Have you tried all of the sites for online dating? Do you have multiple profiles on Match, Eharmony, Plenty of Fish and Okcupid? If so, you are in good company. Current stats indicate that over 41 million people in the US alone have tried online dating at one time or another. With all those people online, why are so many people still complaining they can’t meet anyone? It makes for an interesting discussion.
Online Dating Does Have Its Successes
I know several couples who met online and have wonderful relationships that have been going strong for some time. So, for some people, online dating clearly does work. However, there is still a majority of online site users who will quickly tell you, they have had little or no success meeting people with which they could have a relationship. What is the difference for those people that it seems to have worked for and those who are still searching for a relationship?
The Fundamental Flaw of Online Dating
Online dating doesn't work for so many people because it sets users up for what I call ego dating. (Hey, I made up a new phrase.) Ego dating means you are dating from the level of your ego rather than dating from the level of your soul. If you’ve read any of the articles from Soulmatedance.com, you may have read some of Anne Wade’s writings on the types of soulmates we encounter in our lives. One of those is an ego mate. Per Anne’s description:
- Ego Mates are concerned with whether the other person makes them “look” good. Do they do the right things, behave the right ways, go the right places, hang out with the right people, wear the right clothes, live in the right houses, earn enough money, have the right career. Ego mates are easily embarrassed when their mate doesn’t live up to these expectations even in minor ways making these relationships conditional, fragile, and ultimately unsatisfying. It’s as if these mates are navigating the soul equivalent of puberty.
- Ego Mates also do not make good romantic partners, but often find themselves in that role. Ego Mates don’t yet understand the true meaning of complementing one another, so they fret about superficial things and miss out on the deeper connection they long for. Most ego relationships are transitory, coming and going as they make each other feel better about themselves – or don’t. Because Ego Mates are looking outside themselves for fulfillment and do not yet understand that love is an inside job, these relationships are prone to cheating.
When I talk with people about what they're looking for in a relationship, the majority of them will talk about certain values they are looking for, but when you ask them how they are choosing people to date most of them are choosing who to date from ego based information. If you are dating from the level of ego, you are very likely to attract and be attracted to ego mates. And as Anne’s points out above, ego mates do NOT make good romantic partners and those relationships don’t tend to lend themselves to long term commitments, at least not enjoyable ones.
So, What Does This Have to Do with Online Dating?
I thought you’d never ask! Look at how online daters browse for people they might be interested in dating. They look through photos, scan through sections on appearance, lifestyle (which tells very little about lifestyle) and background/values that gives even less information about the person’s actual values. Most of the information in these sections deal with ego based information. Each person completely bases their attraction to other people solely on ego based questions and answers. Most people actually want to connect to people on deeper levels than just these ego based ideas, but the system sets them up to make choices about whether or not to ask someone out or continue seeing that person purely on this ego level information. No wonder, it doesn't work!
How Do People Succeed with Online Dating?
As I mentioned before, some people do succeed. Their success is based on the fact that they don’t engage in ego dating, they engage in soul dating. (Another new phrase!) They spend time getting to know the person in front of them and finding out about that person’s values to determine if their own values are a good match with those of their date. Shared values are what determine compatibility and long term relationship potential, not height, hair color or occupation.
How do I start?
Start by being aware of when you are judging people based on ego based information. For example, are you turning away people because they are short or because they don't make as much money as you? Next, make it a practice to get to know more about your dates’ values, especially those values you consider to be most important to you (your top 5). This can be accomplished by coming up with topics of conversation that allow you to get to know someone's values. Once you begin this practice of soul dating, you’ll begin to notice you are attracting different people and most importantly people who are more compatible with you.
Jodi Riley, Dating and Happiness Mentor, is the founder of the 5 Steps for Better Living System and the host of the weekly dating and relating radio show MOD Love. To connect with her, visit www.jodiriley.com.