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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.


Interview with an Online Dater - Serena

One of the benefits of my role at is the ability to talk with actual daters about a myriad of topics that impact the industry and its customers. In fact, every so often an online dater is willing to share insights based on personal experience. This time around I’m privileged to present an interview with a savvy lady named “Serena” who has used different dating sites and therefore has many lessons to share.

If you’re interested in being interviewed about your dating site experiences, email me today!


Serena, how did you come to decide to use online dating, and what sites did you choose and why?

I opted for online dating because places such as church, the grocery stores and the bars just plain weren’t working! I felt like the ability to ‘screen’ for lack of better words, the men that I’d choose to date off of the site made sense. In another words, online dating would give me the ability to ask several questions via email and therefore eliminating major relationship disaster issues from the beginning! I’ve been on and Plenty of Fish.

In your opinion, what, if any, are the major differences between paid dating sites like Match versus free sites like in my opinion had a more professional clientele that really were looking for a legitimate relationship. In addition, the functionality of the website was great!  When you’re paying for a dating site, I think that you’re more than likely truly searching for someone legitimately and not there for serial-dating or games.

What are your major pet peeves about the way men conduct themselves online?   And, what advice would you give to help them shape up and come across as more attractive?

  • When men ask very personal questions about sex or when they request inappropriate photos to be sent to them.

  • When they lie about their age or height and anything else for that matter.

  • When they post old photos of themselves. For example; if they’re now completely bald and beer-bellied, they shouldn’t have posted that photo of them with a full head of hair and a six pack! BAD idea!

  • When they say they don’t smoke cigarettes, do drugs or drink when in actuality they do.

  • When self-employed means they live at home with their parents or living off of daddy’s inheritance!

My ONLY advice would be that they need to be honest and be real! That means not making themselves out to be the person that they’d like to be, but the person that they really are!

You recently decided to close at least one dating site profile. Please explain why this is and what your plans are for dating sites in the future.

Honestly, I was dating several different people that I was having a good connection with and it was getting to be too much to handle and too time consuming. Frankly, online dating could be a fulltime job if you allowed it to be. In another words, I wanted to spend my time on the ones that I had already been dating and see if any of those relationships were going to pan out to be the right one.  In the future I’d use PlentyofFish again, but I’d also use at the same time.

Finally, please pass some advice along to the ladies in terms of what has worked for you in garnering attention and contact from quality men.

  • Diversify your photos…and DEFINITELY keep them recent! Post as many as the site will allow. Change your main profile picture often, because different photos may get different men’s attention.

  • As simply and honestly as possible describe yourself without writing too much because most men are not going to read volumes of text.

  • Don’t reveal too much personal information on your profile or before you get to really know someone as I feel that it puts you in a very vulnerable situation.

  • Don’t lower your standards… Do not waste your time! Stay true to what you are looking for and do not lower your personal criteria just because someone is showing interest in you or because you feel guilty or rude about saying that you are just not interested. Online dating takes up enough time already…so don’t waste any on someone that you already know you’re not attracted to for whatever reason.

  • Just be yourself…online and in person!


Dr. James Houran's "Office Hours with Dr. Jim" column is published every Monday.

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