There is no such thing as online dating unless you consider texting and emails a form of dating. The dating begins the moment you step into a coffee shop or wine bar together. Or, better for me, meet along the local walk/run trail and get acquainted without mind-altering beverages. So let’s get rid of that one first.
Online Dating Myth #1: Online Dating is Not a Form of Dating. It is a means to an end. Offline dating is the goal.
Online Dating Truth #1: Some women will string you along, making it seem like they are interested but they will never accept the offer of a meeting. This is due to one of three things. 1. They’re really not interested but are afraid to hurt your feelings. 2. They are overwhelmed by the great offers and you’ve been given a number and place in-line for when they get back to you. 3. They are not ready to date.
Online Dating Myth #2: A cute profile pic = a cute date. I’m pretty sure this one cuts both ways. I’m amazed sometimes, even in a person’s range of photos how they mix in the youthful babe shots with the “here’s what I look like today, at 45, ” but they forget to tell you which is which. So you get intrigued by the hot shot and when they show up for the date, um, what…? When was that other picture taken? It happens. It’s not pretty.
Online Dating Truth #3: Cute dudes are not always assholes, cute girls are not always stuck-up princesses. But from the lack of compassion in online dating, you’d never know. The woman who engaged in three weeks of “Hey, what’s happenings” to “you’re kinda coming on like a stalker” after I emailed her the second time in a week… Well, those people you’d best not get started with, even if they are cuter than hell.
Online Dating Myth #3: If a woman (or man) is actually really cute and not a headcase she’d never be online dating anyway. We’re busy, we’re tired of bars and pickup lines. We’d prefer Facebook, where we can see what you’re really like, with your friends, but you’re not a friend yet. I have met several amazing people via online dating. Two of them are still close friends and Facebook cheerleaders. So, there are good people trying online dating, you just have to uncover the right one for YOU.
Online Dating Truth #3: If you recognize a disconnect in their profile, or in something they message you, and you have doubts about their authenticity, RUN. There are a ton of liars in online dating. Some are there just to troll and have fun. Some want to send you dick pics. Some want to lure you off to a pay-per-view site where they can show you the “real pics.” And “Don’t worry,” these porn saleswomen say, “Registration is free.” Oh, and look for the cutie who is 10-15 years younger than you, within 500 miles, and has an age range between 35 – 75. They are trolls or sales folks trying to game the system for financial gain.
Online Dating Myth #4: Their profile is close enough, maybe not perfect, but what the heck… If there’s doubt in your mind, there is probably a disconnect larger than you can imagine. People are putting their best spin on everything. Often they are lying about some significant facts. Like the woman who confessed within the first 30 minutes of a hello date, “I’m not actually divorced yet. But we’re separated.” Um… NO. If you get the feeling something isn’t quite right when looking at their profile, just pass on the in-person. Why waste your time and your money chit-chatting with someone who’s not really interested in a relationship?
Online Dating Truth #4: Women get propositioned about 10-to-1 over men. No matter how cute you are. Ryan Seacrest wouldn’t really get that many propositions because women would fear his good looks like the plague. Women of marginal beauty, on the other hand, are hit on constantly. Now, this isn’t to say they are getting valid or polite propositions. And I would guess (since I’m not a cute female, I’d have to guess) that the cuter they are the more careful they have learned to become. So the cutest girl on OK Cupid is probably propositioned once every 10 minutes, but she’s still only got seven evenings a week. There’s a great study from OK Cupid about how good-looking people are perceived by their photos. (Your Profile Photos and Your Inbox – OK Cupid Survey)
Online Dating Myth #5: Chemistry can be sensed or determined by texting or emailing. No way, José! Forget about it. I can’t tell you the number of times the chemistry was smokin hot and their profile photos were awesome and the in-person meeting was a dud. Whatever you think you see, whatever magic you think you can sniff out through romantic projections and their flirtatious response, forget about it. In fact, save your energy for other things. Rather than build up the pre-in-person courtship, move on to getting some exercise, or finishing that work project you’ve been procrastinating on. All that time and effort you put into wooing a woman online is NADA if you meet in person and something is off. There’s no going back. You don’t get your time back. Or your flight of fancy that kept you texting until 1 am on a weeknight. Skip the romancing until you’ve established a mutual interest.
Online Dating Truth #5: Your first date may say “Okay, see you again soon.” And there is a 50/50 chance they are lying. Maybe greater. If there’s no magic, a casual “Thanks, call me” is as bad as “Um, thanks anyway, but no.” The problem is, it’s much more misleading. Do everyone a favor. If there’s no chemistry, and you’re absolutely NOT interested in a second date, don’t act like you are. I’ve had my just-warming heart broken a couple of times by women who seemed to give a semi-warm “Sure, call me” and then turned out to be, “not so much.” Why didn’t they just tell me? Even ending all email or text responses is a better answer than saying there’s some interest when you know there isn’t any. I know it’s hard, to let people down. BUT DO IT. We’re trying online dating to cut to the chase a bit. Don’t prolong the misery by giving false positives.
I hope you meet a lot of nice people out there. But don’t be fooled by their looks, their profile statements, or their fluent email banter. Go for the face-to-face meeting with as little hassle and energy as possible. If it becomes difficult to land the date, for whatever reason, move on. If they wanted to meet they would also be trying to make it happen, not giving excuses.
And remember it’s not online dating we’re after. It’s the dating that happens offline that is the real stuff. Good luck.
Update 2023: In helping an attractive 63-year-old woman set up her profiles on Match and Bumble this weekend, I saw from her eyes the sh*tshow that is online dating. Profiles that lie. Profiles that promote guns, MAGA, or white nationalism. Profiles of people who don’t care about their appearance. Profiles that look more like mug shots. Profiles of players. And, of course, fake profiles. Stay safe out there. Our goal, for this woman client was ONE “hello date” in the next two weeks. She has been browsing online dating for two years, so far. Not one date.
As we agreed, you can’t get back on the horse without visiting the ranch a few times. You can’t learn about online dating, or dating in general, by swiping. You’ve got to go out. Meet some people. Find what turns you off. And, hopefully, find one person who turns you on and who seems interested in you.
Get the complete single dad story with John’s new book: Single Dad Seeks (available in all formats)
- We Have So Few Chances to Feel Loved
- Sexual Desire: Men & Women, the Chemistry Between Us
- Learning to Love In the Present Moment
- Learning About Sex and Dating As We Go Along
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image: leap of faith, nicki varkevisser, creative commons usage