Ask Wendy

Why is Online Dating Not Working?

Friday, December 13, 2019
Hi Wendy,

I’m looking for a serious relationship leading to marriage and want to meet my “soulmate”. I use a couple of online dating apps. I’ve had my pictures professionally done. I am also very clear about what I am looking for. I get hundreds of messages, but there are only a very few I have some interest in and communicate with. The majority of these men (supposedly also looking for the same thing) pursue me and are really excited about me, etc. we exchange #’s, maybe have a conversation, then nothing! I want to know why in the world do they contact me (excited about me) pursue me online, trade #’s, call /text me, then nothing! I could see if I was the one pursuing them, but that’s not the case. Why do they go to that extent to basically flake?

This one recently bothered me even more. He said in his profile “not to contact him unless they were interested in a serious relationship and that he was looking for his forever girl”. That distance didn’t matter and he would go wherever to find that. We didn’t live close to each other, but he knew that and even said that it didn’t matter and he would go wherever to find his love. We talked several times and he texted me (he shared a lot of information), then nothing! This one really upsets me because he allegedly wanted something serious, really pursued me, then nothing!

Why would they do that and how can I try and prevent that. It really bothers me that they contact, Pursue me and engage my time, only to flake out after a short, light conversation? It has happened quite a bit with the few I am interested In. Really discouraged, what can I do how can I weed those out? Would greatly appreciate your thoughts and advice. Thank you!

Dyanna D.

Hi Dyanna,

Thank you for your question—it’s a common one. You’ve outlined the classic, instinctual path to finding love, and you’re right on track to get exactly the results you’ve gotten. (Sorry about that!) So, to demystify this for you and women everywhere, let’s break it down:

Thinking your soulmate will reach out to you

The majority of guys reaching out online are the cruisers, the inappropriately matched, and the dreamers (i.e. love knows no bounds…but I’m not actually going to put in the effort to make that cross-country trip happen.) A few good guys might pop up, but the majority of the ones who do show up are not going to be your guy. To up your odds at reaching your “soulmates,” you’ve gotta reach out—use the handkerchief method.

Engaging via email and phone to vet him and get to know him better

It seems efficient, yes? Nope. You are seeing the downside to investing your precious time in a total stranger, revealing personal information, etc. to have it not go anywhere. I can’t stress enough, these are strangers. Until you are face-to-face at the café, you might want to pretend like they aren’t real (because some of them are not). He could be thirty years older than his profile states, married and bored, or an angsty, introverted tween learning to connect with people, or…you get the idea.

What’s even worse is when you two spend a ton of time getting to know each other by phone, he is who he says he is, you meet face-to-face, and you’re not attracted, or he’s not attracted, and it’s over in two seconds. Did you really mean for that stranger to know that about your personal life? Meet right away—before things get intimate or personal.

Dating Long-Distance

Were you two college sweethearts and you lost touch? If yes, that’s a long-distance story I’m willing to entertain. But someone you’ve never met IRL who’s several states over? Nah. Only date people you are willing to commute to three times a week and vice versa.

Look, online dating works. And it’s the best game in town for meeting available, quality people who might be a great match for you. It gives you access to a world you simply can’t reach in your daily life. But you have to be willing to go beyond nice photos and a well-crafted profile. I’m not saying “do more work,” but I am saying reevaluate how you’re dating online. I have so much more for you on how to avoid time-wasters, and how to learn nuanced ways to be efficient. If you’re a reader, grab 121 First Dates, and if you want to hear me drop some knowledge in a DIY audio class, grab “Ready for Love.”

For example, being the first to “drop the handkerchief” doesn’t mean you are initiating a date or pursuing someone. It doesn’t mean you’ve “lost the power” or any other bullshit dating advice out there saying you have to sit back and let them make the first move. Waiting around like that is going to get you more of just that: waiting.

Out of my 121 first dates, I never asked a man out. Not once. I wasn’t into pursuing. Yet I reached out to almost all of them because it was effective, efficient, and also because I wanted to be on dates with guys I actually liked.

Please consider taking matters into your own hands. I reached out to Mr. 121, and you see how that turned out.

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