Kathryn's Blog: Frequently Asked Questions -- And Answers

SAQ #9 How realistic should I be about what I am looking for?

In short: VERY.

The more realistic you are about who you are and what you have to offer, the better. If you have assessed yourself accurately, then you will be better able to judge what you can get for what you have in exchange.

Internet dating has really brought to the forefront the market aspect of looking for love. It’s not that dissimilar from buying a house. A house is worth what someone is willing to pay. A really nice house (with a savvy seller) will hold out for the very highest price.

When you go house shopping, the place that a realtor will start with you is figuring out what kind of money you have to offer. What are you bringing to the table? There is no point in showing you houses that you can never hope to purchase.

Venturing onto a dating site is like going house hunting without a realtor. You plunk yourself down in the site and then try to sift through all the candidates. Since none have an obvious price tag, and you likely have a rather distorted sense of your own worth, why not try for the best? Of course, everyone else is doing that, too, so the top 5 or 10 percent of the candidates get close to 100% of the emails. Since those folks are getting a clear indication that they have a lot of “worth” in this market, they are going to hold out for the very best offers. Is it any surprise that so many first emails go unanswered?

We tend to have a pretty high – and unrealistic – estimation of what we have to offer. In surveys, most people rate themselves as above average in appearance, which is of course impossible. In truth, most of us are in the middle of any attractiveness scale.

There is nothing wrong with going for the top candidates on a dating site, but be realistic: It is probably a long shot. A very long shot. You will probably not get a reply. It is not the fault of the candidate. You misjudged, so learn from the experience and try again. Start moving down from the 10’s to the 9’s and 8’s, then 7’s and 6’s, until you start getting strong positive responses from those you are contacting.

The reality that you cannot get 10’s or even 9’s or 8’s to respond to you is not the dating site’s fault. They aren’t your market. Once you find your market – which could easily be 5’s or 6’s, because most of us are in that range – then settle in and have a good time. You’ve found the buyers who are interested in what you have to offer.

P. S. A Romance Coach (me, for instance) would be very helpful to you in figuring out your “market value” and even how to improve it. Why not get a consult with me? Signing up is easy—see that blue box over there on the left, under my picture? Click “Set a meeting” and you’ll be walked right through.


SAQ #8 How honest should I be about what I am looking for?

Of course, you should always be honest. In every form that I get this question (Is it okay to lie about my age? I can’t imagine telling him/her about xyz. I’m really just interested in an affair, but women don’t respond unless I say I am interested in a long term relationship.), I always recommend telling the truth.

For one thing, it is easier. There is not so much to remember if you are telling the truth. And truth builds trust, no matter how uncomfortable the truth is. In relationships, trust is of utmost importance.

People don’t like being tricked. Lying or evading the truth is always self-serving. It’s about preserving your own pride, or getting something you want when you don’t deserve it. It’s about manipulating another person for your own gratification.

Rep. Anthony Weiner is the latest example of how telling the truth works much better than evading. His Twitter transgressions would have drawn far less fire if he had just told the truth, rather than squirming in the limelight. Folks are angrier and more dismayed by the lies than his actual transgressions.

Now, it is true that lying could get you more and “better” responses. Putting up a super model’s picture (also a form of lying) would, too. But the question is: how long would you be able to keep up the pretense? A first meeting or a Skype call would prove you out a liar with the super model’s picture. If it is a secret that isn’t apparent at first meeting, like if you are married and pretending to be single, it’s probably just a matter of time before you are found out. Being seen as a liar as well as what you are trying to hide is pretty bad. The “better responses” will head for the hills, if they truly are better.

Telling the truth will probably win you points. Let’s say you are HIV positive. Stating that up front, with the willingness to take appropriate precautions, shows maturity and strength. Chapter 13 in my book “Find a Sweetheart Soon!” takes the reader step by step through a process for truth telling.

If you ARE looking for something you feel you have to lie about (like wanting an extra-marital affair), there are even sites where you can be completely honest about that, like AshleyMadison.com. Of course, you’ll be lying to your spouse (unless you have a so-called “open relationship”). There are also sites for people with sexually transmitted diseases, disabilities, out-of-the-mainstream sexual practices, and many more.  Why not search those out and tell the truth?

Now, it occurs to me that this question “How honest should I be about what I am looking for?” could also be “How realistic should I be about what I am looking for?” which is another great – and entirely different – question.  I’ll add that to my SAQ list and answer it next time.


SAQ #7 Why is getting rejected a good thing?

Fear of rejection is right at the top of the list for most singles contemplating a search for love. It’s easy to understand, because looking for love feels very personal and a “No, thanks,” whether spoken, written, or inferred seems like a rejection of one’s vulnerable essence. 

However, in modern Internet-aided dating, “no’s” can actually be good news. One of the biggest problems on dating sites is sorting through the multitudes of potential candidates. While lots of profiles increase your chances of getting just what you are looking for, it takes a tremendous amount of time studying what is being offered, writing that critical first email, then, if accepted, building an email relationship, then to the phone or Skype, and onto that first coffee date…which could easily be a big disappointment. And time is something singles do not want to waste. All you get is older, which is not a good thing in the dating market.

So this is where the advantage of rejection comes in: if who you could be interested in is not interested in you (for whatever reason, you likely never will know), you want to know, and you want to know soon. You do not want to waste time. Anyone who does not have the guts to say no to you when they are really not interested and knows it are wasting your precious time. The sooner you know, the sooner you can go on to the next most likely candidate.

As well, rejections help you refine your search. You’ll be presented with so many profiles, all of which will look equally likely to say “yes” to you. But that is not true. Most will NOT say yes to you. Most will say “No.” Either they will not want what you have to offer, they are already occupied, or they are taking a break and are asleep at their computer.  You’ll never know. You may be overestimating what you have to offer and contacting people out of your league. Those “no’s,” if you pay attention, will help you refine and adjust your searching until you start getting “yes’s.”

But you do have to pay attention. One guy I was working with kept contacting women 20 years younger than he was, all gorgeous. And he got no replies, at all. But he kept up the same kind of search, with the same results. Plus he had me telling him of the need to change, to go older with the ages and start looking at women in the mid ranges of looks. His results (nothing) indicated that he would rather keep his fantasy of a young, beautiful woman rather than to adjust to the reality of what was actually possible for him to attract (he did have some very attractive qualities) and have some real women to date.

Here’s a graphic that Illustrates what I am saying:
All the white area inside the blue box represents all the singles on your dating site. It really should be bigger, because those who you will be interested in are only a small percentage of the total number. Anyway: the white area represents those who you are not interested in and who are not interested in you. You’ll never have to deal with them, because you won’t contact them, and they won’t contact you.

The blue circle is everyone you are interested in enough to contact. The pink circle is everyone who is interested enough in you to get in touch or respond to your emails. The overlapping part is the treasure chest, the part that is really important. You like them, they like you. Notice the largest part of each of the big circles do not match up: those are rejections waiting to happen. You need to know if the people you are interested in are interested in you or not.  And you need to tell those who contact you if you are not interested. Then both of you can invest your time where you will have the most chance of success: those who interest you who are interested back.

Learn to welcome those rejections. Each one means that you did something, took a risk and made a contact. Yea! Several or more rejections of a similar type (like my guy who kept after those young babes) are valuable information that will help you refine your search. If you pay attention, learn the lessons, and make changes in your search, you’ll get better results. And at some point, the win of your life!


SAQ# 6. Is it okay to distort the truth?

Why would it be okay to lie to someone you haven’t met but might like to marry?  What kind of a start is that?

The Internet in general and dating sites in particular seem made for reinventing yourself in whatever colorful way you would like.  It’s possible to be pretty much anonymous and hide behind your computer screen, though law enforcement as well as individuals has gotten better and better at breaking through that anonymity and finding the persons behind the screens.  So don’t count on not being found out if you engage in bad or dishonest behavior.

Beyond getting found out, your Internet dating profile and all your communications with potential sweethearts form the foundation of what might be a life-long relationship.  These kind of relationships thrive on trust and can be destroyed by lies.  If you want a relationship that is strong and a partner that is honest, then do you part and behave in an honest and trustworthy fashion.

Of course, the converse would be also true: acting dishonestly would imply that you don’t care about a solid, trusting relationship, and your behavior shows that.


SAQ #5 Should I get help writing my profile essay??


Your profile package: photos, essay, and all those questions you answer, becomes your 24/7 billboard advertizing you and what you are looking for.  Think about it: Would any business wanting to market a product (let’s say McDonald’s and Big Macs) would post on a billboard a first or second draft description, along with a picture taken with a cell phone camera into the bathroom mirror?  If they did, McDonald’s would never be able to say they had sold billions and billions.

Not only is your profile package your advertisement to the world, but also it is the beginning of a conversation with your potential mate for life.  You want to present your best self, while telling the absolute truth, and engage the reader so that he or she will email you back.  This is not an easy task.

Also, many people have a hard time writing about themselves.  As well, they may not have a realistic or even positive view of how they come across. 

I very seldom see a profile package that needs no improvement.  Why take the risk with what may be the most important document you will ever write?  Get help.  It will be worth every penny.

PS I’ve love to help you with your profile.  Go here to find out how—check out Platinum Profile Workup and Rehab.


SAQ #4. What photo should I use?

This question probably should be “Which photo SHOULDN’T I use?” Most folks should dump what they are using or are tempted to use and start over.

Just about every profile that I am asked to review could use better photos. Especially the guys. Let’s start with a list of “do’s”:

1. Strongly consider getting professional photos. I recommend LookBetterOnline.com. Everyone who has taken my advice and used LookBetterOnline has been delighted with the results, and the emails they get confirm the choice.
2. If you skip the professional route, get a friend to take lots of digital photos of you.  Outside is good, natural light and a pretty background. Inside shots can look dreary. Make sure the background is not distracting.
3. Less is more. Use one head shot, one full length, and perhaps one or two of you doing something interesting. One client had the LookBetterOnline photographer shoot him on his racing bicycle. Another was wading in the surf.
4. Dress simply and well. No prints or plaids, solid colors that look good on you. Pick an outfit that you would wear on an informal date, like nice pants and a sports jacket for men, a dress or skirt for women that shows a little leg—but not too much.
5. Cover up, for the most part. No bare chests, guys. Ladies, too. Save the skin for later. Keep your presentations clean.
6. Exhibit good grooming. Fresh haircuts and updates styles. If you have facial hair: guys, trim and tidy, consider shaving it off and automatically lose a few years; ladies, bleach, pluck, wax, or zap.
7. One or two photos with your pet is okay.  More than two pets gets weird.
8. Smile. A lot.


1. Do not use pictures with other people in them. You don’t want the viewer to not know which one is you, or to think that your friends are better looking than you are.
2. Do not use photos where you obviously cut out someone else, particularly that someone with their arm around you and clearly the opposite sex.
3. Do not use photos of your children or you with your children.
4. Do not use web cam photos or photos using your bathroom mirror. Who wants to see your toilet, seat up or down?
5. Lose the hats, caps, sunglasses, and muscle shirts. Folks want to see your eyes and whether you have hair – on your heat, not your chest or armpits.
6. Guys: women really don’t care about how big your motorcycle is, or what kind of car you have. Well, that might not be strictly true, but you risk turning good women off. Let them be impressed later.


SAQ # 3. I want my Sweetheart to accept me for who I am.

Therefore, I should not do anything special to look better than I do every day, right?

Not unless you don’t care about getting the best possible mate. If you DO happen to want the best in a potential partner, then for sure, do anything you can to increase your bargaining power.

First off, who you are includes the part that would get ready to date. What does it say to your potential partner if you don’t think that looking for your partner for life includes sprucing up your looks and dressing like you are going out on something special?

Second, people who have been out of the dating mode tend to get lazy. They get soft, fat, and sloppy.  They even can develop a personal style designed to keep potential partners at a distance.

Regardless of what we wish, we do judge and are judged by how we present ourselves.  Do you want to be seen a slob? Careless about your appearance? Even disrespectful of your date because it looks like you don’t see meeting him or her as special enough to gussy up?

The one exception to this rule would be people who are so spectacularly gorgeous that dates might get overwhelmed and be scared off. In that case, tone down the presentation. For that matter, toned down is a good rule in general – save the diamonds and glitz for the opera. Clean, well-groomed, and clothes without holes might be dressing up for you.

Think too what it means in the long run: that who you are and how you present yourself is not the best possible you that you can be. Do you really want to reserve what is not the best you for your partner for life?


SAQ#2 Why shouldn’t I use a free dating site?

Many people swear by free dating sites.  “Why should you pay when you can get the same thing for free?” is the argument.  Seems to make sense, doesn’t it?  But what you get is really not the same thing, some of the ways obvious, some not so obvious.  Basically, it comes down to two old truisms: “you get what you pay for,” and “you are known by the company you keep.”

PlentyofFish.com and OKCupid.com are two of the biggest free sites, with PlentyofFish and Match.com duking it out for first place in traffic month after month.  Go to the home pages of all three for a dramatic look at the differences.

PlentyofFish is plenty stark, no frill here.  The biggest problem I see with Plentyoffish is that the profile photos seem even worse than the usual poor pictures people post: distorted, and that must be the fault of the site.  Photos are SO important.  The site just seems so minimal, even trashy.  I wouldn’t want to be seen there, frankly.  I also think that the general allover look cheapens those who are listed.  Do you want that?  There is also a “free-for-all” feeling about the site, freewheeling as well as free.  I suspect a serious single could waste a lot of time here with inappropriate people interested in anything but a serious relationship.

OKCupid’s home page – which looks considerably better than Plentyoffish—doesn’t tip its hand by showing any singles, or at least more than one or two on the left side.  You need to do a sign up first to gawk.  OK does do a better job on the profile photos – they at least aren’t distorted.  I did a quick scan through the guys in my area – seem to be the usual bad photos, minimal writings in the “My self-summary” sections.  In general, though, the individuals seemed a bit scruffier and marginal than those on Match.

What’s the big deal in paying a little at a paid site like Match.com and cutting out the guff that you get on the unpaid sites?  I just checked, and you can join Match with the best package at just $17.99 per month with a six month membership!  That’s PEANUTS!  Even buying one month at a time is only $34.99, just over $1 a DAY!  Match has consistently kept its site clean and upscale.  Since Yahoo! Personals merged with Match, Match has become the biggest – and really only – show in town, other than eHarmony, which is in a class by itself.  If you are a serious dater, that’s what Match is known for: people who are seriously looking.  The pay feature cuts out a lot of the casual (and marginal) folks.

Remember, you get what you pay for, and you are known by the company you keep.  Plus, putting some money on the line in your search for love is its own investment and a real sign of commitment.


SAQ #1: Is there a best time to get online and start looking for love?

Yes and no. 

The yes?  The very best time to look for love online is the period between New Year’s and Valentine’s Day.  Conversely, probably the worst time is between Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

The reasons are related: By the time that Thanksgiving arrives, singles have about given up on getting a date for the holiday festivities and have decided to buckle down and somehow survive the “going it alone.”  They think “Maybe I’ll meet someone over the holiday, just maybe, and if not, I’ll join a dating site after New Year’s.”  Many singles find the holidays distressing, and to be working the dating sites at the same time is just too much.

Then, once the holidays are over, the resolutions are made (“I will not go through another holiday season by myself!”), and the natural “It’s time to get down to serious business” of the New Year kicks in.  And Valentine’s Day is on the horizon.  Activity on the dating sites soars.  No single serious about finding love should miss this six plus weeks of action.

What’s the “No” part of the best time to look for love? 

Putting off your search gets you nowhere.  Stalling just gets you older, and older is not better. 

The only reason(s) to wait is/are those that make you more marketable, like finishing your divorce, shaping up your appearance, or getting some money together to finance your efforts. 

But be careful that taking the time to make improvements is not just a way to continue avoiding getting down to business.  Even getting on a dating site at a slow time of year, like between Thanksgiving and Christmas, or during August, when everyone is soaking up the last of summer, can be good, because you can figure out the site, make corrections to your profile and approach, before the traffic gets heavy and the race begins.

Looking for love is anxiety provoking and easy to avoid.  Don’t let fear control your love life.


FAQ #10 This shouldn’t be so hard. Why does Internet dating take so much time?

Ah, wouldn’t it be nice if love “just happened” like it does in the movies? The perfect guy, the cute or gorgeous gal, the blossoming passion, the “happily ever after” ending? Of course, it does happen that way—sometimes.

But more often, the match is not movie perfect, if it happens at all. Red hot passion flips to cold reality. What seems so right, right now, becomes so wrong with time. And the older we get, i.e. out of high school or college, where everyone is single and most are looking, the harder finding a perfect love match gets.

Did you realize that the most important decision anyone ever makes is their choice of a mate? More important than the college you go to, the career you pick, the job you devote yourself to. Why should such an important choice be easy? Particularly the best possible choice? Why do we want to leave it to chance or fate?

What if you decided you wanted to go to law or medical school? You’d know, right up front, that that decision would guarantee years of intense focus and work. You would not even question the time commitment. You’d know how much such a choice would require, and you would do it, if only to be prepared for what you would face when you got out of school.

What if you decided to put as much time and effort into mate finding as you would a graduate degree? What if you devoted only half what it would take to become a doctor or a lawyer? What do you think your chances would then be to find the best possible mate for you, given what you have to offer?


FAQ #9 There are no good men/women where I live.  Why should I even try?

My goodness, that sounds hard to believe, especially given that the U. S. Census says that 43% of Americans over 18 are single.  Let’s look at why you might be thinking that:

Do you live in a remote, sparsely populated area?  Sometimes, facts are facts.  The fewer the people and the greater the distance, the less likely it is that there will be singles at all, let alone ones you would like who would also like you.

Are you so firmly rooted in where you live that you will not consider moving, maybe even from your own home?  I’ve worked with a number of people who, for various reasons, including family obligations, career, financial limitations, rigidity, or just plain taste, will only look in a tightly circumscribed geographical area.

Are you so specific – and narrow – about who and what you are looking for that no eligible singles are left? If you have decided, right down to hair and eye color (which dating sites allow and encourage you to do), what you are looking for, you may have eliminated every single possibility.

Have you overestimated your value on the mate market?  It’s a natural human tendency to overestimate our own worth.  The statement “There are no good men/women where I live” implies that you think you are better than what you actually may be. Rather unattractive, don’t you think?

If indeed, you live in a remote area – and perhaps can’t or will not move, you have a big problem.  Your only hope is to search wide and hope that you will meet someone who will come to you.  If you live in a beautiful area, perhaps you can entice a Sweetie to move there.  Try a site like FarmersOnly.com Then open the search criteria you are using as far as possible.  For instance, if your ideal is between 32 and 36, widen the age range to 28 to 45.  You’ll catch more folks in your net.

Consider moving to (or at least searching in) a more “target rich” area.  If you were a moose hunter, you wouldn’t go to New York’s Central Park to bag game.  Conversely, if you live in the willywags and are looking for love, Central Park would provide a much better hunting ground.

Widen, widen, widen your eyes and your search criteria.  Minimize the number of factors you use in your dating searches (perhaps to gender, age, and a wide geographical circle – like 100 miles from your zip code), and see who falls into the search.  If it is hundreds, then good!  You have plenty to pick from.  You can even narrow the criteria a bit to cut down on the numbers – perhaps you eliminate all smokers (only about 25% of Americans now smoke).  Then start contacting your results.  Those who respond to you are your market.  If no one responds, you have probably overestimated your worth.  Widen your criteria again, sending out those first emails, until you have a nice pool of interested candidates.

In truth, there are lots and lots of wonderful men and women – just like you – who are ready for love and looking.  Your job is to figure out where they are and then be able to recognize them when you find them.  Do not be fooled by a pretty picture or the “not perfect” profile.  Look for character and readiness, and most of all, how they respond to you.


FAQ #8. How do I tell my date about xyz?

You would not believe how many people worry about when and how to tell a new Sweetheart something that they normally keep hidden away. Or, you may have no trouble believing it, since you have your own secrets that you agonize over. Rest assured, you are not alone.

Now, you do not have to tell EVERYTHING that ever happened to you, good or bad. Most of us realize that after a certain age (like, 18? Or earlier?), we all have pasts, and we all deserve some privacy. 

But some things do need telling.  Here are some guidelines:

What if you were dating you? Would your secret be something YOU would want to know about?  Would it affect your decisions about continuing in a relationship?

Can your Sweetheart possibly learn the information other than from you?  From relatives, friends, finding evidence amongst your “stuff,” or in the thoroughly modern Google search?

If your Sweetheart found out the truth, might he/she then feel tricked, deceived, or lied to? Does the information have to do with your or his health, or your future life together?

Then there is how telling or not telling would affect YOU: Does your worry get in the way of your searching and finding a Sweetheart? Would you feel guilty if you don’t tell? Would you worry that your Sweetheart might find out?

Okay, now you know what needs telling.  The next step is figuring out how.

First, you need to make some peace with yourself.  You need to move from shame and embarrassment to a sober assessment of the “secret’s” impact on your life, what you have learned, and how you have changed as a result.  This can be a very hard, but very important, piece of work.  If you haven’t done it yet, you may want to work with a therapist or coach.

Once you can imagine talking about your secret without shame, then start preparing what you will say.  You might write a sort of script that you practice reading, then saying out loud, until you can do it calmly and without writhing. 

Then you need to decide when to impart the news.  I suggest sooner rather than later in the dating process.  Do not wait too long, when your partner may be quite attached,  find it difficult to assimilate the information that might have a significant impact and affect his/her decision to continue with you, and get very angry as a result. 

She/he needs to know early on.  And you need her/him to know, too.  Then if they decide to go forward, you will not have to worry about the secret being discovered.  As well, you will have found a real gem in their acceptance.  And the all-important “trust” just has had a giant infusion.

(This article is a short treatment of the issue.  To get more depth and “how to’s,” see my book “Find a Sweetheart Soon!” Chapter 13.)


FAQ #7 Is it okay to lie about my age?

Here’s the short answer: No.

Here’s why: It’s just not a good idea to lie about ANYTHING in your Internet dating profile.

Because the goal is to meet your life partner, eventually, and here you are, lying.  What does that say about you? It says that you are a liar, willing to trick and deceive to get a better deal. That’s not a message I would want to put out if I were you, even before meeting your potential partner in real time and space.

Lying is a short term solution with long term implications. You want a relationship for life.  The foundation for such relationships is trust, and trust is fragile.  Lying before you even get started absolutely goes against YOUR best interests. 

Here are the justifications I hear for lying, about age, height, or whatever, and my responses:

I look younger than my age.

If that is true, isn’t that nice?

Remember that there are other people your age who also have taken good care of themselves and look youthful, too. Maybe your date. And what a pleasant surprise it will be if you state your real age, your photos are recent and really look like you, and then when you meet Mr. or Ms. Right, they say “You look so young and vibrant for your age!  And you look even better than your pictures!”  Wonderful!

I won’t come up in searches with potentials who are looking for someone younger than me.

Yes, that’s true, but there is no reason that you can’t look for them and contact them anyway. Remember that you are much more likely to get what you want if you do the picking. And others LIKE it if you approach them first. Men, particularly.

Everyone lies about their age, and I have to to keep up.

That is not true. Not everyone lies about their age, though some do.

The direction in online dating is more and more to openness and complete honesty. Keep in mind that it is relatively easy to check someone’s age online.  A simple Google search can find you out very quickly.  Do you want to take that risk?

Even if you admit to lying right off, you are admitting to being willing to trick. How refreshing it would be to be able to say: “Everything I have written here in my profile is absolutely true. If you discover that I have lied about anything, you have my complete permission to end communication or our date immediately.  I will do the same.”

I’m not attracted to people my age.

Yeowee! Do you sound ageist or what? You must not think too highly of yourself either. 

Just like people tend to stick with fashion, hairstyles, or ideas that they formed when they were much younger, you may still have a preference for folks the age you were when you last dated. Or you are stuck at a certain prejudice, like no one over 40 (even if you are well beyond).

Even though you may FEEL much younger, you too have aged, along with your age cohorts. Don’t fool yourself. You are as old as you are. Can’t change that. You will be most likely to find the best mate for you who is within five years of your own age, on one side or another.


FAQ #6 Shouldn’t I try eHarmony?

Well, maybe. It depends. On a lot.

I have to admit a personal prejudice towards Match.com. After all, Match is where I met my husband Drew, way back in 1998. Match was the first computer/Internet dating site, starting up in 1995. Match has successfully built a brand and service to singles that really can’t be matched. There are other big dating sites, some expensive like eHarmony, some even free like PlentyofFish.com, but Match has held the center for a clean, stylish, appealing site for normal folks, middle of the road of all ages.

But back to eHarmony.  eHarmony is a bit of a latecomer, starting up in 2000.  eHarmony is a more passive site, doing the “matching” for you, after you answer hundreds of questions that establishes, by eHarmony’s formula, with whom you would be best suited.

Most other dating sites are more like catalogues or phone books, where you browse the listings and pick for yourself. Some sites send you matches, too, as eHarmony does, but basically the whole membership is open to your perusal once you join.

Not so with eHarmony. You only see who eHarmony sends you, and remember, who they send is based on the eHarmony formula and how you and your matches answered the eHarmony questions.  How well did you answer the questions, and how well did others? I know that when I tried it out, I got very impatient as the questions kept popping up.  I started rushing and did not answer the questions carefully.  How much do you want to bet that others are careless with their answers, too?

Keep in mind too that it is a MACHINE that is doing the matching, not a live person. Ergo, lots and lots of entirely inappropriate matches that you have to sort through.  And what about those sloppy responses to all those questions?

Don’t like motorcycles? eHarmony does not sift out the bikers. You want someone close by geographically? eHarmony will tend to send you matches from all over everywhere. My clients consistently report their frustrations with the numerous and poor quality of their eHarmony matches.

Because of the more passive nature of eHarmony, women like it and have signed up in droves.  eHarmony does not release the gender ratio stats, but they have admitted to around a 2:1 imbalance, two women to every one man.  Since demographics skew the numbers as we age (more and more single women compared with the single men), we can assume that the 2:1 imbalance gets more dramatic and worse for women in the upper age categories.

eHarmony also has been plagued since its start by its conservative Christian roots. eHarmony founder Neil Clark Warren was closely associated with James Dobson and Focus on the Family, and eHarmony, from the start, refused to match same sex couples. eHarmony has been sued, has evaded and half-heartedly offered lame separate dating site solutions, but essentially still refuses to match gays and lesbian. So if you want to patronize businesses in line with your personal convictions, eHarmony’s may or may not be in alignment with you and yours.

Because of those factors, I just can’t recommend eHarmony with good conscience. Plus, I am firmly convinced that you are much more likely to get your best Sweetheart if you do the picking. Why fight the site that consistently seems to do the best? Go to Match.  Match.com now even runs the former Yahoo! Personals since mid-2010, making the Match.com numbers simply huge.

Here’s the one kind of person I would suggest eHarmony to: white, Christian, conservative men, the older, the better.  The eHarmony numbers will work for you, if you can get past the hundreds of questions (men tend to lack the patience), and if you can stand the slow “getting to know you” process that most eHarmony singles use. Caveat: it’s more questions.


FAQ #5 I don’t want to be recognized

It can be pretty disconcerting to realize that the best possible resource for finding love has taken a heretofore private matter and puts it out on an electronic billboard for the entire world to see.  Internet dating sites are now close to the top (if not already there) of the best and most successful routes to finding your best mate.  The majority of the success relies on putting singles who are looking in front of other people who are looking, too.  You can’t expect Mr. or Ms. Right to get in touch if they can’t find you.

Just a brief word for sanity here: What’s WRONG with wanting love in your life?  What’s so horrible about others finding out? Why should you be ashamed of having your desire for a mate be seen?  If you are free to get involved with someone else and are telling the complete truth, then why are you worried about being recognized?

However, some folks do have legitimate reasons for wanting to keep their private lives private.  So here is how to do it:

Basically, you have three choices: 

1. Hide your profile completely, so no one can access it except you. 

2.  Post a profile essay but no photo (making sure that the information in your essay is not identifiable). 

3.  Post a full profile, with photos, but use a different zip code than your home territory where you do not want to be found out.  For instance, if you live and work in New York City, use a Boston zip code, or the zip of an area that you would like to visit.

There are problems with each of these solutions.  Hiding your profile completely (as well as not posting a photo) will make it seem as if you have something to hide, which is true: you are hiding.

If your profile is hidden, no one will be able to find you at all.  You will have to do all the looking and contacting yourself, and then perhaps copy, paste and send your profile to anyone you contact. 

Many will find your hiding rather creepy.  You can be seen as a lurker, poking around but not playing fair by posting like everyone else. 

#2 is somewhat better, but not perfect.  Some folks won’t even reply if you do not have a photo posted. Most folks search only profiles with photos, and yours will not have one. And you could be recognized anyway: when I was looking for love on Match.com—with no photo posted—one of my clients recognized me by my writing style.  It would have been much better if I had been more comfortable being completely open about my search.

The best solution, if you really want to hide in your local area, is #3, posting a full profile and photos in another zip code where you are unknown and unlikely to be recognized. 

While your profile will not come up in a search by people located nearby your home zip code (after all, that’s how you are avoiding recognition), you are “public” on the site and not lurking.  You’ll need to do your own searches to find people near you, and since you will be able to see THEM, then you can screen and eliminate those you don’t want to see YOU.  In your first email, you will need to tell your contact why you are not public in your home area, and refer them to your profile by including your dating site screen name.  An additional plus is that if you post your profile in a zip code that you visit or would like to, someone there may find you cute as a button, contact you, and you’ll then have a reason to travel.

So there you have it: not perfect, but a solution to that persistent question: How do I avoid being recognized?


FAQ #4 Why don’t they answer my emails?

Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, I talk to who has spent any time on an Internet dating site asks me “Why don’t they answer my emails?” The nastiest littlest-known secret is because the guy or gal you wrote to probably is too cheap to join the site: Most sites require that you pay before you communicate.

Think about it: It’s to the dating site’s advantage to encourage you to post your profile, and they make it free to do so. Every dating site needs lots of people’s profiles and pics to draw other new members. But dating sites, like any business, need money to continue offering and improving their services, and they get people to pay up by making emailing a paid-only privilege.

So if you, in good faith, pay your membership fees, then email a cutie or two or three, you can see how the odds are really against you. It’s a very high probability that the object of your interest has not paid up, 10 or more to 1, unpaid to paid. And you have no way of knowing, because there’s no indication of payment status on profiles. So from the cutie’s point of view, with each contact they receive, they need to decide if the privilege to respond to adorable you is worth the $25 or so it will take them to join up.

The second biggest reason that they don’t answer your emails is that they are rude. Even if someone is not interested, a short, polite note saying something like “Thanks for your interest, but I don’t see a match here” takes only seconds. You can boilerplate a No, thanks” message and just paste and copy your message into an email. Match.com even has a button below the email you get to make it super-easy: Say “No, thanks.”  Why not use it? An unanswered email is so distressing. Event though “No, thanks,” might not be what you want to hear, at least you know.

Unfortunately, rude is becoming the norm. It is absolutely customary now for younger people (older people, too) to just ignore emails they are not interested in. In some ways, this makes sense, because email is so easy to send that many of us are deluged every day. Sorting out what we really want to see from the junk and the communications that we simply aren’t interested in has become a major daily chore. Many people now are simply using the delete key rather than responding. I have also noticed that on sites like Match.com, new emails in your email box have a thumbnail photo, plus age and location. It’s not uncommon for people to not even open the email, based on that tiny bit of information.

So here you have it: Non-answered introductory emails likely mean he/she is cheap or rude. Subset of rude: people who routinely don’t answer any email because they are not interested.  You don’t want to be cheap or rude, do you? Nor do you want to be seen as cheap or rude either, so pay up and say “Thanks but no thanks” to all who think you are a hunk.

P.S. If you post a profile, play fair: Pay the fee! Most sites offer great deals for multiple months (less that 50 cents a day!). You’ll be financially supporting the site you are using and sharing the costs with the other fair-playing members. The dating sites will be able to improve their services with the money you send. And your posted profile, which implies that you are available for communication, will actually be telling the truth!


10 FAQ: 3. What is the best dating site for me?

What’s your pressing question about dating online?  Here’s my 10 FAQ, then my answer to 3. What is the best dating site for me? below.  I’ve already answered the first two, and you can see what I had to say by clicking the link after 1 and 2.

1. I am so scared I don’t know where to start.  What can I do?  For my answer, click here.
2. Does Internet dating work? For my answer, click here.
3. What is the best dating site for me? 
4.  Why don’t they answer my emails?
5. I don’t want to be recognized on a dating site by my family/friends/clients/co-workers/students.  What can I do to prevent that?
6. Shouldn’t I try eHarmony?
7. Is it okay to lie about my age?
8. How do I tell my date about xyz?
9. There are no good men/women where I live.  Should I even try?
10. This shouldn’t be so hard.  Why does Internet dating take so much time?  Shouldn’t love “just happen”?

Everyone wants to know what the best dating site is for their search. It’s a good question, because there are hundreds if not thousands of dating sites out there at any one time.  For good reason: Internet dating sites – the big ones, anyway – make a lot of money.  So lots of folks are trying to get in on the game by starting a dating site with some new angle.  And most of them fade away.  As appealing as it may seem to be on a site that caters to vegetarians, dog-lovers, or the tattooed, the name of this mating game is numbers: the higher the numbers, the more choice you have, and the more likely it is that you will find just the right mate.

The biggest site, actually, is free: PlentyofFish.com, but I do not recommend it, ever. First, you get what you pay for. Free sites attract people who can’t pay or don’t want to, folks who are there to play or for all sorts of reasons other than to look for serious love. PlentyofFish wastes no money on frills like good resolution so that your pictures won’t get distorted. In short, don’t got there.

eHarmony advertizes a lot, and usually comes to mind for people thinking about looking for love online.  eHarmony has appeal, sending you matches based on your own answers to hundreds of questions.  But eHarmony has a number of serious flaws, the biggest of which are the matches that they do send. How do you (or they) know what is the best match for you, and what about the people that they do NOT send you, those you never see? Most of my clients report frustration with the process, how long it takes, and the huge numbers of inappropriate candidates they are sent.  If you want to know more about my gripes with eHarmony, go to my blog and click eHarmony (listed in the categories on the lower left) My advice: avoid eHarmony. 

Why waste your time and money? Match.com is really the best place to go. Not only is Match.com about the oldest of the dating sites, but also, they now run Yahoo! Personals, which was Match’s biggest competitor. It’s hard to get real figures on dating sites, and even Match’s own numbers conflict (Match variously claims 20,000 and 60,000 new registrants daily), but suffice it to say, Match is where the best action is. Match has also worked hard to keep the site “clean” (no crotch shot photos or erotic essays) and stylish. Yes, the numbers are big, but really, that’s what you want.  Match will send you suggestions for matches.  But you will have the best results if you search and contact potentials yourself.  You just need to figure out how to wade through and sort.  Remember, you only have to get lucky once. Go to Match.com and get started. Now.


10 FAQ: 2. Does Internet dating work?

I’m working on answers to my 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions.  This entry is my response to question 2. Does Internet dating work? Here’s the list of the full 10, then my answer to 2. Does Internet dating work? below. Probably one or two are questions that you have too.  I’ve already answered 1., and you can find those responses by clicking the link.

1. I am so scared I don’t know where to start.  What can I do?  For my answer, click here.
2. Does Internet dating work?
3. What is the best dating site for me? 
4.  Why don’t they answer my emails?
5. I don’t want to be recognized on a dating site by my family/friends/clients/co-workers/students.  What can I do to prevent that?
6. Shouldn’t I try eHarmony?
7. Is it okay to lie about my age?
8. How do I tell my date about xyz?
9. There are no good men/women where I live.  Should I even try?
10. This shouldn’t be so hard.  Why does Internet dating take so much time?  Shouldn’t love “just happen”?

2. Does Internet dating work?

Now, on the surface, this sounds like a dumb question to a Romance Coach who met her husband on Match.com.  Of course!  We are living evidence that Internet dating does indeed work, and work well.  And it is not just Drew and me.  Internet dating is working so well now that 17% of newly marrieds over the last three years say they met online, 30% of those on Match.com.  Particularly since 9/11, online dating has gone mainstream.  If it wasn’t working, people wouldn’t be saying so.

The important thing to recognize is that Internet dating sites are not really the matchmakers some would like you to think.  It’s better to realize that they are like glorified telephone books or catalogs.

Everyone listed is looking for someone.  You can’t be sure what they are looking FOR, or how available they really are, but they are looking.

It’s up to you, though, to do the work and make your luck.  The phone book won’t make the call for you, but will help you find the phone number for an individual or business.  The catalogue won’t order a shirt or dress for you that is the right size and looks great.  You have to do the picking and choosing yourself.

A better question would be “Does hiring a Romance Coach work?” For that, the answer is an unqualified “Yes!”  At least, hiring THIS Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord.

Every one of the singles who have hired me to help them find love, have taken my advice, and have stuck with the process has found a loving partner. Every single one.  And by the way, I have NEVER advised anyone to stop looking.  Very occasionally, there will be someone who, for whatever reason, I simply cannot work with.  We may agree to disagree.  But never have I given up working with someone who really wants to find love and is willing to keep going until they do.

So here’s the secret: Internet dating works, and works very well, IF you know how to work it and are willing to keep at it until you succeed.  Part of the success may be hiring a coach to help you with what you don’t know.  But if you find yourself saying “Internet dating doesn’t work,” the real reason is that you haven’t figured out how to make it work for you.  That’s where I can help.  Because Internet dating DOES work.


10 FAQ: 1. I am so scared I don’t know where to start.  What can I do?

Most Frequently Asked Questions—And Answers: 1. I am so scared I don’t know where to start.  What can I do?

Fear is an unbelievably common problem for singles.  There are many reasons singles have for avoiding dating or even getting started.  Little is more terrifying than risking our most vulnerable selves to a new person.  And the older we get, the scarier it can be, what with a lifetime of bumps and bruises, both physical and emotional.  Past hurts, an aging body, and perhaps years since you dated successfully—if you ever did – really get in the way.

Mastering three skills will help you get going:  1. Setting an attractive goal, 2. Slicing and dicing the process, and 3. Learning some anxiety management techniques.

1. Setting an attractive goal If you were going to go on a trip, you would know your destination before you left home.  How can you know where you are going to end up if you don’t decide before you get started?  Get as clear as you can about the kind of relationship you are looking for and the ideal person to fill the role of partner.  Think about the life that you want in five or ten years with that mate.  What does it look like?  Where do you live? What are your days like? The realer you can make it, the better.  Then write a paragraph or two, describing in minute details, where you want your mate search to end up.

2. Slicing and dicing the process  Then, start chopping up the tasks you need to do to get going into small enough pieces so that you can actually do a task right now, right away.  Maybe it only takes a minute or two to accomplish that task and you can do it without really thinking about it.  Maybe it takes five or ten minutes, but it is something you can tuck into your day without too much difficulty—or anxiety.  However small you need to chop the tasks to get them to a size that you can actually take on and accomplish: who cares?  Whatever it takes.  Even a millimeter will get you started.  Enough millimeters stacked up will eventually get you where you want to go.

3. Learning some anxiety management techniques  Last, you need to develop some skills to handle your anxiety and fear.  Start with monitoring your anxiety level using a 0 to 10 scale, 0 being absolutely relaxed and calm, and 10 being total panic.  Rate yourself now, right now.
Since you are reading something that is connected to dating, and potentially scary, your anxiety level may be quite high, like a 7 or 8.  What could you do, right now, to calm yourself down a couple of points?  If you are a 7, what would help you get down to 5?  Here are some suggestions: Have a cup of herbal tea. Breathe deeply.  Read something totally different for ten minutes.  Take a warm bath or shower.  Play with your pet or look up cute animal videos on YouTube.  Listen to soothing music.  Meditate.  Do yoga.  You get the idea.  Whatever you choose, then rate your anxiety level afterward. 

You will get better and better at getting control over your anxiety and fear level if you practice.  Try checking your anxiety levels through the day, and when you get up over a 4 or 5, try one of your favorite relaxation remedies.  You goal is to consistently be able to lower your anxiety level 2 or more points.

My book “Find a Sweetheart Soon!” goes into these foundation skills in much more depth than I have here.  Find out more about it at “Find a Sweetheart Soon!”



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