A recent survey conducted by the University of Chicago revealed that between 2005 and 2012 nearly a third of marriages began on the internet. The survey, which had 19,131 respondents, found that those couples who connected on a dating website had lower divorce rates and higher marital satisfaction (although it should be noted that eHarmony.com commissioned the survey).
If you’re in the market for a real relationship, you may have better luck using the web to find your better half —especially since the survey found that some of the least successful marriages started in bars and blind dates (eek!).
Since it can be pretty difficult to write a good profile, we asked Ashley Howe, relationship expert and couple/family therapist, what to avoid doing online so you can increase your chances of finding true love. Or justgetting a date.
1. Don’t be negative
Do you have a grocery list of things you DON’T want in a partner on your profile? (Ex: No jerks, smokers, vegans, manscapers, whiners, etc.) Keep that list to yourself, or you could be closing yourself off to great people. Plus you seem negative and cynical. “Describes the things you do and what you’re excited to find,” says Howe on putting out a good vibe online.
2. Don’t post a list of must-haves for a partner
Saying that you’re looking to date a foodie or someone into obscure music can come off as snobby. Instead, Howe says “Talk about the stuff in a relationship that you’re excited to do, and let him or her decide if they fit into that picture.” So, saying that you’re hoping to meet someone to go to good restaurants or concerts with allows people to imagine themselves hanging out with you, rather than being frightened off at the fact that they don’t fit your perfect mould.
3. No gross photos
Refrain from using terribly-posed, scantily clad, drunk party photos anywhere in your profile. They don’t make it look like you’re ready to seriously date. “People want to imagine themselves with you in that photo,” says Howe. Also, less is more in the digital world, so 3 to 4 photos is enough. One should have a full body shot of you that shows off your style, and one should be a straight on head shot. Avoid pouty, sexy face, which comes off as creepy. “If you smile, people will be more attracted to you,” says Howe. Ask someone you trust for help taking pictures if you don’t have any photos without five friends in a bar you’ll need to crop out.
4. Don’t say you’re funny
Saying that you’re witty, positive or fun (and who doesn’t think they’re all of these things?) sounds clichéd. “Say something fun and witty,” says Howe. “Don’t describe yourself as fun and witty.” The lesson? Show, don’t tell.
5. Don’t say you’re looking to get married/be in a long term relationship/want a boyfriend or girlfriend
You’re on a dating website. You don’t need to reiterate what you’re hoping to find or elaborate on why you’re online. Seriously, no one needs to know that your ex broke your heart, or that you’ve been on the site for months. Howe says to keep it simple and say that you’re looking to meet new people and broaden your social circle. Enough said.
6. Don’t list fake hobbies
We all want to seem interesting on dating websites. However, people are going to be sorely disappointed if they meet you in real life only to discover you actually aren’t a weightlifter or movie buff. “Only talk about things that take up quite a bit of time in your life,” says Howe, meaning you should only list activities you do every couple of days. “Even if it’s weird, you might as well be up front about it.”