What is success in online dating?

It’s been a long time between blogs. But there’s a reason – I’ve just acquired a new knee (pictured!)  A lengthy, painful process but I am finally back on deck and just a little bit wobbly.

In the meantime it was fun to be featured in Channel 7TWO’s new series, Time of My Life – celebrating the lives of extraordinary Australians. They even showed me on my first day at work in the office of Forum magazine, perched happily on the knee of my boss, Clyde Packer. That certainly was a different era!

I’ve also been blogging on RSVP about what is success in online dating.

People often complain that they keep seeing the same tired old faces on online dating websites.  Many assume that the online dating process doesn’t work because some people seem to be there forever… or disappear only to come back a few months or years later.

Of course there are people who struggle to do well in online dating – although the fact that they remain active online suggests something is working for them. But there are a plenty of others who meet each other online, go off the site for a while and then reappear.

That doesn’t mean online dating isn’t successful but simply that relationships aren’t easy. It takes time to see whether you can live with her toy poodle, or whether still have something to talk about when that heady knee-trembling romance is over and you face each other bleary-eyed over the breakfast table. And the older you get, the harder it is to maintain that magical first connection. Your beloved grandchildren might prove irritating little sprogs for him. And very few women see their new mate’s snoring as some exotic mating call. It’s a prickly business bringing together people used to living on their own.

Romances come unstuck, people turn up again on internet dating sites. The online dating process works well – it’s the settling down that’s hard. But I’m intrigued how many of my dating clients report staying friends with people they’ve met through RSVP. Many of my more mature clients find they’ve moved on from the drama and angst which accompanied failed relationships in their past to realizing they can still enjoy an ex-lover’s company.  And it needn’t even be someone with whom they’ve been intimately involved.  People do meet possible suitors who aren’t quite right for them but tick enough boxes for the two to want to keep in touch and share activities together. I know women who’ve spent years in long marriages and never had any single male friends who now delight in having male companions happy to come along to a trivia night, or go to the movies or the theatre.

Online dating isn’t just about searching for soulmates. It’s about expanding your social circle, making new friends, getting to know new, interesting people, hearing other people’s stories, relaxing and  have fun in the company of the opposite sex.  But that won’t happen if you approach every first date as make-or-break.  It’s far better to worry a little less about the destination, the search for The One, and focus more on enjoying the journey – the entertaining business of just getting to know people, enjoying what they have to offer rather than fixating on flaws, and honing your own dating skills.

People who’ve been out of the dating game for a long time are often very rusty and need wooing practice. Online dating is the perfect WD40 – just the thing for getting back into gear, ready to embrace romance when it happens.