10 Online Dating Rules You Had NO IDEA You Should Be Following

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When you're looking for real love online, a well-written dating profile is key. It's important to find the balance between serious and fun. You want people to know that you're looking for a real relationship, but you don't want to seem needy or desperate.

You want to show your fun and lighthearted side, but you don't want your online dating profile to come across as flaky. These tips will help you strike that balance, as well as help to identify the guys with boyfriend potential:

1. Use The Right Vocabulary 

Use phrases like "lasting relationship" and "best friend" instead of "marriage" and "husband." Focus on describing the day-to-day relationship you want to create, rather than the title you wish to achieve.

2. Include Anything That's A Deal-Breaker (For Him Or You)

Just put it out there. If you have children, mention that in your profile. If you want a partner who shares a particular lifestyle, write about its importance to you. 

3. Make Him Laugh

Lighten things up with a funny, self-deprecating story or by making reference to something funny in pop culture. Instead of saying you "love to laugh," express it in your writing and show it in your pictures!  

4. Beware Of The Guy Who Includes "Short-Term Dating" As Something He's Looking For 

Maybe he's open to developing a long-term relationship, but it's also possible that it's not important to him and he won't to do any work toward that goal.

5. Look Out For Outdated Profiles 

If a man wants a relationship and is attempting to find it online, it will show in his profile. He'll post good, clear pictures and he'll have an updated narrative.

6. Don't Put Too Much Stock Into His Online Presence 

If you didn't meet him via social networking, avoid connecting with him in that way until you get to know each other better. Exploring his Facebook and Twitter pages will likely fill your head with judgments and insecurities. Get to know him in real life before surveying his entire online presence.

7. Clean Up Your Public Profile 

Maybe he's the curious type, and you don't want him to find anything that might diminish the relationship potential. 

8. Don't Write Him Off For Texting Instead Of Calling

The important thing is that by the end of the first text session, he's asking to set up a time to meet. And not something like, "if you're free tonight, maybe we'll cross paths." He should set aside some time, in advance, to meet you. A fancy or time-consuming date certainly isn't necessary, but he should commit to an hour to meet you for coffee.

9. Beware Of The Guy Who Asks For Suggestive Photos Early On 

If you haven't yet been intimate, he shouldn't ask for sexy pictures. A man who's looking for real love will know that getting to know you is as important as physical chemistry, and he'll let the sexy texting develop in its own time.

10. In The Beginning, Don't Sweat The Small Stuff 

Don't worry about how long it takes him to respond to your text or why he waited a day to respond. Let him respond to you in a way in which he's comfortable. If it doesn't feel good to you, you can choose not to stay in touch. But give yourself the chance to get to know him without creating expectations about his availability.

There's no escaping the technology when it comes to dating. Keep these tips in mind so you're ready for the hunt for love!

@RebeccaAMarquis is the author of How to Be a Good Boyfriend: 34 ways to keep her from getting annoying, jealous, or crazy.

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