Let’s start with your profile.
Do I Need a Picture?
I understand why you may not want to post a picture. It is scary to put yourself out there. What if someone you know sees you on a dating site? Well, if someone you know sees you on a dating site, it is because they are also looking for someone on a dating site. Men are very visual and it is a mistake to not post a picture. Yes, I know you want him to fall in love with your heart, soul, and brain, not just your pretty face, but it makes men very nervous to communicate with a blank silhouette, The only way for him to get to know your heart, mind, and soul is to notice you, which requires a picture. You would not walk around with a bag on your head, and that is the equivalent of having no picture on your dating profile.
Do not post a glamour shot or a photoshopped image. He may detect it is fake or he will be disappointed when he meets you, which is a bad way to start getting to know someone. Do not post a picture that is older than one or two years. You have changed more than you think and you want him to recognize you, not be disappointed and think, “Wow, her profile picture is ten years old.”
Do not use a picture of you with a group of people. Do not make it a guessing game to figure out which person in the picture is you. That is frustrating, not fun. You have not met him yet and it is way too soon for him to meet your children, so do not include them in your profile photo. Speaking of children, be honest about how many you have. It surprised me that women lie about how many children they have, but according to the men I talked to, many women do. If you plan on seeing him more than twice, the actual number of children you have will probably become evident.
Do not post something overly sexy, which goes for the username you pick too. If it sounds like the name of a stripper, it is not appropriate. Yes, this may get you a lot of attention but is it really the kind of attention you are looking for? If you are looking for a series of one-night stands, it is a good plan. If you are looking for a relationship, show your personality instead of leading with, “I want to have sex.”
What About Pets?
Be honest if you have pets. There is something about cats that a lot of men are offended by. Not all men, but I am surprised by the number of times I have heard something like, “She said she had no pets, but she had X number of cats,” or “she lied about having cats.” Even if you consider your pets part of the family, they are animals not your children, so include them in the pet section. Do not post a picture of your pets without you in the picture. If having a pet is the most interesting thing about you, it is time to up your game.
Do You Have Interests?
Speaking of interests, another desire men have is to date a woman who has her own hobbies, interests, and passions. He probably has some hobbies that he would like to pursue and he does not want a needy, clingy woman who expects him to meet all of her needs. If you do not have a hobby and friends to do things with, get a hobby and develop friendships before you worry about online dating. The best man in the world will not replace a girlfriend.
Know Your Standards
Know what your deal breakers are and set strong boundaries. Outside of your deal breakers like smoking, unemployment, being married, or whatever else, stay flexible. Online dating is an opportunity to meet people and figure out what you want in a relationship. Most men are on dating sites to meet you in person. If you are not willing to meet someone in person, you are probably not ready for a dating site.
Have fun with dating and take it one step at a time. Do not make assumptions. Decide what type of relationship you want and make an effort to discern if the other person is on the same page. Some men are looking for a one-night stand and others are looking for a relationship. Listen not only to his words, but watch his behavior. (Check out 7 Brutally Honest Signs He ONLY Sees You As A Friend With Benefits.) When you meet someone you would like to see a second or third time, you are ready for The Single Parent’s Ultimate Guide to Parenting.
Have fun and keep it light. When going on a first date, keep it in perspective. You have agreed to invest an hour getting to know a new person. Relax and enjoy yourself. If it doesn’t beat an hour of Netflix, just move on.