Does Online Dating Even Work?!

Does Online Dating Even Work?!

Dear Evan,

I was curious as to what your real opinion is of online dating. I did meet my girlfriend online, but after a year of painful struggle, meaning hardly any dates despite being educated, employed, and reasonably attractive. Friends of both genders tell that their experiences have been hard in different ways. My guy friends (also educated, attractive) complain that they get no responses and female acquaintences tell me that they get so many emails, etc, that they don’t know where to start-and often do nothing. They don’t have time to “date around” several times a week.(actually neither would I). I assume that the problem exists due to security. Women, being more vulnerable than men, are more hesitant to date online, so you get a situation where there’s a lot more men than women. Aside from my own luck and the trendy radio ads and sexy commercials, it seems as if no one’s happy.


Dear Geoff,

Glad to hear you found someone special, and even happier that you spoke up. Most of the people that write about online dating write about what’s wrong with it. It makes sense. I mean, that’s what news is – emphasize the bad, misery loves company, etc. Turn on the TV and it’s not about kittens being saved from trees, but drive-by shootings. That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of kittens saved from trees.

Go to one of those websites that reviews dating sites and you’ll see the same. Average review will be 2 out of 5 stars or something like that. Why? Because people who get married from online dating sites rarely get back online to post happy reviews on websites. They move on with their lives, while everyone else complains about the sites and the awful people on the sites.

I don’t deny ANYBODY the negative experiences that they’ve had. I just urge people to find some healthier perspective on the whole thing. A private client told me just this weekend that she’s quitting online dating after three bad dates in a row. Here is what I wrote back to her:

First of all, I’ve had EVERY bad dating experience you can possibly imagine. I’ve had women write me nasty emails, insult me over the phone, ignore my phone calls, stand me up, refuse to thank me for dinner, refuse to reciprocate in bed… Are you getting the idea? And yet I still run around as this super dating advocate, because I believe it is the best prospect to find someone special. If you choose to wait for lightning to strike until you go on another date with the “right” guy, you might be waiting a long, long time. Like, FOREVER.

Abstinence isn’t the answer. Mustering the courage to persevere in light of bad experience is.

Listen, you might think I’m nuts to keep on preaching positivity. That’s fair. All I know is that it’s freakin’ HARD to meet someone. We have our small lives: our circle of married friends, our work buddies, a few single people, and that’s it. And as you get into your mid-30’s, the bar scene is really old and set-ups have become a bit of a joke. While it’s nice to say, “I want to meet someone organically, where our eyes meet, so I can feel chemistry”, that simply doesn’t happen very often. This is why I believe in online dating. Not because it’s perfect – not by a long shot. But because it creates opportunity where previously there was none. My first love, in 2003, was a Filipino woman that worked in the pharmaceutical industry and lived in a different part of town. I NEVER would have met her in “real life”. But I did meet her on My best friend in New York is marrying a man she met on eHarmony. My sister is in love with a man she met on Nerve. My sister’s best friend is in love with a man she met on eHarmony. I have dozens of clients who are married, engaged and in love with people they met online. And these are just the people that I know well.

So let’s acknowledge the flaws of online dating: the liars, the bores, the flakes, the crazies, the morons, the perverts, the poor spellers, and so on. These people exist offline as well. They just have access to you online. So as I see it, you have two choices: quit online dating and make a supreme effort to go to as many parties, coffee shops and adult education classes as possible OR try to find a way to avoid the worst of the online daters. The third, and most popular choice, is to quit and wait for your soulmate to drop out of the sky, like “The Secret” for love. Yeah, keep praying, people.

Your best bet is to keep dusting yourself off, learning from your mistakes, and staying in the game. Sure, sometimes you’ll get burned. But sometimes, with enough perseverence (as well as luck, timing, a good profile and a positive attitude), you’ll fall in love. And if it hasn’t happened to you yet, you can say “What’s wrong with these terrible people on these awful sites?” Or you can ask, “How can I make this work for me, despite the obvious flaws?”

You know where I stand. But I’ll tell you, all it takes is one person – and you’ll be standing right with me.

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  1. 91

    Joe–Actually, half of the men do not EARN the median salary; rather, the median salary is that number where half the population falls above and half falls below. And it’s used as a more accurate number than the average qazarly quoted, since it’s not affected by extreme outliers, such as multi-billionaires, who would skew the average (or mean) salary upwards.

  2. 92

    on post #89,

    “she would ooze desperation”,,,,,I like the phrase….hhmmmhhh…

  3. 93

    on post #86

    Any man that tells a woman, he is settling, on account of not finding someone else, is asking to be dismissed/dropped/booted/bye-bye…..not all men know how to leave/exit/say this is not working out, some of us we just need a big boot up our bottom!!……

  4. 94

    on post #80


    Really? Are there lots and lots of Alpha women out there?……

  5. 95

    To Cilla on post #74,

    Sometimes I wish more women would become cougar hunters.(common practice all over Europe) This way, Women might be more at ease when going on a date with the man they really want.

  6. 96

    All I can say, Hunter, is that specifically _online_ I saw more quality women than I have men.

  7. 97


    I don’t get it. How can a woman become a cougar hunter? Do you mean you wish more women were comfortable dating younger men, i.e. being “cougars?” If that’s the case, I agree with you. I think everyone in general should be comfortable dating whomever they want, and society shouldn’t care. No one looks twice when a younger woman goes out with an older man. Maybe if women weren’t labeled “cougars,” however, they would be more comfortable. As long as a negative connotation is attached, some women will simply not date younger men.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve dated 9 men, including 2 LTRs, since my divorce. One was four years older than me, two were two years older than me, and six were younger than me. The greatest age difference was 19 years younger than me. While I’m currently looking in a slighter narrower age range, I’d have no problem dating a significantly younger guy if he were sure he didn’t want children. I take constant flak from my friends and neighbors for it, and I have stopped defending myself. I just tell them I do what makes me happy, then turn the inquisition around to them and grill them about all the great decisions they’ve made in their love lives LOL. Believe me, that shuts them up fast!

  8. 98

    You can pretty much answer this question with the title of another one of Evan’s posts: “Men look for sex and find love, women look for love and find sex”.

  9. 99

    I dont think you would actually like a woman who was biting her hand off to go on a date you with you she would ooze desperation and most men dont think desperation is attractive jewelery on a woman.
    Can desperation on her part be taken advantage of?

    1. 99.1
      Karl R

      Let me turn your question around.

      Let’s say a man was desperate to get into a long-term relationship. Perhaps he felt insecure about himself because all his peers were married or in long-term relationships. Lets say this man was desperate to get into a relationship so he could “measure up” to these peers.

      Do you think it would be possible for a woman to take advantage of this man?

      Would it be possible for a woman to date this man, while repeatedly cheating on him with other men, then get him to repeatedly “forgive” her, since his only choices would be to allow her cheating or be alone again?

      Would it be possible for a woman to persuade this desperate man that he needed to spend beyond his means in order to win / keep her affections?

      Would it be possible for the woman to bully the man into always doing things her way, since she could threaten to leave him if he ever stood up for himself?

      I don’t believe men and women are that different. I think it is no more difficult to take advantage of a desperate woman than it is to take advantage of a desperate man.

      I also believe it’s completely unethical to take advantage of someone who is desperate. But there are no shortage of unethical people (or desperate people) in the world.

      1. 99.1.1

        It makes you wonder why desperate people can not find each other.

        One could set up a dating website catering to desperate people, but then how would one filter out the kind of people whom you mentioned above?

  10. 100

    Desperate people can’t find each other online for the same reason that people that are 3’s,4’s and 5’s don’t email each other online and date each other. No one THINKS or realizes they’re desperate and no one thinks they’re a 3 or a 4 or a 5.
    A great percentage of men & women online are delusional and unrealistic.

    1. 100.1

      OMG YES!  You are spot on. I am engaged now but my best advice to men (and women too I suppose I just can’t speak from that side of things) is to not email a girl online and expect her to respond to you if you would not approach said same female in person.  I think this helps people from setting their expetations too high in general.   It is like as soon as men get online they all want 10s and won’t settle for anything less.

  11. 101

    Yeah, but one person’s 3, 4 or 5 is another person’s 6, 7 or 8. :p

  12. 102

    My biggest problem is finding something witty or funny to write.

  13. 103
    Ugly Short Guy

    Online dating doesn’t work because women don’t use the internet to actually meet and date men. Most women only use it to reinforce in themselves the notion that their prolonged single-status is NOT their fault, but instead because of the fact that there are simply “no good men to date.”

    Here’s how it plays out: a women sets up an online dating profile. She immediately gets 200 messages. She ignores all those messages because there are just too many to handle and starts her own “search.” What she searches for are the tallest and hottest guys she can find, whom she messages right away. After not hearing back from those few guys (or getting replies and realizing they’re complete morons/jerks/losers) she gives up altogether, claiming “there were no good men to date online.”

    However, if women would use online dating to find men who have common interests and good personalities, they might actually end up on some good dates. BUT, that’s not what women do. They only search for and contact tall and hot guys, then when those don’t pan out, they give up.

    1. 103.1

      No if men would get together and all only email the women whose critera that they actually fit women would not get bombarded by 200 emails.  Men screw each other. If my profile says that I am looking for a man with a bachelors degree, who is above 5’9, lives within 30 miles of my home, is in good shape, does not have children but wants them, does not smoke and is in my age range, please do not email me if you are 10 years outside of that range in either direction, smoke, don’t have a degree, live three states away, and then get mad when I don’t respond, come on now!  It would work a lot better if men looked at what the person they were writing was interested in, rather than forcing themselves on women whose criteria they do not meet.      I promise you that out of those 200 messages 180 do not fit within the woman’s must haves so all it is doing is jamming up the woman’s email box and taking up space for me that she actually may be intersted in.

  14. 104

    Well they would say “why can’t I have a tall hot guy with common interests and good personality?” and we know the answer is because women that are 5’s don’t get or date men that are 9’s and 10’s and vice versa. Attraction works a lot different online than in real life because of all the so called “stats” you have on paper in front of you like income,occupation,residence,education etc……all of which matter to women a lot more than men.

    And actually I’ve been several “tall hot guys” online and for the most part most of the most attractive women DO NOT initiate contact with them(for fear of rejection I would assume or because they feel they shouldn’t have to) but they will “look” at them a lot and let it be known that they’re “viewing” their profile basically saying “here I am,notice me !!!” in hopes of having the tall hottie initiate and show interest first. Mostly the tall hot guys only get initiated contact by the delusional obese 4 or 5 or the occasional “cougar” but seldom his equal. On occasion a woman who’s his equal might email or wink,it’s rare but it does happen. Yes,I’m sure the 9’s and 10’s on any given site get together……lol Just like in real life. No shock there.

  15. 105

    Online dating doesn’t work for most people. Out of a straw poll of 10 friends who have tried online dating, only one met someone online who they had a long-term (longer than six months) relationship.

    The other 9 found that the people they met on dates 1) were a lot older or bigger than they claimed on their profile, 2) looked nothing like their online photo(s) or 3) were clearly after one thing only.

    It’s a good idea but the reality is that the internet doesn’t provide solutions for every aspect of human life.

  16. 106

    RE: Anna’s #110
    A few questions
    1. What percentage of these friends are male and what percentage are female?
    2. What percentage of dates that you or your friends go on (that did not come from online dating) make it to 6+ months?
    3. How many of these matches did you or your friends initiate vs how many of these dates were initiated by the other person?

  17. 107

    I’ve been Internet dating for almost a year now, since my 10-year relationship tragically and stupidly broke up.
    I’m unusually good-looking and fit, but I’m 52. I’ve encountered huge amounts of age discrimination. Most women don’t even include my age group in their searches because they assume that 50 = dead. Even though I can outmuscle most guys half my age.
    I have had a few dates, a brief (one month) relationship, and I caught caught up in one embarrassing scam. All my experiences have been pretty bad. Many of the women I’ve met have lied about all sorts of things, or omitted important information. The one-month woman was patently crazy, very disturbed.
    But the main reality is, there just isn’t much action for a guy my age on these websites. I don’t get responses to my nice, polite emails, and women rarely initiate contact with me, notwithstanding my “hardbody” and nice smile and solid, rational profiles.
    I agree with Evan that online dating represents an opportunity, especially for rural farmboys like myself. But, although I persist in the search, I’m gradually abandoning hope. Looks like I’m going to have to learn to be more happy with just myself. I call this the “hermit option.”
    My dad used to say, “There are worse things than being alone.” It’s oh so true. Nothing is worse than a nightmare relationship. Then, trust me, you pray for sweet loneliness.
    Thank God for dogs.

    1. 107.1

      Are you looking in your age range?      Meaning the same age as you?

  18. 108

    I am 39, almost 40. I’ve met online and dated men who were 25 – 51. I get emails and flirts from mostly younger guys (between 20 – 30). Ideally, though, I’d like someone closer to my age and am always thrilled when someone who is my age contacts me.
    Really, 50 year old women think a man who is 52 is dead? Who do you think they are dating?

  19. 109

    Steve #112

    Are you contacting women in your own age range? As in 40-50’s? If you’re a good-looking, fit, nice guy, it’s hard for me to believe women aren’t interested. If women aren’t including your age in their searches, it must be because you’re contacting women under 40, and correct, most of them are looking for men closer to their own age.

    1. 109.1

      Right same thought I had.     I suspect he is contacting women under 40 and they are not going to be interested.     Sorry.

  20. 110

    @ Steve #112

    Like Ava, I’m also curious about the age range of women you are contacting. Generally, women prefer men within their own generation. If you are writing to women 10 or more years younger than you, be aware of this.

    Thatissue non-withstanding, I can guess being rural might be a factor. Simply less to choose from. A couple years ago I read of a site called, I believe it was – you might try looking into a specialized site like that to meet women who live in/are interested in – living in the country opposed to those who are definite “city girls”.

    I spend part of the year living in “Amish country” so to speak- so I know how difficult it can be to meet singles where there are sparse places to meet anyone period.

  21. 111

    Thanks very much for your nice comments, Krystyn, Ava, and Selena.
    Part of my difficulty is that I look, act, and feel like I’m 40 or even younger, not 52. But women closer to my age tend to look more like my mother. So I feel out-of-step with women in their 50s, and have indeed sought a younger match. But at least I’ve kept an open mind, and routinely include women in my age group in my searches.
    Another part of the difficulty is that there seems to be a trend among women to prefer men younger than themselves. For example, a 40-year-old women might say she’s looking for a man 28-40. This reverses a longstanding tradition according to which the man is older than the woman.
    I feel left out in the cold. I’ve been extending my searches to places like the Philippines, where more traditional values still apply. But dating someone overseas, esp. in a Third World country, poses huge challenges.

    1. 111.1

      Women under 40 are going to have a low response rate to you, sorry.  I am 39 and to me 52 is way too old.   Whether you act 40 or not, your body is still 52.   Most women in their 30s (not me) are looking to have kids as well and see you as far too old to start a family with.     You have every right to be attracted to what you are attracted to, but you are correct in that unless you select women your age you are going ot have a hard time meeting someone.  Sure you can go to the Phillipines and meet a woman trying to get her citizenship who will dump you a few years after she gets it. I just think you need to be more realistic in your search.

      1. 111.1.1

        lisa, the man can go to the phillipines or the Ukraine, or any other country,  to meet a woman, she may get her citizenship and she may stay with him forever…..!

      2. 111.1.2

        lisa, some men go to Japan, and never come back, because of the attention they get over there….!!

    2. 111.2

      @Steve, as a general rule when I was online dating (I do not use online dating anymore) I ignored or bypassed any profile of a man who said or insinuated he is “____ age, but look, feel and act younger.” Aside from rather superficial, it throws up a warning flag for me.

      I appreciate and am attracted to men who value their age, their experience and their time on this earth. I find myself turned off by men who feel or like to believe they look, act or behave younger than they are. Because, they aren’t. More than likely they look their age, act their age or have interests/habits/hobbies that are their age.

      You are your age. Wear it with pride. That, to me, is attractive and desirable. Any person seemingly searching for, clinging to and believing they’re a living/breathing fountain of youth gives me cause for concern, especially when it comes to getting close, creating a relationship and planning a future. If that person clings to some idealized image or need for youthfulness, I worry what maturity and adult goals and desires they bring to a relationship.

      I’m 41, but I have the gift of melanin and am usually mistaken for 6-8 years younger than I actually am. And, while I know I may look younger, I don’t advertise this on dating profiles or voice this thought to others because, when it all comes down to it, I know my behaviors, actions, interests, character is that of a 41 year old woman. And, I’d be selling both myself short and any young men seeking to date me short by selling the idea I’m younger than I actually am.

      You also claim that women who do not seek to date men you are are discriminating against you. That’s a pretty harsh word to use for women who are simply exercising their preference.

      I’d say be sure to never include any lines about “…looking or feeling younger than your age” in your profile. To both younger women and women you are it feels like you’re tossing out bait to hook a young woman and it can be very much a turn off for both. In the meantime keep up a well-written profile with good photos and the women who find you attractive and interesting and within their acceptable age range will respond to your messages. Then, it’s up to you to decide if their age (and how they look in accordance to that age) is within your preference

  22. 112

    Women who end up online dating were not chosen in the real world. Any charming, good looking woman, with her life together has plenty of opportunities in the real world to be picked up. All she has to do is express a little interest and the guys will be calling. (Ya, ya, I know, some girls are just too busy to meet people in the real world…but then, what kind of relationship are you going to have with Miss too busy anyway). So, all the girls in the online dating pool are the ones passed over. They feel rejected. They put up their profiles and, all of a sudden, they are being chosen. And not by 1 guy, but by dozens wanting to meet them. So, its zero to hero for them in an instant. And it goes straight to their head. So, you have the instant ego boost combined with the issues that lead her to online dating in the first place. Not a good combination for any self respecting man to deal with. Thats why online dating sucks for guys. Quality women have no need to advertise.

    1. 112.1

      Your assertion that women are online because they’ve been passed over in real life is absolutely NOT true. Many of us are simply too busy to meet men any other way. Think about it: with more women choosing to pursue full-time careers, how much time does that realistically leave for getting out to meet men? I’m a good-looking, good-hearted and fun woman but I’m not getting hit on the grocery aisle. I have hobbies I regularly pursue. I hate bars, I have few friends, am going to school and have a full-time job,. When am I supposed to have all these opportunities to be “picked up”, as you put it?

  23. 113

    Dating sucks period, Rick. But you make excellent points. However, I think that with so much shifting to “online” these days, online dating is more of the norm today than it was just a few years ago. So maybe it doesn’t just attract losers.
    Still, what you wrote makes a lot of sense. By now, I have dated or at least communicated with several women I met online, and all of them had mental (and physical) issues I found hard to contemplate living with permanently.
    As they say, there is someone for everyone, though, and I’ll just keep trying until I croak.

  24. 114

    I wish you the best Steve. And, Inever wrotethat it was just ‘losers’ who online date. I actually have met some prettysuccessful women online dating. Buteven they were passed over in ‘the real world’for a reason, and itbecame apparent in short order. Even though it is more technologically acceptable to meet people this way than it was 10 yearsago, normal, attractive girls just don’t need to do it. With family, friends, work , the gym, etc….these girls do just fine without online dating. It’s the ones who don’t that end up on the dating sites. And in a rural area, if shes average looking and in any kind of decent shape, the online competition between the men just overwhelms her, and them as well. Since, as I wrote, good looking normal girls just arent online dating. And, you end up seeing them still active 6 months, 1 year, 3 years from now.still looking for that perfect guy; more evidence that somethings just not right. I would love to prove myself wrong, and still hold out hope to do so. But so far, this has been the reality for me every time.

  25. 115

    Guess I’m not a good looking, quality normal girl. Good thing I read this blog or I wouldn’t never have known. Thanks for the enlightenment Rick.

  26. 116

    I was probably “passed over” because I don’t proof read my comments before Isubmit them.

  27. 117

    Sorry about snapping. I sometimes get offended when it feels like someone passes blanket judgments about a whole group of which I belong. I think that they are (hopefully) commenting about their own personal experiences and less about me. I would never assume that all (insert group) are (insert trait/characteristic/flaw) because I know people are individuals. And btw – Im equally offended when someone says all men are jerks or whatever because itjustn’t so. Maybe the last guy was a jerk (he wasnt) but so what? Doesnt mean the next guy will be.If the last girl you met online had major issues doesnt mean they all will. The day I quit seeing people as individuals with both good and bad qualities and simple see them as agroup(or worse as the enemy) is the day I become a hermit and go live in a cave by myself.

  28. 118

    Well, Rick, if your opinion is that people who are into online dating have something wrong with them, nobody would ever find anyone online, since those who arelooking are seeing people who are similarly flawed.

  29. 119

    Kristen and Joe- I apologize if I offended you. Online dating is very frustrating, which makes me eatso many lemons. I am just speaking from personal experience, which seems to be similar to Steve’s, and manyother men’s experience with online dating. Out of all of my female friends (and I have more female friends then male)very, veryfew have ever tried online dating. They just don’t have to. The fewthat do try it, to be honest, are the ones that have thesignificant issues with their behavior, weight, or have 2 + children. I’m sure there are exceptions to this, and maybe this just happens in the small town I live in. Believe me, I wishI was writing that online dating is awesome, and has led to many healthy relationships for me. But the truth is, I haven’t had 1 quality relationship occur from online dating. And I’ve been one of the fortunatemento have been able to actually go out on dates with thewomenI meet online. Most men, from what I read,aren’t even that lucky. It doesn’t seem like it works for thegirls either, as I stillsee the same ones online, years after I first joined. I was just making a general statement about my experience. I truly hope you are right, and that I have yet to meet the individual that will change my mind.

  30. 120

    Rick #117- Sometimes the scenario is quite different than the one you describe. You have some women online that are approached quite often ‘irl’ but not by the guys she wants to meet. So she goes online thinking the guys may be a bit more ‘serious’, or looking for the more introverted guy that is too shy to approach her in the store.
    You have women that have gotten out of relationships and are getting out there to meet people- online is just another way, like going out with friends or to clubs etc.

    I get that your experience with women online has been less than ideal, but I hope you realize that the conclusions you’ve drawn about whythat isarefar from representative of everyone.

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