January 2nd is the busiest day of the year for new sign-ups to online dating sites. This, according to Match.com and widely corroborated by other sites, was an interesting fun fact we stumbled on while researching dating in 2015. It makes sense, really; “New Year, New You” seems to be the current catchphrase behind all our annual well-intentioned life changes we pledge to around this time of year, so it’s only natural for a lot of singles to desire one of those changes be to effectively mix, mingle, and match with a new love for the New Year.
We haven’t written specifically about dating for Officer.com since May 2009 and, despite the timeless insight and masterful word craft of those articles from over five and half years ago, we thought it about time to expand upon them and look at dating in 2015. Since then a lot of new officers have joined our ranks, many still young and single and primed to meet, date, and spend a few years with their future first wife or husband!
Sorry!! Sorry, that was awfully cynical. We’re sure the newest crew are smarter and more cautious than so many who have gone before, more experienced at a younger age and better able to negotiate the gender differences and stresses that test relationships, and well-grounded emotionally to avoid the myopia that leads to ill-advised and/or mismanaged marriages. But, for those who might not be…
And if you’re a little older and long into the dating game, or brand new to it after a long-term relationship has ended, and need to update your analog skills for the digital age. Well, we can help.
First, in the interest of Full Disclosure: We met nearly 25 years ago, back when virtually everyone had to actually initiate a face-to-face conversation as a prequel to dating. That’s probably how most new relationships still start today regardless of the age or generation of the couple, whether they were looking for a relationship or stumbled into it, or how that first meeting happened. For those, the timeless rules of dating apply, including our previous advice on the matter. As a practical matter, neither of us has any direct personal experience with digital dating. We met and fell for each other the old-fashioned way, accidently. That said, we’ve researched, written about, and come to understand social media quite well in the context of its user’s behavior, and online dating is really just another social media platform. We each know a fair number of people who are or have been users of the various dating websites, personally and professionally, and have learned a lot from their experiences. And in our work we have each gotten to know those whose online experiences have been, shall we say, occasionally horrifying. Everything else is just essential human psychology.
Below, we’ve provided five tips and considerations for navigating digital dating for cops.
Goal of dating
As you start on your journey of finding the right person for you, determine what goal you are trying to accomplish. Are you trying to find your “right now person” or the “forever person”? It is good to know whether your dating goal is fun and casual/no strings attached or if you want to find your life-long partner. Once you have established this you know how to approach the task. If it’s fun and casual you seek go out and make lots of friends; the pool of people is deep and varied. Frankly, there are sites that are the cyber version of a dive bar at last call, and everyone seems to pretty much know the score going in. But if you are seeking the person you wake up to for the rest of your life, those sites are plentiful and their users focused. Online dating helps you say no quicker to those who are not second date worthy.
Online sites, so many choices!
There is a site for every preference! All anyone has to do is Google what you are looking for, even if it is a one night hook-up or an extramarital affair. Each site and App has their own culture and demographic. According to our research, if you are looking for the marriage-minded try signing up for eHarmony, Plenty of Fish, Christian Mingle, Chemistry, JDate and, if you are over 50, Our Time. Those who are open to relationships ranging from casual to deeper, the nation’s largest is Match.com followed by Zoosk, Black People Meet, and Senior Meet. If you desire the casual hook up with the purpose of going straight to sexual encounter there are Adult Friend Finder, Be Naughty, Ashley Madison, Tinder, or Grindr. There is something for everyone. But the best place to find out which site or App is for you is to ask your friends who have been successful and follow their advice.
Keep current with this year’s trends and make sure you update it for 2015. No longer desirable are the bathroom mirror selfie (preferred self-portrait of “professional” daters everywhere), dude with his shirt off or a young woman (or… grrp… old enough to know better) with that horrible “duck lip/peace sign” pose, each proving that both guys and gals can be total D-Bags. What is desirable is a professional body shot (yes, include the entire body, not just the head) or if short on money get a friend to take it who has a nice camera. Just you in the picture; having anyone else with you to makes the other person have to guess and they will quickly move onto the next profile.
Keep your profile to 300-350 words and be positive yet general. Too specific and the mystery is destroyed. Believe it or not, mentioning you just got out of a long-term relationship tends to make you more attractive, but ex-bashing looks angry and vindictive. Remember, you have about 30 seconds to impress someone so don’t make them work too hard! You do not want to narrow the pool of people who may find you a match. It goes both ways. You want to be interesting to others or them to seek you out. And lastly, check your grammar. Stupid isn’t sexy.
“In today’s world, being online working in Law Enforcement makes me a target”
Maybe and maybe not. At the time this has gone online, there are still protests going on and some citizens demanding police reform. Our world has always been violent and there is always risk. Our advice to you is to be safe while putting yourself out there. Do not let fears and paranoia drive you, for this will lead to isolation, anxiety, depression, and cynicism. Seek out all the beauty a relationship brings, along with the hurt. One of our biggest innate drives is to have satisfying, meaningful, and healthy companionships. In our media driven age, we need to adapt instead of resist, but to do so with prudence.
I want to find that forever person
Decide who your ideal person is who you'd like to date and make a list of their traits. Then make a list of traits people have who make you happy. Throw out the first list, work from the second list to find the person who has the traits to make you happy.
Dating can be a scary process, but without the risk there is no reward. We wish you a lot of success on your dating adventures but mostly we hope you have fun.