The Perils and Pitfalls of Internet Dating: Top Ten Mistakes Men Make That All Women Hate

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Prior to my recent marriage, I spent countless hours sifting through profiles of eligible bachelors on several popular internet dating sites. I was searching for a local guy about my age give or take a few years, mutually compatible, easygoing, intelligent and optimistic, whose baggage might fit neatly under the seat in front of him. I was (and am) a self-employed, successful business owner, not a damsel in distress. I was only looking for friendship, connection and fun, not a knight in shining armor or a sugar Daddy. What I found too often, as evidenced in this actual email exchange, was raw, offensive and disappointing.

Dear “George,”
So nice to hear from you… I see the word “evolved” is part of your profile.I find that very attractive in a man. So tell me, what are you looking for in a dating relationship?

Hi Susan,
Good company, good conversation, good sex.

Dear George,
Thanks for being so honest, or should I say blunt. Let me be the same. I am continually amazed by the number of men I’ve talked to at online dating sites who not very subtly infer, or just come right out and say that they’re looking for sex, before even speaking on the phone, before the first date, before anything. Perhaps the equivalent would be a woman demanding to know how much money you make or what kind of car you drive before deciding to meet you. It’s degrading, disrespectful and crass. Here’s a hint for you: women appreciate respect and gentlemanly behavior. Your testosterone surges are not her problem. And if you treat her right, you’ll have a much better chance of getting some later.

I agree with you but may I make the following observation? Sex is what makes the world go around and any man or woman who thinks that by not talking about it or being honest about it, in my opinion, looks at sex as something that is bad and shouldn’t be talked about. You asked and for me to say anything less is playing games. You want honest, you got honest.

If you think the “Dating Game” is a silly TV show left behind in the disco 70’s, I have some breaking news for you. The on and offline dating game has morphed into a real life “Gong Show.” As men and women stagger from the wreckage of one marriage or LTR (longterm relationship) to another, we now have the agony and ecstasy of dating and mating played out on network reality shows. (The only thing real about those shows is how unrealistic they are, but ratings are ratings…)

So – – in the interest of justice and equality between the sexes, (as well as some common sense) herewith the ten biggest dating mistakes a man (or woman, in some cases) can make. This list has been thoroughly researched and approved by a representative group of my closest female friends. Their consensus is that these issues are nonnegotiable and apply in any dating situation:


1) Leading with your wounds. She wants to date you, not be your therapist. It’s not her fault your mother neglected you and your father was an alcoholic brute. Recounting the details of your wounded childhood and asking about hers on the first date will not endear you to her heart. She will think you’re insecure and needy and that you want a mommy not a girlfriend. If you do find a woman who is willing to rescue you and sacrifices herself to please your every selfish whim, she’s a caretaker, also known as codependent, and you’re the classic wounded child feeding off her. In this scenario, your “soul mate” is your wound-mate. Comparing wounds is a pathetic, passion-killing way to connect for either partner. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200, proceed straight to the nearest therapist.


2) Leading with your d – – k. If she’s older than 13, she already knows you want sex as soon and as often as possible. If you put an emphasis on sex in your online profile, she’ll think you’re a jerk who only wants to get laid. What you need to understand is that sexually, most women are not like you! Even women with high sex drives, and yes, such creatures do in fact exist, will not be fooled by your coy references to “very passionate” and “love to please my partner.” Even trite clichés like “enjoy long walks on the beach” is better than sexual innuendo. Save the fireworks until you’re sure the in-person connection is sizzling


3) Obsessing about age. If you’re pushing 50 and you only want to date women between 18 and 40, be prepared to wait A LONG TIME (Unless of course you’re wealthy, then you might luck out. However, it will be an even exchange. You want her hot body and she wants your checkbook.) Or, you could always flip through the latest edition of the “Green Card Girls” catalog and import a 20-something honey from overseas somewhere. Your insecurities about your receding hairline and belly paunch will be displayed in neon if you insist on dating much younger women. That unwritten taboo against dating or marrying a woman who is older than you is passé. Size doesn’t matter and neither does age when you’re with the right person.


4) Demanding Barbie when you’re not Ken. She knows men are visual, and that chemistry is important. If you can’t get past her crinkly smile lines and a few extra pounds to see the real qualities of the person underneath, you’re still in fantasy land. Older men can still bulk up in the gym if they’re highly motivated and can withstand the pain. Women can stay fit without being a gym rat with walking or some yoga, so stop with the “must be fit” requirements. Do you still wear the same size you did in college? Then don’t expect her to either. There are only about a dozen neurotic supermodels in the world and your odds of landing one of them are not good. On the other hand, there are dozens of attractive, intelligent women in your neighborhood who are not neurotic and who would love to get to know you.


5) Putting your anatomy checklist in your ad. Being seriously overweight is not popular in this culture, everyone knows that. However, asking for long legs, nice butt, “prefer redheads” or any other not-very-subtle reference to body type, shape or cup size instantly identifies you as a) only looking for sex, b) a shallow Neanderthal and c) afraid of intimacy because it’s obvious you’re only interested in her body, not what’s in her mind, heart and soul. It’s perfectly fine to have physical preferences, just keep your mouth shut and your mind open, at least initially. She may have small breasts and be the best lover you’ve ever had, but you’ll never know if you don’t give her a chance. Women do this too… they want a tall, handsome, sensitive, romantic guy who will adore and spoil them. Sounds like they want Daddy.


6) Talking nonstop and not giving her equal time. A conversation is defined as a dialogue, not a monologue. If I wanted to listen to a monologue, I’d stay up late for Stephen or Jimmy, at least they’re funny. If a man shows no interest in my life and what I care about, why would I want to date him? Once I met an internet date for lunch. Things had seemed fine on the phone, but in person, he talked nonstop. When I tried to make a comment, he actually raised his voice to drown me out and kept on blabbing. I was so shocked that I just smiled, nodded, and ate faster so I could get away from him. Apparently he thought it was the perfect date; he asked me for another one when we left the restaurant.


7) Dropping your relationship baggage on her toe on the first date; (see “Leading with your wounds”) Whining that your ex cheated on you and broke your heart is not going to win her heart. She will think that you’re worried she’s going to do the same thing and will run the other way. Besides, it’s selfish and unwise to date while you’re separated and/or tangled up in a messy divorce. I know your ego needs soothing, but it’s not fair. You’re not available legally or emotionally; most people going through a divorce should be considered temporarily insane for at least a year. It’s psychologically unhealthy to jump into another relationship before you’ve had time to sort yourself out and digest what went wrong from the last one. Try not to do the rebound thing. Everyone gets hurt. If you’re that lonely, get a dog.


8) Expecting her to make up for your past sexual deprivation. Do not tell her that your ex was not affectionate and never wanted to make love, so since you’ve been so deprived she should understand that dating her will need to include sex. Only an idiot would tell a woman that she needs to put out or he’s not interested in dating her. Why not just hand her $100, get it on and get off? It’s the same thing from her viewpoint. A woman has no obligation to service you for buying her dinner. The pleasure of her company is all the pleasure you should expect. Anything extra that happens later is between two consenting adults.


9) Surprising her with your idea of a fun date. Planning dates early on without asking her what she likes to do and where she’d like to go is rude and presumptuous. It presumes that she has no interests or preferences and the only ones that matter are yours. In the first stage of dating, which Dr. John Gray, the Venus and Mars guy calls attraction, she will probably not be amused if you show up with your jeep packed with rock climbing equipment, all excited about showing her the great Indian burial ground you found last weekend. If you want to win points, ask her what she’d like to do, or offer a few suggestions and follow her lead. If she says, “you decide,” then do it. Negotiation is fine, but be sensitive to her comfort zone. Until she gets to know and trust you, be patient and defer to her preferences.


10) I saved the best for last. CALL WHEN YOU SAY YOU’RE GOING TO CALL! I researched this one with several males including my brother and they all said that if they don’t call it’s because they’re busy with work, their favorite sports team is on TV, or they just forgot. To a man, they insist it doesn’t mean they aren’t interested. That may be so, however from a woman’s point of view, if you cared, you’d be thinking of her, and if you’re thinking of her, you’d CALL. Expect to be given the cold shoulder or suffer some other nasty retribution if you take her out, a good time is had by all, and you don’t call within 48 hours. The only exception to this is if you’re hospitalized with a serious head injury and are placed into a medically induced coma.

There’s no need for the battle between the sexes to rage on anymore. Billie Jean King made that clear when she beat Bobby Riggs at tennis in 1973. Seriously, lest you think that I’m an angry, chain-smoking man-hater, let me state right now that a) I don’t smoke and b) I LOVE men.

Men and women want the same things: love, respect, acceptance, affection, communication, loyalty, honesty, trust and great sex, for starters. Perhaps we should drop the shopping list and accept each other as people with strengths and weaknesses just like our own. We might discover we’re getting what we really want after all.

One Response

  1. Julie A

    Sue, you are so on point with this. Thank you.