So, you met them online. They’re amazing. They have all the qualities you admire and they’re totally sexy, too. Good for you.
Here comes the hard part: After the first date, you’re going to want to…ah…” visit” them online. You’re curious, and you want to gather as much information about them as possible. You think maybe if you reread that profile again, you’ll learn something new. Plus, when you visit the profile, you feel connected, and that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, right?
One night, you do a drive-by past their online profile and notice their status says “ONLINE NOW.”
You feel a moment of terror.
Yes, it’s true. They’re cruising for other daters. Your competition, who will no doubt, be more attractive than you.
You just know they’re talking to a person that has every amazing quality that you don’t.
They could be emailing back and forth right now.
You can forget any plans you had for the upcoming weekend because they’re moving on.
Oh wait, you two haven’t even set a future date yet?
Your insecurities just magnified tenfold.
Somehow, you muddle along anyway.
The two of you keep dating, and when you feel like connecting with them, you check their status instead of shooting them a text.
It seems like they’re always online, and not emailing you at the rapid rate you’d like. After experiencing this repeatedly, one day you log on for a visit, see the “ONLINE NOW” status, and blurt out, “Fuck you!”
This process has turned you into a crazy person—one who’s blaming them when they haven’t done one thing wrong.
Raise your hand if you know what I’m talking about.
The last time I encountered this problem, I was two months (and seven dates) into seeing a guy I was head over heels for. Unbeknownst to anyone else, I’d become a total stalker, mostly because I wasn’t getting the attention I needed from him. I ended the madness by logging off the site completely. I didn’t tell him I was leaving, and I didn’t ask him to, either. I quietly took down my profile. I did this because left to my own devices, I was untrustworthy.
As women, one thing that makes us feel safe, loved, and sane is a constant connection with the people we care about. Stated simply, when you connect with your (potential) person, you instinctively feel safe. When you go online and you see they’re not connecting with you—worse, that they’re connecting with others—the only person you’re hurting is yourself (and your self-esteem). Hopping online for a drive-by is not kind to your spirit, and in doing so, you lose your capacity to be your best self when you’re with them.
You might think checking in online isn’t that big a deal. And to be honest, it’s not…when you’re looking at the ones you don’t like that much.
I recommend you try hard—very, very hard—to avoid peeking at the ones who could be keepers. The truth is, it’s not going to help your chances. In fact, it could be damaging them. It’s one of the things that drives women away from online dating and drives off potential partners, as well.
Most people use dating site apps on their smartphones. Once logged in for a quick check, the phone will keep them logged in for the better half of the day, making it appear as if they’re always online.
Keep in mind that you’re dating a single person. Single people are free to date anyone they wish, as often as they wish—it’s one of the perks of being single. Until you’re exclusive, they don’t owe you their undivided attention (nor do you owe them yours).
When you’re dating someone offline, they could be dating other people and you just don’t have the ability to witness it. I believe wholeheartedly that, in this case, ignorance is bliss.
Need another reason not to let yourself turn into a stalker?
On most sites, your views are public. That’s right, stalker, they can see you looking at them! Some sites are smart enough to charge you for a privacy feature, so you have to pay them to stalk in stealth mode.
Do you really want to make a dating site rich because you can’t control your impulses? (Says the woman who paid by the month for the privacy option on OkCupid. I write what I know.)
My BFF, Leslie had a brilliant perspective on the topic. When I described this phenomenon to her, she said, “Oh, so you’re snooping. You mean you just poke your nose into his private business?”
I’d never thought of it that way. (She’s a genius.)
In real life, I’m not a snooper. I’ve never read a man’s email, checked his phone, or looked up anything on him. I’m not compelled to do these things, and frankly, I don’t understand women who are. I think it’s weird. Even if I felt I had something to concern myself with, I wouldn’t go about getting the information behind his back. I’d sort it out with him directly. So, it was shocking to realize that even I (a self-proclaimed adamant non-snooper) have in fact stuck my nose right where it didn’t belong online. It’s none of my business, online or off. And let’s face it, snooping never turns out well.
With this new perspective, I never did it again. Not that it was any less tempting, mind you, but once I saw his profile as his personal business, I saw it for what it was: an integrity issue. I just couldn’t do it.
What’s a smart dater to do instead?
You can start by printing out or downloading their profile. That way, you have your very own file on your hard drive or desk for your handy reference whenever you need to remember if they said they like sushi or Mexican (or want to take a peek at those pics again).
Then “hide” them from view by clicking “don’t’ show him anymore” out of your search results once you’ve saved the profile. This is different than blocking.
After the drop and drag, go get yourself a bigger life. Use that time you’d otherwise spend looking online to go to a café and read a book, take a hike, see a film, or have drinks with friends. Here’s a novel idea: Use the time to keep dating other daters! You’re single, remember?
Here’s what we learned:
- Being a stalker is uncool at best, and downright creepy and untrustworthy at worst.
- Snooping into their personal business starts with an innocent “visit.”
- Your time is precious and valuable. Don’t spend it obsessing over whether someone is online or not.
- Viewing a profile over and over will burn you out, and make you hate the dating process just ever so slightly more than you already do.
Hot dating tip: Get started. Don’t settle. Don’t stop.
Good luck out there!
. . . .
Wendy Newman is the author of 121 First Dates. She’s a dating, sex, and relationship expert who’s led hundreds of workshops and revolutionized the lives of over 70,000+ women internationally.
Need one-on-one coaching from Wendy? You can hire her by the hour.
You can send a question to the column via email: Wendy@WendySpeaks.com
Single? Take her 5-Day Love Breakthrough Course (for free — you’re welcome!)