How Long Is Too Long To Be Dating Online?

Question: What do you make of this? I’ve been using various online dating websites for the past 4 years off and on. I’ve had 3 brief relationships in that time, all lasting about 6-9 months. This week a man emailed me that I’ve seen on this site and one other that I used a couple years ago.  I emailed him once before about 2  years ago and he didn’t respond. Every time I’ve gone back to these websites in the last 4 years, he’s been there.

I have two questions:

Why is he emailing me now? I do have 2 new photos on my profile but still use 3 others that I’ve been using for the past 2 years.

Is it a bad sign that he’s been on these sites for what appears to be multiple years and still hasn’t met anyone?

Michelle – 41, NYC via Facebook


Why is he emailing you now? Probably because he’s gone through all his other options. That and/or the new photos you posted are more flattering. But I’m going to lean more towards the former than the latter. At least this isn’t someone you actually went out with emailing you again after several years.

It’s not odd that he is on multiple sites. Most people are. I always tell people in our teleclasses that they should be on one paid site, one free site and one niche site. So that’s not a bad sign. The more people you’re exposed to, the more likely you’ll meet someone.

I’ve gotten those emails from men on those sites. The ones who have been on there as long as I have and get around to contacting me after a  few months. My profile had always been there. So I can only assume that I was not deemed worthy of a first round draft choice, and the guy was breaking in to his second round stash because the first round didn’t go so well for him.

It’s also not necessarily a bad sign that, in 3-4 years, he doesn’t appear to have met anyone. That you know of, of course. Although I don’t blame you for being wary. I would be too. But let’s take a step back and look at the possible reason for this.

1. He’s had a few relationships, nothing that turned serious, and kept his profile active.

2. You only think his profile has been active all this time and it hasn’t.

3. He decided that maybe he was being too picky and adjusted his expectations.

4.  He’s worn down by the process and giving his second tier choices a shot.

5. He finds your profile photos to be more attractive this time around.

6. He has issues that make it difficult to maintain a relationship.

7. He’s too picky.

8. He’s just looking to hook up and decided you’ll do for tonight.

As you can see, the reasons are split pretty much 50/50. Either he’s not good with relationships or too picky OR he just hasn’t met the person that is right for him yet. The only way you’re going to know what’s up is to meet him and decide for yourself.

Should you learn that, in the however many years he’s been online dating, that he hasn’t had many on going relationships with women (that have lasted more than a couple/few months) , then you should be concerned. (Same goes for a man in the situation.)

I’ll say it, and this might not go over well, but if someone is truly open to or looking for a serious relationship, actively dating and using online dating sites or whatnot, and is reasonably attractive and hasn’t been able to find anyone to stick around, there’s a reason. And it’s not by choice, and it’s not their job, and it’s not that they refuse to settle. Either something about their picker is off, they way over-estimated their value in the marketplace, or they are emotionally unhealthy. I would be just as skeptical as the OP in this situation. I would also be a hypocrite, and I totally admit that. But at least the OP has been able to have relationships that spanned longer than a few months. That has to speak to her state of mind and availability.

Frankly, I think he’d be a fool to admit that he hasn’t dated anybody ongoing for the past several years. If he’s smart, he’ll lie. Oh stop it! You know as well as I do that anybody in the OP’s shoes would immediately be unsettled upon hearing that someone who has been on those sites for several years hasn’t been able to meet someone. Get over your moral outrage that people lie in order to advance themselves in certain situations.

None of this means that he can’t have  a healthy relationship. It just means that, in the past 4 years, there were somethings going on with him that prevented him from connecting with someone.  That could be anything from an illness, to a job, to – yes – emotional issues. But you won’t know what is what unless you meet him. Who knows? He could have been in therapy for the past several years and figured some stuff out.

You’re never going to be able to size up every situation accurately. Like I said above, OP, this guy might lie and tell you he had a long term relationship in the past 4 years. You will never know for sure what the real story is. You don’t know that about anybody that you meet. Only spending time together will give you some insight. And even that won’t be 100% accurate. So you have to get rid of any need you might have to have a complete work up on someone’s relationship history or background. If someone is going to lie or cheat or use you, it’s already decided, and they know how to cover their tracks. You will not see it coming in some cases.

It’s fine to be cautious and have your personal guidelines and such. But you have to accept the fact that, as you continue on in your search, you’re going to get played eventually. It won’t kill you. It won’t make you damaged goods unless you choose to endure the beating for too long.

You’re never going to have all the answers. And even if you did, there will always be unknown factors that you can not control.


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7 Responses to “How Long Is Too Long To Be Dating Online?”

  1. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    “I emailed him once before about 2 years ago and he didn’t respond. Every time I’ve gone back to these websites in the last 4 years, he’s been there. …Why is he emailing me now? I do have 2 new photos on my profile but still use 3 others that I’ve been using for the past 2 years.”

    While you (and Moxie) have created this whole imaginary backstory about this guy’s life for the past four years, where he gave you serious consideration and decided to reject you two years ago, but now he’s been in therapy and/or has seen all the improvesments in your looks……the most likely story is: he had no particular substantive reasons for not responding two years ago – maybe you were one of several people who emailed him on a particular day, and your message fell through the cracks, or maybe he started dating someone before he ever responded, or yeah, maybe something in your profile then turned him off. Either he doesn’t even remember you or, he remembers you, but doesn’t remember why he wasn’t interested, or he remembers you and remembers why he wasn’t interested and doesn’t care, or, drum roll please, yes, he’s exhausted every single other option and you are his last resort. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

    Jesus. Meet the guy for drinks.

    Just as an anecdote, I have met several women online who, in the past either failed to respond to an my online message or disappeared during email exchnages. These women didn’t even remember emailing with me. I had to show them the emails and rub their pretty noses in it (I’m stalkerish like that.) And, I can safely assume that I’ve met women where I did didn’t respond to their first emails, etc. You cannot take online dating so seriously. Connecting online is like passing someone in the street and smiling. It may make your day but the other person may barely realize or remember it. It doesn’t mean you’re not attractive or they weren’t interested. The world doesn’t revolve around you.

  2. Ed Says:

    You really never know until you meet someone. Then there’s always the medium to consider. There are two common denominators with a person who’s been on an online dating site for a prolonged period of time: the person and the medium.

    While online dating is continuing to grow as an acceptable way of meeting people, it still must be acknowledged that it will attract a higher percentage of people who have issues meeting people or maintaining relationships for one reason or another. This isn’t all inclusive.

    I’ve been using dating sites for longer than I’d care to admit and have gone through phases early on where I really just wanted to date around because I never had so many options available to me before. When someone does have so many options it can be overwhelming at times and good people can get passed over, especially considering how fast everything can move online. I’ve missed out on being with what were probably really incredible women back then because I was busy screwing around with other women who I was able to hook up with fast and easy. This happened numerous times.

    Now, I’m in a different stage where I’m looking to meet the right woman and settle down. It’s not easy because there are a lot of people with issues out there. I’ve broken up with women who were illegal and were itching to get married for a green card though of course they’d never admit it; women who were depressed and not managing their therapy well; stalkers; women who cheated on me…. I could go on, but you get the idea.

    It’s easy to look at me and say because I’ve had these experiences I have issues myself. It does take some time to cope with these situations, but I don’t think an intelligent, well-adjusted individual needs therapy to move on. Shit happens. Get over it. If you’re serious about meeting someone and you’re using a dating site to do it, give the person a chance and meet him in person first before passing judgment. You may be pleasantly surprised.

  3. Dan Says:

    I think the same questions apply to the OP. She has been online for several years.

    So she had 3 short relationships. Maybe the same thing was the case with the guy she is accusing of being somewhat off.

    I would say that a guy looking at the OP’s profile and seeing it there, on and off for so many years, would have the same questions about her if he was in her same mindset.

  4. Christina Says:

    There’s just too much second-guessing going on here. Just meet the guy and see what’s up. I think a lot of people set up a profile, jump into online dating enthusiastically, and then give up after a few months without removing their profile. Or they get into a short-term relationship that they hoped would last longer. I also wouldn’t be too offended about being in his seeming “second round.” There are so many reasons he might not have responded to you the first time. I know there were guys I didn’t really notice for months until they put up a new and better picture and really stood out. One guy just shaved off a Tom Selleck-style mustache and looked like a whole new man!

    Generally, it seems that people do too much worrying over profiles without ever getting to a meet. Just meet him and see what happens.

  5. Says:

    Why don’t you just coome straight out and ask him why he’s interested now when he wasn’t before? Ypou might just get a straight answer.

  6. bill Says:

    Or the most obvious answer. He is doing the machine gun approach now. I personally know myself included that have done the machine gun method it works pretty well.

  7. M Says:

    i think another possibility is that the 1st time he wasn’t a paying member and he didn’t want to spend $30 to talk to someone he had never met. Girls get a lot more emails than guys on these sites, so don’t think there were necessarily other girls emailing him. Go out with him, see how it goes. Remember, it’s not important what happened a few years ago, what’s important is that he’s interested now.

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