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I want you to be on the site at least three hours a week.” Uh-oh. Kindly, Hoffman refrains from mocking my unassisted self-description: “I’m a loving person who likes trying new restaurants and a sweet treat before bed.” (I never realized how dirty that sounds.) She asks about my hobbies, how my coworkers would fill in the “most likely to” blank. And if they occasionally get a positive response, they may figure it can't hurt to try again.
She then revises my profile, noting that I love cooking vegetables I grow in my garden, that Dave Chappelle has my kind of humor, that “meeting new people excites me: I could spend half an hour talking to the cashiers at Trader Joe’s.” Three-quarters of the profile should be about me, and the other quarter about what I want in a mate, says Hoffman, who tells me to be specific here, too: The goal isn’t to attract everyone, it’s to find The One. "In psychology research, we call this a 'variable reinforcement schedule,'" Lehmiller says.
“And we’ve found that people looking for a sweetheart on the internet are more likely to have full-time employment and higher education, and to be seeking a long-term partner.
Online dating is the way to go—you just have to learn to work the system.” So take heart: Whether you’re a first-time player or a seasoned contestant who wants to up her game, our troubleshooting guide is here to help, with advice from both experts and survivors on how to search strategically, handle setbacks gracefully, maintain sanity, and enjoy the ride—with minimal agony and maximum ecstasy. Seven years ago, I signed up for Match.com, but I never took it seriously.
After a lengthy back-and-forth with a cute guy who asks why I’m still single (beats me! We have a short phone call, as Hoffman recommends, to set something up. That’s online dating: You meet the freakazoids and think, Ghosting happens to the best of us, says therapist and dating coach Melanie Hersch.
), I try a Hoffman move, writing, “That’s a story better told over a drink.” He suggests... To stay sane, she says, “stop telling yourself stories to explain it, like ‘It’s because I’m not good enough.’ Trying to figure out why someone didn’t choose you is like trying to swim with ankle weights: You’ll get pulled right down instead of moving forward.
We come up with “My ideal match is someone who loves family, has an opinion on current events, and can hold his own at a cocktail party on a Friday night, then chill with me on a lazy Saturday.” The final touch is a headline that sums up my approach to life, like a personal slogan. "It's like a slot machine—the majority of the time, you pull the lever and nothing happens, but every once in a while, there's a payoff." A deflating solution from one online dater: "Draw a face on it and send it back to him."Hoffman looks at my photos and nixes the corporate headshot and mirror selfie. Mirror selfies often give off an air of vanity.” She says the best profile shots feature the three Cs: color (vibrant shades, especially red, grab attention), context (pics that involve your hobbies, like travel or, say, clog dancing), and character (something quirky or funny, “like you in your Halloween costume”).
For the main photo, we do a close headshot where I’m smiling into the camera.
Enter Damona Hoffman, dating coach and host of the Dates & Mates podcast, who promises rapid results if I just follow a few tough-love rules....
“It’s more possible to find someone now than at probably any other time in history, particularly if you’re older.
You don’t have to stand in a bar and wait for the right one to come along,” says Fisher.
(Even Martha Stewart, who in 2013 declared in her Match profile that she was looking for a “lover of animals, grandchildren, and the outdoors.” Martha, have you considered Raya, the private celebrity dating app?
) Locking eyes across a crowded room might make for a lovely song lyric, but when it comes to romantic potential, nothing rivals technology, according to Helen Fisher, Ph D, a biological anthropologist, senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute, and chief scientific adviser to Match.
These days, however, the New York Times Vows section—famous for its meet-cute stories of the blissfully betrothed—is full of couples who trumpet the love they found through Ok Cupid or Tinder.