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Office Hours With Dr. Jim
by James Houran, Ph.D

In this column, "Dr. Jim" honestly and candidly answers your questions about dating, love and sexuality. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear – he tells you what you need to hear. Dr. Jim is committed to offering you guidance based on responsible clinical practice and hard data from the latest scientific studies. Send Dr. Jim your questions today for consideration in an upcoming issue.

Nice Guys Finish Last | Profiles Safe? | Relationship Skills

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Online Dating Profile Info - Is It Safe?
Nice Guys Finish Last
Most Important Relationship Skill

Is my profile information safe with online dating?


Let’s speak candidly here – no one’s information is 100% safe. In fact, I don’t know of any online or offline service that can guarantee perfect security and confidentiality. Of course, that doesn’t excuse companies that act like overachieving slackers.

If you read the various online dating blogs, you will notice posts from actual online daters who don’t seem to like or appreciate how some online dating services use their account information. Their concerns are legitimate. Your information theoretically can be sold or otherwise shared with third-parties, used for marketing purposes as well as viewed by a wide range of employees. And that’s just your personal information you give to sign up or pay for these services! Your online profile, which may contain some personal information and photos, is wide open to anyone and everyone who is able to use the online dating site. Thus, online daters should be very cognizant of the Terms and Conditions of any given service. Read those Terms and Conditions before signing up for a free service, and especially any paid service. Ask questions and get answers in writing if you have any concerns about the Terms and Conditions. This is crucial should you’ve a dispute with an online dating company later – and make no mistake there are a ton of complaints and disputes filed on online dating customers concerning Terms and Conditions.

Online dating companies are businesses and understandably need to protect themselves legally, but they should also have their customer’s best interests at heart. Make sure you feel comfortable that a company does so before you share your personal information and use the service.

Why do nice guys always finish last?
They don’t. “Bad boys” appeal to many people out there, because they’re unpredictable and reckless. Let’s face it – in a word they’re taboo and there’s something sexy and wild about going against the norm. In fact, states of excitability and fear promote the same brain chemistry as being “in love” – thanks to chemicals like dopamine, testosterone, serotonin and norepinehrine. That’s one of the secrets for a great date – do something that invokes high levels of excitement and even a little anxiety or fear. It will jump start the chemistry, believe me. So, it makes sense that bad boys are arousing because they keep others off balance and this elicits pleasant feelings that can be rather addictive.

But what’s more surprising is when “nice” guys suddenly act in spontaneous ways that seems out of character. Actually, there’s a “bad boy” in most men that will come out and play under the right circumstances. But the benefit here is that you get the stability and comfort of a guy who can tow the line when need be, but who can also act like a lovable mad-man when the mood strikes. The point is… don’t overlook guys that seem too plain, neat and tidy, and don’t assume that “bad boys” will offer you the intense romance of which you’ve been dreaming. Get to know as many people as you can – and you might be surprised just who’ll meet!

What’s the most important skill for keeping a relationship alive and well?

I guess that depends on the type of relationship you mean. But when it comes to long-term, committed relationships the principle of accommodation is always near the top of the list. Successful long-term couples have the ability to consistently emphasize or focus on the positives in the relationship and downplay the negatives. This skill – which often takes patience and practice – allows them to keep conflicts and disagreements in perspective.

Accommodation implies that one places the needs of his/her partner above the needs of oneself. That doesn’t entail that these couples ignore problems and significant issues. Rather, they discuss their potential sources of disagreement and decide as a couple what’s ultimately important to agree on and what’s ultimately trivial. This is consistent with the four general perspectives on compatibility as outlined by at least one relationship researcher (1). These perspectives include:

1) The relationship among the partners’ values, personalities, and predispositions.

2) The patterns of accommodation adopted by a couple,

3) The couple’s adaptability to each other’s needs in the face of mutual conflict.

4) Temporal changes or convergences in preferences, goals, and dispositions.

Thus, broadly speaking, successful couples are successful because they’re able to face, work out and integrate different issues into the relationship. Doing this truly is a skill as it takes patience and effort. No two people are automatically perfect soul-mates – rather they must work constantly to be soul-mates to each other.

Remember this: people can put up with a lot when they feel loved, but even the slightest issue can be intolerable when they don’t feel loved.


1. Levinger, G. (1986). Compatibility in relationships. Social Science, 71, 173-177.

Related Links:
» Do Nice Guys Finish Last? The Verdict is In!

» Nice Guys Finish Last? Not According to

> - The best approach to find the one. <

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