Every year, hundreds of thousands of people find their "perfect match" through online dating services. And every year hundreds of thousands more become discouraged from their experiences. One of the contributing factors to those who have problems with online dating is the emergence of the "professional online dater", a term coined by Online Dating Magazine to describe a person who acts serious about finding someone, but without the intention of taking any date or relationship "too seriously" because the next match "may be better."
A professional online dater usually possesses three or more of the following habits:
> Communicating with more than six people at the same time.
> Member of three or more online dating services at the same time.
> Relists profile within 24 hours of a relationship breakup.
> Lets several communications just "end" in order to put time into new communications.
> Checks messages and dating services several times a day.
> Always believes that the next match "may be better".
> Several times a year will have more than one date, with different people, set up in a week.
> At the first sign of trouble in a potential relationship, lets things break off to return to online dating.
> May hide profile, but doesn't delete it, when steadily dating one person.
> When returning from a date, immediately checks mail for new messages from others.
Generally, a person doesn't consciously say "I want to become a professional online dater" then pursue it as a life goal. It is something that develops as a result of the person's online dating experiences. He/she sees how "easy" it is to get a new date and is introduced to new faces virtually daily. Before the person knows it, he/she is communicating with half a dozen (or more) people at the same time. When a date is arranged with one person there are still six prospects waiting in the person's Inbox when he/she returns from the date. This, in turn, starts to develop a subconscious mentality that the next person may be "better," therefore it is easier to leave a relationship or dating experience at the first sign of trouble rather than work through those problems.
A professional online dater will generally 'hide' a profile versus deleting it when entering into an exclusive dating relationship. Subconsciously, the person isn't truly giving his or her 100% to the relationship because they have formulated an easy escape route back to the planet of dates.
Professional online daters, without realizing it, are having a negative effect on the people they come in contact with during their expeditions. For example, a professional online dater may be writing seven people at the same time, when another new interesting prospect shows up. In turn, the professional online dater allows communication with one (or more) of the other seven people to suddenly stop, leaving that person without answers and wondering, "where did he/she disappear to?" The other problem professional online daters bring to online dating is their lack of true commitment. They may have three, four or even more relationships a year. The relationships are generally short-lived and the professional online dater has a new date lined up (with someone new he/she met online) within several days of a breakup.
A person who possesses three or more traits of a professional online dater may not want to admit that he/she is a professional online dater, but doing so is the first step to solving the problem. Other steps to solving the problem are:
> Completely delete your profile(s) when entering into a relationship. There's no looking back, only forward.
> Commit yourself to your relationship with a strong determination to work through the problems. Working through issues in a relationship is what helps people to grow. Running away is not the solution.
> If you stop communicating with someone, don't do it cold turkey. At least send that person a polite note so that he/she knows why. The person will respect you more for this.
> Find one online dating service that you like and stick with it. This isn't a game to see how many new people you can communicate with. Every person you communicate with is a real person with real feelings. Don't lead them on.
> Only communicate with a small number of people at a time.
> Don't fall into the mentality of "the next one might be better." Instead, focus on the person you are with and know that they are "the best". Then make it work.
Professional online daters unintentionally hurt many people during the course of their "adventure". But perhaps what's worse is that professional online daters hurt themselves because they never learn to work through relationship issues that produce long-term relationship success. Luckily, with determination, professional online daters can change and when they put the same intense focus on a relationship (like they did with online dating) then the relationship generally turns into an amazing and long-lasting experience. And that produces another success story from two people who met online.
Joe Tracy is the publisher of Online Dating Magazine (http://www.onlinedatingmagazine.com) and editor of the Online Dating Newsletter (http://www.onlinedatingnewsletter.com).
Online Dating Magazine provides authoritative insight into the world of online dating while the Online Dating Newsletter focuses on dating advice and romance tips to help build better relationships.