My husband and I met online 20 years ago when dating sites didn’t even require photos. My online dating advice still stands.

  • Back when I was single, a friend made me create a dating profile despite my hesitation.
  • This friend guided me through the online dating process.

A friend texted me late at night, “What’s the dating site’s progress to email? Or straight to texting?

She considers me an expert because I met my husband on a dating site, and it’s been pretty fabulous since, but I wasn’t sure I was the right one to ask since it happened there. is over 20 years old. This was in the prehistoric days of online dating, when most people didn’t even post pictures.

Just to gain access to the site, you had to fill out a lengthy questionnaire that covered everything from your religion to what you wanted for your next birthday. I still remember my husband’s answer to this question because it made me laugh out loud.

I was on a dating site before there was social media

My background also predates social media, so I understood his reluctance to share personal information. Once you’ve revealed your full name, the season is on on your Twitter feed, Instagram photos, LinkedIn profile, and just plain Google.

But the strategy I used still applies, at least if you’re a heterosexual woman.

I was guided through this unusual process at the time by my friend Lou. He knew I wanted to be in a relationship but hated the bar scene, so he told me to fill out a profile. I put him off at first by telling him that I would think about it. “I’m creating a profile for you right now,” he said. “So you better tune in and make one yourself if you want to have your say.”

Two weeks of messages, two weeks of phone, then moving on

As my friend’s text reminded me, it’s a dizzying experience. I loved opening the site and finding a bunch of messages in my inbox, then deciding which deserved replies and which went to the trash.

When I reported to Lou that I was talking to a few interesting men, he insisted that I take them to the next phase. If you just want lots of seductive distractions, keep playing on these sites, but if you’re looking for something real, take Lou’s advice: no more than two weeks on the site exchanging seductive messages.

Then it’s time to move on – what meant for the phone. Intimacy is earned. Talk on the phone for two weeks, he advised, and if that goes well, it’s time to meet in person. Chemistry is an unpredictable animal, and you can have great conversations online or on the phone, but without zinging in person, so don’t waste your time.

I was worried that my method was outdated, but my friend says it’s perfect

So now it’s over 20 years later, and here is my friend, trying to figure out if she should move a conversation to email. Times have changed, but humans are still the same. I suggested leaving the online world altogether and going old school like we did. Have a real conversation on the phone.

She later told me that COVID and virtual dating in quarantine adds texture and tension to everything and that my advice – Lou’s advice, really – still stands. May we all find our life partners and live happily ever after.