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Why Does Online Dating Suck? How to Find Your Next Partner.

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Online dating is the key to connecting with thousands of potential partners from the safety of your own home. You don’t have to put on makeup or change out of your sweatpants. It’s easy, right?

What Makes Online Dating So Hard?

  • People misrepresent themselves
  • People use old photos of themselves when they were prettier and more fit
  • People misrepresent what they are looking for
  • People are just messing around and aren’t looking for a relationship
  • People use online dating to cheat on their partners
  • There is no way to judge chemistry from an online profile
  • Photographs can glamourize the unglamorous
  • There are so many choices, finding a match takes a lot of swiping left

I’m actually a fan of online dating. I initiated two great relationships via Match and OK Cupid. Both relationships taught me a lot about myself. And while they were not the long-term relationship I was looking for, each of those partners was indeed interested in finding a long-term relationship. So, inherently, there is nothing wrong with the mechanism of online dating. You get to see and meet people you would never come across in the course of your daily life. My last girlfriend, via OK Cupid, lived in a small town 45 minutes away. And she taught me a lot about myself.

So, let’s see what we can do to be more realistic online and how that might attract more realistic partners.

Your online dating profile pictures

This is harder than you think. You do want to put your best face out there. 95% of what we react to in a dating profile is the pictures. And on most sites, it’s ONE PICTURE that is shown as a thumbnail in a sea of thumbnails. So make that your best shot. And also, try to make it real. Too many women feel like the glamour shot look is going to be the ticket. I’m not sure what they are thinking, unless that’s the way they dress, do their hair, and do their makeup, every day. If that’s the case, go for it. We’re not a match. But if you’re more down-to-Earth, give us men a clue into that aspect of your life. We want genuine. We don’t need movie star glam, in fact, for me, that gets a left swipe without a pause. Be real. Use your pretty and cute shots. And have a friend look at your photos are take out the one or two that are unflattering.

About You

Description of yourself and what you like to do. Don’t say you love to see live music if you never go out to see live music. Of course, don’t say you binge-watch Netflix all the time either. Be honest about what you like to do when you’re alone and what you’d like to do with a partner. And “long walks on the beach” and “loves to travel” are bullshit phrases, don’t use them. Try and get at the heart of what makes you happy. I do love walking around the lake. I’d rather do it with a partner. And for me, walking around the lake together makes a much better first date than meeting at a bar.

About Your Partner

Description of your ultimate mate, what you will do together. This is one of the great exercises of putting together an online dating profile. When I’m coaching someone around dating, we spend a good bit of time imagining the activities they would like to do with a partner. The more clearly you describe your ideal mate the better your chances of noticing them when they show up. In my experience, lifestyle has a lot more influence on compatibility than physical beauty. A perfect woman who spends all her time in the gym is not going to be very engaging for me. I like to exercise but won’t set foot in a gym. We might have an interesting fling if we connect, but in the long run, she’s going to be heading to the gym without me, a lot.

First Date Ideas Included

Concrete ideas about what a first date of activity might look like, rather than meeting at a bar. If you like to walk around the lake on the local trail, suggest that as a first meeting in your profile. If you are really into some sport, perhaps you could go play it together instead of a first date. If you’re really into drinking wine and bars are your go-to place, go ahead, tell us. The more information you can give a potential partner about what you’d like to do the easier it will be for them to craft a successful “hello” message to you.

Reaching Out for the First Time

First contact – looking for clues, connections, and potential red flags. How do you reach out to a potential partner online will set the tone for future contact? In my experience, women like more than “Wow, you’ve got a great smile. Do you have plans this weekend?” It’s best to try connecting with them about something in their profile. Are they a runner, do you run, suggest going for a running date. Find something amusing they said and be funny. Give the other person a clue about what you found interesting in their profile, not just their cute pictures. Then, listen to how they respond. Often, beautiful women are flooded with requests and will not get back to you at all, unless you too are one of the beautiful people. So, it’s important that you put out a lot of “hi, I saw you like tennis, and…” messages. My response rate, even with well-crafted intros was about 10%.

Getting to Hello

First meeting – the “hello date” is essential, be observant of everything the other person says and does. You are getting clues about them on their best behavior. What indications you might get of incompatibilities might become magnified if you start dating. For example, when she goes on and on about how much she’s into wine-tasting parties, you might make note of her enthusiasm for drinking versus your enthusiasm for drinking.

Are You Both Asking, “What’s Next?”

Is there a mutual desire and effort to secure the next meeting? You can tell when things are going well. Both partners should be looking for the opportunity to propose the next date. If you’re feeling marginal about the person don’t ask for another date, don’t string them along. And if you have to ask more than once about a future date then perhaps the other person isn’t feeling the same chemistry. In my experience, both partners have to be interested in moving things forward. If you get a “meh” at any point during the date, listen to that signal and move along to the next potential.

Online Dating Success Depends on Honesty

Know what you are looking for in a relationship. When your online potential comes on too strong in their text messages, they’re probably not a good fit. If you know what you want you can more easily measure the other person’s fit. Take a long look at your own lifestyle and find someone who might want to blend in with some of those activities. Then look at their lifestyle and see if there are things you want to do, or try, if they have different ideas about what’s fun. We can all change. But we can only change so much. If they like shooting deer and dove and you’re a vegetarian, well, you might take a pass.

Most of all be honest about what you want. Be honest with yourself when you are not feeling it. And be patient. It’s taken me nine years to find a partner I feel might be The One. I’ve had some amazing dates, some amazing relationships, and some amazing opportunities to fine-tune what I needed in a relationship. I learned what my Must Haves were and I learned what my No Ways were as well. You can’t figure those things out by sitting on the sideline. You’ve got to jump in and date. And then take your learnings and apply them to your next profile rewrite.

Holding On To Hope

The good news is there are a lot of potential people out there looking for relationships. And the apps and sites help you connect with a huge variety and range of people. Finding the needle in that haystack is your challenge, but if you go about it methodically and efficiently you can and will find a life partner. I believe this to be true because I think I’ve got one.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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