Picture causes interest loss

Dating Goddess reader Steve asks:

What is the best approach when you begin emailing someone from an online dating site, get interested, then exchange photos and lose most of your interest because the person is unattractive to you? Is this something worth pursuing? Sometimes people look better than their photos. Sometimes as we get to know someone better we become more attracted to that person. However, if there is no or very little attraction based on the photo despite the interesting email exchanges, is it worth pursuing the relationship?

There’s something backwards about online dating. You get to know the person before you ever find out if there’s a physical spark.

Dear Steve:

I’ve had this exact same issue. If a guy doesn’t have a pic posted but his profile sounds interesting, when he makes contact I request a photo saying, “Please email me a pic so I can see with whom I’m communicating. After all, you have a pic of me.” If he doesn’t comply, something is amiss so I stop responding.

If he sends a pic and he is totally unappealing, I pull back significantly not asking him any questions hoping the communication dies. If I need to, I say something directly about not feeling we’re a match.

That said, I have met with some men who were much more appealing in person than their pictures, as I explained in “Clothes make the man.”  But that has been the exception rather than the rule.

If you have the time and interest to meet the person, only commit to coffee, as usual. If you’ve developed some fondness on email or the phone, it would be easy to suggest dinner or a longer initial meeting. But stick to something short so you can extricate yourself gracefully if there’s no appeal in person.


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6 responses to “Picture causes interest loss”

  1. Elena Avatar

    Your advice is great for women because a lot of men post crappy photos of themselves, but it’s a different story the other way around. I’m not saying that women post fabulous photos always but they tend to post photos that cast them in an appealing or attractive light. So I think Steve already deep down inside knows the answer to his own question. Men tend to be more visual than women and so if he’s already feeling a loss of his initial spark of interest, he should probably spare the woman the pain of him going “poof” after that coffee date and just pull back now.

  2. bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    I’ve had this particular experience a few times. In one case, there was no initial spark and a face to face meeting confirmed a mutual lack of interest. In the other instance, we met for coffee and discovered we had mutual interests and a good rapport, so we stayed friends for a while and, yes, the interest grew and we wound up dating for a few years. So, while I’d never say never regarding an initial attraction, it’s definitely a maybe-ish situation.

    I agree with Elena, though; if Steve is primarily the visual type; (I’m an aural type myself, hence a deep masculine voice has a stronger appeal for me than a photo, per se); better to send a polite ‘thanks but no thanks’ e mail sooner rather than later and risk hurting someone else’s feelings if at all possible.

    Hugs from bookyone 🙂

  3. Dr. Jenn Avatar

    DG, ooo- this is a toughie, isn’t it!? I always say, “Imagine that this person is perfect in every other way, then could you imagine in a million years ever being able to be attracted to them?” If so, can’t hurt to meet. Soulmates arrive in all sorts of packages, some quite unexpected. And as you mentioned, physical attraction tends to grow with emotional connection. Heck, I know I’ve ended up going to bed with men whom I initially found down right unattractive, once I fell for who they were. But don’t tell anyone I said so! 😉

  4. nysharon Avatar

    OK DG, I have DONE it. Got tired of not meeting anyone new in this iddy biddy fishbowl town and I posted a profile, a cute picture and I am juggling all the attentions now. Wow. I am having fun with it. But guess what, this just happened to me. First two pics looked OK, we talk on the phone which felt a little flat to me, we were suppose to meet, he posted another picture when I asked him too, and now I’m not interested. I don’t want to waste hours of my life meeting him now. I have gone on 4 dates in 3 weeks and have more lined up. Two of the men I liked. Should I just tell him that? I’m not good at this but I want to be honest but not hurt his feelings. Problem is he will know its the picture. BTW: first date met me in parking lot with a doz roses. That is a subject for a post for you.

  5. Gula Avatar

    I have had that problem with my profile. I wrote a nice and very positive profile, but have not uploaded pictures when people started contacting me and asking for pictures. After I have sent couple times men stopped contacting me. I have to mention that I’m young and beautiful asian girl. And not only my mom told me that, but many other people as well and I’m very objective about my looks. The only thing I could assume at that time was that they all were looking for white women. Do you think it can be the only reason?

  6. Rebecca Avatar

    Hey DG….I can not more agree agree with your post…in fact I would like to tell you what happened with me ….I used to put my pic on Facebook and Myspace and you wont believe what happened…some nutcrack actually started stalking me…oh gosh…what horrible days!…I had to change my city…

    Since then I never put my profile pic anywhere!…I think we need to have some privacy controls on all such sites which are aimed at dating…especially match.com.

    I hope all dating products / websites take some serious steps towards this…