupid,, eHarmony, etc.). And they are going to alternative dating services (It’s Just Lunch, Modern Mingle, Local Speed Dating, etc.). That’s the good news. There are a ton of people looking for love, and there are a ton of services and sites that are looking to help us hook up with a new partner.

The bad news is this: a lot of the people using online dating apps and sites do not have the same goals you have. Many of these potential partners are playing at dating and not really interested in a relationship. Some are just using online dating sites as entertainment. Some are still married and are looking to cheat on their current partners. And most of the partners with potential will not be interested or attracted to you. And a large percentage of the pool of daters will not be attractive to you, either. So, it IS a numbers game, but the deck is stacked against you from the start.

My Online Dating Experience

The math:

  • 80% are not attractive to me
  • 10% are attractive to me, but too attractive
  • 5% are attractive to me, but not attracted to me
  • 3% mutually interested, but not available or willing to move towards an actual date
  • 1.98% mutually interested, and willing to set a date
  • 0.02% mutually interested, willing to date, and the first date leads to a second date

That’s my experience. And from that 0.02% of potential partners, only 1-in-100 of those will turn into an LTR (long-term relationship). Let’s just say, the haystack is quite small at that point. And your odds are long, so…

Take the Necessary Actions to Find A Partner?

Let’s put online dating in its place. It is a proving ground. There are a lot of inspirational and aspirational potentials out there. And then, the actual process of weeding through the frogs to find the prince… Well, that’s where things get a bit more challenging. For me, getting to that first date was a complex step. I didn’t want to go out on the first date just to be entertained. I wanted to go out on the first date with the intention of having a second and third date. I limited my first dates to people who met all the match criteria, and then who was comfortable talking to me on the phone. Screening first dates before actually meeting is an efficiency step that you will save you a lot of dates with mere frogs.

And, in my experience over the last nine years, since my divorce, online dating produced 3 of the five relationships I’ve been involved in. (3 short-term relationships, 1 engagement, and my current relationship.) So, if not online…

Dating Strategies for the Real World

  • Discover what you really l0ve to do when you are single.
  • Figure out where other people will be who also enjoy these passions of yours
  • Show up at these events, meetups, concerts, sports activities, as a willing participant and be excitable and single.
  • Make connections in the real world, doing real activities that you enjoy, and see if there are others who are attractive and attracted to you
  • Continue to explore the non-sexual relationship as long as possible, allowing the friendship and compatibility out of the bedroom to become clear, BEFORE ENTERING THE BEDROOM.

Sex Rule for Dating as an Adult

Once your sexual chemistry is activated you will not be thinking clearly. You will not be seeing the actual person you are in a relationship with. You will be seeing a sex-filtered partner, who will appear to be the perfect lover, the perfect mate, the perfect friend. But it’s really your sex talking.

In my experience, this sex-fueled passion can go on for months, a year or so, if you push it. But, eventually, in my experience, the sex fire will become more of a campfire and less of a bonfire. And, eventually, you are going to have to look at all the issues and misconnections that are happening in the real relationship, outside of the bedroom.

Ride the High

Don’t kill the high because you are scared of getting burned. But, also, don’t make huge life decisions (moving in together, getting married, having a kid) while you are still in the “glow” of a new sexual relationship. If 0.02% of the potential partners are all we have to choose from, choose wisely. Don’t spend time with near misses. Fail faster, if things are not right. Burn brightly while it lasts, but be aware of the fire, the altered reality of your passions, and know that your judgment is severely impaired. If you burn up, celebrate your recent ignition, and get on with the task of finding the next potential partner.

100% Matches Only

If you settle at all, you will be disappointed. Eventually, we’re all going to be disappointed in our partners. But this disappointment should not be about our connection or compatibility with the other person. Disappointment comes from expectations not being met. If you have high expectations about someone’s commitment to the relationship and they turn out to less reliable than you need, you will be disappointed. If the disappointment is due to some issue that was not uncovered until the love vibes wore off, that’s okay. If it’s a deal killer, get out of there as soon as possible.

Pause Before Reentering the Dating Pool

  1. If things don’t work out in an LTR attempt, take a break before jumping back into the pool.
  2. Give yourself the time to reflect on what worked
  3. Ask yourself about what broke down (was it you or them who missed the expectations)
  4. Create new goals and strategies for the next relationship (start educated by the knowledge of the past relationship attempts)

And finally, have fun. Dating is the fun part. Getting to know someone new is exhilarating. But if you’re looking for a long-term partner, as I am, don’t get stuck in the sexual fire before you have a chance to evaluate some of the more practical aspects of the out-of-bedroom relationship.

Always Love,

John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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dating 2.0 john mcelhenney
dating 2.0 john mcelhenney

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