Dating After Divorcing a Narcissist?

Dating After Divorcing a Narcissist?

Have you experienced a divorce that involved a narcissist? If you’ve been through narcissistic abuse and you’re now thinking about entering the dating world again, there are some things you need to think about first. Let’s face it, a divorce can be a traumatic experience especially when you’ve dealt with narcissistic abuse, and jumping into the dating scene can be more than you might be ready to deal with. The only one who will know if you are truly ready to start dating after a divorce is you, but here are some things to consider before you go on that first date.

Are you really ready to date after your divorce?

This is where you have to take stock of your own emotions and what it is you are looking for after getting divorced. Only you can really answer this question but something to think about is why do you want to start dating again.

Are you lonely and think that dating again will help fill that void left by your ex-spouse? If this is the case you may not be ready, because the person you date may not fulfill your expectations, particularly if you do not know what it is you want out of a new relationship.

If you look at it from the point of asking yourself what you want from a new relationship you may find it easier to make a decision about dating after your divorce.

Are you confident enough in yourself to date safely?

Going through narcissistic abuse can destroy your entire self in so many ways, the least of which is a complete erasure of your self-confidence. So, when you’re ready to date again, its’ a really good idea to do a double-check and ask yourself if you’re really confident enough to get back out there. Do you have what it takes to deal with someone in a dating relationship?

For many survivors of narcissistic abuse, simply going through the divorce itself can be devastating. You need time to recuperate and to heal from the years of trauma you’ve just been through. You have to ask yourself if you’re ready to deal with someone on that emotional level again. Are you confident enough in yourself that any letdown or rejection during your foray into dating will not damage your emotional state?

Do you know what you’re looking for in a potential partner? 

What kind of person are you going to date? How detailed are you being in your “checklist” of wants and needs in a partner? Your tendency may be to try and find someone who is the complete opposite of your ex-spouse – and who could blame you if that person was a narcissist?

While this may sound logical, you might be missing something important if that’s the direction you’re planning to take here. Why? Two reasons.

First, you were attracted to your ex-spouse for a variety of reasons, none of which involved the toxic person they later showed you they were. Because your marriage didn’t work doesn’t mean that you didn’t like some of the things that attracted you to your ex in the first place. You need to accept people for who they are, not who they remind you of.

Second, there is more than one type of narcissist, and on the outside, a covert narcissist may appear to be the complete opposite of an overt one. This can lead to you getting involved unknowingly with another toxic person who may act a little different but who might still be the same level or type of toxic as your ex. For example, I personally looked for a person who was the opposite of my narcissistic parent and I found him. Sadly, he turned out to just be a different kind of narcissist – he flew under my radar because his external behaviors were so different. But underneath it all, he was exactly the same.

Are you prepared to deal with trigger moments? 

After you’ve been abused by a toxic narcissist for a long time, you might be a little sensitive in ways that won’t make sense to your potential dates. As I mentioned, knowing what you want is important, but be careful not to overly compare anyone you date to your ex-spouse. Certainly, there are toxic behaviors you’ll have to watch for and avoid in a new person, and it will make it even more difficult if that someone you are dating seems to do some of the things that your ex used to do that drove you crazy.

Realize that most of the time they will be unaware that they are doing something that reminds you of your ex-spouse. Their otherwise innocent behavior might trigger you in a way you’re not expecting, and it might erroneously lead you to assume you’re dealing with a narcissist. If this is a concern, you’re going to want to have a pattern interrupt plan in your back pocket – as in, be prepared to pattern-interrupt yourself in the moment so you can consider what happened later, when you’re not feeling scattered or afraid.

Are you ready to take it slowly (and safely)?

Listen, I get it. After a toxic relationship, you might just want to hurry up and move on with your life. And I get it! Heck, we’ve all heard the (really terrible) advice of “If you want to get over someone, get under someone new,” right? That is completely off-base, just in case you wondered.

If you really like this new person in your life and you want to give them a chance, then they might be worth it. BUT, despite what your heart seems to be telling you, you should not rush into this or any relationship – and you should give yourself some grace here.

The most important piece of advice I can offer here is to take it very slowly, even if you’re sure this is your actual soulmate. The thing is that while a toxic person might push you to move faster in the relationship than you want to, someone who is really “your person” will be happy to take it slowly and not rush things.

Remember too that what you see and think may not be what they intend for you to see and think. It is hard for a new person to prove they’re not like your ex, and they shouldn’t have to do that, necessarily. Rather they should be themselves and you should try to judge them on their own merit. It isn’t really their job to help you overcome the demons of your past relationship, even if they seem to want to try.

It’s Okay (And Recommended) to Wait Until You’re Ready

Avoid dating at all if you’re not ready to do it – there’s nothing wrong with waiting until you’re ready, mentally, emotionally, and otherwise. At the same time, don’t be afraid to enter into the dating world after your divorce when you are ready, but at the same time, you need to know who you are and have the confidence to find what you are comfortable with when it comes to dating. Trust yourself to make the right choice and chances are you will thrive as you begin your new life dating after divorce.

Not Sure You’re Ready to Date After Divorce?

Take this free self-assessment to find out if you are ready to date after a divorce from a narcissist. 

Related Resources for Dating After Narcissistic Abuse

 

Dating After Abuse: What You Need to Know

Dating After Abuse: What You Need to Know

A discussion in my SPAN (Support for People Affected by Narcissistic abuse in relationships) online support group recently led one of my beautiful members to ask me what I meant when I told another group member that she could avoid getting involved with another narcissist in the future by simply raising her standards when it came to dating new people. Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Setting Standards for Your Future Dates

While she was recently divorced from a toxic narcissist and not quite ready to think about dating yet, she wanted to know what I meant.

“When I am ready to date again, it would help me to know what you mean exactly to ‘raise your standards’?”

Dating Safely After Abuse

Raise Your Standards, Avoid Getting Involved with a Narcissist Again

Anyone who isn’t already in a relationship might be in search of that perfect someone that they can imagine building a life with – both men and women. When you’re waiting for Mr. or Mrs. Right, you sometimes start to think the opposite sex is just far too picky.

But, if you’ve been in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, the abuse you’ve experienced has left you damaged and you might be a little unsure of what you really want in a relationship. And, if you’re anything like many survivors of narcissistic abuse, you might have been raised by a toxic person, too – and that means you could be struggling to figure out what “healthy” looks like in a relationship. So how do you know? And what do you do to safeguard yourself as you go forward with dating again after narcissistic abuse?

Start with Creating Some Dealbreakers

What are ‘dealbreakers?;

Dealbreakers are a way to create “rules” for yourself in order to safeguard your heart. In other words, when you create a dealbreaker in a relationship, it means you walk away without discussion if one of the dealbreakers is “done,” so to speak. This means that if anything outside of the dealbreakers happens, you will be willing to at least discuss it before walking away. It does NOT mean that you’ll stay for anything else that happens – just that you might be willing to discuss it and possibly work it out if possible.

How do dealbreakers work?

So, if your dealbreaker is “never lie to me,” then you’d immediately end the relationship without discussion if your partner were to lie to you. Of course, that particular example is extreme and, in my opinion, might be both unfair and too vague to qualify as a dealbreaker. After all, a decent person might tell white lies to save your feelings. For example, they might tell you that they can’t tell you’ve gained weight, or that your new haircut doesn’t look as bad as you think it does. Those lies aren’t meant to hurt you and shouldn’t be considered “abusive,” right?

What are some examples of dealbreakers? 

Personally, I have some basic deal breakers for any relationship, including my current marriage, and they are as follows:

1. Don’t hit me or intentionally hurt me physically.
2. Don’t cheat on me.
3. Don’t hurt my children.

And after I got divorced from my first husband, I added a number four: Don’t emotionally abuse me.

Your own dealbreakers might be the same or different than mine. It is important that you focus yours on the things that matter to you the most

Dealbreakers Can Protect You From Yourself

Anyone who has struggled with narcissistic abuse and codependency may also have trouble setting and standing behind their boundaries. Even when we heal, we might still find ourselves tolerating things we should not. Codependency combined with the trauma bonding we experience in toxic relationships with narcissists can leave us feeling weak and unable to stand up for ourselves.

By creating little “unbreakable” rules for ourselves and communicating them early in a relationship (around the time the two of you choose to be in a relationship or to be monogamous together), you sort of take the power out of your own hands, in a good way. In other words, if you set your dealbreakers and you stand by them, your partner will know that up to a point, they decide if you stay or go.

It might surprise you to know that when it comes to deal breakers with dating, men and women are surprisingly alike in what turns them off (and what won’t lead to more dates). Knowing this can help you avoid a dry spell – and, if you’re willing to raise your own standards, it can also help you avoid getting stuck to a narcissist again.

Healing & Dating Safely After Narcissistic Relationships – Truth, Not the Illusion

Are you ready to start dating again? Dating after narcissistic abuse is hard! When you get a divorce or move on to a new relationship after a narcissistic one, it makes dating a completely different experience.

When your ex is a narcissist, it’s a whole other ball of wax. In this video, I’ll expand on safeguarding your love life so that you can avoid dating another narcissist in the future.

These articles might also be of interest to you if you’ve been through a toxic relationship with a narcissist.

Dating After Narcissistic Abuse: Things to Know 

So, what sorts of issues are red flags for potential future mates? Let’s start there – some basic Dating 101. You might already know this stuff, and that’s okay. It never hurts to have a quick refresher, right?

Communication is Key

Not knowing how to communicate on a date is something that a lot of women just don’t want to put up with, such as not being able to talk clearly and not knowing the basic difference between commonly misused words.

  • To men, this might seem too picky, but to women, a man that doesn’t know how to communicate from the start, including with their eyes, it won’t get any better as the relationship progresses.
  • Women do put more of an emphasis on communication than men do because this is how women relate. A dealbreaker with communication is a man or a woman who is obviously the star in their own world – ahem, this is also a sign of narcissism.
  • These kinds of people might talk so much that it’s hard to get a word in edgewise. While a man or woman wants to find out about their date, give them the condensed version of yourself, not your life story – and on the flip side, you shouldn’t expect a guy to tell you everything on day one. It’s not normal behavior, despite what the narcissist might have led you to believe.
  • During a date, you don’t want to focus on the bad stuff. Someone that you’ve just met or are just now starting to get to know doesn’t want to hear all about the job that you hate, or the terrible day you’ve just experienced – and, quite honestly, they’re not going to necessarily enjoy hearing about your narcissistic ex. That’s more like seventh date material if you understand what I mean – and focusing for too long on any negativity from your past isn’t healthy anyway.
  • Communication during a date means communicating with the person with whom you’re on the date. It doesn’t mean that this is a fresh avenue for you to spill all of your resentment and heartache about the person who was in your life before him or her.
  • If you bring your ex into the conversation, it can be an instant dealbreaker because it shows that you haven’t worked through feelings about that former flame. No one wants a preview of the excess baggage you’ll be bringing along if they date you.
  • It also shows that you’re inconsiderate. It’s a dealbreaker to use someone you barely know as a sounding board about the lost loves in your life. You might feel that you’re connecting, while the other person feels like they should be charging you a therapy fee.
  • Work through your issues about your ex before you move on to dating someone new. See a real therapist and make sure all of your issues with that situation are resolved prior to you dating someone else. You’ll be doing yourself a big favor.

Don’t Be Rude

Most people know how to be polite. Some don’t. If you don’t know how to be polite, that can be a dealbreaker. If you haven’t mastered basic table etiquette, then you need to learn before you hit the dating circuit. Most people reading this article won’t need to go through this section, but I’m including it just to be safe.

  • First, don’t put your elbows on the table. Don’t slouch down so far in your chair that it looks like you’re practically resting on your neck. When it’s time to eat, don’t share your food in open-mouthed chewing with the other person.
  • It’s rude and disgusting to look at someone else’s chewed up meal. These are dealbreakers – especially for women. Don’t slurp your food, push your food onto your fork with your fingers, don’t burp, don’t blow your nose, and don’t pick your teeth when you’re on a date. If you get a bite of something that tastes terrible, don’t make a show of spitting it out. Discreetly remove it in with a napkin. If something is out of reach, ask for it, don’t reach across the table and grab it.
  • One of the biggest issues that’s a dealbreaker among both men and women are dates that get on the cell phone. If you text or take a call during a date and it’s not an absolute emergency, you can bet you’ll probably never get another date.
  • It’s rude to pay attention to someone who isn’t even there via a cell phone. Being rude to others (including the waitress or waiter) around you on the date is a dealbreaker. If you’re out with your friends, treating them rudely is also a dealbreaker.
  • Your date will end up wondering if that’s how you treat other people if you’ll start to treat him or her that way as well. Under the heading of being impolite is not having a tolerance toward people who have different religions, are from different cultures, are of a different race, or have different sexual preferences.
  • Being small-minded or making bigoted or racist comments is a dealbreaker. It’s rude and offensive.
  • It’s also not polite to expect your date to like all the same things that you like. Just because you like a certain style of music doesn’t mean she will. And to expect someone to give in to your tastes is a dealbreaker. Instead of looking for someone that is exactly like you when it comes to preferences, learn how to explore the differences.
  • It can be a dealbreaker to be sarcastic or to make fun of something that your date finds interesting. It makes you look mean and bullying to make fun of someone just because they’re into things that you’re not.

Be Aware of Your Appearance

I hate that we need to address this one, but let’s just touch on it really quickly. Despite common assumptions, most men and women aren’t looking for someone who doesn’t have any flaws. But both sexes do look for someone who takes pride in his or her appearance. This can range from clothing choice to hygiene habits. Be aware of the following.

  • When you show up for a date, even if it’s a casual date, you should always look your best. Those worn sweatpants might make you feel comfortable, but to your date, they say that you couldn’t be bothered to put forth much effort.
  • That bright Hawaiian shirt might look great on a vacation, but on a date, it’s better to choose clothes that blend in and save the wilder choices for a later date. My best advice here is to wear the nicest outfit you have that is also appropriate for the occasion. Don’t break out the formal wear for a trip to the movies, and save the “around the house” clothes for around the house.
  • Wear appropriate shoes for the date, too. Don’t wear a pair of shoes that could be worn when cleaning out the garage or mowing. Don’t wear shoes that don’t fit the occasion. An example of this is wearing high heels for a beach walk. The shoes are out of place and will only tell your date that you’re trying too hard to impress. Be careful going too bold.
  • A dealbreaker in both men and women is showing up for a date without having spent some time on personal hygiene. If you can’t be bothered to brush and floss your teeth, it’s better that you stay home.
  • Poor hygiene habits can also be a dealbreaker. These include things like wiping your mouth on the sleeve of your shirt after eating. Or coughing up phlegm and then spitting it onto the ground.
  • Take care of your smile. It’s one of the first impressions that you’ll make on someone else when it comes to dating.
  • Certain habits can also make your appearance less than desirable on a date. Someone who smells like cigarette smoke can be a dealbreaker to some people. People who drink more than their limit on a date are a turnoff, too.
  • A big dealbreaker for men and women is pretending to be something you’re not online or through text messages, then showing up in person and you look and act totally differently. An example of this is a girl who pretends to be into things guys like just to impress the guy. Or a guy who says he has washboard abs when it’s really more like a beer belly.

Bottom line here: What both sexes really appreciate is a person who’s honest with them right from the start. Don’t lie about your body type, your looks, or your hobbies just to get someone interested in you. When the truth comes out, it will only backfire. You want to date someone who likes the real you, not some fictional person who doesn’t exist. And while “faking it” might get someone interested in you initially, this will bite you in the butt later when the truth comes out.

Avoid Sharing Unresolved Personal Issues Too Soon

Every person in the world is going to have some emotional wounds given to them by life experiences. Most people go on to get through these issues by working them out or seeking the advice of a counselor. Having experienced personal problems is nothing to be ashamed of and is normal. However, dragging these issues around with you, especially on dates is when it becomes a problem. As a rule, you want to keep things light on the first few dates. Avoid sharing the hard stuff too soon. Some examples of things to avoid sharing in the first few weeks or months of dating a new person include the following,

Your Deep, Dark Secrets

It’s important to wait until you can truly trust someone before you share all of your deep dark secrets with them. Not only might “early disclosure” be a dealbreaker for your date, but if they are a toxic person in love-bombing mode, you might be telling the wrong person. After all, narcissists are known to store away the information you share about your weaknesses and insecurities in the early days of the relationship, only to throw it back in your face later and use it to hurt you.

Your Emotional Traumas

Personal issues that can become dealbreakers involve things like not being able to let go and move on from anything that hurt you emotionally. So you don’t necessarily want to discuss your toxic ex or anything related to them, outside of possibly acknowledging that you have been in a relationship before, especially if you have kids.

People Who Have Wronged You

Your date doesn’t want to hear about the times your former friend stole money from you or skipped out without paying rent. He doesn’t want to hear about daddy issues. She doesn’t want to hear about your issues with your mom or your dad. Or your siblings. Or your neighbors. And they definitely do not want to hear about your narcissistic ex – at least not yet. If those things are still eating away at you, it’s a sign that you need to deal with them rather than date and talk about them.

Problems You Have That Aren’t Your Fault

Your date doesn’t want to hear about a list of problems that were someone else’s fault. Even if you have completely and legitimately been hurt through no fault of your own, your date might not fully be able to grasp the depth of it – nor should they be required to at the beginning. If you aren’t able to fully express what happened to you in a way that they can truly get it, they might feel like you’re being whiny and immature. That will only make you feel unfairly invalidated, and it might trigger you. This would be enough to scare a “non-toxic” person away and fast.

Your Addiction Issues

Active addiction of any sort can be a dealbreaker. When there’s an addiction, the person that you’re dating never gets to know who you really are because the addition can mask that. People with an alcohol or drug addiction can often have varying mood swings and that’s not a good way to begin a relationship. If you have a personal issue that’s driven you to try to deal with it through the development of an addiction, that’s a definite dealbreaker. Having an addiction to drugs isn’t something that’s fair to expect another person to have to deal with, especially someone that you don’t even know that well. It puts too much on them emotionally. If you have an addiction to drugs or alcohol, take care of it and get well before you seek a relationship. The same goes for an addiction to a person – the kind that happens with trauma bonding and narcissistic abuse. In any case, an addiction can introduce a level of upheaval into a relationship that can add a lot of drama. Even if you’ve already overcome the addiction, wait until you know them better to explain that you’re in recovery.

Do What You Say You’ll Do

A dealbreaker among men and women is dating people who don’t know how to keep their word. These people are often flighty. They’ll say one thing and mean another. Sometimes, they can be prone to mind games.

Show Up When You Say You Will

Men and women are looking for someone who has solid character. They know that if you’re not dependable, as the relationship develops when they need someone, you won’t be the one they’ll be able to call. It’s a dealbreaker because a person who isn’t dependable has all kinds of excuses for his or her behavior. Why they didn’t show up when they said they would. Why they blew you off, why they couldn’t pay for a meal they promised to pay for. These people are often not financially stable and they’re looking for someone they can lean on. Being someone who can’t take care of himself is a dealbreaker.

Handle Your Own Business

In a healthy relationship, partners will help one another deal with the issues that come up in their lives. But when you’re dating, especially early in the relationship, your issues should not be their responsibility (and vice versa). Both men and women want someone who is independent and who has their life in control. A man or woman who has a life that’s out of control isn’t someone that anything can be built with because that person can’t be trusted. Without trust, there can’t be a healthy relationship.

Don’t Be Too Clingy

Whether you prefer to be sort of “joined at the hip” with your partner or you would rather have your own space in a relationship is something you’ll want to communicate at some point, but not necessarily on the first date. Be careful to avoid being too demanding on your date’s time and steer clear of clinginess. Someone who’s too clingy isn’t someone who can be depended on. This is because the other person in the dating relationship will constantly have to reassure the clingy one, constantly have to feed their need for reassurance and company. That is exhausting, as you may recall from your previous toxic relationships.

Don’t Try to Control Everything

When you first start dating someone new, before you have  “the talk,” where you discuss your relationship and decide that you’re going to be together officially, you might find yourself feeling triggered if they don’t return your text right away or answer the phone when you call. This will set off little alarm bells for your date – as well they should. They will feel like you’re being controlling if you start demanding to know where they’ve been or who they’ve spent time with, especially if you start doing this before you’ve committed to one another.

But why would you do this? Well, having been in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, you might feel overwhelmed and anxious when this happens because, back then, it would mean your ex was cheating on you, for example. But when you’re dating someone new and they’re always wanting to know who you’re with and what you’re doing, it can be a huge dealbreaker.

Be Ruled by Intuition, Not Paranoia

Remember that, even in a long-term relationship, if you find yourself feeling doubtful and anxious in this way and it isn’t related to trauma from the past, there’s a chance that your intuition is trying to tell you something. Being with the narcissist might have caused you to forget how to listen to that little voice that tells you something’s off. That’s your intuition – and it’s important to learn to listen to it. If you’re not there yet and can’t quite discern your intuition from residual paranoia and anxiety related to what happened to you in the past, it’s best to focus on healing right now instead of dating – at least if you want to be able to find and develop a healthy relationship for your future.

Have Your Own Friends and Interests

Each person should have a circle of friends as well as friends they enjoy seeing as a dating couple. It’s important for each person to have outside interests in a dating relationship and this includes different friends. When you have separate interests, it can help a dating relationship stay fresh and seem more interesting. Don’t allow yourself (or the other person) to lose their identity and friendships just because you want to spend more time together. That leads to codependency and unhealthy connections.

Avoid Being Too Familiar Too Fast

Being too familiar too fast can be a dealbreaker when it comes to emotions, too. When a person starts pushing for emotional depth that hasn’t developed yet, this can turn people off. An example of this is when a couple just starts dating and by the end of the first week, one party is ready to move in together, to be exclusive, or already talking about being in love.

This is usually a sign of a deeper emotional problem that should raise red flags.  When you date someone, there are certain physical boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed unless it’s clear that the other person is open to the contact. On a first date, you should have and expect personal boundaries. Treating someone like they’re an old friend that you can hang all over is going to make the other person uncomfortable. While this is usually a dating dealbreaker that’s more common in the way that men behave, women are also guilty of this one. Be respectful of boundaries and even if you feel like you’ve known this person forever, you haven’t. So be mindful of their feelings and watch their cues. And be aware of how YOU feel around them, too.

Supermarket Shopping Your Date is Off-Limits

Ever been on a date where you felt like a couple of melons in the produce aisle at the grocery store? Look, I get it – on a first date, a lot of people are trying to see if the other person fits the bill physically for them. This means that he or she is trying to figure out if they’re compatible – if they’re a good fit. Though it’s important to date someone that you’re physically attracted to, dating isn’t a supermarket where you can go in and start rubbing and touching to see if you like what you see – so be respectful of your date’s personal space and mindful of their physical cues.

  • Because men are usually bigger, taller, and have more physical strength, being too hands-on can make a woman feel uncomfortable, intimidated and sometimes can cross the boundaries into sexual harassment.
  • Never assume it’s okay to touch someone else. Instead, make sure that you have a clear okay before you do. It’s not just the physical where a date can get too familiar.

Throw Away Your Checklist for the First 3 Dates

Now, don’t get me wrong – anyone who is actively looking for a partner is going to have sort of a checklist in mind of what they want and what they don’t want. While you should most definitely have dealbreakers and you should be very clear on what you’re looking for in a partner, try to skip the checklist for the first three or four dates. You’re getting to know the person, and if you’re focused on ticking off those boxes, you might miss something important. Then again, be aware of your personal feelings and don’t feel obligated to go on a second or third date if someone makes you feel uncomfortable or in any way pushes you beyond what feels appropriate to you.

Though it’s not easy to date in today’s world, there are plenty of good men and women looking for that special someone. Figure out what your deal breakers are and try to find someone who suits your personal preferences!

Related articles for survivors of narcissistic abuse

Kissing frogs: 27 things everyone should know about online dating

Kissing frogs: 27 things everyone should know about online dating

“To find a prince, you gotta kiss some toads.” ~Foxy Brown
Shocking facts about online dating
Whether you’re recently divorced and “getting back out there” or you’re just single and looking, you’ve probably considered online dating at one time or another. And if you’re considering it now, this post is for you. It’s all about the current state of the online dating community – from stats to news to what’s working and what’s not. Plus, how you can avoid getting involved with toxic narcissist as you get back into dating after recovering from a toxic relationship.

How to Spot Narcissists On Dating Sites: Red Flags and Giveaways

If you’ve been with a narcissist in the past, you’re going to want to know exactly how to avoid them on dating sites before you jump in, right? Here’s exactly what you need to know to a narcissist’s dating profile on an online dating site or a dating app.

Learn more about the signs you’re dating a narcissist

Top 10 Online Dating Statistics You Should Know

Online dating is considered normal these days.

The stigma that was once associated with online dating is completely gone. As late as 2005, people were embarrassed to say they met online because so many people had a problem with it. Now, the majority of Americans feel like it’s a positive way to meet a mate.

  • Approximately 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. have used an online dating service or dating app at some point.
  • An estimated 66% of them have gone on at least one date with someone they met through a dating site.

People of all ages are meeting their dates online. 

Some statistics, according to Pew Research:

  • People in their mid-20s through mid-40s are among the largest groups of online daters.
  • Some 22% of 25-34-year-olds and 17% of 35-44-year-olds have used an online dating site or mobile dating app.
  • 45-54-year-olds are just as likely to date online as 18-24-year-olds
  • 8% of 45-54-year-olds and 10% of 18-24-year-olds are online daters.
  • Middle-aged adults are described as a “thin dating market,” meaning that they have a relatively limited number of available partners within their immediate social circles.
  • 9% of seniors aged 55 and up are on dating sites.

Only two-thirds of the people who are active on online dating sites have actually met someone in person.

Does this mean that a third of the fish in the online dating sea is of the ‘Catfish’ variety?

  • 22 percent of online daters have had help creating their profiles. Just something to consider before you go all “love at first profile view” on anyone’s ass.
  • 5 percent of all Americans in marriages or committed relationships, and 12 percent of those who married or met within the past five years, are reportedly thanks to having met online. That means that 95 percent of Americans met their spouse OFFLINE. Is this a telling statistic or just a simple fact? Time will tell, I guess.

Marrying someone you meet online could mean a happier, longer relationship. 

On the plus side, a marriage between two people who met online is statistically more likely to succeed. Research shows that 6% of people who marry after meeting online break up, compared to 7.6% of people who found their spouse offline. These couples are also happier. A study found that the mean happiness index for couples who got together offline was 5.48, as compared to 5.64 for those who met in cyberspace.

Online dating scams are still happening every day.

  • In 2011, there were nearly 6,000 online dating scams REPORTED. Just imagine how many went untold – and there was reportedly more than $50 million stolen by online dating scammers.
  • Women (especially those over 40) are more likely to be targeted than men, for both scams and inappropriate contact.
  • Seventy percent of the online dating complaints made in 2011 involved women and more than half were 40 or older.

Men are still pigs online.

Maybe more so than in person. 42% of women reported feeling uncomfortable with unwanted contact via a dating site compared to 17% of men.

Nudes, dick pics, and unsolicited booty calls are the norm.

Can we talk about the dick pics? Anyone who is dating in the 21st century has received a dick pic or a nude, right? And even many couples who married before the whole dick pic thing was a thing admit to sending sexy snapshots to one another.

“So-called ‘dick pics’ in general have become an increasingly popular fad, especially for millennials,” according to data published in 2017 by YouGov Omnibus, which included the following dick-pic statistics, among others.

  • 27% of millennial men have sent a “dick pic” to a woman, 24% without being asked.
  • 34% of millennial men have been asked by a woman to send one.
  • 53% of millennial women have received dick pics
  • 78% of those received an unwanted dick pic
  • 69% received dick pics by request.
  • 1/3 of 35 to 54-year-olds have been sent dick pics
  • 8% of those over the age of 55 also reported getting nudes by text.

5 Warning Signs Your Online Crush is a Scammer

You know that old saying, “with the sweet, comes the sour?” Well, that’s the case with online dating.

While it’s totally true that online dating has made it easier to find love, with such technology also comes a new way for shady types to run scams. If you’re considering online dating, it’s important to educate yourself about scams that, unfortunately, have become all too common.

Keep these important tips in mind when using online dating sites:

1. Know what a fake online dating profile looks like. 

Fake online profiles can be an indication of a scam. It’s important to pay attention to all of the information a person posts online.

Fake profiles can include false names, incorrect ages, and stolen photographs. They can also include fake data about past relationships and education.

Fake profiles aren’t always easy to spot on online dating sites. Pay particular attention to inconsistencies. For example, a profile with a weight of 50 pounds doesn’t make sense with a height of six feet. Other clues can appear if you start searching for the data online.

ONLINE DATING HACK: Check the photos first! Use Google’s reverse image search or an app to see if the photos in a profile belong to someone else.

2. Make sure your crush is who they claim to be and not some scammer.

We’ve all heard stories of how a man or woman was swindled out her their life savings by some online asshole. Protect yourself!

  • Watch for basic grammar and spelling mistakes that make a person sound like English isn’t their first language (unless they admit that info upfront, obvs.).
  • An occasional typo shouldn’t scare you, but a profile filled with grammar and spelling mistakes needs to be approached carefully. It may be an indication of a foreign scam because they don’t understand the language well.

ONLINE DATING FYI: One of the most common scams on online dating websites is a person claiming to be from one country but actually living in another one – such as Nigeria, which actually has entire call centers dedicated to scamming people online.

3. Don’t give up your info too easily.

Be careful about sharing personal data. You probably know you shouldn’t give out banking information, but other data is important as well. Avoid mentioning your home address, phone numbers, your mother’s maiden name, and other information. Criminals can use this data in multiple ways.

4. Many sob stories are outrageous lies.

So watch out for sad stories. An online dating website can give people the opportunity to share their stories, but you want to be careful. Remember that narcissists have a tendency to use sob stories to suck in a new “source” of narcissistic supply, too.

HEADS UP! A common scam involves a tragic or sad story that makes you feel sorry for the person. Then, they ask you for help and tend to request large sums of money immediately. The stories differ, but they often involve a sick grandparent or dying uncle. This scam plays on your compassion to make you give money out of pity.

5. Don’t leave the dating website until you’ve done your due diligence.

Don’t let them demand that you communicate in any other way. If they have bad intentions, this will allow more direct access to you without the protection of anonymity. Once they get you off the site and get access to your private contact information, they could begin to pump you for information that they can use to hurt you or steal from you.

SCAM ALERT: Another scam involves you emailing or calling the person you meet online. Be careful about moving communication away from the original dating website.

  • Scammers will often ask you to provide personal email addresses and phone numbers. They may also ask you to video chat or send instant messages.
  • Another scam involves pushy requests to meet you in person.
  • It takes time to get to know a person online and ensure the interactions are real.
  • Avoid jumping too quickly into personal communication away from the website.
  • For your own safety, it’s important not to give in to pressure to make the relationship serious before you’re ready.

Dating After Recovery From Narcissistic Abuse?

Are you ready to date after going through narcissistic abuse recovery? After being in a toxic relationship with someone who has narcissistic personality disorder or narcissistic traits, you may be feeling a whole, confusing spectrum of emotions. You might be struggling with fear of running into another narcissist, or fear of being rejected. You might feel old, or out of practice. You might even feel excited and ready – and everything in between.

But as long as you feel pretty comfortable in your codependency recovery, it might just be a good time to get back out there and start dating again Still, dating post-narcissist is a little more complicated in certain ways.

Why Dating Again After Narcissistic Abuse is Hard

In this video, I’ll explain exactly how and why dating after narcissistic abuse can be difficult at times.

More Dating After Divorce Resources for You:

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Bottom Line: Have Fun, Be Smart and Find Your Soulmate (or your Hookup – I’m not judging you!) Online dating can be a fun adventure, but it’s important to have realistic expectations. Be cautious. Predators also use online dating. Like your mother told you – be safe out there.

Post-Recovery Dating Strategy: 7 Surefire ‘Get Setup’ Strategies for Singles

Post-Recovery Dating Strategy: 7 Surefire ‘Get Setup’ Strategies for Singles

“If you kiss on the first date and it’s not right, then there will be no second date. Sometimes it’s better to hold out and not kiss for a long time. I am a strong believer in kissing being very intimate, and the minute you kiss, the floodgates open for everything else.” ~Jennifer Lopez

So, you’ve recovered from narcissistic abuse and now you’re looking for love. Maybe you’re just looking for something fun for now – or, you’ve been single long enough and you want something more…permanent?

In any case, if you’re not dating online, there are lots of ways to go about finding new people to date – for example, maybe you’re meeting plenty of potential dates in clubs, stores, bars, church – aka “in-person” meetings.

But if not, maybe you’re looking for love elsewhere – at work, in the neighborhood?  Or maybe, you’re finally ready to get set up by a friend or a family member.

Should you let your friends or family members ‘fix you up’ with a date?

Even though we’re deluged with dating ads from companies like PlentyOfFish, Harmony, and Match.com, there are advantages to meeting people through family and friends.

Looking for Love? This one’s for you.

Like I said, online dating sites exist and they do work. They are capable of helping you find thousands of people you would be unlikely to come across in your daily life – I happen to know a lot of married couples who’ve met that way, and there’s not one thing wrong with it. You just have to be careful, and I mean REALLY careful.

Interesting fact: 1/3 of recently married couples met online.  My only other advice on that one is don’t spend too much money on it (but then you know me, I’m a cheap-skate!).  But if you’re looking for something a little more traditional, you might want to consider getting set up by your friends or family members – or maybe even a co-worker.

After all, the people closest to you might have some pretty valuable insight into who would be a compatible partner for you. Here are seven strategies to get your friends to set you up on a successful date (that really works!).

Get the Hookup: 7 Surefire Strategies to Get Your Friends to Set You Up on a Successful Date

Advertise your availability.

Taking out a billboard would be extreme, but it’s okay to let your loved ones know you want to meet new suitors. That way, they can be on the lookout for you.

Let go of expectations.

We’re often unclear about how to build a lasting relationship. Relax and enjoy each other’s company on a date. If you’re compatible, the chemistry may emerge gradually.

Talk face to face.

Getting together for a cup of coffee beats texting when it comes to forming a more accurate impression of someone. Focus on real-world interactions.

Be nice.

Etiquette matters. It’s even more important when you have mutual friends. Smile, make eye contact and speak kindly.

Decide on a second date.

The only thing you need to figure out on most first dates is whether you would like to see each other at least one more time. If you find someone appealing, let them know.

Hire a professional.

Get a dating coach who can help you avoid toxic partners. You may also want to try working with a paid matchmaking service. Browse for options online or in your neighborhood. Study contracts carefully before signing.

A happy relationship is worth searching for if that’s what you want. And who better than your friends to help you find the right person. Even if a date does not work out, let your friends know you’re grateful for the connection anyway and that you’re still looking so they’ll keep sharing their contacts. Read about relationships and communication skills so you’ll be ready for love wherever you encounter it.

If You’re Dating After the Narcissist 

If you’ve healed after a relationship with someone who has narcissistic personality disorder and you feel pretty comfortable in your codependency recovery, this video is for you.

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