Online Dating Myths—Busted!

Want to find love on the Internet? Let couples who met online share what really works—and what doesn’t.

By Kimberly Dawn Neumann

hen it comes to online dating, there are lots of hypotheses about what works best. We decided to set the record straight with advice from the experts—people who met their sweeties on! Here, they share their secrets so you can find success, too.

Myth to be busted: Winking is for wimps

Success Story: Shannon, 25, and Matthew, 29, Chicago, IL; married September 2, 2007
“Some people tend to think that winks are a cop-out and that if someone is truly
It doesn’t matter how you reach out as long as you do it.
interested, he or should at least send you an email. However, I disagree,” says Shannon. “Winks are actually an easy way of expressing or assessing interest and may also help get you on someone’s radar—someone who might have missed you in his or her own searches. In our case, Matthew winked at me and after reading his profile, there was no need to wink back because I thought he was right… we could be a match. So I just bit the bullet and wrote him an email. Turned out we were a perfect pair and if Matthew hadn’t winked, who knows if I would have found him? Now we’re experiencing our own happily-ever-after.”

Lesson learned: Just get in touch already! You never know who you might meet but you won’t know until you at least wink, IM, email, something. It doesn’t matter as much how you “reach out” as long as you just do it! For shy types or anyone who wants to go slowly, winking is perfect. Get out there, break the ice, and get the ball rolling.

Myth to be busted: You’ll have to go on tons of bad dates before finding a match

Success Story: David, 43, and Tina, 39, Brooklyn, NY; married May 25, 2003
“The fact that my husband was the one and only guy I corresponded with on proves that if you are specific about who you want to meet, you may not have to go on tons of dates! I chose David’s profile after carefully reading my top 20 or so most compatible matches,” recalls Tina. “I kept going back to his. I focused on what he said and let my instincts guide me rather than get in the way. Too often, we talk ourselves out of
Focus in on shared interests—they’re key for long-term bonding.
possibilities. I wasn’t sure why I kept returning to his profile — his wasn’t even the highest on my compatibility list — but after a while I said to myself, Why not send a note and go with your gut feeling? So I did. We were married three years later, after a good, long dating period. I had no expectations when I sent that note, but it changed my life.”

Lesson learned: Be specific about what you want and trust your gut instinct. Only you know what you can and can’t live without in a mate. When setting up your searches, make sure they reflect your must-have criteria to give you the best chance of finding a match. And if you notice yourself attracted to a particular profile, there is most likely a reason why, so don’t ignore your intuition! It’s usually right.

Myth to be busted: Online dating works best for pretty young things

Success Story: Patricia, 66, and Josh, 60, Dover Plains, NY; married February 21, 2004
“When I signed up on, I was nervous about being 50+, but I needn’t have worried. I may not have had as many hits as a pretty 20-something, but I had more than enough to keep me very busy!” says Patricia. “And when I met Josh, I knew I had met my perfect match. Tell all the ladies of a certain age that there are masses of great guys out there in all age ranges. They’ll be surprised!”

Lesson learned: With millions of members, there are ample opportunities to find your match, no matter what your age. For every person seeking a 20-something single person, there will be another searching for someone possessing maturity… the kind of self-knowledge that only comes with age! Remember, you’re only looking for one person… the right match for you.

Myth to be busted: You can’t tell if you have chemistry online

Success Story: Rachel, 31, and Steve, 37, Ft. Collins, CO; married September 18, 2004
“I knew that I had chemistry with Steve online because of how he portrayed himself throughout his profile. As my friend said to me after looking through his profile with me, ‘Rachel, he seems just like you except he is the male version… you have so much in common!’ His interests, passions and philosophies all corresponded to mine,” explains Rachel. “In our emails back and forth, we discovered we had a new thing in common every time… from jobs, to hobbies, to dogs—we both had black Labs who also love each other now! I could tell that we had chemistry from his photos as well—he had pictures of mountain-bike races, traveling and outdoor activities, all things which I loved. It was a match from the first time I read his profile!”

Lesson learned: Look for common ground—and when you feel a spark, don’t fight it! Want to determine if you might have off-line chemistry? Then look for things you both enjoy while perusing profiles. Though opposites sometimes attract, it’s more common that people with shared interests hit it off and bond for the long term. Common interests can set you up for chemistry because you’ll have lots to discuss… on and off the Internet.

Kimberly Dawn Neumann is a New York City-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Marie Claire, Maxim and frequently online for and’s Happen magazine (
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