The world of online dating is a tricky one as it is, and when the experience spills over into real life, it can get seriously confusing. Say you happen to meet someone online and you hit it off. The conversation is really interesting and just the right combination of flirty and soul-baring, you realize you have a lot in common and might even share similar concerns for certain causes. Then you decide to meet offline and see if the magic is still there.

Your worst fears and biggest hopes are realized at the same time; your date is not just as good looking as their profile picture (or even more so), they are polite, funny and charming the pants off you. Trouble is, the pants did come off after a few too many cocktails, and you ended up sleeping with them on the first date. What now?

Chances are, they’re either going to disappear from your life forever, or decide to be ‘just friends’ with the unspoken pact being that you would be friends with benefits, of course, or it might even morph into an actual relationship.

Considering it’s the first situation you find yourself in, here are five navigation tips for re-entering the murky waters of online dating.

  1. Don’t Give Up: As in, don’t stop searching for what you’re looking for; whether that is a longtime companion, a partner or a spouse. Just be realistic since a lot of the folks online are mostly looking to hook up. It must be argued that large numbers of people have found love via online dating and have even managed to enjoy successful relationships, but there’s usually a fair bit of trial and error as well as luck involved.
  2. Stay Focused: Make a list of what you want in your prospective partner and keep checking to see if those are the traits your match possesses. If not, cull your list and waste less time on those who don’t fit the criteria. Keeping an open mind is good but don’t get easily distracted by things like good looks or a smart description. If you find excessive proof of drunken revelry, talks that hint at how hot they find you, and suggestions that border on lewd, shut them down.
  3. Let It Go: Don’t turn into Elsa from Disney’s Frozen and break into song after one bad date. Realize that the problem is not that there’s something wrong with you, but that the other person simply wasn’t a good match and perhaps it’s better to lose them now than allow them to walk away after having hurt you more deeply in the future.
  4. Don’t Lose The Lesson: Yes, an experience like a date gone sour can leave you filled with regret, but just shake it off and act like you dined at a fast food joint; you’ve managed to score a cheap and quick meal but you’re still kinda hungry for something more deeply satisfying and good for you. Pay attention to the things you’ve learned in this process, such as what makes you happy and what you absolutely won’t tolerate, and then make sure that’s what you aim for next time.
  5. Gird Your Loins: Well, we mean prepare for battle, because that’s what online dating can sometimes feel like but we also are making a not-so-subtle reference to you embracing some abstinence from now on. If you don’t wish to be the victim of another hit-it-and-quit-it incident, then perhaps you should ensure your next offline date is nowhere near a bar or sexy restaurant that might cause you to lose your inhibitions and go home with them. Try to pick activities that you both would enjoy like some indoor or outdoor sports where you will be surrounded by other people, a walk or bike ride in the park, or grab some frozen yogurt on a boardwalk. Time will tell if this person is going to be second-date material, or not.

There’s nothing wrong with having sex on the first date, we’re all adults here and as long as you protect yourself physically, mentally and emotionally, it’s all good. But if you want something more, these tips should hold you in good stead until you find what you’re looking for.

Image: Shutterstock

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Read More:
The Dating Game: All You Need To Know
5 First Date Faux Pas You Must Avoid
4 Tips To Make Your Online Dating Profile Stand Out

Simona is a journalist who has worked with several leading publications in India over the last 17 years, writing on lifestyle topics and the arts, besides interviewing celebrities. She made the switch to public relations and headed the division as PR Manager at ITC Hotels’ flagship property, the ITC Grand Chola, but has since returned to her first love, journalism. Now she writes on food, which she is sincerely passionate about and wellness, which she finds fascinating and full of surprises. When she isn’t writing, she is busy playing the role of co-founder and communications director of The Bicycle Project, a six-year-old charity initiative that empowers tribal children in rural areas, while addressing the issue of urban waste.