Fish Where the Fish Are Biting A relationship expert once told me “online dating after divorce works if you see it as a tool to get quickly offline.” What this means is to look at online dating as a lead generator. You may have heard that term in a business sales context. Salespeople cast a wide net and know it’s not going to appeal to 99% of the people. They don’t take it personally when it doesn’t. When you start to think of online dating this way, it helps to take the personal feelings of rejection and frustration out of the equation. Online Dating Is a Tool – So Use It Online dating after divorce is the most efficient way to find people who want what you want. Here are a few tips to use that tool most effectively. 1. Photos Show a variety of pictures. Make sure there is one that clearly shows your face (no sunglasses). Show yourself smiling and in various scenarios – dressed up, casual, sporty, etc. Opinions differ on whether to show your kids, so our advice would be to not show them at this point. You can always share photos later that have them if you choose to 2. Description Keep the description brief, upbeat, and be yourself (well, the interesting, upbeat part of yourself). Do not write about what you don’t want “I hate cheaters, guys who spend the day sitting around drinking beer and watching sports . . .” Even if you know you don’t want those things, you don’t have to say it. Instead, focus on what you do want so this comes across clearly. Keep it concise. If you are really into books and have started three book clubs and a perfect day is ten hours of wandering museums in different cities, shorten this to “passion for literature and for trips and museums that bring literature to life.” Also talk about how you like to share time with others. This doesn’t have to be an adventure list. Making dinner together, hiking and conversation, or talking about current events all give prospects an idea of how you spend time and share yourself with another person. For online dating after divorce to be most successful, prospects need to be able to imagine what it’d be like to spend time with you – and vice versa. 3. Religious and Political Affiliations To widen your pool, less is more. However if it’s 100% important that you date someone of a particular religion or political affiliation (or want to rule one out), do it. Just consider the fact that you may be filtering out potential matches who may not be exactly like you but with whom you could be compatible. Many happy couples have stark differences; the key is how they navigate them in an open, curious, and respectful way. 4. What You’re Looking for in a Match Age, income, physical traits, career. Again, keeping yourself open will yield more prospects – but within reason. Are you 42 and a non-smoker with 2 kids and definitely don’t want more children? Try opening the dating pool to non-smokers, 37 – 47 years old, who are okay with your having kids and either don’t want their own or are undecided. Don’t narrow down these fields unless there’s something you feel so strongly about that it’s a deal breaker. If something is critically important to you, however, include it. If you’re doing online dating after divorce, you may want to open up to more possibilities so you can explore a little bit and get a better sense of who’s out there. 5. What to Look for in His Profile While the words tell you a lot, you also want to do a little reading between the lines, especially if you’re looking for anything more than a hook-up. Here are a few of our favorite red flags: A man who’s older than the sea but only wants to date women under 30 is not a man looking for a partner. If his write-up is one big brag about how awesome and successful he is, that’s probably all he wants to talk about in person. A man who trashes his Ex still has some work to do on himself and his reactions to his divorce – and you don’t need to hear about an Ex when you’re moving on from your own. If he can’t fill out anything or much on his profile, be prepared for his putting that same amount of effort into a relationship. 6. Now What? You’ve got your profile up and ready to go. Now what? First, post your profile for a week and see what comes back. If that doesn’t keep you busy for awhile then go ahead and indicate some interest in profiles that you like. You have many options, depending on your courage that day (and your dating service). Favoriting, liking, and swiping right indicate some interest but don’t require you to put yourself out there in a big way. You can also send a simple message that says you read his profile and found it really interesting (and mention something specific about it, so he knows you did). Expand your comfort zone in small steps. Again, this is a numbers game and you are trying to get as many people exposed to your profile as possible. When prospects message you, notice whether it’s a generic “Hi! Nice profile!” or if he says something that indicates he actually read it. A generic message doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker (numbers game again), but it also doesn’t send a signal that there’s serious interest, so proceed with caution. Limit your messaging to a couple rounds, and move this to a telephone conversation as soon as possible. If you’re online dating after divorce, you don’t need a pen pal on top of everything else. More importantly, it’s a huge red flag when a man resists live interaction. He could be trying to get information, he might be a bot and not a real person at all, or he could be married – or on house arrest. The whole point is to get offline and into the real world as soon as possible. You can’t truly know if you two have potential if you don’t meet in person. Lastly, keep an active pipeline. Just because you are talking with someone doesn’t mean you are off the market. Online Dating After Divorce Can Open up Great Opportunities Online dating after divorce can be challenging, so take your time, go easy, and find ways to enjoy the journey. If you’re having trouble getting started, read our article on getting off the bench. Also check out our great podcast series with relationship expert Cassie Zampa-Keim. It begins with Modern Dating Strategies for the Divorced Woman, followed by more in-depth advice on Online Dating: What It Is and How to Get Good at It, Creating a Stellar Online Profile, and going From Profile to First Date. Good luck out there!