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Advice & More May 2014

A Few Pointers from Seasoned Pros in Online Dating

By Teresa Ambord

Generally in spite of their claims the men pushed for an in-person meeting right away. Yes, we know men are visual, but it leaves women feeling like the men don’t want to waste their time on someone who doesn’t meet their standards of beauty.

Like anything in life, it helps to talk to people who have been there and done that. Here are a few of the general red flags and pointers I picked up from talking to people who have spent much time surfing various online dating sites.

  • Don’t give out your phone number, or too many clues about where your home is until you are sure you have mutual interest.
  • Don’t be pushed. One complaint I heard a lot from women is that men want to meet face–to-face long before the women were ready. One woman told me she was careful to start every new communication with the go-slow request. The men she spoke to always said “sure, no problem, I want to go slow too.” But rarely did that prove true. Generally in spite of their claims the men pushed for an in-person meeting right away. Yes, we know men are visual, but it leaves women feeling like the men don’t want to waste their time on someone who doesn’t meet their standards of beauty. The woman I spoke to said this tendency to push for a too-soon meeting caused her to stop communication with some of these men. So men, be warned… you need to slow down. Women, if you aren’t ready to meet face-to-face, stick to your principles.
  • Be aware, just because the profile says “divorced,” don’t assume this means one divorce. My contacts said it’s more likely to mean multiple divorces, so if this bothers you, ask early in the conversation about marital history and living-together history. Don’t ask for details of why things fell apart, just the basics.
  • When it’s time to meet face-to-face, meet in a public place like Starbucks. Meeting for coffee is good because it commits you to less time in case you are not a match.
  • Before you go, let someone else know where you are going and who you are meeting, even if you only know a first name. By this time, you probably have exchanged phone numbers, so make sure to give that phone number to a friend.
  • One woman who spent much time on online dating sites told me if phone numbers are not exchanged after several conversations, this should be a red flag and maybe time to back away. It could mean the person is not really seeking a relationship, or perhaps he or she is even married and fears phone contact.
  • One more warning which I found myself, window shopping on the free sign ups. I noticed most men describe their body shapes as average, even though their pictures suggest otherwise. Many who I would’ve categorized as “need to lose a few pounds,” don’t see that when they look in the mirror. But then, don’t we all still see ourselves as we once were?


Success Doesn’t Always Look Like What You Expect

A friend of mine dabbled in online dating and met a guy she described as perfect for her. They lived hundreds of miles apart, so they took a long time to forge a relationship, first through the dating site, then e-mail, and finally with long, nightly phone calls. It was months before they agreed to meet in person, at an upscale restaurant with an oak bar. There was only one problem. Each of them had posted their very best photos of themselves, and they were outdated by several years. Hard to blame them, as we all want to uses photos that show us at our best.

Finally the Big Evening came.

“I’ll be sitting at the bar, wearing a silver jacket,” she said. “I’ll put a rose in my lapel,” he told her. They both eagerly anticipated the first glance. He entered the bar and saw her. She looked at him. Just as quickly, they both looked away.

This can’t be him, she thought.

She must have sent her mother in her place, he concluded.

“Michael?” she asked gingerly.

“Yes, it’s me. Dianne?”

Neither of them even tried to hide their deep disappointment. They sat side by side, staring ahead, not willing to look at each other. The magic they’d built over several months had vanished. Finally Dianne said she was leaving. Then Michael said, “Well, we’re here. We fell in love with each other’s hearts and minds, not our looks. Why not just take a walk on the beach before we go home?” They did. The longer they walked, the more they remembered what it was they loved about each other, looks aside.

A few months later, I had the privilege of attending their lovely wedding, with her Chihuahua as the best man. It can work. Just remember, the photos you see may not represent reality. Best policy, post a photo that looks like you, and put a date on it so viewers will know it is recent.

You May Also Want to Read

Looking for Love Online: For the Young and the Young at Heart


Teresa Ambord is a former accountant and Enrolled Agent with the IRS. Now she writes full time from her home, mostly for business, and about family when the inspiration strikes.

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