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Finding a man in the personals ads: Reading between the lines

Be weary when reading personal ads
Be weary when reading personal ads
Getty Images/Jamie Grill

With Valentine's Day fast approaching, many look toward personals ads as an easy way to peruse the possibilities for a date that day and beyond. Rather than wait for replies to your own ad, weeding through dozens of vague queries from men who're sending out mass replies, and haven't even read your ad,  maybe you'd rather take charge and contact the men yourself.  This can still be a daunting task.  Some people just aren't good at writing. Others misrepresent themselves. Here are a few tips on reading between the lines. While none of the following are absolutes in indicating character flaws, they may serve as warning signs, and a need for some further probing. 


Look out if he describes himself as:


  1. "A hopeless romantic" and/or "a one-woman man" and/or he "loves walks on the beach":  This guy may be trying to score easy points with the ladies. While many men truly are hopeless romantics, few are aware of it, and even fewer will admit it publicly.  Of course, he's assuming his audience is women, but he may not be sincere if he's saying things to women he wouldn't say in a coed audience.  He may be one who just says what he thinks all women want to hear. Walks on the beach? They are nice.  But that phrase shows up too often in ads of people who live nowhere near a beach.  Let's talk reality.  People do sometimes say they love doing things that they don't really do, or that they did once and wish they could do again.  Beware of those who may be trying to impress others with who they pretend to be, not who they are.

  2. "Just a regular guy":  Unless he's expressing pride in his bowel habits, this one cries out, "I don't know; Don't make me have to think!"  If being regular is the only thing he has to say about himself,  this may be a guy who lacks creativity, or passion about any cause, and who has few (or no) hobbies or interests outside of watching others live life on TV.   "Boring" may be a more accurate word to use.

  3. His profile lists 18-30 as the age of women he wants to date, even though he's 40-60: It could be that these are men who've decided they're ready to have children, so they're looking for women of childbearing age who're also less likely to already have three of their own. That would be legitimate except when you see they've also chosen "undecided" as an answer to the question of whether they want children.  Though maybe not all of them, it's inevitable that some of these guys are simply trophy hunters.  And if you want to be more than something to show off to the guys, you could be in trouble with this man.

  4. "Just want a woman who likes to show affection/enjoys sex":  He's likely been married to someone who he says didn't like sex.  Yes, there are women who don't care about sex, but even the best sex will eventually go stale in a bad relationship. It's more likely her sexuality was stifled by the problems in the relationship, which may have been there from the start.  There's a good chance that, if the reason was that he's inept in the bedroom, he won't appreciate or accept suggestions at how he could be better.

  5. "I'm 48, but look and act 35":   First of all, if this is true, you have eyes;  he doesn't need to tell you.  This man may never accept his real age.....or yours, as you get older. If you're 25 yrs younger than him, it might never be an issue. Or he may be like Rod Stewart, trading in his wife for a younger one every 10 years, as a means of trying to hold onto his own youth.   

  6. "I have no expectations" or  "I just want to meet someone who likes to have fun/laugh": Hey, it's great to be flexible, and not have so many criteria that no one can fit them all.  But, everyone has expectations. He's either hiding his, or hasn't taken any time to figure out what his are.  You may only find out gradually, as he starts trying to change everything about you. If he's really out of touch with himself, he'll begin to express frustration over your inability to guess what he wants from you. 

  7. "I know how to treat a woman.": Well, maybe, but if this guy thinks he already knows everything about you, he's following a formula.  There are certain to be times when you'll wish he'd either ask you what you think, or would listen when you tell him.


The bad news in looking through personals ads is that the internet is filled with all types. But, that's also the good news!   It will take some work, but using filters can make the difference for women who're looking for quality over quantity.


 

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