Clearing the Common Hurdles of Online Dating

You have written your personal ad, and have researched the best sites to post it on. You feel confident that you know the type of guy you are looking for and believe your profile reflects this. Now you are ready to meet the man of your dreams, right? Maybe not. Your ad is the first important step, but if you don't know how to make it really work for you, then it's likely you will encounter a lot of frustration, and perhaps end up feeling as though there are just no good men out there, at least not any that are interested in you. Before you decide to stay home with a good book or movie and popcorn--I'm going to talk about the most common online dating problems, and offer tips on how to effectively deal with them. Once you identify which ones apply to you, and learn how to make necessary changes to your thinking, approach and/or your ad--you may suddenly find your inbox filling up with messages from the kind of men you are seeking.

Do any of these sound familiar?

* You spent a lot of time/effort on writing you ad and getting it posted but weeks have passed and you haven't gotten any responses.

If you are experiencing this problem, your ad needs work. I know you are a great writer and offered lots of interesting information about yourself, so it can't be your ad, right? Yes it can and most likely it is. Writing an online ad requires specific expertise that includes knowing the important do's and don'ts that go beyond good grammar, spelling and sentence structure. I have already outlined these in another article, and you can find them at

* Your ad has been up for weeks and has only attracted the wrong kind of guys.

Again, it's your ad--and not just the essay, but probably your short answers, headline and pictures as well. Somehow you are not being clear and/or consistent in your communication about who you are and the type of guy you are looking for. It could be that you are not offering a good description of yourself or are vague or contradictory.

Give careful thought to what you must have in a relationship, and what you can't tolerate. With these parameters in mind, look over your short answers questions. Don't put "any" too often. Be careful not to list a huge range in things like desired age, geographical distance, or physical characteristics. If you are too open with these, it sounds as though you are looking for anyone--and readers will not get any real sense of your specific wants, priorities, etc. Make sure that whatever answers you put are consistent with your essay. For instance, don't say you are open to kids and then talk about how your kids are grown and you are looking for someone who wants to travel and share an active adult lifestyle.

You want to make an "emotional connection" with the right readers. Be clear, specific and genuine.

* You've been actively winking or sending an email to guys who catch you eye, but never hear back. You've been winked at a few times, responded, then never heard anything back from them. What gives?

Many guys will not respond if they look over your profile and are not interested. Rejection is very much a part of dating, and you need to be prepared for it. Otherwise, your confidence and ability to stay upbeat may become compromised.

If a guy winks, you wink back and then never hear from him again it's likely he has already begun a cyber relationship with someone else. Did you think about it for days or a week or two before you responded? Or he may have taken a second look at your ad after you winked back and changed his mind about pursuing you. Things move fast in the world of internet dating--and unless you move quickly with them you can get left wondering what happened. It's also important not to build anyone up too fast, too soon. Nothing means anything until it does.

* You connected with a guy and corresponded via email and phone for a couple of weeks. You felt a good connection and strong mutual interest. Then he vanished without a word or any warning.

There are several possible explanations for this kind of behavior. The first is that he was communicating with several women he had met online and decided that there was one that stood out from the rest--but it wasn't you. Another possibility is that he had been seeing or was involved with someone and had a recent break-up before you two connected. He was not over this past relationship but was attempting to deal with his feelings by jumping right back into the dating pool. Suddenly the ex contacts him or he decides on his own that he isn't ready to date again- but doesn't know how to tell you, so he disappears. It's also possible that he was interested in you but his interest began to fade as you got to know each other better. He decided he just wasn't that into you.

* After he had disappeared for awhile, he reappeared with no explanation and wanted to pick up where you left off.

His recently returned ex became an ex again, he realized that the other woman he had decided to see exclusively would never be the one, and/or he did like you but had mixed feelings and wanted to give it another try. The only way to know is to ask him, which will also give you some good information about how open and emotionally available he is or is not.

* You saw his ad, really liked it, but didn't get around to answering it for a week or two. When you went back to view it, it was gone.

As I stated in tip #3, things move fast in Internet dating. If he's attractive to you, you can bet other women will be interested as well. Take a moment or two to wink or send a quick thought. If you wait, some other woman will get there first.

Lastly, a few words about taking your cyber relationship offline. It can be difficult to know when to suggest that first phone call, or to share last names, career information or anything of a more personal nature. Then, after you have moved through some of these other milestones, there is the dilemma of when to bring up the topic of meeting in person, and where, how, etc this should occur. There is no one formula for moving from an online to offline relationship- however, I have written some useful guidelines to help you with this important next step. You can find these on:

Now you should be all ready to get out there and have a fun and productive online dating experience. Feel free to email me at and tell me how it is working for you.

Want to read other articles on this subject?

"Online Hunters, Gatherers and Dating"
List of more "Online Dating" articles

"Is Your Online Prince Charming Really a Frog?"


Toni Coleman, LCSW
Phone: 703-847-1768


Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.

Distribution Rights: The above material is copyrighted, but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is changed, added or deleted, including the contact information. However, you may not copy it to a web site.

Reprint permission will be granted, upon request, to student newspapers, universities, and other nonprofit organizations. Advance written permission must be obtained for any reprinting of this material in altered or modified form.