I am an advocate of internet dating. I also hate internet dating. It is an exhausting emotional roller coaster, but if you let it, internet dating can teach you more about yourself than you ever wanted to know.
Most of the men I have dated in the last 5 years I met through a dating website. Additionally, I used to be the director of a single’s group in my area. I have listened to the complaints of both genders and have experienced the frustration myself. I’m doing the female side today, but not to worry; the fellas will get their review on Tuesday.
Before I launch into this, I want to assure you that before you reach the bottom, I will offend you. There are exceptions to every rule; you probably have a friend that has a cousin that works with a gal that had the opposite experience. You are certainly welcome to beat your head against the wall as you try to be that exception.
One of the things I do whenever I’m on a new website is “shop” my competition. I plug my age and location into the search engine, saying I’m a man looking for a woman. I urge you to try it. See who you’re up against, and how they present themselves. It’s quite eye-opening. So what if she sees that you were looking at her and thinks you’re a lesbian. Maybe it will make her day.
Here’s my short list of common mistakes I’ve seen on women’s profiles as well as things shared with me by the opposite sex:
“Where are all the good men? I don’t want another guy who _____, or _____ or_____!” Wow. The profile reads like a shotgun blast to the chest. How sick would a guy have to be to respond to that? The number one complaint I’ve heard from men about women over 35 is that we are bitter. Most women that I’ve met that wear a permanent scowl and make constant references to their rotten ex-husband insist (through clenched teeth) that “I AM NOT bitter.” Riiiight……
Yeah, I know. I could write a book about my own experiences entitled “He Done Me Wrong”. Whatever. Let it go and prepare yourself to find love with a wonderful man. Until you can do that, you’re probably better off looking for a great therapist or church (or both) rather than a man. Let it go, forgive and get on with your life.
2. The Checklist
“I’m fabulous, so if you want any chance with me, you need to be: handsome, rich, tidy, have excellent personal hygiene, dress well, hate sports, love shopping, never curse or drink, love my cats….” and the list goes on. It’s intimidating. Maybe he’s a lot of those things, but the list freaks him out. He won’t even respond to you if you send him a great email. If he IS all of those things, news flash ladies: HE’S PROBABLY GAY. Even the best boyfriend/husband cannot fulfill our every emotional need. That is why we have girlfriends.
Most men are horribly afraid that they’ll end up with a woman who isn’t attractive, and the number one complaint I’ve heard is about weight. Before you throw stones, I’ve heard women say the same thing about men, especially baldness, so cut them some slack. Most guys don’t mind a few extra pounds if we take care of ourselves otherwise. But if you write in your profile “I know I need to lose a little weight. I’m working on it,” you see that as honest; you need to lose 5-15 pounds. Unfortunately, his imagination goes to the LAST woman he met whose “little struggle” meant she shopped in the plus size section. Of course you should be honest, but positive. Insecurity is never attractive.
Show current and accurate photos; at least one head shot and one full length. He can see what you look like and decide for himself if he finds you attractive. If he contacts you, he obviously liked what he saw.
4. False Advertising
If you’re given a photo of someone that was taken 10 years or 20# ago, when you meet them in person your first impression is going to be disappointment. Sure, that old photo is more flattering. But you can only do the email and phone call thing for so long. Sooner or later you’re going to meet in person, and if you weren’t honest with him, it doesn’t matter how much he liked you on the phone. You lied. It’s unlikely he’ll be able to get past it regardless of your well-planned excuse.
5. Photos with your kids. Or your cats.
All the guys I know want a woman who will put them first, or at
least a very close second. When you have your kids in your profile photos (or the word “mom” in your screen name), the message it sends is, “I’m a mom first and I need some help around the house. Do you want to help me raise my kids?” I understand, I have two kids of my own. But there is so much ground to cover before we get to that discussion. By reading my profile, he can see that I have kids. That’s enough. If you can’t let this one go, perhaps you are not ready to date yet. There’s nothing wrong with that. First he needs to decide if he wants to spend time getting to know YOU.
And the cat ladies? There are women out there that equate their cats with human children. I’ve never met a straight man that didn’t think that was bizarre. If this is you, feel free to get completely defensive, as I’m sure you already have. If the cats truly are people to you, I would suggest you not put that in your profile. He’ll figure it out on his own, probably when you show up on your first date covered in cat hair.
6. No photo at all
He will assume you are hideously unattractive. If you don’t have a photo, find a friend with a digital camera that can help you out. Don’t be bashful; this is a critical part of the process and without it, you will get nowhere. Most of the people I know who have been single for any length of time have at least tried out internet dating. There’s no reason to be embarrassed about it. And if someone you know sees you on the site, guess what? THEY’RE SHOPPING THE WEBSITE, JUST LIKE YOU.
7. I don’t need you
Most healthy and balanced people want to think that they bring value to the relationship. If your profile reads like an infomercial on late night TV, it may stir up his insecurities. You can express that you’ve got your life together without coming off as an impenetrable and self-sufficient fortress.
8. After the profile attracts his attention
The number one question I get from women who are new to dating websites is, “How long should we email before we meet?” I think the concern here is that they’ve heard the horror stories and don’t want to end up on the news for being found dismembered in a dumpster. The photos would be so unflattering.
The funny thing is, you could email him for weeks and not realize he’s an ax murderer. I mean, he seemed nice… kept to himself…
Before I meet a man, I have done the preliminary work; I’ve read his profile and had some casual conversation through email. He’s been respectful and hasn’t treated me like a phone-sex operator. I would meet him at Starbucks after just a few emails. My reasoning is that it’s a lot harder to read crazy than it is to see crazy. I usually don’t even give him my phone number until after I’ve seen him in person. We’ve met in a public place. If I have any concerns, I tell him that I have to go, since I’m late for a meeting with my brother, the bounty hunter. I’m meeting him at the shooting range.
When I’m doing the on-line dating thing, my profile is direct, to the point and accurately portrays who I am and the qualities I seek. I do my best to extend roughly the same amount of grace to others that I think I will need at some point myself. That’s quite a bit. I have a realistic view of my strengths and weaknesses and don’t expect “him” to have his act together any more than I do.
Is it worth it? I would like to have a man with whom I can share my life. Not just any fella with a job and a pulse will do. I am unapologetically selective. I will endure the frustrations, stay positive, laugh as much as I can and yes… I will stick it out until I meet the man that I believe God has in mind for me. It is most definitely worth it.
My book, Dating, Sex, & Jesus is currently at the printer, and should be available at Amazon.com the first week of September. Please “like” the Dating, Sex, & Jesus Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/DatingandJesus for fun and interesting content and book excerpts in your feed. Thanks!