Asian guy in green shirt looking at his phone.

Dating online can take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. The scene can go from playground to minefield in one swipe, no matter how smart, savvy, or careful you are. In this lawless land, you either get lucky and find The One, or learn something – and the latter isn’t such a bad consolation prize. Here’s what single Filipino men learned from going on to find a match.

You Really Do Need to Be Yourself

You hear it all the time: Be yourself. But what does that mean exactly? “One of the challenges of dating online is how you only get to see a 2D version of somebody,” says Fred, who has been using dating apps for a couple of years.“Your words can get lost in translation. Jokes and won’t translate as well as they would in real life. It’s just more difficult to connect in general.” He says authenticity, a.k.a. being yourself, is crucial when trying to form genuine connections. It may be more difficult to translate that onscreen, but it’s worth the effort.

Communication Is Essential

Keeping the spark alive is more difficult when you’re dating online. “You match with somebody then you start talking non-stop, 24/7 – that kind of intensity is bound to fizzle out if you don’t talk about anything meaningful,” Cyrill shares. “I learned that communicating – really getting to know each other and laying your cards on the table – is the only good way to start a relationship.” This transparency helps you build trust and understanding with a potential partner.

You Can’t Rush Things

Paolo, who met his now fiancé through a dating app, says it’s important to take things slow. “Dating online makes everything feel easier, which can make you take things for granted,” he shares. “If you’re not careful, you could rush into things you’re not ready for, or scare away a girl you genuinely like because you were a bit too forward.”He emphasizes the need to remain patient and persistent, and most of all, in the process.

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Sometimes, It’s Not Them, It’s You

Failing at dating online can push you to be a – if you have enough self-awareness to see your faults. “I matched with this girl tapos na-basted ako. It was confusing because I thought we were hitting it off, but later on I realized I was also being a bit self-centered,” shares Dondon. “Feel free to make things about you: use the experience to make yourself better. To be honest I still haven’t found any success, but I’d like to think that’s made me more patient and appreciative of what I do have now.”

It’s Not for Everyone

Carlo just started exploring dating online but discovered that it’s more of a place to make new friends, not potential partners. “For me, it’s not an ideal place to find a partner. While I can enjoy the conversations I do end up having with people I meet, I don't get any kind of romantic tension or vibe with them,” he says. “I know couples who have met online and are going strong, and I can't deny that dopamine hit though when you get a match, but I think it’s not for me.”

Dating online can be challenging, but take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Take it from these brave specimens above: it can’t all be that bad if there are lessons to be learned along the way. Besides, you can always go back to if that’s more your style.