20 Things that Turn Me Off about Your Online Dating Presence

This is my list. Other women’s lists may differ — although I bet there’s a lot in common.

This started as a Facebook thread. I was lamenting the sad fact that someone I’d begun messaging with on an online dating site had proven himself to be completely illiterate. Hell, here’s the original post:

So I’m on this dating site and this guy’s profile looks interesting to me. Short but nicely written and says the kinds of things I want to read. So I strike up a conversation with him in the site’s messaging system. After four exchanges, I realize that the guy is clearly unable to write, spell, punctuate, etc. His messages to me are so bad that they’re beyond illiterate — it’s almost as if this whole thing is some sort of joke. Is it wrong for me to be completely turned off? I don’t expect perfect grammar, but I do expect communication that doesn’t need to be deciphered before I can respond to it. I want the guy who wrote the profile, not this moron.

I got a bunch of comments — from both men and women — and the string of comments morphed into me sharing a list of about a dozen things I considered a real turn off on a man’s online dating profile. The more of these I see on a profile, the less likely I’ll be to either initiate or even respond to communications with an offender.

Before I launch into the list, I need to say a few things. This is my list of the things that bother me. Another woman’s list might be different. A few women who are desperate enough to hook up won’t care about any of this stuff. But guys — is this the kind of woman you want? Don’t you want to attract someone who’s a bit more discriminating in who they’ll hop in the sack with? If you don’t care, then this list isn’t for you anyway; move along.

One more thing. I’m sure that guys reading this will agree that many of them apply to women’s profiles. Ladies, take note!

Now for the list. To make my list easier to consume, I’ve separated it into categories.


Your profile picture is the first thing a woman sees when she looks at your profile. It should clearly show what you really look like. Head and shoulders is good for a primary photo, full body (clothes on, please) should be somewhere in the collection.

I want to make it clear here that I’m not just interested in great looking men. As more than a few of my friends have pointed out, my ex-husband was not someone who would turn the average woman’s head, with male pattern baldness that was already advanced when I met him 30+ years ago. Still, I looked beyond appearances and found something I soon grew to love inside him. (Not sure what happened to that.) Looks are only part of what makes a person.

What I’m mostly looking for in a photo is a man who takes care of himself, has some pride in his appearance, and has a great smile. And, as we all know, a person’s appearance often gives some insight into his personality; for example, a man with long, hippie-like hair is probably going to be kind of hippie-like, no?

Anyway, here are my turn offs:

1. No picture.

What are you hiding? Are you The Elephant Man’s stunt double? While not everyone can be a Calvin Klein underwear modelI wish! — don’t be ashamed of who you are. A nice photo can really catch a woman’s eye.

The other question I wonder — and I admit that this is a bigger concern to me — is who are you hiding from? Your wife?

Simply stated, if you don’t have a photo, I have to assume you’re hiding something. I don’t want to have to go on a date to find out what it is.

2. Old photos.

I really don’t care what you looked like when you went on that cool trip to Paris in 2005. Or when you played in a band in college. I care what you look like now. Sharing old photos is akin to lying. Your photo should show what you look like. Not what you used to look like.

Photos shouldn’t be more than two years old. Period. Delete the old ones, add new ones. Adding photos is a good way to get a fresh look on the same site, anyway. Win-win.

On the same vein but not deserving its own category: blurry, over exposed, under exposed, or extreme closeup photos. Also, group photos where it isn’t clear which member of the group you are.

3. Cropped couple photos

I can’t believe I even need to list this, but I do. Guys actually do this. I’ve seen more than a few photos of a man who clearly has his arm around a woman who has been cropped out of the photo. Seriously?

4. All photos are selfies.

Yeah, I know selfies are the big rage these days. Selfie was even the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year in 2013.

But seriously, don’t you have any friends? If all your photos are selfies, I can only assume that you don’t.

Everyone with a cell phone these days also has a camera. The next time you’re looking presentable while you’re out with your friends, hand your phone to a friend and tell him/her to snap your picture. Take a few and then use the best one (not all of them). Was that so hard?

(Oh, and there’s a special place in hell for any man who uses vacation photos taken by his wife on a dating site when he’s still married to her. Did you get that, honey?)

Personally, I think solo selfies are kind of juvenile. It’s one thing to snap a shot of you and your friends at the ball game or beach, all bunched together making faces at a camera for fun, but it’s another to hold the camera at arms length in your bathroom or bedroom to shoot a photo of your face with a clear view up your nostrils. As for mirror selfies, I find them especially offensive. Kind of creepy, in fact.

5. Shirt-off photos (especially selfies).

You’d better have a build like a Calvin Klein underwear model if you include shirtless photos in your profile. I’ve seen too many shirtless photos of guys who really need to keep that stuff covered.

And when the photo is a selfie, you’re sort of admitting that you wouldn’t show it in public anyway.

Remember, you’re trying to attract a woman, not disgust her.

6. Harley fan photos

This is strictly personal preference.

If more than one of your photos or your only photo is of you with your Harley Davidson — especially if you’re wearing Harley clothes — I am not going to be interested. I ride motorcycles but I’m not at all interested in the Harley mentality and its black and orange trappings. I ride motorcycles because I like to ride, not because I like to park a shiny chrome bike in a parking lot after riding a mile or two to have some beers with my friends. I could probably out-ride most of the Harley guys out there and I’m sure I have more motorcycle miles in more states under my belt.

Now put a photo of you standing next to your sport or sport touring bike with a sleek leather jacket and jeans on and you’ve got my attention. Let’s go riding!

Profile Text

Your profile description is where women look next. They want to see what you’re all about. They want to know what you like and what’s important to you. Once your profile photo got a woman’s interest, this is where she’ll go to see if you might be compatible.

My turn-offs here are a mixture of basic no-nos and personal tastes.

7. Poor grammar, spelling, etc.

Okay, not everyone has perfect grammar. Hell, I’ve been writing for a living since 1990 and even I don’t have perfect grammar. I don’t actually expect perfect grammar, either. But I do expect a guy to be able to string together correctly spelled words into a coherent thought that resembles a punctuated sentence. For pete’s sake, we have spellcheckers and autocorrect that practically do the spelling for us!

I can’t help judge a person’s intelligence by the way he/she communicates in writing. I’ve even blogged about that. If you come across in your profile as being illiterate, I’m not going to be interested in you. I’m looking for more than a warm body in bed. I want someone able to think, communicate, and sustain a conversation.

And again, I’m not talking about a few little mistakes. That’s to be expected. No one is perfect.

8. Brief/Incomplete profiles

Dating sites usually give you plenty of space to describe yourself and the kind of woman you’re looking for. A sentence or two concluding with a statement like, “Learn more when you meet me” is a cop-out, plain and simple. Chances are, those two sentences haven’t given me a reason to want to meet you.

Dating sites also usually have data fields with multiple choice options to describe yourself. While I don’t expect you to share your income information or other information that you might consider a bit more private than you’re willing to share in a forum as public as a dating site, I do expect you to provide answers for fields such as your marital status, height, body type, education level, religion (or whether it matters), number of children (if not grown), and whether you smoke or do drugs. Why would you leave out any of this information? This is pretty basic stuff a potential date needs to know.

9. Using LOL more than once in your profile (or in messages)

Are you a man or a 15-year-old girl sending a text to her BFF?

I cannot think of a more overused text abbreviation than LOL. While it’s tolerable in conversations on social networks and texting when you see or read something that really makes you laugh out loud, do you find your online dating profile or messages to me so funny that you’re actually laughing out loud while writing them?

I’ll give you one, and that’s only because you might have learned it from your daughter when she was 15.

10. Inaccurate Profiles

If anything you include in your profile is not true, you are a liar. Period.

That includes truth stretched beyond all recognition.

You love to travel, huh? When was the last time you were away? And no, visiting your kids in Spokane doesn’t count. Someone who really loves to travel takes at least a trip or two a year.

You love to work out at the gym, huh? A guy who really loves to work out at the gym wouldn’t look so dismal with his shirt off (see #5 above).

You love fine dining and wine tasting, huh? Then what’s with that photo of you and your friends at the sports bar guzzling Bud Light?

Do you really want to attract a woman with a lie? What do you think will happen when she discovers the truth?

While it’s true that people who are desperate enough for companionship will overlook lies about age, physical condition, hobbies, etc., are you one of them? Do you want to attract one of them?

And yes, passing off old photos as recent is lying.

11. Saying that you’re looking for a beautiful or sexy woman

Duh. Doesn’t every guy want a hot woman?

But by saying that’s what you’re looking for — especially if you list that first or only list that — you’re telling me a few not-so-pleasant things about yourself:

  • You’re shallow. Looks are more important than anything else.
  • You objectify women.
  • Brains don’t matter. You don’t care what a woman has between her ears as long as she looks good on your arm or services you in bed.
  • You’re in it for the short run. What happens as a woman ages and isn’t as beautiful or sexy anymore?

I actually saw a profile today where the only thing in the description was that he was looking for a beautiful, sexy woman. That was the only tidbit of information he felt worth sharing about himself. And no, he wasn’t a Calvin Klein underwear model, either. Are guys like this ever?

Related: Saying that you don’t want “a fatty” or an “ugly woman.” Same bulleted list applies.

And, for the record, yes I’d like a hot stud. But you won’t find that tidbit in my online profile. I don’t objectify men.

12. Saying more than twice in your profile how important your family is to you.

I get it. You have kids and maybe even grandkids and you love them. Fine.

But if you feel a need to mention it more than twice, I have to wonder how many times I might be dragged to your family gatherings or stuck babysitting your grandkids. I didn’t have kids for a reason: I didn’t want them. While I don’t mind spending some time with kids, I’m not prepared to take over the role of mother or grandmother for yours.

Obviously, this is a personal preference. There are women out there who might love being around kids. But still — do you really need to say it over and over in your profile? Isn’t there anything else you’re interested in that doesn’t involve your family?

This is one of the things that falls under my “three strikes and you’re out” rule.

13. Mentioning your important relationship with Jesus Christ or God.

There are special dating sites for people who have found Jesus. If your relationship to your deity is so important to you that you need to mention it in an online dating site profile, you should go to one of those sites. That’s where women who would appreciate your love for Jesus Christ will be.

Related: Finishing up your profile description with “God bless you” or stating that one of your favorite books is The Bible.

Again, this is a personal preference. I’m not religious at all and would not be happy with someone who was very religious.

14. Mentioning that one of your favorite things to do is to go to the gym or that you work out more than three times a week

Really? You spend so much time working out at a gym but you can’t hook up with a woman there?

And while I don’t expect (or even want) to take up all of a man’s free time, he’ll have a lot less time to share with me if he’s at the gym five days a week after work. I hope he doesn’t expect me to go with him. I have better things to do with my time than play with exercise machines.

I see this gym-love so frequently in dating profiles that I’ve come to suspect that there’s a blog post like this somewhere telling guys to include that line just to impress women. News Flash: Most women in the 40+ crowd aren’t impressed.

15. Going into more detail about what you don’t want than you provide about yourself or what you do want

Profiles like this read like laundry lists from negative people. I can use them to read between the lines. Everything a guy says he doesn’t want is something he’s had in the past that he didn’t like. And, for some reason, he thinks that by listing them, he’ll avoid them.

All he’ll do is avoid any self-respecting woman who wants a man with a more positive outlook on life and dating.

16. Hinting about (or even outright stating) the problems you had with your ex

We’ve all got stories about our ex-partners or ugly breakups. (Regular readers of this blog know that I’ve got whoppers.) If the baggage your ex left you with is so bad that you have to mention it on a dating site, you need a therapist, not a relationship.

This includes comments that make it all too easy to read between the lines. You want a “faithful” woman? What guy doesn’t? When you make a point of saying that in your profile, you’re telling me that your last partner cheated on you. I don’t want to hear about it. If you can’t get past that on your profile, will you drag it into conversation on a date, too?

Personal preference again: I want a strong man, not one who needs constant reassurance and other mommying.

And I definitely don’t want a play-by-play of your ugly divorce on one of our first dates. (Guaranteed mine is uglier and I don’t want to talk to you about that, either.)

17. Saying how hard you work and how important your job is to you.

I work pretty hard in the summer months, work less hard in the spring and autumn, and spent most of the winter trying to keep myself busy with fun things. Because I’m a freelancer and business owner, I don’t have any set hours. That means I can do fun things between work just about any day of the week any time of the year.

I was married to a 9 to 5 slave who spent all of his vacation time going back to New York to visit his family. Although he had many opportunities to build a lifestyle like mine, he apparently preferred the steady paycheck, corporate grind, and the rut he dug for himself. It took a real toll on our relationship in its final days.

As you can imagine, the last thing in the world that I want is a relationship with another guy so caught up in his work that he has no time for a life.

So yes, this is personal preference. If you’re spending so much time working, what time will be left for us? Will you even find time to date?


The few dating sites I’ve been to all have an onsite messaging system that makes it possible to communicate with a potential date without giving away your email address. I always exchange at least three or four messages with a guy before agreeing to meet him (in a very public place, of course).

Messaging does a few things:

  • It helps break the ice in an effort to determine whether the other party is interested. Some guys just don’t respond because they’re either not interested or already dating someone else.
  • It helps learn more about the other party. A little conversation can go a long way to help determine whether someone is worth meeting in person.
  • Set up a date.

Guys could use some improvement here, too.

18. Initiating contact with an inane or open-ended comment.

Last week, I got a message from a man that just said, “hmmm interesting”

What’s the response for something like that? I couldn’t think of anything so I didn’t say anything.

Two days later, he messages me again with “We have five things in common Wow”

I read his profile. I couldn’t see five things we had in common. I did see that he mentioned several times how much his family meant to him and how he expected his partner to spend a lot of time with them. I replied (as kindly as I could) that I was not a family person and he could find a better match than me. Then I wished him good luck and happy new year. I never did find out what the five things were.

Christmas Photo
Sure, I’ll take a compliment on this photo. I think I look pretty darn good here.

Here’s another exchange:
Him: Love your Christmas party pic very nice
Me: Thanks!
Him: your welcome

That’s it. Is he serious or just throwing around compliments? (I’ll gladly take any compliment!) He didn’t leave me anything to move forward on, so I left it at that. It’s funny because I liked his profile and had considered making contact with him but this short exchange changed my mind.

What’s the problem with it? Well It indicates to me that either the person isn’t very imaginative or simply doesn’t want to put any effort into that first contact. Either way, it’s a turn-off to me. Hell, my profile is at least 500 words long and describes a lot of the things I like and do. If you think we have enough in common to make contact for a possible date, why not zero in on one of those?

19. Saying something in a message that proves he didn’t read my profile

My user name on a dating site is IFlyHelis. One of my profile photos is me standing next to a helicopter. My profile mentions the memoir I’m writing about my season as a Grand Canyon helicopter tour pilot and the fact that I’m prepping to build a helibase. I even include “flying” in my list of interests.

Yet I still get first contact messages from guys saying “Do you really fly helos?”

My response: “Yes.” It’s not worth putting more effort into it since he obviously didn’t take the effort to read my profile.

20. Failing to maintain a minimum level of literacy in messages

This goes back to my original Facebook post and what I mentioned in #7 and #9 above.

A message to a potential date on a dating site should not resemble a cryptic text message sent by a 15 year old girl. Yeah, I get it: you’re accessing the site with your cell phone. But honestly, that’s no excuse for sending me messages so full of misspelled words (or typos) and so lacking in punctuation that it takes me five minutes to decipher before I can respond.

No, I don’t expect perfect grammar, full sentences, and flawless spelling. But I do expect something that I can immediately read and understand. Something that assures me I’m dealing with an intelligent, articulate adult and not some prepubescent kid trying to hook a date using photos of his dad.


That’s my list — so far. I’d love to get feedback from women and men sharing their pet peeves from dating sites. What do you think? Have anything to add?

To the guys reading this who are guilty of one or more of these offenses, please don’t think I’m attacking you as a person. I’m not. I’m just pointing out what I’ve seen and experienced and what my opinions are.

And before you comment to bash me about my opinions, read the Site Comment Policy. And then think about what you were going to say. If you’re guilty of these things and are taking offense, lighten up and rethink this post in the spirit in which it was intended: as constructive criticism. If you’re not doing as well as you’d like on dating sites, maybe you can use some of these points as tips to improve your profile and message communication. If so, please do stop back here and let me know how it helps.

I also want to point out that I would never blog anything negative or embarrassing about a specific, identifiable person I met online or dated. We’re all in the same boat — well, sort of. And I’m not one to rock boats when I’m a passenger.

58 thoughts on “20 Things that Turn Me Off about Your Online Dating Presence

  1. This is a great list. I think my number one turn off was always lack of information in their profile. Not thrilled with profile photos that are 10 years old either. I always included an up to date photo and an appropriate amount of true information in my profile. Anything less, to me, is deceitful. Just my humble opinion.
    I actually have had 2 great relationships via online dating early on. But the last few times I tried it, it was SCARY.
    The last attempt which was over the summer, I call it the CreepFest Trifecta.
    First guy, over a week, we exchanged several emails, lots of texting. But no voice calls, so I was a little put off. I did agree to meet him. I suggested a casual, inexpensive cafe midway between our residences. He decided instead that we should meet in a parking lot of an outlet mall. Not even at the Hot Dog On A Stick place or Starbucks or a store. No, The parking lot. He got blocked immediately on all communication modes.
    Bachelor #2, we exchanged a few emails over the course of a week. He seemed so nice. He asked for a phonecall. Not texting – an actual phone call! Well, there was a good reason. After 10 minutes or so of chit chat, he launched into a raunchy and out of nowhere request for phone sex. I hung up immediately and he got the block.
    The third and final. Lots of emails, texting. We had such a nice phone conversation about a week after first contact. He was so polite and intelligent. But then he made an odd request. He wanted to see a picture of my automobile. So I sent him one via text. I never heard from him again. I guess my car wasn’t sexy or stylish enough. Maybe too “manly”. I drive a Ford Transit Connect van. I’ll never know. He never got back to me. I pro actively gave him the block, in case he ever decides to get in touch again.
    I would love to have a good man in my life and have even considered trying online dating again. We’ll see.
    And that is a great picture of you!

    • Wow. Those are three weird stories indeed. So far, my online dating experiences have been pretty sedate. A couple of guys I knew were wrong for me on that first date, a couple of guys I dated multiple times but never felt a real spark for. I’ve (so far) avoided the creeps. You did the right thing on all counts — except maybe the car photo. Was a license plate number visible? He might have been trying to get a line on where you live. Just a thought. Thanks so much for sharing your stories! And thanks for the complement. You know I was fishing for it, right? ;-)

    • No license plate. I took a side picture of the vehicle. Would never include that kind of information to someone I don’t know. Its hard enough for me with my trust issues to give out my email and phone number!
      The other ongoing issue I had was that I clearly stated in my profile that I was really only interested in meeting people in the western United States and that I was not looking for pen pals. Either some of these guys didn’t know how to read or neglected to read or just didn’t care but I received responses from as far away as Turkey. And not just a few either.Got kind of annoying. Oh well.
      And it is a good picture of you, fishing or not. Good luck out there. Keep us posted :)

    • They simply don’t read. It’s our short attention span mentality and the unwillingness of people to put any effort into something that should be important. I think it also has to do with the sheer volume of available singles online. Instead of zeroing in on a few likely candidates and devoting time to learning about them, they just take a shot at anyone who is remotely interesting. Like casting a net instead of a hook. Plenty of fish, yes. But doesn’t it make more sense to go after the one you want most and avoid the rest? Guys who make contact when they’re clearly not a good match must be pretty desperate to hook up. :-(

    • Makes sense that there’s a dating website called “Plenty Of Fish”, right? Just throw a net out. My, my, my. What happened to well meaning friends setting us up on sketchy blind dates? I’m almost ready to go back to those old days.

    • Hell, I’m ready, too. Would much rather meet someone in person than fool around with this online dating nonsense. I’ve already got a pretty active social life; this is just a way to expand the pool of possibilities.

  2. Your post is timely, just watched “Sideways” again last weekend and it’s a movie that’s clearly all about character. I can’t agree with your points more. I found my wife 12 years ago through an internet dating site and we both had similar comments about posts we’d seen or people we’d been approached by. Yes, both sexes are guilty of these missteps. The good news about internet dating is it’s easier to cull out the bad actors and move on.

    People don’t seem to understand that they’re selling themselves in an effort to engage in what is likely to be one of the (if not THE) most serious relationship of their lives. The gravity of that realization ought to motivate them to put in a better effort and demonstrate more character. Perhaps there’s not much of that left anymore in our soundbite mentality nation. The quality you get is the quality you put into it.

    Regarding profile photos, I’ll second the opinion that your photo is very nice. Chances are you won’t be wearing that outfit to your first meeting but I think overdressing for a profile photo is the better route. It sends the right message: happy, attractive, you know how to dress for an occasion and are comfortable in your own skin. Bravo! A ball gown and tiara would be over the top and a Hooters outfit goes too far the other way, yes? Classy is as classy does.

    You’re a terrific writer and I look forward to reading more about your adventures whether amorous or otherwise. You are brave to share so much but I think you’ve set the right level on the over/under scale.

    Best wishes!

    • Thanks so much John. And you’re right about people selling themselves. By doing a poor job on their profiles, they’re selling themselves short! It’s almost as if they’re not taking it seriously at all. That alone would be a good filter. I wish the site I currently favored offered a way to simply hide the “rejects” so they don’t keep coming up in search results.

      Thanks about the photo. It’s a secondary photo now. I need a new good casual shot. A winter photo. Next time I’m out with friends. I don’t do selfies!

      Best wishes to you, too. And thanks for taking the time to comment!

    • I don’t know about your target dates but the photo my (now) wife posted on her profile showed her and her dog. Who can resist a happy face and a dog?

    • My dog is in a lot of my photos, too. Unfortunately, my dog is a “chick magnet.” I need a hunk magnet! Or maybe that’s what the helicopter is. ;-)

    • Interesting how some breeds seem to attract a certain gender, no? Regarding the helicopter, do you think most men are a little intimidated by women whose equipment is bigger than their own? Sorry, I couldn’t resist!

    • John, You summed it up beautifully here:
      “People don’t seem to understand that they’re selling themselves in an effort to engage in what is likely to be one of the (if not THE) most serious relationship of their lives. The gravity of that realization ought to motivate them to put in a better effort and demonstrate more character. Perhaps there’s not much of that left anymore in our soundbite mentality nation.”
      Character. Integrity. Honesty. Where art thou? :)

    • Thanks, Kim. Everyone who’s not giving out their best is just a player. Life’s too short for that nonsense.

  3. My list to add:
    A photo with the biggest fish you ever caught. (Really? I’ve never met a grouper I wanted to go to bed with)
    A photo with other women that are not your: daughter, sister, mother, cousin. (or the smudged out, whited out, cropped out women photos you mentioned).
    Too many sunsets, skylines, mouton views and not enough of him.
    A picture so small he could be a tree in the park.
    All sunglasses: I met a guy once who was very good looking with his glasses on. We met. I said (to myself) who is this guy? He was nice but the sunglasses really masked an unattractive man & although he was interesting in some respects, it took 3 martinis to think there might be something there. I didn’t want to be an alcoholic to enjoy the man.
    Plagarism:The obvious foreigner who talks about the kind of woman he wants but he’s lifted the text from a woman’s profile so when he says the kind of woman he wants is a man with family values, I just want to ask what boat he fell off of.
    The resume profile: Me, me, and you but lets write about me some more.

    • Now that’s where we differ — I like to go fishing so the fish photo would probably interest me!

      Agree entirely on the sunset, etc. photos. Also the car, boat, house, and other items he owns (or owes money on). Silhouette photos, too.

    • I like fishing too but if that’s the best he can do for a profile pic I’m not interested unless of course it’s his 47 foot Grand Banks!
      Oh and: Bathroom selfies!, computer photos-the fisheye look, sitting on “his” brother’s Ferrari

  4. FWIW I’m male and a bit more than a decade your junior but could easily have written your blog from my own experiences.

    I do find photos an easy way to filter profiles quickly. If they are only bathroom mirror selfies, photos of groups drinking, or weddings I’m probably not interested. I agree that cropped photos with the ex are a real turn-off too. I want to see a glimpse of a personality and involvement in some sort of activity, especially something outdoors even if it is just walking the dog.

    My final deal-killer is the women who write rants about how they don’t want to be treated poorly by the morons. Those of us who will treat them well don’t want to hear it and the morons without grammar also have issues with reading comprehension.

    • Hey R, Thanks for joining the conversation. It’s good to hear from a guy about this.
      I have male friends who have had some less than desirable online dating experiences too. So this isn’t gender specific. Dating is truly an adventure whether you are male or female Not for the weak of heart!. :)

    • That definitely would be a bit long! I bet half the women out there who have subjected themselves to the indignity of online dating would have a few pages of rants to share. Thanks for linking to yours.

  5. Have to agree on almost all your points. You know my stories! I do think there are some reasonable guys out there, but many of them sorely need some help in presenting their profile to properly showcase them, so they get missed? Oh well, their loss I guess. Keep living YOUR life as you do, and perhaps someone fitting your specs will catch up with you. Of course, I am trying to convince myself of the same thing! :) Good article – great reminders to all.

    • I think you found one of those reasonable guys. ;-)

      Dating sites are not the answer. But they do offer opportunities for practice dating — I think I just made that up — and for getting a better idea of what the pool of possibilities is like. Pretty dismal, if you ask me.

    • There are some good people out there. Not that everything is going to work in the end, but at least they can be people who might become compatible friends if not more. But it takes a lot of time. Worth it? Not sure. And, yes, there does go with it the practice dating aspect. I certainly need to hone those skills after such a long time!

    • Yes, there are a few good ones but they make up a very small percent of the men on dating sites. The good ones don’t need dating sites. It’s taken this last foray into online dating for me to truly see that. I wish other friends — no, not you, of course — would stop telling me that I should keep trying online dating. Just because they managed to meet someone who satisfied their needs doesn’t mean I’ll find someone I want to spend time with. My needs are few and the last thing I want is someone who needs me. Been there, done that. I never want to be a man’s mommy again.

    • Happily off them all, hopefully for good for me. Not that I’ve “found” anyone, but for many of the reasons you have pointed out. Our previous life experiences (good or bad) help hone in on what we might be seeking, and what to avoid. In the meantime, we have our own personal goals to keep us motivated in life. Thank goodness!

    • Have been following this thread the last few days. It hits home.
      A few months ago, I tried online dating again. And again it was just a disaster.
      I’m not picky or have ridiculous requirements. Just looking a for a nice single man who is financially solvent and does not have substance abuse issues. Sounds easy, right? Wrong.
      I’ve resigned myself to the very distinct possibility that I’ll be single indefinitely, maybe permanently. So I join clubs, take classes and volunteer and keep myself busy with other things. Venturing into online dating again? Oh no.

    • My Match subscription expires in February and I have already turned off renewals. The only reason I tried again is because too many friends told me it worked for them.

      I’ve begun to think that all the good profiles are fakes planted by the Match people to make it seem as if there are good men out there in my age group. None of them respond to any kind of initial communication. How degrading is that? Most of the ones who have contacted me are either 15 years older than I am — are they kidding me? — or obvious losers searching for caregivers or hand-holders. Been there, done that. And what’s with the guys flirting from 1,000 miles away?

      There’s nothing wrong with being single. In fact, I’m having more fun being single than I did during the last 10 or so years of my relationship. Freedom to do what we want when we want to do it. Make new friends, explore new hobbies, learn new things — all without some needy couch potato trying to hold me back or monopolize my free time. I’d like a partner in life — not a ball and chain. As I’ve said elsewhere, being single sure beats the hell out of a relationship with the wrong man.

      Good luck to you whatever you do!

  6. You are absolutely on point about Match planting fake profiles. I’m convinced of this. All the sites probably do it. Maybe someday a good journalist will do an expose on this. It’s false advertising. It’s wrong.
    Best wishes to you in all you do. May 2015 be healthy, happy, and prosperous for you. And if a good man walks into your life, that’s icing on the cake!

  7. On POF I met a man after a few letters back and forth it was 2013 .His profile said he was separated the more we talked he was married.Separated to him meant he lives in the basement and she lives upstairs with two teenagers.
    then he would call me everyday.Many major problems in that house,foreclosure he doesn’t work lives on POF and hangs out in bars.He is the “pusher” meaning he gets his picture taken with people that don’t even know him.With all the truths coming out I dated him less.I was on to him,out smarted him he hated that.
    I mailed him back all his clothes and cards saying howmuch he loved me.
    So now it is 2015 no more “Elliott” Till a few months back he calls me one morning at 6am.Telling me he needs to get out of the house that the “wife” and daughters are fighting upstairs that they are mental.. My comeback was “Sorry I have plans today.He beg me,couldn’t shake him off the phone .So I hung up the phone and till this day 7/2015 he does not talk to me.Like I care..NOT
    He had no respect .Oh yes lets not forget the last call to me telling me I was crazy and mental
    Moral of the story..Separated men lie major big time…
    I asked him one “does the wife know she is separated ?
    Funny no come back…

  8. As per out last talk..Said man from POF Elliott Coral is still out there trying to pick up females for sex. What I forgot to mention the last time ..
    On one of his many names he uses ..He has added my name to sex sites that he par takes in. He thinks I can’t figure out who is behind these sites. I brought this to his attention that the sex sites will give my name to another site for the reasons he has posted.
    Told him “don’t play me for a fool” It it you who is doing this to me..never had this problem before.
    Funny ,the jerk can’t even face me..I wonder why he is in hiding from me..???
    What is your take on this if I may ask?

  9. I’ve been on online dating sites for 10-15 years. I’ve gotten a total of 3 dates in that time. One we had a nice dinner, but I didn’t really care for her. Another I kinda liked her, we dated for a month, but I lost interest, and the last one shows up to the date in pajama bottoms and a dirty sweatshirt.

    I’m not looking for what most men are looking for, my beauty queen is someone most guys might not give a second glance. (Of course Bernadette from Big Bang Theory might turn a few guys heads).

    When i see profiles with vacation pics from far off countries, I think “This girl is going to be expensive”. I make decent money and can’t just drop everything and go to Europe for a week.

    And dogs… A picture kissing the dog on the mouth… ew-ew-ew-ew-ew

    As for the free/paid sites. The profiles look basically the same. Many times they are the same people. I live in a metro area of 250k people. There is about 200-400 women around my age on a dating site. By the time you eliminate the stale profiles, the totally undesirables, the ones you aren’t going to compatible with, there is maybe 5-10 women a month I would consider emailing….and I wouldn’t spend $30/mo to send 5 emails.

    • I am so with you on most of this. I had about a dozen dates from dating sites in 2-1/2 years and, in most cases, was shocked by how different — physically and intellectually — the guy was from how he appeared online. There were a lot of losers, a lot of guys with heavy ex-wife/family baggage, and a lot of guys who came off as desperate for anyone. The dates that made me wonder were the ones where I’d know almost immediately that the guy was wrong for me, sit through an hour or more chatting over a glass of wine getting confirmation of this, and then have him ask to see me again when I was able to make an excuse to leave politely. It’s like he was completely clueless about the lack of chemistry. And you’re right: it’s the same people over and over.

      While I know plenty of people who met their current partner online, I think that real matches must be few and far between. For the most part, the men I met on dating sites were desperate losers who lied to get attention and then somehow thought they could continue the charade once they’d gotten a date with a woman.

      And, for the record, the man I’m currently dating is not someone I met online.

  10. How about those guys who put on one blurry headshot of themselves and several pictures of their dog???!!
    And who define themselves “self employed” when in reality they are unemployed?

    • 90% of what’s on online dating sites are lies. That’s my take on this. I’ve dropped off all sites. It’s demeaning and frustrating at the same time.

  11. I dont think you are cut out for the online world. You cant take it seriously….yes you can find a good match….however you can also buy a winning lottery ticket as soon as you get off work. For the most part its not reality. Its just an overly exaggerated extension of the bar scene. Most wome are so ingrained in role playing and bad dating habits they think its actually the way a lady should date. Plus they think all the emails are reality and that all those men are actually attracted to them. Then we men are forced to perpetuate it by pretending to be really interested when we dont even know if we want to spend five minutes with her. Insanity: actively pursuing and dating a women to see if you want to date her. Like i said, an exaggerated version of the bar scene. Purely a numbers game. Every woman has her own set of rules, then if you choose to follow it, you get chastised by the next women you coorespond with (lol). Most females dont realize that all women dont think the same and dont really know women. However, they insist that they do, because they themselves are women. Nothing is futher from the truth. Unless the female actually knows the female in question, a woman is the worst person to ask for advice about another woman. Dont be upset if you disagree, most women do…and men for that matter. Why? because cliché s pretty much rule our social life. Most of them are outdated or simply false. I could get deeper but my left over spaghetti is calling me. Happy hunting.

    • It’s all a bunch of bullshit, plain and simple. Lies, people playing games — you said it yourself! I closed down all my online dating accounts months ago and don’t miss them one damn bit. In fact, the only relationship I’ve had since my divorce was someone I met socially in town — NOT one of the losers who contacted me on a dating site.

      As for me not being cut out for the online world — I’ve been using the “online world” since the 1990s. I built my first Website in 1994 and have written books about online services and software including AOL (years ago), WordPress, and Twitter.

      But no, I do expect a certain level of seriousness and honesty in online dating. Perhaps that’s the problem? That, like you, most people think it’s just a game? If so, it’s a game I prefer not to play.

  12. But most the photo things you mentioned i totally agree. Ive met lots of women with old photos:( However i dont get out much and not a selfie kind of guy, so i have had to crop girls (who were just friends or gfs) out of my pictures. So i get that no one wants to see someone making out in a jacuzzi, but simply taking a pic with someone of the opposite sex isnt a big deal. And yes ive had many women agree with me on this, including my sisters. Again, some women dont like it, some dont, and some dont even think about it;) Everyone is different.

  13. Hi Kevan. Here’s something interesting about your comment. I arrived today at a different page on this blog via a Google search. It turned out that the page didn’t contain what I was looking for, so I was about to close the tab, but then my eye was caught by the ‘Recent Comments’ on ’20 Things that Turn Me Off about Your Online Dating Presence’.

    At this stage, for some reason, I thought the author of the blog was a man and clicked on the link expecting to find out what 20 things would turn off a man about someone’s online dating presence.

    I must have clicked on a link to your comment, because that’s the first thing I saw, before even the article. And the first thing I read in your comment was ‘I dont think you are cut out for the online world.’

    And at that point I knew that I was wrong and that this blog was written by a woman. Because I’ve never heard a man say to another man that he wasn’t suited to the online world. And I have heard a thousand men tell women that they shouldn’t be online.

    This isn’t about you personally or trying to make you out to be a bad person. From the rest of your comment, I’m sure you’re not. And my assumption that this blog was written by a man probably reflects badly on me. But isn’t it interesting that from that short sentence I knew immediately that a woman was being addressed?

    • I’m just curious to know what turns a man off about a woman’s online profile. The same things I listed? Curious!

      And I don’t take offense from people like Kevin. If I did, his comment never would have appeared. I keep things civil on this blog by moderating comments. I don’t think Kevin meant to be offensive — I just don’t think he understood how a person could be offended. I have a pretty thick skin — and zero tolerance for trolls.

  14. I’ve recently registered a couple of free online dating accounts. I haven’t become jaded yet, so I give people a lot of leeway. I know most people don’t have strong writing or even language skills, but I do have a growing pet peeve.

    My pet peeve is that so many women list a long parade of favorite activities, often saying or at least implying that these are not just things they like to do but things they actually do.

    So that leaves me thinking, if you really volunteer at a pet shelter, go on day trips with friends, love to hike, camp, go to films, museums, wine tasting events, concerts, etc., then what are you doing on a dating site?

    Three possibilities occur to me:
    1.- You’re just looking for the ego boost of getting lots of male attention.
    2.- You’re so picky that no one you meet in your fabulously busy social life makes the cut. Guess what, chicken butt? None of the men here will make the cut either.
    3.- You’re full of it. You spend your weekends playing with your cat and binge-watching Netflix, just like the rest of us.

    • Any of those conclusions could be right, depending on the woman.

      I personally don’t care about getting “male attention.” I want a monogamous relationship — with companionship and sex — although I don’t want it to be full-time. I need breathing room. I have absolutely no desire to ever get married again, and the longer I’m single, the longer I LIKE living alone. But it sure would be nice to cook with/for someone, travel with someone, socialize with friends with someone, and sleep with that same someone.

      As for fabulously busy social lives, the sad thing about people my age (45+) is that they’re usually already paired up. I do a lot of things with friends, but the single ones are usually women. I did wind up starting a relationship with someone I met socially, but it didn’t last and that’s okay. But just because a person has a busy social calendar doesn’t mean she (or he, for that matter) has many opportunities to meet singles. And unlike too many other people I know, I won’t start a relationship with a married man. That’s absolutely taboo.

      I suspect that most of those women probably are full of it. Most of the men online certainly are.

      Good luck.

  15. I have no experience of this aspect of the online world but it seems a minefield. You describe it with clarity and humour.
    Pre-Internet, my aunt found herself widowed in her early forties. She adjusted to her loss and started to test the water for new relationships. She used an introduction agency. They interviewed her in depth and asked what she was looking for. They charged a big fee and offered her three names (and photos) of men they had also interviewed, who, in their view, met her requirements for integrity and decency. She met each for dinner. All were genuine kind men. One was a little ‘right field’ and too traditional for her. She liked the other two and settled down with the second. They are still together.

    Those agencies probably don’t exist anymore. They had reputations for proper screening of applicants. If they got things badly wrong they risked losing their good name.
    They asked all the difficult questions about money, background, education, intelligence. Thus the three men had passed that test. While success was not guaranteed, there was a high hit rate, because they had done proper vetting. These days it seems that too many frogs are attempting to pass themselves off as princes.
    The agencies could cut through all that bs without embarrassing either applicant.

    • That agency sounds exactly like something I’d like to try. There are more expensive dating services that do similar work, but my biggest problem is where I live: there simply aren’t many single men on my side of the mountains and most single men on the Seattle side balk about the notion of a “long distance” relationship. (Of course, that’s really what I want these days — a part-timer!)

      The main problem with online dating: people pretending to be someone they’re not. EVERYONE lies. And half the men are married, fishing for a fling or a replacement for their wife. I blogged about that here: https://www.aneclecticmind.com/2014/01/19/i-am-not-the-woman-you-are-looking-for/

What do you think?