Online dating is today's new norm – and an excellent way for expats to meet like-minded people when moving abroad. How can you make online dating work for you?
Meeting a ‘significant other' can be especially hard when you're an expat in a foreign country. You might not speak the same language as the locals, or understand cultural differences or the ‘rules' of dating there – and how do you meet all those other expats?
In the Cartus 2013 Trends on Global Relocation, 29 percent of expats were single. When abroad, while you may meet potential partners through work, college, friends or colleagues, you can be limited to a smaller circle than you had back home. Online dating is a great way to get in touch with people of all nationalities and interests – people that you might otherwise never meet in person, especially if you're new in town and haven't had time to establish yourself in a social circle.
Online dating is now a norm – and it works. Recent surveys have shown that one in five relationships worldwide start online, that a quarter of online daters met their long-term partners through a dating website, and that you're twice as likely to get married if you meet a partner online than offline.
You can use online dating as a means of getting in touch with other like-minded people and meet face-to-face as soon as you come across anyone interesting, or at least exchange emails or texts while a relationship or friendship blossoms.
Getting started online
You need to find a website that's right for you. Having something in common is an important factor when it comes to choosing a partner, so if you're looking for love on a site designed specifically for expats – for example, Expatica dating – you know from the outset that you share a common experience. You can also opt for an online dating site that caters to a specific interest, too, if a hobby or passion plays a big part in your life – for example, sports.
Have a look at each site and who uses it – are they people you can identify with? If you like what you see, register, create your own profile and upload a photo or two. For advice on how to create a great profile, see our tips for creating an online dating profile.
Unlike the dating scene you may have experienced in a bar or at an event, there can be hundreds of online profiles to browse. How can you narrow your choice to find a potential partner that suits you?
- Resist flicking through and dismissing profiles too quickly: consider each one carefully.
- Try not to judge too much by the photo – some people just don't take a good photo, and most people are much more attractive when they're animated than they are in a mug shot.
- Don't rule out someone immediately just because they're not your ‘type'.
- Don't get hung up on small details. Just because you don't share the same favourite film doesn't mean you won't get on – and you won't necessarily click with someone who has an identical list of interests. Try to take a wider view: does the person seem like-minded, intruiging, or have interesting experiences?
- Be circumspect about what people say. When you read ‘I've got a great sense of humour', is it Eddie Izzard, Louis CK or Benny Hill who makes them laugh? Instead, look for the humour in the way they express themselves.
- Don't get despondent if you don't meet someone you connect with early on. Like meeting someone in the real, rather than virtual, world it takes time to meet someone special.
Taking the next step
You can easily start to feel close to someone through emailing or texting but until you meet up, you won't know whether you're really compatible. Don't be scared to take your online relationship to the next level!
For more tips on online dating, see Expatica's expat dating series: