10 tips for online dating - how to find your perfect partner

Yahoo Lifestyle

Online dating is becoming more and more popular and can be great fun, but there are a few common pitfalls that could come between you and the partner of your dreams.

We asked This Morning psychotherapists the Speakmans. So whether you're experienced in online dating or a newbie, try these top 10 tips to improve your chances of finding the one.

1.  Decide what you want in a partner. Before you can find a partner you need to take a few moments to decide exactly what you are looking for.  Make a list of the attributes, looks, interests, career goals, hobbies etc that you are looking for.  Remember, you are striving for someone who will fit and share in your dreams and lifestyle.

2.  Think about how hectic your life is. You may not think that your schedule is an issue but it may be the deciding factor of for your perfect partner. Lifestyle compatibility or understanding is important to avoid conflict and animosity. Whether you have a hectic or more sedentary lifestyle, on line dating is perfect for either so you can have a quick look, or a relaxed browse.

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3.  Know what you want out of a relationship. When you are finding a partner one of the key tips is to ask yourself what kind of relationship you want. Do you want casual dates?  A sexual relationship or a commitment? The great benefit of on line dating is that you can make this clear before you even meet anyone.

4.  Ask lots of questions. In order to find a partner asking questions is necessary. Initially make light conversation, and ask about career, interests and hobbies.  Allow your questions to slowly progress to important topics such as life, goals, beliefs, whether they have children and anything else that may be a point of interest for you. If you don't ask questions you will never know if the partner you have found is perfect for you.

5.  Do not give out too much information too soon. On line dating is a fantastic facility to ask all the questions that are important to you, before you commit to a date.  However, take it slowly so as not to scare them off.  In relation to you, there is no need to lay it all out on the table too soon.  Be cautious until you feel comfortable. If you have just met or just started talking hold back on telling them your entire life story, and particularly your address or work location. Giving out a little information at a time will mean the person keeps interest and keeps coming back to find out more.

6.  Do not discuss past relationships too soon. If you’re embarking in a new relationship, it’s a good idea not to talk in too much depth about your ex.  Do not start off on the wrong foot by talking about the past, and why you broke up, particularly if it was a painful breakup as this could lead to you having a rant, and appearing too intense.

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7.  Plan your first date.  Have your first date planned so that you are immediately taking control and showing that you are someone who knows what they want.  To make a good impression, consider what sort of food, hobbies or interests your date has told you about so you can cater for them, while also doing or going somewhere you will enjoy. It’s always a good idea to meet in a public place for your first few dates.

8.  Set ground rules. Finding a partner can be fun but you want to set ground rules up front. Set the boundaries for how fast you want to move, when the person can contact you, how they can contact you and what information they will know about you. It's very important to have those boundaries and rules in place to avoid issues of privacy invasion.

9.  Things to consider for a first date. It’s advisable to avoid the cinema on your first date as this results in loss of time of getting to know one another.  Also, if you’re eating out think about what you’re eating.  Order something that’s easy and not too messy, so avoid spaghetti or sticky ribs.

10. Keep Your Options Open & Be Honest. Don’t rush or pressure yourself in to getting in to a serious relationship too soon.  Meet as many people as you comfortably can to give you the chance to make sure you find the right partner.  Be honest, it’s not fair to give false hope, therefore if after a date you realise this person is not for you, politely but firmly let them down.  Don’t drag it out as you may feel obligated to keep dating them and thus compromise your true happiness.