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How To Date Online If You’re Ready For A Serious Relationship

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Dating looks vastly different in 2016, even compared to a few decades ago. But while our methods have changed, the mindset remains the same: at the end of it all, most of us are hoping to find “the one.”

Online dating can raise questions. Is it just about hookups? Will I actually meet anyone in person? Are there real people behind those profiles? How do I make a good impression on someone I’ve never seen face to face? Are there any signs that they could be something serious?

PlentyOfFish knows the struggle of finding a soulmate better than most, so they set out in search of answers. The popular dating site surveyed more than 1,100 former users who married someone who met on their site. After all, if those people don’t know the secrets to long-term love, who does?

POF found that certain behaviors - both online and offline - were predictors of whether you were setting yourself up for a serious relationship. The survey’s key findings and insights included:

  1. Make the first move, whoever you are. Thirty-five percent of married women said they contacted their current partner first. It’s still more common for men to take the lead, but women are increasingly stepping up to the plate with positive results.
  2. Be specific. The majority of respondents who received the first message from their partner said they mentioned something particular from their profile. Going the extra mile to prove they’d read the profile caught the recipient’s eye.
  3. Don’t be too quick to write someone off. The second most common message was an underwhelming, “Hey, what’s up?” It’s far from inspiring - and not a tactic you should adopt for yourself - but it goes to show that it can be worth giving someone a second chance. An amazing person may be hiding behind that terrible opener.
  4. Don’t believe the hype about stereotypes. Men are often smitten faster than their female counterparts. Almost 1 in 5 male respondents reported falling for their current partner at first sight.

The vast majority of survey participants believed in soulmates, so PlentyOfFish dug deep and asked what made someone “the one.” Most kept it simple, saying you just “share a connection” and “they’re your best friend”, but others offered more specific answers.

Sharing similar beliefs was key to determining soulmate compatibility, as were honesty and loyalty. Less important were making each other laugh and putting the other’s needs before your own. And despite online dating’s reputation for superficiality, mutual attraction scored low on the list of soulmate traits.

“In the end, the most important underlying point from the findings is that singles should stick with it when it comes to dating,” said POF’s PR Specialist Shannon Smith. “All of our couples who met on PlentyOfFish were once going through the ups and downs of looking for love as well.”