Online dating what am i doing wrong No one answers my dating profile. What am I doing wrong?

Swipe Right is our advice column that tackles the tricky world of online dating. This week: how to handle matches whose interest fizzles

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Swipe right: helping you navigate the traps of online dating. Photograph: Celine Loup

Dear Eva,

I can’t seem to get anywhere with these dating apps and websites.

I get matches but most of them don’t contact me, respond when I contact them, or they unmatch me. I’ve been played, stood up, had guys express keen interest and then fall off the radar. Or I get a lot of offers for hook-ups. The whole time, I get the feeling they’re passing me up for a better option, or only consider me good enough for casual sex.

The last guy I chatted with was keen, talked with me for over an hour on the phone after over a day of messaging. He asked me out and then fell off the radar. I could see from the app he resumed activity.

I have other friends who succeed in finding guys who actually engage with them and date. What am I doing wrong?

I’m 39 and not getting any younger. I’m at the point now of giving up on dating altogether and accepting I’m just going to end up on my own.

Hey, you.

First, foremost, you need to know this: it’s not about you. Yes, it may feel like it’s about you! After all, you are the common factor in these interactions. But how can it be about you, really, when these fickle fellows don’t know you beyond a few brief exchanges or a single phone call? It can’t: they’re not basing their decisions on anything beyond the most superficial impressions. And do you want to spend the rest of your life with someone who judges you in a superficial way?

Take the guy who disappeared after your phone call and then continued to use the app: he could have decided that your intonation reminded him too much of a girl who broke his heart in ninth grade. He could have had a night of passion with his boss and then when that didn’t work out, decided he’d left it too long to get back in touch with you. He could be a person who enjoys talking to women he meets through dating apps but not actually meeting up with them (ugh). None of these are factors you are able to influence or overcome. None of these are factors you should worry about: they are his problems, not yours. Bottom line: online dating is exhausting enough without spending energy on trying to figure out the weird motivations of stranger. If you’re doing anything wrong, it’s that.

Onwards! I, too, know the frustration of feeling like I’m not getting contacted by the right people, or that the right people aren’t responding to me, but I take that as an opportunity to keep looking, rather than evidence of something wrong with me. For many, it’s a very leaned-back experience: we swipe away while we’re waiting to unload the dishwasher or in line at the supermarket, and when something more pressing comes up – a broken glass, a hot supermarket cashier – we let it slide. To make it work, you need to train yourself not to see every little rejection as a personal affront (I know, this isn’t easy; it took me a while) and instead to think of each man who falls by the wayside as clearing the way for another, better opportunity.

You’ve mentioned that your friends have been more successful at online dating than you: what is your measure of success? If you can adjust this measure from “not ending up alone” to “having coffee with a man I don’t loathe” or “telling some of my best jokes to a stranger over text message and having him respond with a LOL”, you may feel more like you’re winning.

14 year old dating 2year old is an unusual game in that a definitive victory may mean not having to do it any more, but in the meantime there can also be pleasure in the playing of the game if it can be about meeting new people, learning new things about yourself (you like southern accents, you don’t mind hoppy beers), and not feeling like your greatest life hopes are dashed every time you meet a person who’s kind of lame. Lame strangers have no right to dash your hopes. Don’t let them.