what puts women off

I am not a fan of online dating, but lots of people do it so I thought I would sign up on one of the largest dating sites in the interests of research. In your 50s there is a shortage of single men. One good thing about online dating is it can restore your faith that there is someone special out there waiting to meet you.

When I type in my search criteria and limit the distance for where I live over 500 results come up. I have spent the last few days trawling (to keep in with the fish analogy although I personally hate it) through search results and occasionally clicking to look on someone’s profile. I am sad to say that out of the 100s I have looked at, only about 5 piqued my interest.

I don’t really believe that all the men are that lazy and boring, but to look at the selection available online you would think that 99% of them are! So here’s what puts women off in online dating.

No intention of committing

Most women are looking for marriage. So guys suck it up. We want commitment and most of us are fed up of being messed around. So if commitment scares you, ask yourself what you are doing on a dating site. There are plenty of websites for people that just want to hook up. Also be consistent. If it comes up in the search results that you are looking for a relationship and then in your profile that you only want dating we think you are indecisive. Take time to think about what you are looking for and what you want in a relationship before you sign up. I realise many women are guilty of this too so you can be ahead of the game and it will also save you time. Think about what worked and what didn’t in previous relationships and write a list.

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Irrelevant information

This has been said thousands of times before and cannot be said often enough. Show us what makes you uniquely you. Don’t simply list your hobbies in your profile; there is a separate section for that. Be funny, show us your sense of humour, don’t just tell us you have one. That’s about as exciting as saying that you like reading and walking in the countryside. Does that make much sense when you live in London? Very few women care that you like sport. We know you do. Women find a man who makes them laugh is the sexiest of all. If you write something witty that will grab my attention faster than anything whether it is true or not. Self deprecating humour is the best. It tells us you are not too self-obsessed.

Tell us your character quirks – ask your friends what they like about you. Every guy is kind and caring. We don’t need to read that. We have all been hurt in the past. We have all been in relationships so we don’t need any of the details about how long you have been single. That will come later if we get past the first few dates. If you are in your 40s or 50s and your longest relationship has lasted less than 10 years, that may potentially put women off. We will wonder if you are ever going to be capable of commitment. We expect you to have sorted out your stuff by this age and are not here to carry your baggage.

Negative language

Never put what you are not looking for. If we get a bit scientific here, what we think about is what we attract. So if we think about the things we don’t want that is what we end up with. You can start with what you don’t want then turn it into a positive. Please don’t sound needy either. Saying things like ‘I don’t want to be hurt again’ is not attractive. None of us wants that so it is not necessary to put it in your profile. Don’t say anything negative about women who have let you down in the past either – it takes two to work at a relationship and there are two sides to every story.

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Blank or vague profile

Do write something in the ‘about me’ section of your profile – two paragraphs at least. If a woman is interested then it gives her something to start a conversation with. Women are not as visual as men and need more than a profile picture to spark their interest. Unless you look like George Clooney, if there is nothing interesting to read we will skip to the next one. The worst thing of all is to put ‘Ask me.’ No. You tell us something interesting first and then if we like what we see we will ask for more. Otherwise we think you are lazy and are not prepared to make an effort even if that is not true.

The first thing we see on your online dating profile is the picture. I am more swayed by what I read but the picture still plays an important part. I want to see that you take care of yourself and scrub up well. There is no excuse in this day and age of digital photography for grainy, blurred pictures or no picture at all. Even if you don’t have one yourself, everyone knows someone with a smartphone at least. Think about what you are doing in your pictures too. Are they consistent with what you have written? Holding a dead fish or patting a sedated tiger is a no-no under any circumstances. Your main picture should be a recent photo that shows your face clearly and don’t forget to smile! A man who smiles is always attractive.


Spend a bit of dosh. It does not cost a lot to sign up to be able to see more details and it shows you are genuinely interested in finding someone and not just a bit of a chancer. Putting ‘I don’t have money to check out who wants to meet me so send me a message instead’ tells us you are not prepared to make any investment in us. Personally I am done with dating men with money issues. We expect you to have your finances in order, especially the older we get.

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Don’t just click ‘want to meet’ if you haven’t read the person’s profile. In fact don’t click it at all. If you think you want to meet them, read their profile and check it fits with what you are looking for. Then send a message.

Bad grammar

And now that old chestnut – spelling and grammar. I do not honestly believe that 50% of population do not know how to spell and use grammar correctly. It shows us you cannot be bothered to think clearly and put something together that is coherent. I am aware some of you may be dyslexic, then ask a friend to help you. It will increase your potential prospects more than 100%.

In short guys, now you know what puts women off in online dating profile, so put some thought into it and make a bit of an effort. You are all great but how are we to know that when you don’t show us the real you?

Helen is a leadership coach and mindfulness trainer. She is worldly-wise and knows a thing or two about dating.

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