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The Rules for Online Dating

Rule 19: Keep Your Ad Up Until You Are Exclusive

Women take down their ads prematurely. They have two dates with a guy and think “He’s the one, that’s it for me, I don’t want to meet anyone else,” or they want to show Mr. Right on their third date that they are committed to him and him alone by taking down their ad. We think this is a big mistake. Regardless of the reason, we think the only time to take down your ad is when you are exclusive, he has said “I love you,” or he has asked you to take down your ad-and he has taken his down too!

Jenna (WillowyBlond29) found this out the hard way. Mark (DreamGuy35) answered her ad and thought she was attractive and that they had a lot in common. Jenna flipped over his photo and profile (he was handsome and also loved the outdoors) and said “sure” when he asked her to meet for drinks in his second e-mail.

The first date on a Tuesday evening was perfect and ended with his asking her for dinner that Saturday night. Jenna was so crazy about Mark that she wouldn’t even log onto the dating service under her own name that week, because it would have recorded her logging on and she didn’t want Mark to think she was interested in meeting anyone else.

Like most women today, Jenna was so worried about men being commitment-phobic that she wanted to set an example of fidelity. She thought that if she showed a man that she was the exclusive type, he would follow in kind. Of course, this doesn’t work. In fact, just the opposite is true, as Jenna soon discovered.

After a second date with Mark, a walk on the beach and a really great kiss, Jenna went home and took her ad down because she felt she had met the man she was going to marry. Taking her ad out of circulation was her way of providing to him that she was serious.

On their third date Mark mentioned that when he was searching through the ads to see her pretty photo again, he couldn’t find it. She smiled sweetly and said that she took it down because she was so happy to have met him and did not want to meet anyone else. With that, Mark choked on his dinner. He said he wasn’t feeling well and would she mind if they skipped dessert and coffee. And then he quickly dropped her off at her apartment building with just a peck on the cheek!

When Jenna didn’t hear from Mark all week, she e-mailed him, “Everything OK?” He said, “Yes, just busy with work. Will call you when things settle down.” When she didn’t hear from him for another week, she called him at work and came right out and asked, “Are you dumping me?” Trying to be polite, he just said, “No, I just think we were moving a little too fast. I’m not looking for anything serious right now.”

Jenna was speechless. She didn’t understand what had happened until she consulted with us and we told her that taking down her ad and telling him about it (and why) was like asking a guy to marry you. “You can’t ask a guy to be exclusive on the third date or any date. That’s his job. Taking down your ad after the second date was premature, and telling him why you took it down was scary for him, which naturally made him lose interest,” we explained. “Besides, Mark was not searching only for your photo that day but also for other women’s photos. He’s not ready to stop dating yet and neither should you be.”

Jenna learned her lesson and put her ad back up. Mark saw it and e-mailed her for a date. This time, Jenna waited 48 hours and e-mailed him back, “Busy right now. Maybe next month.” She waited until Mark e-mailed her again and again before she agreed to see him. Now she is dating him and three other guys she met online and loving it.

Jenna’s new motto: “May the best man win!”

Copyright ©2002 by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider. Reprinted with permission.


Excerpt from The Rules for Online Dating by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider.

From the Publisher:

What the international phenomenon of The Rules did for conventional dating, The Rules for Online Dating does for the search for love on the Internet. You’ll never hit the “reply” button the same way again. Millions of women around the world are meeting men on the Internet, or they’ve met in person and are corresponding by e-mail. But though e-mail and Net-based dating services have revolutionized the dating landscape, they’ve created their own pitfalls and challenges. Women need new strategies that will improve their chances of capturing Mr. Right.

Boasting the same time-tested formula and romantic spirit that made The Rules an international bestseller and launched thousands of women down the path to committed relationships, The Rules for Online Dating shows all women-regardless of age, status, or computer savvy-how to use electronic communication to relate to men in a way that maintains self-esteem and leads to a healthy relationship. Here is a comprehensive list of dos and don’ts that will help every woman conduct an e-courtship safely and successfully; find and keep the interest of suitable mates; and save time, energy, and potential heartache by weeding out dead wood.

The Rules for Online Dating takes women through the process – step by step, Rule by Rule-to the ultimate goal: a relationship based on mutual attraction, interest, and respect.

Published by POCKET BOOKS, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.