5 Secrets to Searching for Love Online

Online as in real life, it's not just about where you look for love, but how. With hundreds of thousands of singles at your disposal, you'll need a better way to find a match than just clicking indiscriminately and hoping for the best.

Here are some smart strategies to find your Mr. or Ms. Right.

Loosen Your Parameters

Remember you're dating here, not shopping. Resist the temptation to type too many criteria for your ideal-mate. You'll get a better cross-section of potential matches if you narrow it down to the few truly non-negotiable issues for you, whether it's that he wants kids or that she's a particular religion. You can always refine your search later if you're overwhelmed by too many results.

Redefine "Too Old" and "Too Far Away"

It seems like age and location are dealbreakers, but how much does it really matter to you if an otherwise great catch is 36 and not 35? Experts say that many users pick a number ending in 5 or 0 when determining their ideal mate's age; just adding a year or two to that ideal will gain you more potential dates. Ditto for location. What's another mile or two outside your radius?

Search Smarter

Go beyond just the basic search by age, gender and geography. Try looking for love by using keywords, like your favorite television shows, books or hobbies. If your dating service provides it, you can also try "reverse searches" which shows you the people who are looking for you (that is, the characteristics you have listed).

Cast a Wider Net

Try using more than one online dating site. Try popular sites (read: loaded with options) as well as specialized ones (to find someone with a particular criteria, like religion or a hobby).

Expect Some Disappointment

The reality is that you'll probably only get one response for every three emails you send to a potential match. And that's if things are going well! Keep at it, though, since the perfect-except-that-he-just-started-seeing-someone guy could be single again next week and new people sign up every day.

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Try These Pickup Lines

  • My friend's nickname is Secret, strong enough for a man but made for a woman.
  • I'm not Fred Flintstone, but I'll make your bed rock.
  • Are those cornflakes in your pants? You sure bring out the tiger in me.
  • Do you wash your pants in Windex? Because I can really see myself in them.
  • Hi, I'm Mr. Right--I heard you were looking for me.