With so many apps, profiles and photos to sift through, the task of online dating sometimes feels impossible. Is there a secret recipe to finding the right person, or is it really just down to luck? To find out, we turned to our very own success stories from Guardian Soulmates and asked long-term couples what advice they would give to singles hoping to find love online.
Don’t look for perfection
With online dating, it is easy to think the grass is always greener. One more date might just lead you to that flawless someone. But in striving for impossible perfection, we risk overlooking the potential in the people we meet.
Pete and Josie* met on Soulmates five years ago and were married in 2016. “There’s a tendency to just keep looking, and looking, and looking. Don’t look for perfection, it doesn’t happen,” says Pete. Not that you should settle for the first person you decide to meet up with, but simply be more forgiving of those you do. Much of the joy of a relationship is that you understand and embrace someone else’s shortcomings – just as they do yours. “It’s all about getting to like each other and accepting the faults as well,” adds Josie.
Don’t give up – go on that second date
We all know how nerve-racking first dates can be. More than likely, your date will be nervous as well, and it can take time to be relaxed around a new person. When Amy met Ryan seven years ago, their first date didn’t quite have the fireworks they were hoping for. But rather than give up, they gave it another chance. And it was worth it. They’ve been married now for three years, with a son who’s 20 months old. “I’d say go on that second date. We got on well the first date, but I didn’t feel the spark,” says Amy, “I was on the fence, but I’m glad I went because I did feel it after that.” Give people the benefit of the doubt. If the conversation flowed the first time, be brave and go for that second date.
Be honest in your profile
Something that all the couples we spoke to mentioned was the importance of being honest. It creates a base level of trust that is essential if you are looking for a long-term relationship. “Be honest in your profile as the truth will out in the end,” says Ivan, who just celebrated his first wedding anniversary with Emily, whom he met through Soulmates in 2014. And he’s right. With still so much uncertainty about identity online, it sets a bad precedent to lie on your profile and is likely to put someone off. Be honest in your profile; this will up your chances of finding people who like you for who you are.
Try to have fun with it, let your true colours shine
At the end of the day, the key thing is to enjoy the journey. “My advice would be to try and have fun with it. Try and be authentic, be true to yourself, and don’t be afraid to put down who you are and what you’re looking for,” is Naomi’s suggestion. She and her Soulmates partner Sam were married last year. “She’s right,” says Sam, “keep looking for the little things that stand out about people. It might be a user name, details from their profile or their smile.” If you let your true colours shine from the beginning, your date will be on the same page when you meet.