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The Biggest Online Dating Red Flags

by on February 11, 2014
in Family and Parenting, Tips & How-Tos, Valentine's Day, Social Networking :: 115 comments

happy coupleMore than one third of marriages in the U.S. begin online, according to a 2013 study released by the National Academy of Sciences. And, interestingly, marriages that begin online are less likely to result in separation or divorce, and those that remained married are happier than their offline counterparts. 

But while online dating may be a great way to find your soul mate, you’ll be confronted with thousands of candidates. And, like many other online offerings, the "product" received may not always be what was advertised. So improve your chance of success by keeping an eye out for the following red flags as you sort through potential date’s profiles:

Photos: Photos can tell you a lot about a potential date. No photo, or a grainy, out-of-focus or outdated photo, are a sign that the person probably has something to hide, or else is not really serious about the dating process. But Vondie Lozano, licensed marriage and family therapist, has some other not-so-obvious flags to add to the list.

  • If they have a ton of photos, it could mean they’re a little self-absorbed.
  • Do they have a photo of themselves with another person cut out of it? That’s a huge red flag on so many levels.
  • Is there someone or something else in all of their photos? It’s good to have outside interests. But if their dog, friends, boat or even their kids are in ALL their photos, it may tell you a little about where you’ll stand in the scheme of things.

Self-description: If the user name or headline is weird, overtly sexual or otherwise inappropriate — Bangyourdaddy, 69Reasons — you can stop there, says Trish McDermott, a founding team member of Match.com. Also avoid people that disclose too much, whether it’s a recent staph infection, bankruptcy or bad breakup. And McDermott recommends steering clear of people who don’t have kids but use undue space in their profile soliciting information about the age and sex of your children.

Christan Marashio, founder of AndThatsWhyYoureSingle.com, adds that “it's normal for people to have some trouble crafting a profile and to use self-deprecating humor to lighten the mood. Too much humor is usually a sign that the person is insecure and uncomfortable with being vulnerable, which could lead to problems with emotional intimacy down the road. The humor is used to distract.”

Marital status: “separated”: This one isn’t necessarily a deal breaker. But Dan Neuharth, licensed marriage and family therapist, says “you need to find out just how separated he is. He may be legitimately finished with his marriage emotionally, but the paperwork isn't final. But many separated people are nowhere near done. They may be on a trial separation, seeking variety, or way too fresh from a bad relationship to date seriously.” And if the person is still talking about their ex, that’s a red flag.

What he/she’s looking for: Requiring too much or too little are both red flags. You’ll never live up to the laundry list. If the person really doesn’t care, they’re probably looking for a “date,” not a relationship, or he or she may be looking to scam you.

Neuharth also notes that while it’s common for men to want to date women younger than themselves, if there's too much of an age gap, it's a sign he’s probably not looking for an equal partner in the relationship.

Updated on 2/11/2014



Discussion loading

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Most on dating sites, much like social media... are completely disconnected from reality.

From Marie on April 15, 2017 :: 8:30 am

I understand some of your points but as it relates to attempting to online date - current photos are necessary. People want to see current photos, while it does not need to be a ton of them, but photos with your dog(s), kids are good for someone to see.  It gives them a sense of who you are as it relates to your life.

Separated to me means no. I don’t want to ask and rely on someone being truthful about their preexisting situation. The problem now is that most people don’t put closure to whatever their current situation is before they opt to involve someone new. It’s too common and 99.9% online lie.

I do agree regarding those that want too much too soon right off. That seems common too, because many are accustomed to getting relationship, even marriage-type benefits without even being in a real relationship. Thanks to online dating and social media, we can thank those that have made it acceptable not to have to cultivate anything real.

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This is what I've encountered with online dating and social media, being that both are interchangeab

From Marie on April 15, 2017 :: 10:41 am

Most of the males that I encounter do not grasp that for something to last, you need to cultivate it and let it progress - not hung it down like prey and expect it to work or last.

I keep encountering the same type of ego-driven males, that are NOT alpha males in my eyes.  Big egos and alphas are NOT synonymous, confidence is one thing, but cockiness is not confidence.

I cut someone off this morning. He has potential, but he started showing me the signs when he would challenge that I pay him more attention than my studies.  My studies are my priority and he is not, until he’s earned his time and priority in my life.  He can kick hot rocks barefoot. 

I have encountered those type of males that assume that they automatically should be a priority in your life even when they have not earned that right and vice versa.  I don’t want someone that right off the bat is going to make me his world until we have actually gotten to know one another enough to mutually feel that way.

I have learned to go with my instincts, especially when a guy shows me a sign of selfishness, because those are precursors and are small cracks to bigger sinkholes of their character.  Pay attention, if and when you feel doubt, you feel it for a reason.

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to marie

From Frank Johnson on April 19, 2017 :: 9:41 pm

Since you are an expert on men, why don’t you tell the rest of the world what an alpha male is and a beta.  I would like to know this myself.  And how successful has your relationships been with either.

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I'll help

From Teri White on April 19, 2017 :: 9:55 pm

I guess the alpha male in any animal society would be, among other factors, one that the females want, therefore a woman’s, and women’s opinion of what an alpha human male might be like is a pretty valid opinion, and worth taking into account. It doesn’t matter if he has the biggest muscles or the biggest muscle car if it isn’t what women want. In my own opinion, I find that signs of insecurity in a man, such as needing to be validated all the time, don’t make men very ‘alpha’. It is only an opinion, mind you, so please allow me to have one. It is very ‘alpha’ to be strong enough not to get too emotional over someone’s opinion.

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To frank

From Marie on April 20, 2017 :: 12:42 am

I never said I was an expert, but what I did say was that alpha males and not synonymous with cockiness.  I don’t know about beta males.

I don’t base my relationships on any of those things, as I’m not perfect like you or some of assumptive males that seem to have chimed in. 

Please re-read whatever reply that I posted to get what I said and maybe do your own research on what the differences on between alphs and betas.

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I don't date men, so

From Frank Johnson on April 20, 2017 :: 7:39 am

I don’t date men, so I can’t tell you what an alpha vs a beta male is.  Jerks come in all sizes, but somehow it is assumed that a shorter man has some sort of complex, but never for a tall man.  Am I right on this?

love this post!

From Teri White on April 17, 2017 :: 6:27 pm

You’re awesome smile

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Thank you Teri ☺️

From Marie on April 17, 2017 :: 7:14 pm

Appreciate that! So are you.

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Sure.

From Robert on May 20, 2017 :: 7:42 pm

I agree with mk an most of the comments associated with his comment. Children coming first is a given, having to state it seems more like it’s trying to throw it in the potentials face. If your kids are not first what type of mother are you to began with?  At my age of 37 almost all potential mates will have children, it would be questioning if you didn’t. Knowing the age of your offspring is nice but being placed in second place before “hi” is even said is a little over board. How about we put just a tad more thought into how we want to be marketed?

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Re:Do they have a photo of themselves with another person cut out of it? That’s a huge red flag on

From mARY sMITH on September 23, 2017 :: 12:58 pm

I cut people out of all my photos on a dating site, not because I am hiding something, but because I joined the dating site, my family or anyone in a photo with me did not join.  I would never publicly post a photo of anyone without their permission. I would never put picture of my children or grandchildren on a dating site, this could possibly put them at risk. Pedophiles look for women with children, they date the women, even marry the woman, to get access to her children.

I actually think less of the men who do post pictures with their friends and family for all the above reasons.

So don’t presume there is something wrong if I or anyone else cut out someone in a photo.

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Children first before men

From Richard Sieben on March 26, 2018 :: 5:02 pm

Let me share you my story. My step-daughter ruined my marriage. And regards to my Ex girlfriend wanting to get back to me? I will say no because of her controlling son. The whole outcome was better. I met a very nice lady with no kids of her own and never has been married. I had to move a lot of “dirt” to find my keeper.

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If a woman is not

From Lexi Lovette on March 27, 2018 :: 11:49 pm

If a woman is not intetested in you because of your height, then they are really shallow people. 5’7” is by no way short. I was 5’4” all my life but now Im 5’2”. I cant change that unless I wear heels, but I cant do that anymore either. Keep looking and dont worry about your height.

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One way interrogation on dating sites!

From Barb Adams on May 12, 2018 :: 1:06 pm

I have found that too many middle aged (especially) men ask questions that are none of their business or at least inappropriate to ask right up front such as,“How long have you been on such and such dating site?” “How many people have you dated?” It’s like an interrogation! And when you try to ask them similiar questions, they block you!

If they are so unrealistic and arrogant they think women just signed up yesterday and viola, found them, get real. Probably not gonna happen. It doesn’t mean someone is sleeping with everyone they talk to.

Hey, guys, you are probably NOT the first date if you’re going on dating sites. Just a reality check.

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Many women on dating sites are getting around!

From MT on May 29, 2018 :: 2:22 pm

I was astonished to discover how easy it is to get laid on dating sites after re-entering the dating pool as a divorced man a few years ago.  A lot of women are offering unsolicited sex on the first date. I am not sleeping with any women who offers sex on the first date because any man with common sense can knows that he is not the first one to receive the offer. Let’s face it.  A lot of women go crazy when it comes to sex on dating sites.

With respect to height discrimination on dating sites, it absolutely exists.  I am 5’11.5” when measured in bare feet. I have listed my height as 5’11” and 6’0”.  The difference in the number of hits that I receive when I list 6’0” instead of 5’11” is fairly astounding.  We are talking about one inch of height, half of an inch in my case. The difference in height is barely perceivable when a truly 5’11” guy (i.e., one who is at least 5’11” when measured in bare feet, not 5’10.5” rounded up) stands next to a truly 6’0” man, especially when footwear is involved because different shoes have different size heels.  I can only imagine how bad things are for guys who are shorter than 5’10”, which my research has revealed to be the minimum male height on roughly 70% of female profiles on Match. 

According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average American Man is 5’9” and the average American woman is 5’4”.  Both height distributions are bell-shaped curves with 50% of each population falling within +/- 2” of each mean.  A height of 5’10” is the 65th percentile for male height in the United States, meaning that 65% of the male population is shorter than 5’10” when measured in bare feet. A female height of 5’8” is the 95th percentile for female height in the United States, meaning that 95% the female population is more than short enough to date the average American man. 

One female poster alluded to the fact that a man closer in height is usually a better lover.  That is because a couple’s height and body sizes are better matched with a less of a difference in height, especially for positions such as missionary, which can be awkward to very uncomfortable for a man when he is 7+” taller than a woman because there is not only a large difference in height, there is a large difference in body size.

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OnLine Dating Is Horrible

From John Doe on January 29, 2019 :: 6:00 am

Well there are many of us men that just don’t like the dating scene as it is, especially with so many very pathetic loser women nowadays that play so many games to begin with.  There are a lot of us serious single good men out there that really want a relationship, and don’t play games at all like many of these moron women today are doing.

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