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Don't be scared of online dating

Last updated 14:01 14/01/2014

SCARED OF ONLINE DATING?: Sorry, this picture probably won't help, but this article might.

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Psychotherapist Dr. Barton Goldsmith talks us through the benefits of online dating ... 

January is the biggest month of the year for new health club and gym memberships. The beginning of the year is also the busiest time for dating Web sites, as many people are inspired to go online to find the love of their lives.

If you want to be in a relationship but are wary of going online, you should know that online dating has worked for many people.

I recommend that you at least look into it rather than wait for someone to come knocking on your door. If you want love, you have to get out there and let people know you are available.

Numerous clients of mine have at one point or another sat on the couch with tears in their eyes because they wanted to find a partner but didn't know how. Most of them were reluctant to go online.

Once they did, however, each and every one of them found someone. Some of these couples have gone on to get married, and most all are still together. So I have seen online dating work firsthand for a lot of folks, including myself.

If you do decide to go online, creating a good profile is paramount to making the service work for you. First you must have a good headshot. Don't hide behind a hat or sunglasses, because it will put some people off. Also don't use a glamour shot, because people can tell you've been made up (even with those tiny pics).

Be natural and tell the truth when you write about yourself. If you don't, you are setting yourself, and your potential date, up for disappointment.

Getting together with a good friend and reading some other profiles to find different ways people describe themselves should inspire you to be able to write about yourself in a positive manner. Articulate what you want and what you don't want in a relationship.

If you are outdoorsy, list a few things you like to do. If you are more of a homebody, let the reader know how much you love your lifestyle. If travel is your thing, say so, and you may find a companion who wants to see the world with you.

There are so many people online these days, you may find this process a lot easier than you'd think.

Remember not to be overly concerned about looks. Very few of us resemble movie stars. A kind and loving person with whom you share similar interests and values is far more desirable than a pretty face or hard body.

Internet dating can create anxiety for some people. And there is nothing wrong with trying to meet someone the old-fashioned way. It just takes a lot longer usually. If going online is uncomfortable for you, then perhaps you could be introduced to someone through a friend or meet someone by getting out in your community. There still are singles dances and get-togethers. Just check your local paper.

But you can also take advantage of the opportunities our modern high-tech world has given us. I encourage you to try it out and see.

- Have you ever tried online dating? How'd it go? 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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