Everything moves so fast in today's world, and dating is no exception. Online dating in particular sends a "fasten your seatbelts, folks!" message to anyone caught in the whirlwind of soul mate searching in the 21st century. Are men and women seriously finding soul mates, or simply peddling themselves shamelessly in what has become the most effective distribution system for finding love imaginable?
Online daters construct ads that are aggressive, clever, self-actualized, and crafty… but what impact does all this top-notch marketing have on the human interactions that will result? Now that you have offered your goods so effectively before meeting, can there be any room for the real, flawed, fragile human behind the ad?
Are we creating reality or pure fantasy?
By the time prospective daters are ready to meet, they not only know name, age, and hometown, but also favorite color, foods and sexual positions. We are essentially creating a marketing blitz followed by frisky, flirtatious instant messaging, emails, past midnight phone conversations and phone sex. Is it possible not to be disappointed with the real thing?
The Mars Venus philosophy cautions that the alchemy of creating a loving relationship is a very delicate balance and must be undertaken gradually and in stages. There are five distinct dating stages, and moving through these stages in sequence ensures that we get the opportunity to fully know someone and experience the best of that person before getting married.
The best approach to online dating is to spend just enough time online to do some screening, and then meet in person. Consider online dating as if you were meeting and greeting in Stage One (Attraction). The online daters we have talked to who end up meeting their soul mate are the ones who have used this method exclusively and effectively. These men and women do a lot of window shopping. If there is no spark on the first date, they do not go out again with that person; instead, they move on to another online hopeful.
Without meeting in person, online daters who are quick to fall in love can fall in love in Stage One and feel ready to fly off to Vegas to get married within a few weeks. Skipping from Stage One to Stage Four (Intimacy) or Five (Engagement) is problematic for real-time daters. Imagine for online daters that this is somewhat akin to reading a book and loving it but then seeing the movie and being disappointed.
Meeting sooner rather than later in this dating round-robin is the only way to avoid certain disappointment and to make a qualified decision about pursuing a potential partner. The appropriate response for anyone who falls in love in Stage One is to stay in Stage One and restrain yourself from reacting and responding to your partner in a manner that would be automatic in Stage Five.
The beauty of e-mail and instant messaging is that we have no annoying little habits. The danger of e-mail and instant messaging for online daters is that we have no annoying little habits! We can flirt and be clever and charming beyond belief, and in the end only be giving ourselves a false sense of security that a relationship will actually work out. All relationships must pass the test of time. By slowly and cautiously navigating the five stages of dating – in person – we can minimize the illusions perpetuated by online dating expectations.
Trying to understand the opposite sex can be a huge challenge.
At times it really does feel like he's from Mars and she's from Venus. But dating in this technological age has become much more complicated that it used to be. Many of the Ask Mars Venus Coaches have to ask, are we better off in relationships now that we can date via our computers instead of face to face? We talk to clients every day who share stories of meeting their partner while surfing the web in their pajamas! The convenience of online dating means that we don't even need deodorant, nor do we have to shave to appeal to those looking. Is that a good thing?
We're really not sure, but what we do know is that many people develop deep and intimate relationships with strangers... and then have the expectation that they are in a genuine "relationship". Even online meetings still have to navigate the 5 stages of dating, and the first stage is attraction, not IM'ing. Now, of course, many people find love online, but it requires a level head and a lot of surfing... and a bit of luck. The trick here is to learn how to figure out who on the web is "for-real" and who is not really who they say they are. That's what we do. Mars Venus Coaches can help you to decipher your date's profile, and their intentions.
Good relationships require similar values and plans. Are you both really ready for the same thing? How well has your date healed from their past relationships, and are they really who they say they are? We can help you figure this out, and most importantly, work with you to be sure that you are attracting "like-minded" people to your life. Ultimately, the hope is to attract someone who is looking for the same thing you are, regardless of what that is. The last thing you want to do is to meet the perfect someone who would be great for you in a few years!
If you have ever thought that you were wasting your time surfing the web for love, chances are that you have. But the waste may have been that you didn't know how to screen potential dates for their intentions well enough, and you ended up dating the wrong people. Give us a try, and in a few minutes we can begin to set you on the path to finding your match. To learn more about Mars Venus coaching, click here.