It's safe to say that emotions are flying high during the holidays for singles, new couples not sure how to define themselves, those who have had a recent breakup and those who are tired of hearing from their relatives about their relationship status.
The holiday period from Thanksgiving to New Year's brings up a lot of emotions. In the words of Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks from the song Dreams, it's natural to think of memories of what you had and what you lost. The band also sings about how "You make loving fun," so don't turn down the volume just yet. Listening to music this time of year can give you both strength and send you down memory lane.
One thing I know for sure, is my phone is ringing with singles wanting to connect and meet someone new to share the holidays with, so there are plenty of singles looking for love online now.
Still, I know how tough it is at the holidays being single. I've been there. I've been watching the abundance of posts on Facebook of couples who are changing their relationship status to "In a Relationship." If your status isn't that in that category, it can be a digital stab to your heart.
I'm here to tell you that this is actually the best time of year to meet someone wonderful to date. Filling your date card with quality people is quite possible, so take away that frown and look at my tips in our holiday survival guide.
The Cyber-Dating Expert Survival Guide to Help you Through the Holidays, Online and IRL.
1. Don't rely on Social Media to go down memory lane
Sure I know it's natural to take a peek to see what your ex is up to, but if they're jetting off to Paris, heading for sunshine in Hawaii and kissing under the mistletoe, you're hurting yourself big time. Instead, try to create your own new memories. Walk down a festively decorated street and snap a few photos of trees, store windows, and cheerful pictures and post them on your Facebook wall. So what if you're alone or with your BFF. You're out of the house and not living in the past. Digital snooping is also on the rise, especially during the holidays. It brings out the worst in many. At PlentyofFish, 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. Wouldn't you be better off out and about, than attached to your phone feeling anxious?
2. Fill that date card and stay organized
Anxiety can be at an all time high, but joining a few dating sites and using mobile dating apps will be a great ego boost. It will also give you the chance to meet a lot of people. However, don't embarrass yourself by calling Don, Doug or introduce yourself as Jackie from PlentyOfFish if you met him on eHarmony. The easiest way to do this is by creating an excel spreadsheet and logging your conversations. You would do this for a job, right? Well this is a job with a possibility of a lifetime of love. It's worth the effort.
3. Block your ex's profile
If you've recently ended a relationship with someone you met online and it wasn't on good terms, chances are you've both rejoined the site to meet others. Make sure you block his or her profile so they don't appear in a search and to avoid the obsessiveness that results when you check to see when they last logged on or if they've deactivated their profile. Don't assume if their profile is gone that they've ridden off into the sunset with someone else. Sometimes people just take a break or they may have blocked you.
4. Don't jump into a rebound relationship
They say the easiest way to get over someone is by replacing them in a New York minute with someone new, but is it right? Sure the initial infatuation stage is a lot of fun and it's nice to have a warm body around, but finding someone new when you aren't ready to date isn't always the answer. Spend time with friends, hang out with an ex that you're still on good terms with and can be yourself with, and spend time alone reading, writing, or taking a cooking class or French lesson.
5. Discuss holiday gift giving
Before you run off to Tiffany to get him sterling silver cufflinks engraved with his initials after three weeks of dating, ask yourself how overwhelming it would feel if he showed up with an engagement ring one month in. It could be over the top, right? Come up with a reasonable budget. Perhaps you can get him a cashmere scarf or sweater, tickets to a concert or sporting event, and make home made cookies. You could get her a gift certificate to a spa, gourmet chocolates, a fun accessory for her mobile phone, tickets to a show or a museum exhibition, or a piece of costume jewelry in her favorite color. Avoid giving her just lingerie, unless it's something she picks out for herself.
6. 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.
7. Accept ALL holiday invitations
If your inbox is filled with invitations for holiday mixers, fill your calendar and put on your party dress. Remember to smile at everyone. Business networking events are in abundance now, so you won't have to feel that you're the only single person there. Walk in with confidence and you'll be turning heads and filling your date card.
8. 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. One 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 married. 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.
9. 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.