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online dating -- where do I even start?

(10 Posts)
gooseberrydaiquiri Mon 20-Jul-15 22:13:35

OK, need some hand-holding and basic advice with this. I've just come out of a 10-year marriage, am early 40s. I've never done OD before because it wasn't really around when I was single and in fact the idea fills me with unalloyed horror, if I'm honest.

But I'm also grown-up enough to know that there's no point sitting around waiting to meet someone and that you kind of have to play the game etc.

I'm probably not quite ready yet -- H only moved out just over two months ago and while I'm feeling OK in general I'm aware that it may be a bit early. But I want to do a bit of research so that when I am ready its not a total minefield.

And I'm aware, from being on here and from chatting to friends, that you need to be quite thick-skinned. I'm OK with this but I guess it would be helpful to get some advice on avoiding sites where people are going to be massively superficial or just treat it like an online meat market.

So, I want some advice on the best site to choose if you're
a) not looking to be inundated with d***heads who are just looking for a shag and will randomly send you intimate pictures of body parts
b) not looking for something very earnest and full of people who are going to bore you stupid about their enthusiasm for yoga
c) I'm not especially concerned about demographics (i.e. I don't have a veto on non-professionals or anything like that), but would like to meet people who can read and write and hold an intelligent conversation before I agree to meet them.

I also need some advice about what to put up on your profile etc. I'm not sure I'm massively comfortable with having a photo up there but I guess its kind of a given unless you want to either be ignored or meet freaks? Is there any way to get away with not having a photo and it still be worthwhile? And is there a way to maintain a degree of anonymity with OD? I don't massively want my colleagues and acquaintances knowing I'm on there if it can be avoided.

Basic info would be appreciated -- I don't know the first thing about this.

Whatsforsupper Tue 21-Jul-15 00:12:09

There is a dating thread in this forum you will find many posters( Including myself) who will he happy to hold your hand through the mind field that is Online dating. The thread is titled 'The Dating Thread'

Very quickly.

POF is busy lots of folk on the dating thread swear by it. You can put up a profile without a picture and like/message people you like if they reply you can send them a message.

Ok Cupid, is also very busy in the bigger cities it has a ton of questions that apparently Match people. I quite like it have had lots of dates.

Soulmates is busy if you're in London full of Lefty Media types who have traveled the world at least 20 times, speak every language. I love it have had a few relationships and tons of dates.

Match is also busy in big cities. Couple dates not a great fan.

Lastly, I've found the same people on every site, I am in London.

Whatsforsupper Tue 21-Jul-15 00:14:06

Oh. Personally, I won't look at a profile without a picture never mind answer a message. That's me, like I said prior, I've seen quite a few have profiles hidden on POF in the thread that have had lots of success.

Whatsforsupper Tue 21-Jul-15 00:17:39

Oops. Just read your post again. Sorry for so many posts.

I note you're only out of your marriage. I know everyone's situation is different you may well have left your marriage emotionally years ago thus you're well over your Ex.

Online dating can be harsh if you're fragile or on the rebound its not always the best place too be. That said, at some point you will be ready to date the the thread is full of advice and people to help you through itsmile

BoxOfKittens Tue 21-Jul-15 00:39:12

Both my mum and myself have found someone through okcupid. I'm late 20s, my mum is in her 50s. We have both had totally different experiences. Mine have been mostly positive (found a few new friends and my boyfriend of two years) , hers has been a bit mixed (a lot of lying and withholding important information, unwanted baggage) but she's with someone nice now.

If you are nervous, I suggest starting a test profile. I did this. Start a profile with the basic details only and maybe a couple of lines about "work in progress" to explain your empty profile. Answer a ton of match questions and be honest even if you feel bad about your answer. Look at your matches. If you are pleasantly surprised you may feel inspired to add a picture or two and fill in the rest. You can tweak it as much as you like as you get more confident in sharing information about yourself on there. If you don't like the whole thing the you can delete the account and forget about it!

You don't hear from many people if you don't have a photo and those who also don't, well, then you don't know what they look like! You can email a picture but then they have your email address and you both lose the luxury of skimming past people who you aren't attracted to.

There's no shame in being on there and anyone who recognises you, they are there too. In the two-three years that I was online dating, I didn't recognise any of my matches. My mum works in a shop and was matched to a couple of regular customers but neither party mentioned the fact and it was all fine.

Nobody can tell you what to put on your profile and you will be anxious about finding the balance... read other people's to get an idea of the kinds of things that people put. You can even do that without having an account for people who don't have private settings.

Good luck!

niceupthedance Tue 21-Jul-15 06:45:11

You've said what you don't want, may I suggest you start by deciding what you DO want. I'm afraid the majority of men I've met online want no strings sex, which is fine if that matches your wants right now.

Ouchbloodyouch Tue 21-Jul-15 06:52:09

Very good tips above! I found a lovely guy on okcupid.
My tips to add are: you are not obliged to answer any email. You will get lots of emails that are one line such as 'hey gorgeous lady hows you'? I feel that these messages are being cast out to loads of people to see who bites!
I then got a few messages from men who had put more effort in but for whatever reason (usually geographical) it was a non starter. I did sometimes reply to these to be 'polite' but quite often they would argue with me that 'it was only an hour away'.
I soon felt far more comfortable ignoring people.
If you do like the look of someone and you email and you seem to click (as much as you can via email) arrange to meet as quickly as possible. Its easy to get sucked in to an email exchange and never meet
You can build up false intimacy that way and when you meet it could be a crushing disappointment if there is no spark. There are also men (and women as my OH tells me) who have no intention of meeting and are signed up looking for an ego stroke rather than a relationship.
My last tip is absolutely no texting before you have met other than arranging your date. Again it boils down to false intimacy and conversation that goes nowhere.
Good luck!

WhatALoadOfOldBollocks Tue 21-Jul-15 08:25:47

Be very honest about what you want/don't want and put this on your profile

Make full use of the block button.

Be proactive. Approach men whose profiles you like.

Develop a very thick skin. Don't do OD if you're feeling at all fragile.

Don't build any sort of relationship prior to meeting. Swap a couple of emails to get a feel for the potential of someone, then swiftly arrange a quick lunchtime meet for a coffee to decide whether going on a longer date is a good idea. There are lots of people OD who just like to chat!

I used to have a rule that if you get to the stage where you'd like to meet in person (I'd worded it as "smell the pheromones" and the men usually dug that), the first meeting be strictly time limited (typically <1 hour) and that at that meeting, neither party mentions meeting up again or any other kind of "planning". It took the pressure off both parties. It also flagged up guys who didn't respect my boundaries.

MadeMan Tue 21-Jul-15 08:53:27

When I tried online dating on Match a few years ago, I wasn't keen at first on having my photo on there. However, I did put one up (no fish holding, no posing with my car, or ex's cut out of picture) and after a while I got used to it.

I personally didn't contact or reply to anyone who didn't have a photograph. To me it just seems a bit half arsed if you don't have a profile picture as most people feel a bit strange being on these dating websites, but by displaying a photo it shows you're willing to join in and give it a proper go.

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