What To Look For And Avoid On Dating Sites

Updated June 15, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

Finding love—whether you’re looking for someone to keep you company or spend your life with—can be a challenging prospect. Many people have turned to online dating sites to help them make connections. Read on to explore the pros and cons of virtual dating apps and how therapy can help you build solid, healthy relationships.  

Are You Struggling To Make A Good Match With Online Dating?

Why Are Dating Sites And Apps So Popular?

You may find life too busy to go out and meet people, and online dating lets you get to know someone before committing the time and effort to meet in person. Digital dating apps and websites make connecting with other single people in the area simple.

“In the last decade, the popularization of the Internet and the use of the smartphone and the emergence of real-time location-based dating apps (e.g., Tinder, Grindr) have transformed traditional pathways of socialization and promoted new ways of meeting and relating to potential romantic and/or sexual partners.” — Study on dating apps and their impact, National Library of Medicine

Benefits And Drawbacks Of Meeting People Online


  • It’s easy to meet a large selection of people.
  • You have control over who you talk to. 
  • There are options to filter your dating pool.
  • You can speak to multiple people to see if there’s enough interest to meet in person.
  • With millions of people using online dating as their preferred method to meet people, you’re sure to find someone you like.


  • Without tone, expression, and contextual clues, misunderstandings can happen.
  • Catfishing and scammers are constant concerns. 
  • Online harassment is an unfortunate possibility. 
  • Fees can get expensive if you use multiple paid apps. 
  • Making a suitable match can take a lot of time and effort.

What Make A Dating Site Or App Good?

With so many options for online dating, how do you choose the best site or app? For better or worse, online dating has changed the romantic landscape and how people connect with each other. Explore the factors that could make one dating site or app a better fit for you than others.

Trial Period

If you’re interested in trying a new dating site, look for one that offers a free trial period to get an idea of how things work and the types of matches you're likely to make if you try the paid service. 

Similar Values

Several dating services target specific groups of single people, like those who prefer someone with the same religious values, people specifically looking for a serious relationship, and those seeking a temporary, casual connection. 

Paid Service Or Free To Use

While free trials are nice, you will eventually encounter the decision to continue with free-to-use services or try a paid dating site. Many people report satisfaction with the free options, while others believe paid services provide a higher quality experience. 

Optimize Your Profile

  • Show emotional availability by indicating you’re open to meeting someone and forming a connection. 
  • Don’t lie about who you are or what you’re looking for; honesty will serve you far better. 
  • Focus on your character traits and hobbies.
  • If you’re looking for love, say so. 
  • Choose your username wisely. 
  • Use a profile photo featuring you smiling with your head slightly tilted. Studies show that those qualities can make an image more attractive. 
  • Explain what you want in a partner.

What To Look For In Online Dating Profiles

If you find a dating site you like and start making matches, how do you decide which ones to talk to? Take a look at some things to watch for in a potential date's profile. Studies show that three in ten Americans have used an online dating site

Profiles With Pictures

Without the benefit of tone, inflection, and facial expression, which you'd have with in-person meetings, the information in their profile is all you have to go on when deciding whether you’re interested. Look for profiles with photos that give you an idea of who you’ll be talking to and what they look like. You may get some insight into their personality if they have multiple photos. 

Qualities You Find Attractive

Part of the process for signing up on dating sites and apps is writing a profile designed to catch the interest of potential partners. Look for people who have qualities you find attractive, such as a good sense of humor, an established career, or similar life goals. Try listing the characteristics you'd like in a partner and using those to filter your potential connections. 

“The online dating systems have much larger pools of potential partners compared to the number of people your mother knows or the number of people your best friend knows. Dating websites have enormous advantages of scale. Even if most of the people in the pool are not to your taste, a larger choice set makes it more likely you can find someone who suits you.” — Stanford News

Profiles That Catch Your Interest

With so many options, the challenge with online dating becomes narrowing down the seemingly endless stream of potential dates. The systems are designed for profiles to catch your interest with a photo and a few lines of text. Explore your matches and find the ones who make you want o know more. 

What To Avoid In Dating Sites And Profiles

There are a few things you can look for that could indicate a dating site or a potential match won’t provide a positive experience for you. 

Watch For Overwhelmingly Negative Reviews

If the online dating site or app has overwhelmingly negative reviews, many of the users have likely had unpleasant experiences. Particularly before committing to a paid service, check out how others have rated its performance. 

Avoid Giving Out Personal Information

Asking for personal information such as your home or work address, phone number, banking information, or passwords is a critical warning sign that indicates all is not as it seems. You could face trouble if you continue interacting. 

Beware Of Scammers

Unfortunately, you may face the risk of catfishing or scammers. Catfishing, or using a fake name, photo, and profile, is a tactic some people use to gain someone’s trust for hostile intentions. 

Overtly Sexual Profiles

If someone’s profile is focused on overtly sexual content, it could indicate that they aren’t interested in a deeper emotional connection or a relationship. 

Overly Familiar Treatment Too Soon

Some people may act overly familiar or domineering within moments of sending the first message. Unless you’re specifically looking for someone with that personality, it can often indicate that a potential partner may not respect your boundaries or opinions. 

Online Dating Red-Flag Warning Signs

  • Catching a potential match in a lie. 
  • Asking you for money.
  • Planning to meet and repeatedly rescheduling or not showing up.
  • Refusing to call or video chat after talking for a while. 
  • Acting interested online but making excuses if you want to set up a date. 
  • Expressing love or proposing before you’ve even met. 
  • Asking to meet for the first time in a secluded place. 
  • Offering or asking for personal details too soon or asking inappropriate questions. 
Are You Struggling To Make A Good Match With Online Dating?

Reach Out For Help

If you struggle to connect with other people while dating online, you may benefit from speaking with a qualified therapist to help you develop the confidence and communication strategies to help you find and relate to potential matches online. Working with a counselor can offer the support and guidance of a mental health professional as you delve into the online dating pool.

How Therapy Can Help You Form Healthy Relationships

Many people have trouble expressing themselves or sharing their feelings and needs. If you have difficulty communicating, consider working with a licensed therapist online through a virtual relationship therapy platform like Regain. Therapy can help you form strong, healthy relationships by teaching you effective communication methods and building self-confidence while learning to identify, understand, and express your emotions. 

Recent years have brought versatile treatment methods to the forefront of the mental healthcare community. Studies conducted by the American Psychological Foundation show that online and face-to-face therapy provide similar outcomes. However, many patients reported that virtual treatments are more cost-effective and often involve shorter wait times. Teletherapy platforms offer the additional advantage of providing access to a comprehensive network of treatment providers, making it far more likely that you’ll connect with a therapist who fits your needs and personality while making you feel comfortable. 


Online dating can be challenging and rewarding in equal measure. The information provided in this article may offer insight into virtual dating sites' positive and negative aspects and how therapy can help you find the emotional balance to form and maintain healthy relationships. 

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