This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.
Dating isn’t as easy as people make it out to be. When you’re on a date, you’re not only dealing with the here and now. You’re also carrying much of your emotional baggage from the past.
Almost everyone carries some part of their past with them. Attachment issues from childhood or even unresolved feelings from a negative dating experience could show up just as you consider an entrance into the dating market.
If you’re already feeling overwhelmed from the hundreds of questions flashing through your mind about dating, take a deep breath. You may be experiencing emotions related to dating trauma.
Your feelings can lead you to take action or commit to inaction, thereby stalling the process, perhaps indefinitely. You may find yourself experiencing:
And of course, they can prevent you from moving forward.
The Trauma You May Be Avoiding
If you’ve been on dates that haven’t worked out, you’re not alone. Nearly everyone has a disaster date story to tell: spilled food, tripping and falling, getting the hiccups at the wrong time – a lot can go wrong. But we blush or laugh it off and go on.
Some dates, however, may have been traumatic, especially if they included verbal or physical aggressions, like stereotyping or even rape. The stress you may have experienced can stay with you for a long time, permeating your social and emotional well-being.
Trauma is complicated because it can rise from various incidents, including childhood attachment or abuse and neglect (emotional, verbal, physical, sexual). Major life events, like marriage, separation and divorce can also induce trauma, which can make anyone hesitant to return to the dating scene.
Healing past trauma is possible, with BetterHelp. So is returning to dating.
One of the best ways to begin may be with the short dating profile. It’s brief enough to get you started and effective enough to land a date.
Write the perfect short dating profile
You don’t have to jump into the deep end of the dating pool right away. Splash around a bit to find what you’re most comfortable with. Try getting your feet wet by working first on your dating profile.
A short dating profile can be the perfect launch to another try at dating.
Writing the dating profile also makes you reflect on your best characteristics. Try this: make a list of the things you like about yourself. Include physical attributes, personality traits or whatever comes to mind. It should take only a minute or two to jot down your thoughts.
Look over the list you just wrote. Which two or three characteristics stand out? Those are the ones you want to highlight when writing your dating profile.
For anyone writing an online dating profile, the rules are simple: keep it short. This is one of those times when less is more.
Here’s how to approach your online dating profile:
- Be yourself. The best advice for any dating profile is to be your genuine self. Authenticity is rare these days, and because of that, it’s welcome in dating profiles especially.
- Be succinct. Your dating profile isn’t a biography or a memoir. It’s a short summary revealing a bit about your life and offering the barest glimpse of who you are.
- Be creative. Play with words, rearrange what you’ve written, and try to find the humor in what you’re doing. If the creativity isn’t there yet, call a friend and try writing profiles together.
- Attempt a variety of profile styles, including the super-short. This brief message consists of phrases best suited to describe you. The League, for example, imposes a 140 character limit, which severely reduces your ability to describe yourself, but it’s doable. Trying on different writing styles is like trying on different clothing. You’ll find the one that best suits your personality.
The trick in crafting a dating profile is to think like a marketer. Your dating profile is your brand, and you’ve got to sell it.
The person reading your profile is likely reading about you on a mobile device, so walls of words won’t do. Short, creative and memorable will make your profile stand out.
Short Dating Profiles That Get Attention
The magic number is always three, much like a beginning, middle and end. As you craft you profile, arrange your ideas in 3s:
About, One Interesting Thing, A Call to Action
Adrenaline junkie, pizza curator, join me!
The Good, the Bad, The Possible
I can fix a meal or a flat tire, can’t pass up an opportunity for coffee, and am looking for a partner who enjoys old car shows.
Work, Hobby, The Potential Candidate
Real estate guru, travel junkie. Would you rather drive or fly?
What if you need to tell a bit more about yourself? Some dating apps allow you to write up to several hundred words. You can still follow the rule of 3s:
1. I’m an accountant by day and a dreamer when I’m not at work.
2. After wearing business casual all week, you’ll find me wearing my favorite hiking boots on every nature adventure, and I’ve got the pics to prove it.
3. My perfect date puts us in a place where we can talk, laugh and learn more about each other.
You can also describe yourself in 3rd person, like a review. Imagine how others might describe you, and list their reviews:
- “I go to her first for new recipes.” – Rachel Ray
- “She gives the best recommendations for where to go on a date.” – Cosmo
- “Ask her out so the rest of us stand a chance of meeting someone. She’s too popular”! – The other women on this dating app
You have permission to exaggerate, but be sure you can back up your statements. If your cooking skills consist exclusively of preparing a box of mac ‘n cheese or calling Door Dash, revise the part about recipes:
“No one can dial Door Dash faster.” – Rachel Ray
9 Dating Profile Techniques That Won’t Work
You may be tempted to present yourself in a better light, which could mean telling a fib about your hobbies (do you really teach parasailing every summer in the Caribbean?) or editing your profile photo a bit.
These nine profile hacks could limit your chances of finding a date:
- Over-edited profile pics. We’ve all seen the Photoshop fails: impossible proportions, fuzzy features and awkward poses. Use a good-quality picture that focuses on you. Leave out other people or odd backgrounds.
- Excessive honesty. Of course you shouldn’t lie in your dating profile, but this message isn’t the place to tell your secrets.
- Excessive information. Dating apps have word and character limits for a reason. You’re not writing a memoir, and even if you did, it’s doubtful many people would read all of it. The information you’re tempted to share is best set aside for the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th dates.
- Poor writing. No one expects literary-quality writing in a dating profile, but you should at least have a grasp of basic writing skills. The goal is to communicate instead of confuse.
- Lists. A list is one of the easiest things to write. It’s also lacking in creativity. Use listing as a pre-writing strategy and then pull out a few appealing words and turn them into powerful phrases.
- Clichés and overused words. Commonly used phrases are a dime a dozen and likely to distance you from the dating pool like water and oil. You won’t catch their eye. See what happens when you use clichés? They tell the reader that you aren’t unique or creative, and maybe you’re not comfortable bring yourself.
- Negatives. The quickest way to appear miserable is to list everything you dislike. You are more likely to get another person’s attention by being positive. Focus on one or two things you enjoy.
Avoid the temptation to be anything but yourself. Honesty and authenticity win dates, not bragging and grandiose statements.
Setting Well-Defined Boundaries
The short dating profile puts you in charge of what you’re willing to reveal about yourself.
Set limits on what you’re willing to share, and stick to them. This isn’t the place to share that you’re looking for another job because you hate the one you have, or that you’re hoping your ex won’t chase down the next person you’re dating.
Your personal boundaries protect you from exposing anything that might be hurtful. They help you define who you are and establish relationships.
Personal boundaries can extend beyond the dating profile and to the date itself. For example, you might share brief snippets about your likes, but your boundaries can help you hold back from having sex on your first date when you’re not ready for it.
As a caveat, when setting boundaries in your dating profile, avoid over-sharing contact information that can be used to jeopardize your well-being, including your physical address or personal data. Accept contact only from people who really interest you – not because you have to.
What’s Stopping You From Dating Again?
The anxiety you feel from past trauma may make you nervous about dating again, but the short dating profile format could be just the thing to boost your confidence and give you a fresh start.
You have the power to overcome dating trauma and get back in the game. The only thing holding you back is getting your dating profile online for others to see.