It’s getting very blurry these days to determine whether you’re actually dating someone, or just hanging out as friends.
A 25-year old college student told me that she’s never been more confused about dating in her life.
After chatting and texting with a guy she met online for several weeks, he sent her a text to say, “Hey, let’s hang out tonight.”
So, what does hanging out mean?
Hanging out could be several things.
1. He might have a party to go with and they’d be hanging out with a group of friends.
2. It’s his way of saying I’d like to have a date with you tonight.
3. He’d like to hook up for a casual fling.
4. He’s testing the waters, so keeping it cool to see if he likes you or not.
Whatever the intention means when someone says, let’s hang out, one thing is for sure, singles are confused about their relationship status with members of the opposite sex. Whether they’ve met while cyberdating or out-and-about, dating in groups has added to the confusion for many singles.
When I digged a bit more into her “relationship” with her texting beau, I found out he her took her out to dinner. He paid for dinner. He gave her a short kiss after dinner. He went back to texting with her for several weeks and then asked her to hang out again.
The Digital Dating Process
The digital dating process does include flirting via text to stay in touch, emails back-and-forth, and putting actual dates on the calendar.
The rise in popularity of group dating, where singles who like each other hang out in a group and go to an event together, makes most women unsure of where they stand in the relationship, or if they’re even in a relationship at all.
My response to her was, “Yes, you did go on a date.” She wasn’t sure if he was just being chivalrous and kind by paying for her dinner, but they didn’t go “Dutch” treat and he did ask her out again.
Is he her boyfriend? No. Just because he sends texts daily, doesn’t mean you’re status has been elevated to boyfriend or girlfriend. Chances are he’s playing the field, having fun, and doesn’t really want a steady girlfriend. More than likely, it’s a flirtationship, which is a common place in between friends and being in a relationship. He has an active online dating profile and she has an active online dating profile.
If a man really wants to make you his girlfriend, he’ll let you know. He won’t want anyone to claim you as his and will make his intentions known.
Are you confused about your relationship status?
Julie Spira is an online dating expert and founder of CyberDatingExpert.com. She creates irresistible profiles for singles on the dating scene. For more dating advice, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and sign up for the Weekly Flirt newsletter.
Need help with your dating life? Find out how our Irresistible Coaching programs can help you date better and find love online.
On an added note, there will be a full moon on Valentine’s this year, so if you’re thinking about leaning in for that first kiss, don’t be shy. A full moon can bring out the romance just about any time of the year.
We’ve been busy at Cyber-Dating Expert Headquarters helping singles find love online with our Irresistible Profiles and being interviewed in the media for the latest digital dating trends for 2014.
With out further digital ado, here are some of our articles to bring the love back in your life.
From riding the Ferris Wheel to a scavenger hunt, find out why in-room-dining at home can be one of the most romantic ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day, regardless of your relationship status.
Being single on Valentine’s isn’t the end of the world. Sure you go into stores and see nothing but boxes of red candy and roses throughout the grocery stores, but a new survey from U.K. online dating site Smooch.com shows that only 10% of the 2000 singles polled actually love Valentine’s Day. Are the other 90% pretending to go along with the program?
Researching dates can prevent a romance scam this Valentine’s Day. Nothing is more important than being safe and knowing who your date really is to protect your heart and your wallet. Read my seven tips on how to be safe this Valentine’s Day and find out who’s doing the searching.
From Twitter to Facebook, Pinterest to Instagram, find out what to post, or not to post on your favorite social networks.
DON’T: Tag your new boyfriend on Facebook. Chances are he hasn’t told his buddies and work pals about his Valentine’s plans.
DO: Post a photo if you’ve received flowers, a fun gift, or of the dessert at dinner. Everyone loves to view the photos and will cheer you on with “likes.”
DON’T: Post your Happy Valentine’s message on your date’s wall. Saying you can’t wait until the evening together should remain private. Remember, a simple post may be innocent. However your friends might wonder what kind of wild night the two of you will be having. Or worse yet, his ex-girlfriend might start posting inappropriate comments to ruin your evening.
DO: Send a digital gift, such as his or her favorite band on iTunes, an e-card, or a redeemable gift card to a store or restaurant.
DON’T: Send a musical montage of “I Love You” songs if you haven’t said those three little words yet.
DO: Ask for permission before you post anything online. Remember you’re creating a permanent digital footprint and your status and photos can be shared, even by people you don’t know.
DON’T: Overshare. Remember, many of your friends are single and may not be enjoying the day.
DO: Make an exciting announcement. If you become engaged on Valentine’s Day, your friends will want to know.
DON’T: Change your Facebook relationship status to “In a Relationship” until both of you have had the talk and agree to be on the same digital page.
Do you have any social media rules for Valentine’s Day?
Wishing you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may roam this Valentine’s.
Dear Cyber-Dating Expert,
I’ve been dating my boyfriend for about two months. We met online and decided to become exclusive. I took your advice and we both took down our online dating profiles at the same time.
Everything seems to be going well so far, except for one thing. I’ve changed my status on Facebook to “In a Relationship” and he refuses to do so. He tells me he loves me and I know he’s not looking for someone else, but it makes me uncomfortable.
Why won’t he change his facebook status if he’s proud and excited about our relationship? Should I worry about us, or does it really matter?
In today’s busy connected world, becoming “Facebook official” means a lot to some people, but not to everyone. If your boyfriend is connected on Facebook with his boss, clients, or other work associates, it’s likely he doesn’t want to mix business with pleasure. There may not be reason to be alarmed.
More often than not, women change their relationship status on Facebook before men do, or if they even the do it at all. Considering he’s your boyfriend and not your fiance or spouse, changing his status shouldn’t really matter. If he has no status at all and isn’t listed as “Single” I wouldn’t be focusing on this one aspect of your relationship.
Everyone’s feelings about social media and digital dating vary. Women tend to post more lovey-lovey couple photos on Facebook than men do. It’s how women tick.
Enjoy the beginning of your new committed relationship and if it continues to bother you, change your status late at night from “In a Relationship” to no relationship. When the timing is right, perhaps you’ll have a digital celebration together.
Wishing you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may roam.
It happens to the best of us. You go home for Thanksgiving to see friends and family, only to be questioned about your relationship status. From “Are you seeing anyone special?” to “How’s your love life?” These are common questions that cause many singles to pull the covers over their heads. Others are being smart about it. They’re logging on for love to find someone to keep them warm during the holidays, or perhaps even attend a holiday party with.
Still, I know how tough it is at the holidays being single. I’ve been there. I’ve watched the posts from others on Facebook who are shared their coupledom with everyone, from kissing under the mistletoe to the eight gifts on Hanukkah, which just magnifies how tough it is being single at the holidays.
Here’s a survival guide to help you through the holidays, online and IRL.
Anxiety over your relationship status during the holidays is common. Add a digital element to it of being connected via email, Facebook, or Twitter and it’s magnified big time. Online Dating Anxiety Disorder (ODAD) is overwhelming. While it isn’t a clinical condition, most singles are now members of more than one dating site. Those who suffer from ODAD know that horrible feeling they get when they push the send button too fast to reply to his or her email and then wait by their computer or mobile phone for the reply to come in. When you have ODAD, you’re a member of so many sites, you can’t remember where you met the date you’re about to have dinner with. Text messages become a part of your dating regime and if the time in between the texts is over four hours, you start to feel anxious and catastrophize.
It can be confusing to hear someone say, “It’s Doug from PlentyOfFish, um, no I mean Match; actually, it was eHarmony right?” This is not how you viewed your first conversation with your soul mate would be, right?
When you suffer from online dating anxiety disorder, you typically log on after a great date to see who else has written to you instead of going to sleep with a smile on your face from a fabulous date. It’s a condition that many suffer from and don’t know how to get out of the downward spiral, other than to unplug and deactivate for a day or two.
If you’ve recently ended a relationship with someone you’ve met online, it’s more likely than not that you’ll be taking a peek at his or her profile to see their online activity. It’s natural to be curious, but it’s a habit that I urge you to break.
It’s also breakup season
Since the famous Facebook breakup chart was released a few years ago, the trend of breaking up during holiday season became a known fact. Digital snooping is also on the rise, especially during the holidays. It brings out the worst in us. At Plenty of Fish, they surveyed over 9000 of their users between the ages of 20 -40 to find out what their holiday dating habits were. POF found that 82% of the women were actually checking the Facebook statuses of guys they were dating to see what they were doing when they weren’t around. Their survey also found that 26% of singles slept with an ex over the holidays, because they just didn’t want to be alone and single.
A few years ago, I wrote a post called, Recycling an Ex at the Holidays about my own personal experience of being invited to my former Match.com boyfriend’s holiday party after having had no contact for six months. While I did attend his company party with him, I made sure there were ground rules put in place; specifically, that we weren’t getting back together and were going as friends.
While recycling an ex over the holidays is common, the feelings after the holiday parties have worn off will leave you in a worse place emotionally than if you put your energies into spending time with friends or trying to cultivate a new relationship.
It’s Peak Season for Online Daters
The good news is that more singles are signing up for dating sites between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. Match reports they see a jump of about 25-30% in new members signing up between Christmas and Valentine’s Day and at Cyber-Dating Expert, it’s the busiest holiday season ever with new singles joining online dating sites and brand new dating profiles being created.
It’s peak season in the Internet dating business, which typically coincides with holiday breakup season. It’s the perfect time to start filling your date card, but how do you coordinate holiday dating without feeling overwhelmed and a bit anxious? My biggest recommendation is to look at online dating and flirting on Facebook as ways to expand your social circle. Think of it as meeting new friends at the holidays and enjoying the company of someone you like, not necessarily someone you’re about to fall in love with.
Online Love is a year-round event
People meet online and fall in love all year long. I know a couple that met online on Christmas Eve on Facebook who are now engaged. I know of another couple that met online on eHarmony on Valentine’s Day who are now happily married. Just yesterday I learned of a couple fell in love at first sight that met on Match. She hadn’t had a serious relationship in over 10 years and now they’re smitten. Yes online dating is a numbers game. You’ll be juggling dates, canceling dates, rescheduling dates, it’s exhausting, but it can be so very rewarding as it has been for millions of others.
Stop Stalking Your Ex
I’m here to tell you that being single on the holidays is fine. We get over it. Stalking an ex online or on Facebook isn’t fine. You’ll feel anxious if you see him or her logging on looking for your replacement. You’ll feel anxious if you don’t see him or her logging on assuming you’ve been replaced. Your heart will fall to the floor when they delete their profile, assuming they’ve ridden off into the sunset with someone else. You’ll be burning up the phone lines if you see a Facebook relationship status change or a photo posted with someone else.
You really don’t know what’s going on in your ex’s mind and it doesn’t matter. All you can control is how you feel about it and what you’d like to do to add more positive people in your life. He or she is an ex for a reason, so please knock them off their pedestal.
Fall in love with you
At the holidays, please take a deep breath; log on to fill your date card if and when it feels good to you, not because you’re feeling lonely. If you need to take a break from dating, that’s fine. There are no rules, other than to fall in love with yourself first. It’s the best place to be to start any new relationship.
Wishing you much love and joy in cyberspace this holiday season, or wherever you may roam.
Julie Spira is an online dating expert and was a very early adopter of Internet dating. She’s the CEO of CyberDatingExpert.com, author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online, and creates Irresistible Profiles for singles on the dating scene. For online dating advice follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and sign up for the free Weekly Flirt newsletter.
When our friends at YourTango asked me to chime in on the latest Brigham Young University survey, which shows that texting can harm romantic relationships, it was an honor to share the reasons that texting can both enhance your love life, as well as send you to the digital doghouse in a New York minute.
It’s true that I’ve never seen an argument via text have a happy ending. When the anger brews and escalates, usually a long-winded text message won’t resolve relationship conflicts. This reactionary behavior puts you in a digital war-zone. When you send text messages back and forth, you don’t hear the sound of someone’s voice. Therefore, you can’t know how upset they really are.
Here are 5 Text Messages that you should think about, before pushing the send button.
“We need to talk.” Men dread hearing those four words. Don’t be surprised if your guy or significant other disappears for a few days. Don’t start a conversation with this one-liner, as your relationship might go south fast. You’ll either receive a negative response, or none at all.
“I’m sorry.” Should you apologize over text? When someone says ‘I’m sorry’ over a text message, the recipient isn’t really sure how sorry they are. It can be taken as a way to end the uncomfortable text exchange, but how sincere is the apology? You really aren’t sure and they aren’t as valued as an in-person or on-the-phone apology where it can be a two-way dialog.
“It’s over.” Who breaks up in a text message? Apparently many do so. If you’re not feeling it for him or her anymore, don’t disappear and don’t send a text. who wants to go on record as the one who dumped their significant other in a text message? Pick up the phone if you think there’s trouble in paradise. Chances are you’ll be able to salvage your relationship.
Texts To Definitely Send
The Brigham Young University research team found that affectionate loving texts can result in a happier message. I tend to agree.
“Thinking of you … have a great day!” Who wouldn’t want to wake up to this good morning text? It starts both of your days off right: with love.
“Can’t wait to see you tonight. XO.” Receiving a text like this lets your sweetheart know that he or she is loved. It’s also great digital foreplay on date night to get both of you in the mood.
Remember, once you push the send button, you can’t take it back. You’re creating a permanent digital footprint and your temporary moment of digital insantiy might be shared with his or her friends to confirm that you are indeed crazy. If you must vent, send yourself an email describing exactly how angry you’re feeling, but do not, I repeat, do not send it. Try sleeping on it and revisiting it in the morning.
Relationships can be complicated and sometimes we catastrophize about our love lives. If your boyfriend or girlfriend misses calling you one night, he or she may have just fallen asleep on the sofa…..alone, and not in the arms of another.
Have you ever sent a text that you’ve regretted?
Julie Spira is an online dating expert and founder of Cyber Dating Expert. Julie was an early adopter of the Internet and writes about the marriage of love and technology. She’s the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating. Follow @JulieSpira for dating advice and sign up for our free Weekly Flirt and find out how our Irresistible Profiles will help you find your dream date.
I know this seems like a lot of pressure, but to simplify the Internet dating process, we’ve come up with several expert tips on how to ace your cyberdating exam.
Coordinating a first date to make that great impression makes singles nervous. One person may love coffee, where another would rather go hiking. Trying to find a common balance for your first meet-and-greet, especially when geography gets in the way, means a single dater must go with the flow to fill up their date card.
This means you must be easy-going, have several options on where to meet, and not appear too high-maintenance.
Here are two examples of how one date progressed nicely and another went south, fast.
Dater #1. When *Randy decided to make the dinner plans before the theatre date, he came up with a well-executed strategy. It was his homework assignment to select the restaurant and figure out how to coordinate the details. Sure it would have been easy to tell him to park once and just dine at the restaurant in the theatre, but he came up with a more complicated plan and told his date the following:
Unfortunately the restaurant doesn’t have a shuttle to the theatre, but I’ve thought of a plan to minimize the parking issue and maximize our time at dinner.
Try this on…
You drive into downtown and park at the theatre (or wherever you like near there) for about 5:30 PM and call me when you arrive to say where you are. I’ll drive over to pick you up and bring you to my building to park my car; and then we walk just a few blocks to the restaurant. After dinner, we take a taxi to get to the theatre, unfettered with driving and parking while others are arriving, and just walk in. After the event, you take your car out, and drive us a few blocks back to my building; I’ll hop out at the front door on the street safe and sound :-) and you continue straight toward to the highway to get home – real simple. Does this work?
What do you think?
It sounds like an exhausting plan, right? There was nothing simple about it. However, he took great pride in coordinating timing and location and just wanted acknowledgement that his idea would be well-accepted.
The lesson here is the best solution isn’t always the smartest solution when it comes to dating. Sure some women think that they’re smarter and can drive the dating train, but a man wants to be the woman’s hero. He wants to know that she approves of his plans. His efforts to coordinate their dinner date were well thought out. Telling him to change them, especially early on in the dating stage, could possibly backfire. She responded with, “Great plan. I love it! I’ll see you around 5:30pm.”
Dater #3. When *Kathy invited her online date to an outdoor concert, she had tickets for the summertime music festival where they would be picnicking. Her date offered to pick up some wine and food items and they agreed to drive together to the concert. That was, until she called him up and asked him what he would be wearing. When he replied that he would be dressed casually in a Hawaiian shirt, shorts, and sandals, she got furious with him. She told him he wasn’t dressing appropriately for a date and that she hated Hawaiian shirts and shorts. Stunned, because this was a casual outdoor concert in the summer, he thought he’d be dressed perfectly for the occasion. She abruptly canceled the date because he didn’t conform to her perceived dress code and she went alone to the concert. Did he ever call her again? Not in a million years.
At the end of the digital day, when someone plays hard-to-get in the online dating game, the only word the potential date will remember is that you were “hard” to deal with. Don’t make dating difficult. Enjoy the process and go with the flow.
Julie Spira is an Online Dating Expert and was an early adopter of Internet dating. She’s been helping singles on the dating scene with her Irresistible Online Dating Profiles for 20 years and is the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. For more dating advice, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and sign up for the free Weekly Flirt newsletter.
In this Episode of the Online Dating Expert BootCamp, Julie Spira critiques Lauren’s emails that she’s sending to potential daters.
Much to her surprise, Lauren’s emails were filled with grammar problems and she started her emails with the word, “Hey.” Julie reminded Lauren that horses hang out in hay, not a marriage-minded single woman from Beverly Hills.
Remember to always use spell check and grammar check on all of your online dating emails and respond in a timely fashion to attract your dream date.
I met my boyfriend on Plenty of Fish and we’ve been dating for about six months. We took your advice and both took our profiles down together as a bit of a ceremony and celebration after two months of dating and have even been talking about the future.
Last week, my friend saw a new POF profile that he posted with a different name, as he viewed hers while he was searching.
My heart is broken. I confronted him on it and he said it was an old profile, one he had before he met me, but deep down I think he always had two profiles up and that I’ve been played.
I’m not sure if I can trust him or not or if I’m overreacting. Please help.
Disappointed in Baton Rouge
I can feel your pain and what you’re going through is not uncommon. As a matter of fact, I hear this all the time.
Often when a man gets too close to a woman, especially around the 6-month mark, he starts to panic. Men are very basic. The thought of never sleeping with another woman again feels like death to him. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you, or that you aren’t the best thing that’s ever happened to him in the whole wide world.
The Internet makes it so easy for people to take a peek to see who else is out there, especially if he’s thinking about a more permanent relationship with you. In the bestselling book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus , author John Gray talks about the rubber-band man. The guy who gets really close to you and then has to retreat and disappear when he needs time for the tension in the rubber band to build up again. Sometimes he goes into his cave and doesn’t want to be with you. Other times, he pulls back because he isn’t sure of his feelings about love and commitment. Either way, don’t chase after him and ask what’s wrong.
Before you think he’s breaking your heart, give it a little time. A pull back and new Internet dating profile are both something to be concerned with, but don’t overreact just yet. Accusing him of messing around on you isn’t the answer. If he wants to be with you, let him know you’d appreciate him taking down the second profile, but don’t insist on it. It’s up to him to decide if he wants to continue fishing and run the risk of losing a lifetime of love with you.
Now is not the time to get even and put up your profile and start dating until you’ve resolved this issue together. If he truly wants to date others, wish him well and do so as well.
There are over 1500 dating sites on the Internet, so if you decide it’s time to move on find a different site to hang your digital hat so you don’t find yourself staring at his profile and obsessing whether he’s found someone else or not.
Looking at other women online is very hurtful, I know. It’s emotional cheating, even if he isn’t setting up other dates. But it also gives him the time to look at some photos and decide if you’re the one he wants to move forward with. Think of it as if he’s looking at photos in a magazine. I know it’s worse, but remember, your friend saw his profile online, she didn’t catch him in bed with another woman.
Please keep us posted.
Wishing you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may roam.
Do you have a dating question for Cyber Dating Expert Julie Spira?
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After my divorce three years ago, one of my single friends suggested I try online dating. I wasn’t sure if it was for me, but now my ego is invested and I’m going on at least five dates a week. When the dates are over, I log back on to see who else I can meet.
While I’m excited to meet so many different people, I never can get to the point of wanting to be with just one guy. I’m not sleeping with anyone, but my friends think I’ve got commitment issues and the thought of taking down my profile makes me anxious.
Then when I see a guy I’ve dated has met someone else and moved on, I feel bad.
Is this normal?
Online Dating Addict
Joining an online dating site after a divorce is a great way to rebuild your self-esteem. Sure the ego is being stroked with so many men writing to you and watching your inbox fill up with male suitors. There’s no magic timetable of how long you should play the digital field, but at some point, being a permanent member of an online dating site can be demoralizing.
Decide exactly what you’re looking for and make sure you’re upfront about it both on your profile and during your dates. Let men know that you’re newly single and will be casually dating multiple guys for a while. At some point, you need to decide if you really want to be in a relationship or not. Becoming one who needs to log on for hours a day every day without ever finding a relationship doesn’t mean you’re an online dating addict. It just means you’re enjoying meeting many different types of people online that you wouldn’t have had the chance to meet offline.
If it’s truly your goal to find one special person to share your life with, when you find chemistry and mutual interests with someone, you need to give the guy the chance to be your one and only to see what it’s like to be in a relationship. Yes, that means taking down your profile. If it doesn’t work out, then just reactivate your profile and keep searching.
When you’re ready to go steady, you’ll know it. Until then, enjoy meeting a variety of people. I always say there are 64 colors in the Crayola crayon box. I feel the same way about online dating. It’s not an addiction unless you feel it’s a problem. Don’t let your friends comments influence how you feel about dating after a divorce.
Wishing you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may roam.
Do you have a question for Cyber-Dating Expert Julie Spira? Send your questions here and read other Ask the Cyber-Dating Expert columns for online dating advice.
Julie Spira is a top online dating expert and author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating. She was an early adopter of online dating and creates irresistible profiles for singles on the dating scene. For more dating advice, sign up for the free Weekly Flirt.