I met my boyfriend on Plenty of Fish in 2012 and we've been together for 4 years. The dating platforms have changed immensely within the last 4 years, but the dating game has not. You've got a network of millions of people to choose from, and with all these choices you ask yourself...
How do I pick just one?
When I first got into online dating I knew two things:
1. I wanted a serious relationship
2. I didn't want to end up with the wrong person.
In order to find the right guy, I knew I had to create a game plan to get there.
The worst thing a person can do is tell them to not limit themselves and date every person possible. But that's what your casual dating days were for, and looking for a serious long-term partner requires a filter. When you set a goal for yourself, you begin to create a criteria of what you've learned from your past, so that you can find the best person for you in the future.
People don't know what they want. Instead of focusing on what you want, focus on what didn't work in the past.
So here are some questions to ask, no matter what dating platform you're on:
What TV shows are a deal breaker?
Sure, it's sounds shallow. But when you're watching your ultimate go-to TV show and your future significant other happens to hate it, don't you think you'll get a little offended? I certainly didn't want to spend the rest of my life with someone who doesn't enjoy Seinfeld. So during my first conversation with a potential date, I got to know him and asked him about his favorite TV shows and shows he disliked. I plan on watching Seinfeld randomly on weekends for the rest of my life and if my future boyfriend can't enjoy it with me, we're going to have a bad time together.
What bands/music artists are a deal breaker?
Music is so important. We share music with our friends all day long, and we should be able to do the same with our significant other. I'm a huge Hall and Oates fan. It was so important to me, that I made my screen name, HallandOatesFTW. Most didn't catch on to the significance of my screen name but it served as a great filter for men I didn't want to talk to.
What are your career goals?
Some of us want to move around the world for our careers, and some of us want to settle down in one place. Your career path is something you crafted even before you found your significant other. Knowing their career plan gives you a better understanding of whether or not you want to share it with them. I travel often and occasionally at weeks for a time. Not everyone is okay with that, and I made it very clear so that I made sure not to waste either of our times trying to make something work, if it wasn't a good fit.
Are pets an issue?
We love our pets, they are our homies. When someone can't stand the idea of your slobbery yet lovable dog or hairy feline, you might be stepping in muddy waters. Not to shame those who don't want pets because if you like things a certain way, it's not easy to change your ways. It's a lifestyle choice for both parties, and if neither will compromise, pets will be the least of your problem in the future.
Do you want kids?
I wanted a serious relationship, so this was very important to me. Now if you're still in college, you might not know the answer yet. But as you get later into your 20s, you should know. If you're at a point where you've somewhat established what type of career you want, you've also thought about how kids fit into the picture. More often that none, people don't change their minds about having kids later so ask now. People spend years together in their relationships trying to change their partner's answer, only to be disappointed. You can't change people.
Not every relationship is meant to last forever, but you can at least make sure that when you invest your time into someone, it's worth it. Don't sell yourself short for someone who doesn't want the same things you do. You deserve it, no matter where you find it.