Is Online Dating Hopeless?

Q: Single for the first time in decades, I'm exploring online dating. I'm all for keeping things casual and fun, but it seems like the only men who contact me are looking for sex! I state clearly in my profile that I'm not interested in casual sex or one-nighters. When I contact a man, I try to tell him a little bit about myself and ask thoughtful questions based on his profile information. But all I seem to get are generic one-line messages and come-ons. What am I doing wrong?—Sue, 56

Dr. Susan: The only thing that you ought to adjust is your expectation of speedy success. Online dating requires a certain understanding of male/female psychology, as well as a realistic attitude toward probability. You will be contacted by a lot of frogs, especially if you're using the free online matching services. Those sex-besotted (and probably sex-deprived) men risk nothing by reaching out in their boorish leering way to dozens or hundreds of women. Like a drunk accosting every female at a bar, they figure (if you can call it "figuring") that once in a decade some female will respond positively to their crude overture.

Ignore the responses that have ignored the crux of your sincere profile. Try different services, including ones that include screening and cost something. Do not despair, as it only takes one good match to make it all worthwhile.

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