By Wendy Morley
I’ve been around the online dating block since my separation a few years ago. I’ve never stayed on any site or app for very long because after three or four weeks (or even days) I can’t take it anymore and delete my profile, saying I’m never, ever, ever doing it again.
And then it happens. One evening down the road loneliness strikes, I find myself flipping through profiles and next thing you know I’m finding my most recent pictures and writing a new “about me.”
In my time on sites I’ve had one short-lasted relationship, I’ve become and remain friends with a few others and had contact with pretty much every type of cad there is. Here, then, are my tips to avoid making disastrous mistakes, and possibly even find yourself a partner one day (although I admit that part continues to elude me).
1.The multi-picture rule
If a man has one picture up and he’s quite handsome, it’s almost for sure not really him. Even if he has more than one picture but he’s very handsome and the images look professionally done, it’s almost for sure not really him. I always pull images off the site and do a reverse image search. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found 312 different sites showing the same stock image, titled “Handsome man with great hair” or something similar. Think men are a sucker for a pretty face? So are women; don’t kid yourself.
A real man may not have a whole slew of pictures up online but he should definitely be willing to share them with you once you are communicating.
Synopsis: If he doesn’t post more than one handsome picture, be wary. Make sure to see a few pictures that all show his face, preferably in different circumstances.
2. The time rule
Dating apps and sites are chock full of guys who are, for one reason or another, fake. They are not who they say they are, but continue to string you along for whatever reason they are on there to begin with. To chat with an attractive woman they could never have a chance with? To have a pretend relationship? To get thrills outside of marriage? To have the chance to be a completely different person than in their own self-perceived pathetic life? It could be any of the above and then some. These people will chat with you for weeks (forever if you let them) but something will come up whenever you try to meet.
The sites are also full of people, male and female both, who are less than honest with their representations. I’ve learned that 5’11 means about 5’9 and 5’9 means about 5’7, for example. Once I asked a man for more photos and found that his original photo was both 20 years and about 70 pounds ago. The sooner you meet him the sooner you know if he’s for real.
But dishonesty isn’t the only reason to meet someone face to face. You need to know if there’s chemistry and the only way to do that is to meet in person. Pictures, emails and texts will never accurately predict that. Why waste weeks falling in love with someone, having your heart race every time you think of him and then find in real life he leaves you as cold as a dead fish?
Synopsis: If you are hitting it off with a guy, meet as soon as possible.
3. The assume he’s a creep until proven otherwise rule
Dating sites are a Willy Wonka factory-sized playground for creeps, and offer an infinite number of ways to use anonymity to be a more successful creep. These scumbags are very talented at using your niceness and reluctance to offend for their own nefarious purposes, which might range from sexting, getting lingerie pictures or nude pictures for his own ahem, enjoyment, to getting you to perform acts on skype after which he shares them with others or posts them online. Attractive men (or men who pretend to be attractive by using other images, see above) have discovered they can get women to do just about anything, without ever having to leave the comfort of the crusty couch in their mom’s basement.
If you personally enjoy the thought of sending sexy photos or videos out into the world then have at it. I’m not here to judge. But if you’re going along with any of these things because you think you’ll get some kind of a relationship later on (or that you have one now, for that matter), then you must accept that you’re living in a non-existent alternate universe and allowing yourself to be taken advantage of. The relationship is never going to happen (nor would you want it to).
Synopsis: Unless you get off on exhibitionism and don’t care who’s on the viewing side, save show time for a real established relationship. And for god’s sake don’t meet in anywhere but a safe, public place!
4. The give a guy a chance rule
The main reason I end up deleting my profile every time is not because of creeps or fakes; I’ve learned to spot most of them pretty easily. It’s because dating apps and sites (especially free ones) are like a never-ending buffet of men, and I don’t like the way I start thinking given these numbers, despite my best intentions. There are always more men coming along and maybe, just maybe, the perfect man for me is among that nebulous mass in the distance! I always picture myself sitting like a human resources manager during the Depression, with an endless parade of men presenting themselves before me. How can you choose any one when you can see a lineup heading off into the horizon?
This leads to a truly negative and unnatural state, where you are constantly looking toward the next person even if you’ve found someone who interests you. In real life, this doesn’t happen. You aren’t continuing to seek even after you’ve found. If you meet a man and you find each other attractive, you go on a date, you see how things go, then you go on another date and so on. You aren’t walking to the washroom and making eye contact with the bartender, the waiter, the guys at the other tables—or if you are, then your relationship is doomed before it’s begun, wouldn’t you say?
Listen, if you’re on a dating site to play the field then go ahead and play the field. Have fun. Lots of the other people on there are doing the same thing anyway. (Use protection!) But if you honestly want to find something meaningful and you’ve met someone who interests you, you’ve got to either put your profile on hold (if possible), or at the very least stop going on and checking out other guys. Otherwise you’re doomed to fail.
Synopsis: Stop looking for perfection and accept just plain old wonderful.