Why Is Online Dating Not Working For Men

Online Dating

Why is Online Dating Not Working for Me? (Feb. 2024)

Hayley Matthews

Written by: Hayley Matthews

Hayley Matthews

Hayley has over 10 years of experience overseeing content strategy, social media engagement, and article opportunities. She has also written hundreds of informational and entertaining blog posts. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Bustle, Cosmo, the Huffington Post, AskMen, and Entrepreneur. When she's not writing about dating news, relationship advice, or her fantasy love affair with Leonardo DiCaprio, she enjoys listening to The Beatles, watching Harry Potter reruns, and drinking IPAs.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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For a long time, I focused on eating well, rather than exercising, because I thought that would be enough to reach my physical goals. I’d double my fruit and veggie intake, I’d ask for no cheese or croutons on my salads, I’d save sweet tea for special occasions, and I’d avoid white rice and pastas. But I still wasn’t getting the results I wanted.

I did this for months until I realized the only way I was going to get my body where I wanted it to be was to include exercising in my healthy living plan. Now I’m doing both, and I feel stronger and am at a weight that I’m comfortable with.

If you’re not getting the results you want with online dating, it may not be bad luck or bad timing — it could be bad strategy. But that’s actually good news because it means you can do something about it. Maybe you’re working hard, but not working smart, just like I was with my diet plan, and you just need to make a few minor adjustments to make it work. Today we’re going to share seven reasons why online dating might not be working for you… and how you can fix it.

1. You’re On the Wrong Dating Site

A big reason why online dating doesn’t work for some people is that they’re on the wrong dating site. Maybe the target audience is too young or too old, maybe the features can’t meet their needs, maybe the site is still new and hasn’t built up its membership base enough. A lot of factors could make a dating site a bad fit for your needs.

It’s worth taking some time to research what a dating site has to offer, so you can make sure you’re on the right one. Read reviews written by experts as well as fellow singles. Most dating sites also offer free trials and/or memberships, so you can test the waters before jumping in.

We’ve been covering the dating industry for a while now, and we’ve found the top three dating sites that every dater should check out:

Match.com 4.9/5.0

Our expert ratings are based on factors such as popularity, usability, value, and success rate of each site.


Relationships: Friends, Dates, and Relationships

Match System: Browse by zip, age, appearance, more

Our Experts Say: “Match has facilitated the most dates and relationships of any dating site, and its large audience and high success rate make it our top review...” Full Review »

Browse Free: View Photos Now

Match is the king of dating sites. It’s been around since 1995, it has more than 30 million visitors and 13.5 million monthly visitors, and it’s responsible for more romantic connections than any other dating site. Any single person, no matter his/her age, race, gender, sexual orientation, location, or religion, can find a compatible date or partner on Match.

EliteSingles.com 4.7/5.0

Our expert ratings are based on factors such as popularity, usability, value, and success rate of each site.


Relationships: Serious Relationships

Match System: Search, Receive Partner Suggestions

Our Experts Say: “EliteSingles is a leading dating site just for busy, single professionals. More than 80% of members have earned a college degree, and most are looking for a serious commitment...” Full Review »

Browse Free: View Photos Now

On Elite Singles, it’s all about quality, not quantity. More than 80% of the site’s members have earned at least a bachelor’s degree, and 100% of them are looking for a long-term commitment. Elite Singles also has the numbers to back up what they do — every month, about 165,000 people join the site, and 2,500 members fall in love.

Zoosk 4.7/5.0

Our expert ratings are based on factors such as popularity, usability, value, and success rate of each site.


Relationships: Fun Dates, Serious Relationships

Match System: Search and get match recommendations

Our Experts Say: “Zoosk is integrated with social media sites, like Facebook and Google+, so it's very popular with singles on the go...” Full Review »

Browse Free: View Photos Now

Our next site, Zoosk, is great for busy singles who want to date on the go. It was one of the first dating sites to integrate with social media platforms, including Facebook and Google+, and offer a streamlined sign-up process. Zoosk is a really active dating site as well — its 40 million members exchange more than 3 million messages a day.

2. You Haven’t Added Any Photos

More than likely, you wouldn’t book a hotel room, buy a house, or adopt a pet without first looking at a photo (or two or three). That shouldn’t be any different for online dating. Photos are important. You shouldn’t expect people to give you the time of day on a dating site if you haven’t added any photos of yourself. It looks like you’re a bot, a scammer, or someone with something to hide.

Every dating site allows you to upload numerous photos, so we recommend having at least one headshot, one full-body shot, and one action shot. To learn more about what photos work best for online dating, check out this helpful article.

3. You Aren’t Searching for Matches On Your Own

Online dating is awesome because you can fill out your profile and then let the site do the work for you — but you shouldn’t rely on that all the time. Take matters into your own hands by browsing for matches on your own as well as reviewing the suggestions the dating site gives you.

Screenshot of Zoosk's search filters

Zoosk, like a majority of dating sites, has basic and advanced search features that allow you to select your dating preferences and browse through compatible profiles.

Take advantage of the site’s search filters as well — from height to appearance to education to zip code to interests. Dedicate yourself to spending a half hour or so every day to looking for dating prospects. It’ll help increase your odds of meeting that special someone.

4. Your Parameters Are Too Narrow

OK, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here by saying that while you should look for matches on your own, you also want to be careful about how nitpicky you get with the search filters. It’s going to be really hard to find someone who checks off every box you have.

For example, a needle in a haystack is someone who’s 6′ 1″, has brown hair and hazel eyes, graduated from NYC, wants two children and one dog, loves “Games of Thrones” and hates “Breaking Bad,” lives within 10 miles of you, is culturally Jewish but not traditionally Jewish, enjoys Indian food and dislikes Mediterranean, and so on. I know that’s an extreme example, but you get the idea. Don’t narrow your parameters so much that you weed out someone who could be great for you.

5. You Aren’t Initiating Contact

I’ll admit that I’m not the biggest fan of sending the first message — it can be intimidating. But you’ve got to do it sometimes, especially if you’re struggling to meet people on the site or app. While some people think men should initiate, and some people think women should — I think both should. It’s 2018 for crying out loud.

Photo of the words proactive and reactive

Take initiative by sending the first message to someone special instead of waiting for them to do it.

A good way to ease into messaging is to start by using the dating site’s flirting features such as virtual winks, likes, favorites lists, photo requests, and real-time chat.

Let’s say you see someone you like. You can start off by sending them a wink and adding them to your Favorites list. If they don’t flirt back or saying anything to you, then you can like one of their photos. If they like one of your photos as well or interact with you in some way, then you can send a quick chat asking how their day is going. Once you’ve got a conversation going, you can take things to the messaging part of the site so you two can get more in depth.

6. Your Messages Are Too Formulaic

We have a lot of first-message tips that can help you get over the messaging hurdle, but the most important thing to remember is to not send the exact same message to a bunch of different people. They’ll be able to tell right away, and it’s just not a cool thing to do, in general.

You’ll also want to keep your first few messages somewhat brief (we all have short attention spans online) and mention something from the person’s profile so they know you actually read it. At the end of the message, try to ask a question so the person has something to say when he or she responds.

7. You’re Chatting for Too Long Instead of Setting Up the Date

A lot of online daters find themselves getting into the trap of talking to a match every day and never actually meeting up. They excitedly message and text and message and text, getting to know all about each other, and sometimes that back-and-forth feels so good that they worry if the chemistry will be there in person.

GIF of Kermit typing

There’s a balance between waiting long enough and waiting too long to arrange a date. I’d say you should set up a first date within a week of that first message — because you want to make sure this person is who they say they are and that they’re serious about going on dates and/or finding a relationship.

Make Online Dating Work for You by Recognizing the Issues & Adjusting as Needed

I’m a stubborn person, so I wanted to spend the rest of my life eating fresh, nutritious food without ever having to step on an elliptical. But that’s just not how things work — at least not for my body. There are a few moving parts to getting healthy — just like there are a few moving parts to being successful at online dating.

We’ve identified some of the problems you may be having as well as some solutions to those problems. Now the power is in your hands!

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