Stephen and Melissa are what you call perfect opposites. Two years ago they met on PlentyOfFish and a few months ago they got engaged. Stephen is a creative, small town boy, and who can barely microwave popcorn, let alone cook a meal. Melissa is an analytical city girl, who loves to cook a feast while entertaining friends at home. On their first date, Stephen and Melissa went for sushi, a ‘delicacy’ Stephen would have gladly passed on had it not been a first date.
Despite their differences, they soon discovered their similarities were plentiful. They both have strong family values, enjoy similar activities like biking and running and want the same things for their future – kids, a house and more kids.
But their dating experiences weren’t all fun and games. Before they bumped into each other on PlentyOfFish, they had their fair share of bad dates, long winded awkward phone calls, and moments where they wanted to throw in the towel. But they didn’t. What they learned through these experiences was what they didn’t want in a partner, which for them were invaluable lessons that led them to each other.
Here are 5 dating lessons that kept Melissa and Stephen in the game and ultimately led to their meeting and now their upcoming nuptials:
1. “Date a bunch of people to narrow down your search” – Stephen
As a single guy, Stephen met people using a mixture of PlentyOfFish, social events and just being out and about. But he purposely went on lots of dates. The first start to knowing what you want is knowing what you don’t want.
2. “Don’t be discouraged by the oddballs” – Melissa
Whether you’re meeting people on PlentyOfFish, Okcupid, the bar or the grocery store, you will run into oddballs. That’s a given. Melissa ran into a few, but she decided early on she wouldn’t let these people tarnish her dating experience. She continued to search for potentials on PlentyOfFish and do her due diligence before agreeing to meet in person.
3. “If I’m normal, there must be other normal people online too” – Melissa
This was a reminder Melissa would tell herself when she got some of those oddball emails described above. She also realized that there really isn’t a ‘normal’…it was more about what was familiar and common to her. This is why we’re often attracted to people who look like us or share similar backgrounds, values and religion. On dating sites, it was easy to see someone’s differences and disparities than anything else. Keeping this in mind allowed Melissa to identify the difference between incompatibility and unfamiliarity.
4. “Don’t talk over the phone for hours before your date” – Melissa
Early on in her online dating career, Melissa learned a trick from a friend who had spent some time dating online. Her friend had made the mistake of spending several hours talking to her date over the phone the night before they were to meet in-person. When they finally met face to face the next day, they had nothing to talk about. In the end, the date was a fail.
It’s perfectly fine to speak over the phone before your date, but don’t let it go on for hours. When nerves are involved, it’s hard enough to find interesting topics to talk about, let alone if you’ve already discussed your childhood, university days and job over the phone the night before. If you want to give the first date, the best chance, make sure you have lots to talk about.
5. “If you get stood up, brush it off” – Stephen
Yes, if you’ve ever been stood up, you know what a horrible feeling it is. Stephen knows the feeling all too well himself. These hurtful situations happen from time to time, but tend to be more about your ‘invisible’ date’s insecurities than it is about you. Her loss!
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