The Scoop: While singles may presume the first step to online dating is filling out a profile and uploading a photo, it isn’t always that simple. Dr. Carol Morgan, an Online Dating Coach and Professor of Gender and Interpersonal Communication, works with singles who are getting back into the dating world after a long absence — often following a divorce or the end of a long-term relationship. She believes the first step to dating success is understanding the kind of relationship you want and what has stopped you from achieving it so far. Through self-reflection, coaching, and her published books, Dr. Carol helps people find more fulfilling love that adds joy to their lives.

A woman in her late 50s came to Dr. Carol Morgan wanting a serious, long-term relationship but needed help to find it in the modern dating world.

She also had a few stipulations: First, she loved to travel and didn’t want a relationship that would get in the way of her passion for adventure. The woman also didn’t want to live with anyone else because she had already been married and wasn’t in a rush to go down that road again.

After listening to the woman, Dr. Carol suggested that she may not want a serious relationship at this time in her life after all.

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Dr. Carol Morgan helps clients understand what they want out of dating and relationships.

“Many people really want marriage or a serious relationship, but it’s OK to just want a casual companion to take to the movies or on a vacation,” Dr. Carol told us. “There’s a relationship timeline that our society pounds into us, and not everyone wants that. I had to help her see that it’s really OK. She missed male companionship, so we focused on being truthful in her profile. Turns out, there were plenty of men out there who wanted similar things.”

Dr. Carol, who is also a Professor of Gender and Interpersonal Communication, uses her professional knowledge, along with her personal experiences, to help clients learn how to express their desires in a way that’s clear and appealing to those they want to attract.

Her coaching is focused on online dating, which has quickly become the most popular way to find love. However, Dr. Carol starts with some offline self-reflection, so clients can analyze patterns in their dating past.

“If you want to be successful, you have to know what you want and where you are now. Then you can make a plan,” she said. “You have to examine your life and relationships and determine what went right and wrong, and what you were responsible for.”

Understanding Modern Dating Through Her Own Experiences

Dr. Carol said skills like conflict resolution and understanding different perspectives became second nature after years of studying and teaching about interpersonal relationships.

“Most people don’t know how to do the basics of getting along with people and how men and women are fundamentally different and even socialize differently,” she said. “Instead, they get caught up in their frustrations. That’s my professional background. I love teaching, but I think I’m even better one on one with people on a personal side.”

That’s because Dr. Carol has been in the same situations as many of her clients, who often come to her after a divorce or the end of a long-term relationship. Dr. Carol was divorced in 2008 when her sons were just 3 and 5 years old. Even though online dating wasn’t as prevalent as it is today, she signed up for almost every dating site on the market. She’d go on a handful of dates but give up after a month or so. Then she’d wait a while and try again, but she didn’t have much luck.

“I had a good attitude, but it was the wrong attitude. I wasn’t committed to finding someone. And because my kids were young, I didn’t put myself out there enough,” Dr. Carol said. “But, as I went out on more dates, I learned to look at people’s profiles. Soon, I could tell almost immediately what type of person I was dealing with just by reading their profile.”

Over the years, her friends would come to her and ask advice about dating red flags and what a date’s behaviors meant. Thanks to Dr. Carol’s professional experience, she could help them understand potential mates. By the time she found her boyfriend online a few years ago, she was an expert.

“We have terms for all the dating practices these days like ghosting and bread-crumbing. If someone is middle-aged and recently divorced, none of these things existed the last time they went on a date,” she told us. “It can be overwhelming for a lot of these people, and my personal and professional background is the perfect blend. I can help clients because I’ve been through it.”

Initial Skype Sessions Help You Establish Your Needs

When Dr. Carol begins working with clients, she encourages them to create goals for themselves. Understanding what success looks like will help them get to where they want to be, she said.

“You can’t just apply to be an engineer or a TV reporter — you have to know what you want to do. You have to have a plan,” Dr. Carol told us. “Many clients don’t understand why we need to talk about the past, past relationships, or their parents. But it has everything to do with their dating situation. Often, they never look at what they’re doing wrong or what they’re doing right. You can’t change what you don’t recognize.”

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Many of Dr. Carol’s clients are entering the dating scene after a divorce or the end of a long relationship.

With a little bit of internal work, her clients can get clarity on what they want. From there, it’s easier to write a compelling, authentic online dating profile. After that, they’re ready for the next most important ingredient: pictures.

According to Dr. Carol, pictures are a vital part of any online dating profile, especially in today’s landscape. But she sees too many people who don’t take the time to curate pictures that fit who they are now.

“It’s like a job interview, and you have to put your best self out there. But it’s common for women to use a picture from 15 years ago or 50 pounds ago,” she said. “There’s nothing wrong with aging — you just can’t be deceptive about it. I often guide them through that.”

Dr. Carol Morgan: Books & a New Site Expand Her Reach

When the woman in her 50s came in with a list of qualities she wanted in a long-term partner, Dr. Carol knew that she didn’t really want that kind of relationship. With a little self-reflection and guidance from Dr. Carol, she came to realize that for herself, as well.

Dr. Carol understands that not everyone can work one on one with her, like the woman did, which is why she has published books that offer advice on self-reflection. Her most popular book is titled “Radical Relationship Resource: A Guide For Repairing, Letting Go or Moving On,” and she wrote it with a friend whose specialty is spirituality and human potential.

People must have the ability to find their own truths. Once you think of it that way, it makes life a lot easier.” — Dr. Carol Morgan

“Accepting what you can’t change: A lot of people don’t put that into practice in their daily lives and in relationships, so we combined my expertise and his expertise,” Dr. Carol said. “Each page, there’s an idea for how to fix your relationship or how to let go of it, move on, and find someone more compatible with you. The book was born out of my marital frustrations when I learned that you need two people to work through a relationship.”

Additionally, Dr. Carol will soon unveil a new website with her boyfriend, Joe Padgitt, called HerSideHisSide.com to complement the book. She said the website is “the brain child” of the couple, and they “want to teach the world how to have success in relationships and dating.”