Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, when Christians repent for their sins. Since sin is on our minds, anyway, let’s look at the topic through the lens of online dating. Are you committing any of these online dating sins? If so, recognize them, repent, and get back on track for finding someone special.
1. Lust: Pictures are worth a thousand words, but what else does this person have to offer? How will you two click? “If you’re simply clicking on someone for the photo and don’t even care what he or she has to say, you’re setting yourself up for a disappointing date in the ‘real world,’” cautions New York dating coach Andrea Syrtash, host of OnlineDating.tv. “Also, if your hormones are guiding you, your first email to this person may send the message that you want nothing more than a roll in the hay, which may not be your intention—but that’s going to turn off a prospective date who is looking for a relationship.”
2. Gluttony: In this case, we’re talking about your providing too much information and being piggish with a potential date’s time (either with a way-too-long profile or emails that go on forever). “Your profile isn’t an encyclopedia entry,” notes Robin Wasserman, author of The Seven Deadly Sins. “Similarly, your first email is neither a love-letter nor a resume. Your future soul mate doesn’t need a rundown of everything you’ve done since birth… or even since breakfast. He or she just wants to make sure you’re neither a troll nor a nutcase. Preserve the mystery.”
3. Pride: Having trouble finding someone who’s “good enough” for you? “Take something nice and sharp, and prick that balloon of a head of yours to bring it back to earth,” says Myles Reed, Jr., author of Fishing for Love on the Net and member of the Redeemer Montclair Presbyterian Church in Montclair, NJ. “Remember, we are all created by God and we all have our own unique value. Don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to.”
4. Greed: Peppering your profile or emails with too many references to financial or material things is a no-go. “Gold diggers (and they come in both sexes) are easily spotted and don’t invite a whole lot of companionship,” says Carole Brody Fleet, author of Widows Wear Stilettos… “There’s nothing wrong with enjoying “lobster and champagne living,” until you automatically assume — or expect — that someone else should be footing the bill.”
5. Sloth: Don’t be lazy. “Putting up a profile isn’t enough to attract the person you’re hoping for,” Reed notes. “Even when God delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, they had to get off their backsides and walk out of there. How do you atone? Wink at people whose interests and values sync up with yours. Send out emails to get some responses. Court the person. Know what qualities that you want and ask the person where he or she stands on those matters.”
6. Envy: So what if you’re not perfect? Don’t waste time focusing on what you don’t have. “Instead of sulking about it, realize what makes your online profile unique and different from the rest,” Syrtash suggests. “Have you traveled to an exotic location or tried something adventurous? Do you have a killer smile? Highlight these things when constructing your profile instead of trying to emulate or measure up to other people.”
7. Wrath: We all get a little upset when we don’t get what we want, but we shouldn’t lose our cool when people don’t respond or stop communicating abruptly. “Change your mindset,” Reed says. “Sure you’re great, but not everyone is going to love you like your momma. There’s nothing wrong with you.” He or she just wasn’t the right person for you or had other things going on in his or her life (an ex re-entering the picture, for instance). Don’t take it personally—or waste your time feeling hurt and angry. Move on to the next person!
“As you go along your odyssey to find love online, keep God in the midst of things,” Reed suggests. “Ask Him to provide a mate for you and ask Him to prepare your heart for the mate that He has for you. If you do this, you’ll be less likely to commit the seven deadly sins of online dating.”