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Here are questions I've answered from bloggers about online dating and creating successful profiles:

Question: I'm a freelance writer, and I've been asked more than once to write a profile for someone using an online dating site. Assuming all of the information is true and that I'm not outright lying on their behalf, do you think there's anything wrong with doing that?

This is part of what I'm in business to do, so you can probably intuit my answer. There is absolutely nothing wrong with ghostwriting a profile, with the caveats you state. I would add that you should take care to write profiles that are representative in voice. If your personal style is quick and witty, and your client is serious and shy, make the most of her good qualities in a characteristically representative way (otherwise her dates will be expecting sophisticated banter, which will only set her up for disappointment). I started writing online profiles in large part because so few people can sell themselves effectively on paper (or online). There is nothing duplicitous in calling in (or being) a consultant. Otherwise, marketing as we know it would be banned in at least 30 states!

Question: I've known two couples who met online and got married, but both of them wound up divorcing after lots of turmoil. Does online dating ever really lead to successful relationships?

In a word, yes. There are many success stories, many long-term relationships, many marriages. Unfortunately, one out of every two married couples in this country divorce, regardless of how they met. I'm willing to bet you know plenty of turmoil-ridden couples who met in "real life." Essentially, I believe a relationship's success has very little to do with the way two people meet, online or off. At least people who are online are presumably available and looking (as opposed to a random in-person meeting, where there's no immediate way to tell). Success has much more (virtually all) to do with the way people conduct the relationship, once they do meet. 

A relationship is a relationship is a relationship. When two people who've met on line meet in person, they should remember to treat the encounter like they would any encounter with a stranger, to take their time learning about each other, without jumping to conclusions too quickly. Online dating sites simply provide a place to find dating possibilities. Blaming the online method for the failure of the relationships that result is unfair; I suspect those who do so are looking for a reason not to try, or to keep trying. Bashing online dating is easy. Creating a committed relationship, which can be one of life's great joys, is nonetheless complicated, time-consuming and anything but easy.

Question: I tend to "fall in love" too easily with nice words and romance. It seems like online dating seems to involve romance more than reality. Words can be pretty smooth, but moving in together is something completely different! Is it better for me to try and meet someone just by going out where I live rather than through high-speed connections?

It is true that the online phase of virtual dating can misrepresent and/or lead to false expectations. People who are absolutely fabulous with words may not be so impressive in person (and vice versa). If you are particularly susceptible to these kinds of beginnings, promise yourself to move more quickly to the phone call and the in-person meeting. Don't allow yourself to be seduced into long e-mail correspondences with people who are really still strangers. Train yourself to remember the words you wrote in this question (put a sign that says "They're Just Words" on your computer). But don't give up online dating if you really care about finding a relationship. It makes no sense to deprive yourself of a ready-made pool of contenders.

Question: I want to try online dating, but I've heard that so many people misrepresent themselves on their profile, how can I determine when a man is telling the truth even after meeting him for a first date?

There are people, unfortunately, who misrepresent themselves all the time, in all arenas, in all relationships, on the first day and in the 20th year. There are warning signs, and ways to intuit falsehood, though none of them are fool-proof. My best advice is to ditch the rose-colored glasses without becoming a cynic. It is, for example, very easy to be seduced by a picture of a great looking guy and be willing to dismiss a lot. That happened to me once. The picture was fabulous, and it turned out to be (literally) 100 pounds ago.

When I talked to him on the phone, he sounded a little odd but I had this great looking guy in my head. I really wanted the personality to match the looks. So I paid too much attention to some of the things he said, like a cute story about his young child, and not enough to my instinctual sense that he was really insecure. We tend to practice selective listening to hear what we want to hear.

Try really hard to hear and examine all of the information you're getting, online, on the phone, and in person and to go with your gut. Don't be afraid to ask questions (without cross-examining). If you sense avoidance, trust your instinct that there's a reason. Importantly, don't move too fast after that first date; remember, a stranger is still a stranger, until he's not. Wait longer than you think you need to before you provide a home number or address, meet and leave the date separately and let someone know where you are. Meeting a stranger online is not so different from meeting a stranger anywhere. Practice the same strategies for your safety in both instances.

Question: I wondered if there's an online dating service just for divorced men and women. Do you know of one? Should I try to date only divorced men?

Yes, there are several such sites (in fact, to find any "niche" site, Google your descriptor, from "divorced" to "seniors" to "cycling" plus the word "dating"). I can't vouch for any specific one, as I've never thought there was a compelling reason to use them. Why would you want to limit yourself only to divorced men? What about men who've been widowed?

However I do think women with children may be happier with men who also have them; people who are parents typically share a bond that can be hard to establish with someone who's childless. Bottom line — parents understand that a child-related emergency trumps date night, no matter how special. And many divorced women find it's important to date men who've had some experience with relationships (there are lovely "never married" men, but particularly in an older demographic, they are fewer and farther between, and there's often a reason for the never married status that bodes ill for future relationships). If you do want to date divorced men only, you can specify that parameter in your searches on a mainstream site. But again, why would you?

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  • Comment Link Rochelle Wednesday, 13 January 2016 02:06 posted by Rochelle

    Once they took the tape and plastic off as we speak,
    there was not a speck of paint where it shouldn't be. They left no mess whatsoever.