OPINION: Take your time online before jumping into dating

Let’s be real for a second: You probably don’t look as hot as you do in your Tinder profile pictures as you on any average day. Whether you’re looking for a quick hookup or something “real,” we all comb through our camera roll to find the perfect pictures. It’s standard practice, it’s human nature, and there’s not necessarily anything wrong with it.

Key word: necessarily. According to Eharmony, 22 percent of those looking for love online asked their friends to help them create their profiles. If a simple picture has caused so much conversation among you and your friends, how much thought did you put into your bio? Everything is intentional. After all, the whole point is to attract others.

My point is that dating profiles might not be the best representation of a person, and when we surprise ourselves and actually find a cutie that meets all our criteria for an actual relationship, things can get a bit tricky.

Online dating makes it harder to really see what a person is like right off the bat — you hand-pick everything, communicate when and how you want and if it doesn’t work, many resort to ghosting. Because of all this, one who is looking for something serious online, or anything more than a hookup, might want to rethink jumping into a relationship right away with one of their matches.

Unfortunately, I have experience with this one. I found the cutest guy online and we really hit it off. We quickly started spending so much time together. I jumped in head first, and even though we never had the “What are we?” conversation, we had a pretty good understanding we weren’t even looking at anybody else.

But then things got weird. He was very defensive and quick to turn everything into a pity party for him. While I know I should’ve handled certain things better, something became very off about the guy. He was not who I thought from what little communication we’d had online.

However, I should have followed what worked previously for me with online dating: not jumping in right away. Before I dated my most serious boyfriend, we had been messaging for months.

Eventually we met up, and by the time we did, I knew him pretty well. I was comfortable, and so was he. I felt like I had a better idea of who he was and what his values were. I knew how he communicated and vice versa. We had gone on several dates and spent so much time together before we became official.

While (spoiler) our relationship ended eventually, I never once felt as if I didn’t know him. It was still the best relationship I’ve had to date, and I can’t help but think part of the reason was because I had gotten to know him so well before getting too serious.

The moral of this short story is that online dating can work, and it’s not bad. However, for those looking for genuine connection, remember it’s easy for someone to seem so good for you from what little info we can gather from a profile or messaging back and forth, so save yourself some heartache and don’t jump in right away. In the end, it might save you some trouble.

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