My question is this: Can technology really find my ideal partner? Maybe. What personals are really peddling is hope. They rely on the optimism of countless singles and the “what if” factor. What if.. I don’t place an ad and I miss my “special someone?” In order for the “match” to work, people placing and responding to personal ads need to do these three things, at the very least.

1] Articulate what they truly want

A tall order, methinks. I am well aware that not everyone knows what they’re looking for in a potential mate and not all are looking for a serious relationship. I would advise that you think about what works for you. If you are used to verbally abusive men and know that doesn’t work, then steer clear of the man who makes chauvinist comments in his introduction. If that comes through and he’s only writing, imagine how strong it might be in person. Use your intuition and do a little soul-searching. Make a list of the things you want and need to feel comfortable in a relationship.

2] Be truthful about themselves and their “situations”

Truth in advertising. If looks are important to you (or as long as they are attractive to you) then do yourself a favor, request a VERY recent photo. I used to hate describing myself until I realized that it is important for a man to “see” you. Fortunately, most are not disappointed but I almost always go through a few quick moments of insecurity prior to meeting someone in person.

As for “situations,” people have a habit of jumping into the next relationship without finishing or resolving previous relationship issues. I’m not talking just about baby-mama drama. It’s difficult enough to deal with the insecurities of a new relationship without having to contend with that baby muvah or ex-girlfriends, however, even family members can hinder a new relationship. I met a guy online who sparked my interest. We shared a love of photography and cooking. He was attractive and worked in the medical field. Cool, right? Sure… until he told me that his younger sister was, well…. very jealous and possessive and did not like the women he dated. He said, “oh, she just worries about me.” Sure that’s what he said but I heard, “that b*^% is crazy.” We went to lunch and hung out a little but would you believe his sister showed up as I was leaving?? She was a big girl (tall) too. At first, her eyes were too bright and then she narrowed them as she looked me up and down and tried to interrogate me. I quickly excused myself and was OUT. Never saw him again. Another man had this love/hate thing with his mother so they argued constantly. I really believed he thought that’s how all relationships with women were supposed to be… frightening.

Note: Respect that person who tells you what they think could frighten you away upfront! This means they respect you enough to give you a choice to deal with their issue or entanglement from day one. Don’t act like you didn’t hear them either.

3] Not see Internet personals as last-ditch effort or a hobby

A little sensitivity here, people. Placing a personal ad does not mean someone is desperate or unmarketable. I think I am attractive and possess many qualities that would be attractive to a potential mate. I see ads from men who travel or only attend work related functions and want to meet people to spend their down time with. To me, this makes sense because as I’ve told some folks, personals are a way to market yourself without actively marketing yourself. It gives the person a chance to see your personality and intellect first. If they are attracted to your personality. it could lead to a physical date and you can determine if physical attraction exists. For some, it’s moving to a new area or living in an area where it may be difficult to meet other singles without doing the bar/club thing.

Also watch out for the “hobby-daters.” These are people who go on lots and lots of dates and may continue dating even if you’ve expressed interest in a monogamous relationship. The thrill of meeting people can be addictive. I’ve never been a hobby-dater but have met several men who were. Needless to say, I wasn’t interested anyway but I’d much rather prefer to have one person for hang out/relaxation purposes. My logic is if they’re running from person to person and you’re only dating, you ‘d be hard-pressed to get any kind of commitment should you even get him to agree to date you only.

And so, Internet dating is not all fun and games but I will say that I have met some really wonderful men (none of which I am with) on the Internet. I also have some crazy stories but we’ll save those for another time.

Read Date Stories or the Updated Online Dating Entry