Welcome!

Tracy is the creator of Tracys Way, a lifestyle blog focused on dating and relationships. On her weekly blog you can find her writings and sometimes rantings about life, love, sex, dating, food, travel and her feelings about entering her 40s.

Most importantly Tracy encourages women to look beyond the mirror and focus on cultivating self-awareness in order be confident with their body, their image and themselves.

Tracy currently resides in Rhode Island with the love of her life, Chris and their 3 fur kids Doug, Paul and Honey.

 

Dating and Undefined Relationships: My Top 6 Tips for Navigating the World of Online Dating

Dating and Undefined Relationships: My Top 6 Tips for Navigating the World of Online Dating

The last time I was out there dating was in my 20s,.  I'm quickly finding out the rules and the game have definitely changed.  You don't meet anyone organically anymore.  Meeting people through work, friends, out at bars or clubs, while not uncommon, seems to be a thing of the past.  It's all about online dating. And the prospect of potentially meeting someone who isn't who they say they are is downright terrifying.  Somebody can be anyone they want to be online. YIKES! 

I was a little skeptical at first but I figured I had as good a shot as anyone else.  Plus if I was out here looking there had to be someone else with a similar mind set.  My online dating app of choice has been Bumble.  So far it hasn't been too bad.  Although I will admit that there were a few occasions that I wanted to turn around and stick my head back in the sand and call it a day.  

*UPDATE: Ask and you shall receive. Read about my personal Bumble success story here

Bumble

If you're not familiar with Bumble, much like Tinder, it's an app where you can "swipe" through eligible people  The app is free but you can upgrade to an option called Bumble Boost.  This allows you to rematch with expired connections, instantly match with people who have "swiped" you and extend an extra 24 hours to give yourself more time to respond to a certain individual. 

I chose to go this route as I liked the fact that I could instantly see who had "swiped" me and make a match.  The upgrade is available from 7 days all the way up to 6 months.  I selected the 1 month subscription which cost $14.99 that is automatically renewed unless you cancel.  I do have to mention that it does require a Facebook profile to set up the account however nothing will be visible on the Bumble app that is on your Facebook profile and vice versa.  

Setting up your Profile

Setting up your profile is pretty standard.  This is where you can upload photos (up to 6) of yourself, select your gender, occupation, education and write a small blurb in the About Me section.  Next you can go to Settings where you can select if you want your profile to be public, set distance parameters, age, and who you would like to match with  (men, women, both)  They even have a BFF setting which I'll talk about in a later post. 

Let the swiping begin...

The app is pretty simple to use. Swipe left if you're not interested or right if you're interested.  I really like this app because the women have all the control. No more crazy messages or partial nude photos being sent to your inbox.  Although that can still happen once you start texting with someone but that's a story for another day. If you upgrade to the Boost feature it will show you a list of people who have already swiped right (interested) in your profile at the top of the app . 

Again you can either swipe left if you're uninterested or right if you are.  To be honest I don't do a lot of the initial swiping through the main profiles. I was much more curious to see who was interested in me first. Plus I wanted the men to take the lead on this one.  If you do happen to come across an enticing profile you can swipe right but you will have to wait to see if they swipe right back.  Once a match is made you are ready to start talking or in this case texting. 

Conversing through text

In my opinion you can only text for so long. Texting to me, while necessary in this day and age, can seem a bit impersonal. There's no voice, no tone and in essence no real conversation because most of the time you end up having to wait for the person to respond. Sometimes it's immediate, sometimes it's days and sometimes it's not at all.  I believe having an actual conversation over the phone can give you a great deal of insight into what a person might be like in real life. And it's always nice to see if the person can carry on an intelligent conversation.

Just Date

Boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy calls girl and asks her out on a date. They go out, enjoy a meal and if it goes well they go out again.  Nowadays people simply don't date anymore or don't want to date anymore.  Most of the time people are looking for a quick hook up.  I'm not saying there's anything wrong with doing that but it's just not where I am at this point in my life.  Getting laid is easy, dating is hard.  And I want to find someone that's willing to put in as much effort as I am to get to that level.  Technology has definitely changed the face of dating which I'll be covering in one of my posts later on for this series.

Get to know the person and then make your decision.  Remember that the only thing you have control over is yourself.  You get to decide who you want to talk to, go out with and see again.  If someone isn't interested or if the date doesn't go well just move on.  Don't over analyze it or overthink it.  Trust me when I say that it's worth waiting for the right person to come along. By going out on multiple dates it gives you the chance to see what's out there and important insight into what you actually want in a relationship and a partner.

Say you go out with this great guy and he has all the qualities you're looking for.  Most people stop there which is fine if both of you are on the same page.  But what if he's not or she's not.  Don't force it.  Keep trying.  Go out, meet a bunch of different people and eventually you'll meet someone who's not only on the same page, but in the same sentence. 

And most importantly have some fun for fucks sake! Dating is supposed to be enjoyable and not stressful.

Labels, Schmabels

People are always in such a rush to slap a label onto what should just be two people enjoying each others company and getting to know one another.  People think that by sticking a label on what you're doing is some sort of guarantee.  I've had boyfriends and a husband for that matter and I can tell you there are so such guarantees.  I know couples who have labels who are downright miserable. People change, people cheat, people change their minds.  No label is going to stop any of those things from happening.

If you find someone that feels the same way about you as you do about them, just be happy you found them. Having a label for the sake of having a label certainly isn't going to have any kind of weight on whether or not you two end up being happy together. Enjoy it and hold onto it, because it's really special when it happens. 

Who I've met

I have to be honest and say that the majority of the men I've talked to were mostly looking to hook up.  This has nothing to do with online dating because frankly that could happen no matter where you meet the person. And while I've had several conversations either via text or over the phone I've only met a handful of people.  Some good, some bad and some totally bizarre.

However I am happy to say that one match ended up being quite unexpected. I recently spoke about this person in a post which you can find here

It's what you take away from these experiences that's most important. I've learned more about myself, my dating style and what I want my end game to be by going out and talking to several different people. I've also discovered how to better weed out the bad ones by spotting the red flags from the get go. That way I'm onlyfocusing my attention on the ones that are worth my time and effort. 

Whether you're new to online dating or have been doing it for awhile it can be intimidating. 

Here are my Top 6 Tips on How to Navigate the Online Dating World. 

1.  Talk to them over the phone

Texting can seem a bit daunting at first but I always suggest having a conversation over the phone with the person before meeting them. You can really get a feel for someone when you can hear their voice.

Red Flag!

If the guy isn't willing to give you his phone number or willing to have a conversation over the phone it could be that they're trying to hide something or not serious about actually meeting you in person.  And if you do plan on meeting them in person having a phone number gives you the opportunity to confirm the date before it even happens.  That way you're not wasting your time or theirs. 

2.  Always meet in a Public Place

This seems like a given but for your own peace of mind set up the first meeting at a place where you feel comfortable.  Make sure it's a place that you feel safe and secure and where there's going to be a lot of people around. I would highly suggest picking a place closer to where you live where there might be friends or family around just in case things take a turn for the worst. And always tell at least 3 people where you're going and who you're meeting. 

Red Flag!

If you do happen to make a match and end up setting up a date, distance will definitely play a factor.  If they're not willing to travel or agree to meet somewhere closer to where you live then heave ho.  No loss no foul.  They probably weren't worth your time to begin with. 

3. Be honest with your intentions  

I'm not saying to divulge all your hopes and dreams on the very first date but be up front about what you're looking for. Especially with yourself.  Because if you aren't that's just a recipe for disaster.  Are you looking for something casual or something long term? Do you want to date other people?  Do you want to get married, do you want kids?  I would highly recommend not grilling the person but these things can easily be discovered through conversation.  

Red Flag!

If a man tells you up front that they're not looking for anything serious, not looking for a relationship or simply not sure what they're looking for BELIEVE HIM!  This is the ultimate sign that they are not looking for anything long term, never mind any sort of commitment.  Be it with you or anyone else. 

4.  Know Your Dealbreakers

As we get older we tend to be more set in our ways.  Things we thought were acceptable in our 20s are no longer OK in our 30s or 40s.  Yes there has to be give and take when entering into a relationship but when it comes to life choices, your morals or beliefs these should never be compromised. 

Red Flag!

You can learn a lot about someone when you actually listen to what they're saying.  If they're showing signs right out of the gate that it's their way or the highway it's most likely never going to change.  Finding someone who is open to listen to what you have to say and being respectful of that should always be a given. 

4.  Trust Your Gut

You know that little voice inside your head that's telling you that this person isn't for you or makes you uncomfortable?  You're not crazy!  Listen to it and trust it. And then run for the hills gurl and never look back.   

Red Flag!

Everyone loves to be complimented but if the person starts off the conversation with "I find you incredibly sexy" that's a good indication that the person is only looking for something strictly physical.  Hey if that's what you're looking for go for it.  But you've been warned.   

5.  Take Your Time

Whether you decide to date (open to dating others) or get into a relationship (decide only see each other) take your time getting to know the person.  In the beginning, things may seem to be going well as people are always on their best behavior.  And even though you may think you know someone or feel comfortable around them, it takes time to get to really know someone.  Also allow them get to know you too. 

Red Flag!

If the guy you're on a first date with is already talking about bringing you home to meet his folks within the first 20 minutesthat should be a clear indication that this person is in a rush. And you have to question why that is,

6.  Have Fun

People are so busy these days that they tend to forget to go out and have fun. Dating shouldn't be stressful especially in the beginning so you may as well sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

Happy Dating! 

Let me know in the comments below about any online dating experiences you've had?  Do you think that this new era of dating has become superficial and all about sex rather than dating.  If not, how do you meet new people?

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