Written by The Restorative Counseling Team

Finding a partner using dating apps and websites involves several important things to keep in mind. Whether apps and websites are used for long-term, short-term, casual, or serious purposes, app and online dating can be both exciting and stressful. It’s important to have the right tools and strategies to make the most out of your dating experience. These app and online dating tips will set you up to have the best opportunity to meet someone that matches what you are looking for.

Consider a young woman named Rachel.

Rachel has been out of college for a few years now. During this time, Rachel has focused on her personal growth, establishing herself in her career, and developing her friend group. While she is enjoying her time with her friends and finding fulfillment in her job, Rachel realizes that she wants a life partner as well. Thus, she decides to begin dating.

At first, Rachel is very hopeful. Since college, this is the first time she has wanted to be intentional about dating. How hard can it possibly be to meet someone?

She hopes for the best but is finding meeting people to be difficult. Rachel does not currently have the constant experience of meeting new people, like when she was in college. Additionally, Rachel has not had any luck finding someone at work or when out with friends. She begins to feel hopeless about finding a partner organically. At least, that’s how she has always thought she should meet someone.

There is no “right” or “wrong” way to meet a partner.

Rachel begins to consider additional options for dating. Her friends have talked about their good and bad experiences with dating apps and dating websites. The conversations have left her feeling overwhelmed. There are so many apps and websites to choose from!

With so many options, Rachel thinks to herself, “How could I possibly know which one is best for me? Even if I figure that out, am I even going to like anyone? Are they going to like me? What if this is all a waste of my time?”

Rachel is understandably nervous. However, she learns a few tips to help her make the most out of app and online dating.

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Helpful Tips for App and Online Dating

Dating apps and websites come with many unknowns. First and foremost, you will need to determine the type of relationship you are looking for. Then, to focus on the people that meet your wants and needs, effort is needed to filter out people that don’t align with what’s important to you. No matter what type of relationship you are looking for, the following online dating tips can increase the chance that you meet someone who is a good fit for you.

1) Communicate what you are looking for on your profile (and on dates).

Some people feel worried about sharing what they want in a relationship. However, communicating about it early on can be beneficial. You can more quickly determine others who want the same things in a relationship by stating what you are looking for in both your profile and when initially talking with someone. As a result, you can feel more empowered to ask questions about what the other person wants as you continue to talk or if you decide to go on a date.

2) Set clear boundaries.

Boundaries can exist via chat, text, and when in-person. Some boundaries include things related to time, money, physical interactions, and communication. If you feel that someone is speaking to you in a way that feels uncomfortable, try being open and assertive about the issue. Communicating what is and is not okay helps create a foundation of respect. Then, you have the chance to learn more quickly if a person can treat you appropriately. Also, keep in mind that boundaries can be put in place at any time. A therapist can assist you in determining what boundaries you need for dating to feel healthy and fulfilling.

3) Determine what you value outside of a relationship.

First, try asking yourself, “What is important to me as my own person?”  Dating does not mean you have to lose yourself. Rather, dating can be about finding a partner to share experiences with you. It’s not necessary to be with someone who shares all your interests and values. However, it can be helpful to be with a partner who shares the things that are most important to you. Some examples might include values about politics, faith and spirituality, family, leisure time, or travel. If you come across someone you feel physically attracted to, but your values do not align, this may be worth considering as a reason to not pursue a relationship with the person. As a result, you have the option to then prioritize other people that may better align with your wants and needs.

What does Rachel end up deciding to do to make the most out of app and online dating?

After identifying what type of relationship Rachel wants, she decides to use one dating app to dive into the dating world. At first, Rachel has to put forth some effort and dedicate time to the process. She ends up going on many dates as a result. Some of the dates proceed into a third, fourth, or fifth date, while some never progress past the first date.

With the help of her therapist, Rachel finds ways to communicate her needs and boundaries to potential partners. Rachel has grown in her confidence in what her values are. Through her work in therapy and with patience, she meets someone that she believes is a good match. The relationship progresses in a way that feels good to her. Rachel feels safe, respected, and has continued to improve her ability to communicate her wants and needs along the way.

Restorative Counseling can assist if you are struggling with dating and communicating your needs effectively.

Using dating apps and websites can work well for people in helping them to find a partner. The key is to remember the importance of direct communication and your personal values when meeting new people. However, dating can still be stressful. Contact us today to find out how our clinicians can help you learn how to communicate your needs more effectively when dating and in relationships.