How To Succeed At Online Dating

Anabelle and Tony, a success couple, share how they did it—and how you can, too!

nabelle and Tony are a real success story—they met on and have been married for a year. Here’s a quick recap: While visiting her sister in California, Anabelle went online—just looking for friends. She wound up meeting Tony and, after just two weeks, knew he was The One and went back home to Texas just long enough to pack up. Six months after moving to be near Tony, he proposed on her birthday, and the rest is history! At a recent Happen live chat, they talked about their experience and offered advice about online dating…

How many other online dates did you each have before finding The One, and over what period of time?

Anabelle: Mine was my first online date!

Tony: Between Match and another service, I’d probably
“How happy are we? The worst part of the day is walking out the door to go to work, and the best part is coming home at night.”
been dating over the course of a couple of years. I didn’t have a lot of dates, probably 10 to 15.

How do you establish a rapport with someone online?

Anabelle: I guess just sending emails back and forth, asking as many questions as you can.

Tony: In our experience, we probably exchanged maybe three or four emails, but we just decided that we’d meet in a friendly environment. I don’t necessarily see the point in waiting. But just be nice and be real, be yourself.

Who was the first to email? Specifically, what was in your profiles that attracted you to each other?

Anabelle: I winked at Tony first. We were in the same town, five miles apart. He seemed like a normal person, easy to read. I looked for the profile to be honest, someone not being too full of himself. The picture had to be real, not fake or showing off. I was just looking for someone who was real.

What did your friends and family say when you told them you met online?

Tony: Everyone’s reaction has been pretty positive. I think what we got more than anything was, “I know someone else who did that.” It wasn’t as uncommon as we thought.

What advice would you give someone who has winked or emailed several people, but has not had a lot of responses?

Tony: Maybe your profile needs work—you could get advice from a friend. Your profile could be too brief or too involved. That would seem to be the reason to me that you’re not getting responses.

Anabelle: Be patient, and keep winking!

What is the most important question you asked each other?

Tony: What’s your favorite wine? (Laughter) That’s the first question I asked her. I wasn’t necessarily asking pointed questions, more just trying to get an idea of her personality. She sounded like somebody who was on the happy-go-lucky side, which I consider myself to be as well, and like it wouldn’t be work to hang out with her.

How would you answer this question: Why don’t women post more than a head shot, and a small one if that? And when you ask for a full body photo, all you ever hear is that “you’re so superficial.” Why is it like pulling teeth?

Anabelle: I didn’t have a picture when I started talking to Tony. It’s hard to put a picture out there, as a woman. We’re shyer, whereas it’s easier for a guy to ask for a picture. Girls are usually looking more for personality.

Tony: I imagine some men might not respond to a wink without a picture. But Anabelle’s message to me was not terribly forward. She said she was new to the area, she didn’t know anyone and she had no idea of what to do. She was just looking to find some interesting people to hang out with. And I know that was the truth, because as it turned out, she was living in Texas at the time and hadn’t even decided to move to California yet. At a certain point, I did, in a very appropriate manner, ask her for a photo. I said, “Can I put a face to your email?” or something like that.

Tony, what was it about Anabelle that made you know she was The One?

Tony: When we first met, it was really interesting the things we clicked on. It turned out we had a similar background in the hospitality industry, and we had similar interests because of it. I could just tell that she was somebody who didn’t have a lot of drama in her life, which may seem like a silly thing to say but
“I wanted to be married again, but I wasn’t going to settle. I just told myself that when the right person came along, I’d know.”
something I was definitely looking for. My previous marriage seemed to have quite a lot of drama, which was uncomfortable. I could sense she was a happy person without hang ups, and she liked to smile. We had another couple along with us, and they fell in love with her instantly. Something Anabelle can’t really help is that everyone seems to take a liking to her very quickly.

Did you continue to search on after meeting?

Anabelle: Yes, because Tony was the first person I met and I’d already paid for a month.

Tony: I had a couple of dates already set up with a different service; they were prearranged, so I was pretty frank with Anabelle and told her I had to go on these dates. I really didn’t want to go…

Anabelle: And that’s another reason why I went on all those dates!

Were you both at a point in your lives when you wanted to be married, or were you truly just dating and having fun?

Anabelle: I wanted to get married.

Tony: I knew I wanted to be married again too, but I absolutely knew that I wasn’t going to settle so I didn’t put a time frame on it. I just told myself that when the right person came along, I’d know.

What are some red flags in online dating?

Anabelle: When someone starts asking questions that are too straightforward, like what you look like and what you’re wearing. That’s when you know they’re looking for one thing.

Tony: I did it because I was looking for something real. I think there are probably a lot of people who get into it who aren’t looking for something like that. Make sure that you’re dealing with people that appear to be sincere.

Any advice for someone who is trying online dating for the first time?

Tony: Don’t give up on it too quickly! Be patient, and don’t expect results overnight.

Anabelle: Be honest. Get straight to the point. Don’t try to be someone you’re not.

Tony: Right; tell them who you are and what you want and what you’re looking for.

How happy are you now compared to when you didn’t know each other?

Tony: There is no comparison. The worst part of the day is walking out the door to go to work, and the best part is coming home at night.
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