When the going gets tough

Bettina Arndt explains what’s required to make a successful connection when online dating.

When the going gets tough

“Oh, I’ve tried online dating. It didn’t work for me.” I hear that all the time. Most of my clients tell me that they have had a go at online dating before, but it invariably turns out they lose interest after the first couple of rejections. They find it all too hard and aren’t prepared to put the effort into making it work.

I’ve helped so many people through this process and I’m well aware of how difficult this all can be. So, here’s some advice on how to pick yourself up and keep going.

  1. Women need to know that even though you may have received a flurry of interest and attention when you first went online, you can’t rely on the men who contact you. They are more likely to be the bottom of the barrel, rather than the cream of the crop. Many of the more attractive men don’t approach anyone – they simply deal with the flood of women who approach them.

    You MUST be willing to search and contact men whom you find appealing. You should be vigilant and active, looking regularly – preferably every day – to see who is new and then get in quickly and make contact.

  2. If you are receiving constant rejections, it may be that you are not being realistic about whom you are approaching. I sometimes get clients to send me details of who they are contacting and find they have no idea of their own ‘market value’. You can’t date someone you can’t attract and that means there is absolutely no point in just approaching the most desirable people, unless you are pretty sure you will tick all their boxes.

    For women, one of the toughest aspects of this whole business is coming to terms with your diminishing ‘pulling power’ – particularly when you may have had males all over you when you last dated. But you will know from your life experience that the most successful, attractive men don’t necessarily make you happy. The qualities which make for a good relationship are very different, so think hard about the criteria you are using to choose prospective dates and see if you can expand those in various ways.  

  3. I know it is very time consuming, but you need to get into a routine of looking regularly to see who is new online. It’s not good enough to set aside a time each week to handle your online correspondence. You’ll be really lucky to find someone that way. It’s really not so hard to have a quick look each day – you can do it on your smartphone – or make a habit of checking last thing at night or early in the morning. And you MUST respond quickly to people who have contacted you. If you leave it a few days, they may well disappear.

  4. Remember it is a numbers game. You are much more likely to meet someone interesting if you are really systematic, approaching lots of people and only expecting an occasional positive response. I know that is difficult to accept – but don’t take rejection personally. You too are rejecting people. 

  5. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Watching people go through this process I’ve learnt that the ones who are prepared to put their heads down and just keep at it, are most likely to be successful in meeting someone with whom they make a real connection.

  6. You also have to maintain a positive, cheerful attitude to it all – cynicism is death in this business. Don’t make comments to prospective dates about how tough it all is; don’t talk about all the duds you have met. You must learn to see it all as an interesting business, a chance to get to know lots of people, to hone your flirting skills so that when you finally meet someone, you are really relaxed with them and more likely to make that connection. It takes practice and all these frustrating phone calls and dates which go nowhere, at least give you a chance to learn to relax and enjoy being in a dating situation.
  7. Don’t give up. It is fine to take a break if it is all getting you down. I think it is sometimes a good idea to do something else occasionally, to give you a chance to recharge your batteries, such as going to speed dating. But online dating is the main game, your best possible chance of meeting people with whom you might click.


Read Bettina’s bio here.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    21st Nov 2014
    Great article from Bettina and spot-on advice.
    I met my husband of 3 years (together 7) on line after several years on a dating site. Over that time I had many "kisses" rejected, swapped emails with a few, met some idiots - one bloke left me with the bill for two glasses of wine when I didn't immediately agree to a second meeting (I knew instantly he wasn't for me) and I met some great people with whom I just didn't click emotionally and/or physically.
    Yes, there are some people on line who are just after a good time. But there are also lots of people like us, looking for a long-term partner.
    My main advice would be to be honest. Don't put up a photo that's years old; take time with your profile and really give an idea of who you are; and don't give up. If you get tired of it just take a few weeks off and come back refreshed.
    Good luck!
    21st Nov 2014
    Women: don't upload a picture that makes you look like you are auditioning for "adult" fun - unless you are of course.

    Men: Not declaring your marital status is a dead give away you are not actually 'available'. Saying in your profile you are looking for someone 18 - 35 then approaching someone of well over 55 is suspicious!
    21st Nov 2014
    And ladies, you are unlikely to find someone in your street, the next suburb or the next town so don't insist that they are to live within twenty kilometres of you. Doing this you most likely are weeding out the most suitable and are prepared to settle for tenth best.

    21st Nov 2014
    I'm glad i'm not in the game I took one look at myself in the mirror and thought my god who would want to go out with me, so all you women are so lucky.
    21st Nov 2014
    Great advice, after the death of my husband and a long period of feeling sorry for myself I went online and weeded out the not so good ones by reading their profile and chatting to them online then the ones I liked asked for their phone numbers and called them up. I was lucky it only took a short while and I am now living happily with my new partner.

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