How to Avoid Settling in Online Dating

We get it. You’re tired. You’ve been looking for months or even years. That person you’re looking for just isn’t showing up. Should you drop your standards and settle for something a little less than what you want? NO!!!! We hope the four exclamation points got your attention.

As long as you aren’t looking for something crazy (a unicorn that does not exist), then you should absolutely NEVER settle for less than you want or deserve. While most of you probably would agree with us, this is easier said than done.

Today we want to talk about a few ways that you can prevent settling in your online dating “career.” If you can commit these steps to memory, you can protect yourself from a lot of heartaches and wasted time. There is nothing worse than being multiple months or years into a relationship only to realize that you sold yourself short because you were getting impatient or didn’t have the highest of hopes at the time.

Know Your Worth – Self-Confidence

The “magic” secret to all of this has to do with self-confidence. Forgive us for sounding like a therapist or getting a little preachy, but it’s necessary. The more you love yourself, the less you’re going to be tempted to settle. The more you are conscious about your own worth, the less you’re going to let yourself slide and go with someone who isn’t up to par with what you’re looking for or what you deserve.

If you’re struggling with your own self-worth, you’re not going to find it in someone else. That is a recipe for disaster. You’ll end up just latching on to whoever gives you the most attention and validation regardless of whether they’re the right person for you or not.

What you need to do is make sure you have confidence in yourself and who you are. You need to make sure you constantly remember what makes you, you. If your self-worth is already low before you start dating, you need to work on that before you even consider trying to find someone else. You are not going to find long-term happiness in someone else. Period. End of story.

Okay, we’re climbing down off the soapbox now. The point we are making is that if you know how much you’re worth and you constantly remind yourself of that, the temptation to settle and give in to something that’s not right for you will be much lower.

Know What You Want

If you don’t know what you stand for, you’ll fall for anything. We’re pretty sure that’s a country music song lyric, and thankfully it nails our point exactly. If you have no idea exactly what you want in a potential mate, then how will you ever know if you’re settling? The answer is you won’t.

The most important step in protecting yourself from settling takes place (or should) before you even send or read your first message. You need to sit down and make a list of what you need and what you want in a potential mate. Your needs list are the things that you can’t live without. These are your deal breakers. These are the things that no matter what, you’re not going to let yourself settle on.

Your wants, on the other hand, are things that you could potentially live without and it’s okay if you let these slide for the right person. Knowing the difference between the two, though, is extremely important. It’s important that you know a need isn’t just a want, but it’s also important that you realize a want isn’t a need.

For example, wanting to date someone with the same religious beliefs as you is probably a need. This is something you don’t want to settle on. Looking for a guy that is over 6 feet tall or a girl that is super tan are things that are wants. While you might want to have these, you can be completely happy if the person you end up dating is a little shorter or stays out of the sun as much as you’d like.

Take the time to know what you want, and you won’t fall victim to settling. And be careful not to get too carried away with a dating checklist in the process.

Have Patience and Believe in the Process

We always use the comparison of shopping for a new pair of jeans and finding love throughout all of our online dating guides. If you’re going out to get a new pair of pants to look good for this weekend, you have a time constraint. You have to be ready to potentially settle a little bit in the interest of time. If you get a new pair of jeans next week, it’s really not going to help you to look fly this weekend. Do people still say the word fly? Well, besides Sugar Ray.

With dating, though, there is no big rush. Sure, you might feel like there is, or your biological clock might be ticking, but we hate to say it, but you’re wrong. Love and all that fun stuff happens on its own schedule and the second you try and force it or speed up that timetable, is the second that the love train starts running off the tracks.

The quicker that you can get this through your head and accept it, the less you’re going to be tempted to settle. Look, here’s the truth. Sometimes finding that special someone can take time. Thankfully, online dating helps to speed up that timetable with technology, but it still takes time.

You have to ask yourself this question and be honest with your answer? What is more important to you, finding the absolute perfect person who is going to make you the happiest or finding someone who is okay, but you can meet them right now? If it’s the latter (which we hope it’s not), then go ahead and settle. We think you’re going to regret it, but it’s ultimately your choice. But, if finding the right person is more important, then you need to be prepared to be patient.

Don’t worry if it doesn’t fit perfectly into your plans you dreamed out. Don’t worry if it’s pushing your biological clock to the brink. Don’t worry if you have to endure getting a hard time from your family at holidays for a little while longer.

Know what you’re holding out for, and you’ll be just fine. Take the extra time that you have to get to know yourself better and do things to better yourself. When you finally meet that right person, they’re going to appreciate it that much more.

The Final Word

We know that most of you reading this right now are probably frustrated. We know that it can be lonely and emotionally taxing to wait for the right one. But, here is your shining light. It is all going to be worth it. When you finally meet them, you’re going to know right away that all of the tough days were all worth it. In fact, it will probably scare you a little bit that you even considered settling and never meeting that special someone.

Stay the course! We know it’s going to be worth it.

Photo of author

Author: Matt Seymour, MSF

Matthew J. Seymour is a dating industry expert with over a decade of experience coaching singles, reviewing dating apps, and analyzing trends within the industry. Matt is a published author with his most recent work “Get More Dates: How to Master Online Dating Apps” that hit shelves in 2023. With a Masters of Science in Finance (MSF) degree from the University of Florida and extensive knowledge of the innerworkings of the online dating industry, Matt frequently serves in an advisory role to some of the largest dating apps on the market. In Matt’s current role with Healthy Framework, he leads the interview team that regularly interviews key dating industry leaders, and leverages his financial knowledge and dating app experience to review and share what singles need to know to get the most out of dating online.