By Kristi Dosh
Thought the competition was stiff to get a job? It may be even fiercer to find a mate online. A recent study by
MBAPrograms.org found that over 49 million people per month look for love on eHarmony and Match.com alone. Much like HR directors go through resumes looking for reasons to remove you from the running, potential mates scan dozens of profiles and easily can be turned off. Here, statements women make in their profiles that chase away eligible bachelors. Photo by Thinkstock
You say: I want a financially secure man.
He hears: I'm not financially secure, and I believe men should take care of women.
"Is she looking for a sugar daddy?" asks Eli*, a 41-year-old from Orlando, FL, who's used
online dating sites. You may only mean you don't want a financial wreck for a boyfriend, but this request is a red flag for men. "People who live a comfortable lifestyle want someone who can do the things they do, but it's not necessary to say that outright," says eFlirtExpert.com founder Laurie Davis, whose book Love at First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating is due out in 2013. Instead, Davis suggests searching for people within your income bracket (which is an option on many sites, though a study by dating site OkCupid revealed that people typically inflate this number by 20%) or looking for other clues in their profiles, such as similar favorite travel destinations.
You say: I want an honest man.
He hears: I've been burned, and I have major trust issues.
Isn't everyone looking for someone honest? "You're not going to scare off the liars," cautions Evan Marc Katz, a dating coach and author of I Can't Believe I'm Buying This Book: A Commonsense Guide to Successful Internet Dating. You might, however, scare off an honest man who fears you're carrying baggage from a previous relationship. "Good guys may think you sound angry and bitter," says Katz. You'll need to look for other clues, like whether he contacts you when he says he's going to, to gauge trustworthiness.
Related: Find out what your husband's friends won't tell you.
You say: My kids are my world.
He hears: I don't have time for you.
If your world revolves around your children, where would a guy fit in? That's the question Davis and Katz both say men ask themselves when you emphasize your relationship with your kids too much in your profile. Katz suggests showing, and not telling, that you're close to them by giving an example of something you do together. "Use one sentence to describe what you do for your children, like throwing a birthday party for your 13-year-old or playing Legos with your 3-year-old." No doubt your kids are an important part of your life and you want someone who respects that, but Katz says, "Don't spend more than one or two lines on any topic."
You say: I'm young for my age.
He hears: I'm older than my profile says, but you won't date me if I tell you my real age.
"It's a little 'thou doth protest too much,'" says Katz. "It comes off as defensive, insecure and trying too hard." Rather than worrying that your age doesn't accurately reflect you, use examples of activities or hobbies that illustrate your youthful side. You want someone whose lifestyle complements yours, not someone fixated on the birth date on your driver's license.
You say: I'm independent/driven/ambitious.
He hears: I work 60 hours a week, teach yoga on the side and am taking classes to learn seven different languages.
Women tend to use words like "independent" and "ambitious" to prove they're not clingy and have their own interests. But our experts agreed that they make men wonder if you have room for them in your life. "The best profile indicates what the reader gets out of being with you," explains Katz. Give examples of trips you've taken or weekend activities you enjoy. These show him you have free time and that you use it to have fun. Online dater Eli suggests saying you're equally passionate about your career and maintaining relationships outside of work. "I think it's attractive that a woman has achieved professional success, but I want to know that she hasn't done it at the expense of her personal life."
Related: Check out what guys wish you knew about sex.
You say: I'm extremely picky.
He hears: I have unrealistic expectations for potential partners, and it's unlikely that you'll make me happy.
Men fear rejection. Telling him right off the bat that you're fussy significantly decreases the chances he'll contact you. "Men are going to be too intimidated to reach out," says Davis. While she admits women receive far more messages than men on online dating sites, she warns you may miss out on a guy who otherwise likes your profile but is turned off by your statement. "It shows you're close-minded," says Davis. "Negativity attracts negativity." So keep this one out of your profile and simply screen messages to see if the men meet your standards.
You say: Don't worry, we can lie and say we met in real life.
He hears: I'm embarrassed that I'm on this dating website and would never want to tell our friends or family. In fact, I don't think I can actually meet you.
"If you feel like you have to say this you're probably unsure about online dating to begin with," says Davis. That means he might worry he'll invest time messaging you only to find you won't meet in person. He's on there too, and likely so are some of your friends and colleagues, so there's no need to be embarrassed. Besides, "starting your relationship based on a lie isn't the best way to begin 'happily ever after,'" says Davis. "If he's willing to hide how you met from friends and family, what might he hide from you?"
You say: I'm laid-back/easygoing/down-to-earth.
He hears: I don't have strong opinions about anything or I spend a lot of time on the couch in my sweats watching movies.
The problem with these adjectives is that they can evoke a whole host of images, not all of them good.
"Is she so laid-back she's never going to care where we go or what we do?" worries Eli.
"I picture her on the couch in sweatpants with a box of tissues watching Lifetime movies," says Christopher, a 37-year-old former online dater from Milwaukee, WI.
"Let me determine if you're laid-back," says David Wygant, a dating coach and author of Always Talk to Strangers: 3 Simple Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life. Give examples of how you spend your time, he adds. Davis agrees. "The buzz words themselves aren't telling; the activities you enjoy are. That's what will resonate with someone."
Related: Use the best body language for any situation.
You say: I'm old-fashioned and have traditional values.
He hears: I won't have sex with you until we're married.
Again, you're being too vague. "You could mean you like having the car door opened for you," says Wygant, but men read into this terminology that you don't believe in sex before marriage. Even if you don't, both Wygant and Katz say not to mention it in your profile. Don't worry about wasting your time on men only looking for sex. "These guys always expose their true intentions," says Wygant. How? He'll
engage in sex talk right away over email, so watch for suggestive language, recommends Wygant.
*Names have been changed.
Original article appeared on WomansDay.com.
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