How to Find Love (Not Just Sex) On Dating Apps

Tips on finding a relationship online

Face it. It’s easy to find sex on dating apps if you’re even a moderately attractive female between the ages of 18 and, well, 88. But how does a woman find a lasting relationship and love?

It’s actually not as hard as it might seem, if you’ve heard online dating war stories from your friends, or experienced it yourself. Sure, there are plenty of men online who are just there to tell a few pleasing stories of what you want to hear, and try to bed you. But those guys won’t hang around very long if you don’t have sex with them. So use your gut instinct and take off your rose-colored glasses and you, too, can find love online.

Yue Xu, a NYC-based dating coach at, said she believes you can find love on any dating website as long as you use it right. She said, “Post more face photos than body photos. Your profile photo must be a face photo. Putting up too many body photos just screams hookup. If you're looking for a more serious suitor, you need to attract him with your face, not your bod.”

How to Find Love (Not Just Sex) On Dating Apps

Another key component, she said, is to not initiate the first conversation. “If you're using an app where it gives you the option to message someone, don't be the first to do it. Eagerness and initiative are often misunderstood as hookup material in a man's eyes. The man should do the chasing, so let him message you first. That's his job.”

“Be picky about who you respond to. My general rule is, don't respond to a message unless if ends in a question mark. If it's a simple ‘hey’ or ‘lookin' good,’ there's absolutely no use in responding. These are lazy men looking for a lazy lay. However, if you do engage in an actual conversation with someone, also keep up the rule and only respond back to them if it ends in a question. And of course, you should fuel the conversation by asking questions as well,” she said.

Xu pointed out, “In general, any app can be turned into a hookup app because that's the purpose of apps, they're easy, convenient and accessible. So don't get mad if you get more hookup messages than not. I personally always recommend the Coffee Meets Bagel app because it's a more focused way of using a dating app. You're only presented with one option a day, and you have to think hard about whether you want to get to know this person or not. By eliminating all those options at one time (i.e., Tinder), it deters those who are looking for a easy hookup.”

How to Find Love (Not Just Sex) On Dating Apps

Laurel House, a Los Angeles-based relationship expert and spokesperson for, an online dating site popular with singles over 30, shared her tips with how to meet “the one” rather than just “someone.”

House has a three-step pre-qualifying plan to help find love:

Define Your Dating Purpose - Then write your profile towards that purpose. The goal of your profile isn't to attract everyone, it's to attract the right ones. Which means that you will be immediately turning some people off - and that's a great thing. The most essential but often ignored strategy when it comes to online dating is elimination.

Profile Mapping - What are your priorities? Career, kids, religion, health, interests, education? Notice that looks isn’t included. You should look at the photos last. Remember that each element of someone’s character and characteristics should be weighed appropriately. When it comes to lasting love, does looks
really rate higher than core values? If you turn off the lights, can you have a conversation? Do you feel like a priority? Or are you too entranced by looks? Once you know your priorities, train your eyes to “map” each person's profile in the same order so that you compare each person equally. Cross them out immediately if they fall short.

Pre-Qualifying - Once you decide who interests you and communication is commenced, ask very specific questions that extract the most out of them. Who cares that they like rock music. Who are they at their core? Always ask “why?“It can be the most revealing question of all. “Why did you choose to become an attorney?” “Why do you prefer romantic comedies over dramas?” It's the “why?” that makes all the difference and reveals the core.

How to Find Love (Not Just Sex) On Dating Apps

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., a psychotherapist and author of The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again and the forthcoming Dr. Romance's Guide to Dating in the Digital Age, said, “Despite the fact that online dating is hugely popular, in my
clinical experience, it's not very successful for most people in terms of finding a relationship. I hear from a lot of clients who are wounded and disappointed from trying these high tech methods of dating. If you're not young and very attractive, you'll have a harder time. You need to know what cues to watch for in a profile and in text or e-mail conversations, how to protect yourself from fraud, and how to safely meet face-to face.”

Tessina said, “Keep your fantasies and your heart in check until you actually know who this person really is. Approach every new person with a healthy dose of skepticism, until you have all the facts.”

How to Find Love (Not Just Sex) On Dating Apps

Tessina shared her dating do’s and don’ts with LadyLUX:


*Do meet first in a public place. For safety reasons, and for ease of bowing out if you're not enchanted, meet where other people are nearby.
*Do 'shop around’ and don't stay focused on one person until you've given yourself a choice.
*Do listen. Don't monopolize the conversation. You'll learn even more about your date, and be more relaxed.
*Do focus on friendship. This early, you can't know where it might go, so concentrate on developing the friendship. You can have as many friends
as you want.

*Do let your date know if you enjoyed his company. A compliment is always welcome. If you'd like to do it again, say so.
*If you promise to call, mean it. If you've decided not to continue the relationship but feel you can't say so, don't make empty promises.
*Do tell the truth. Don't lie, but also don't share too much too soon. You don't need to tell your date about other dates if you two have no agreement about exclusivity.
*Do pay attention to the clues about your date. You need to learn about this person's character, not just looks and charm.


*Don't get in a car with a stranger, no matter how hot, nice or interested that stranger seems to be.
*Don't assume your date is exclusive with you if you've never talked about it.
*Don't be afraid of silence. Occasional silences allow a conversation to feel natural and unforced.
*Don't make sex the objective. Good reasons for going slowly into sexual activity include: reducing the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and
AIDS; avoiding the awkwardness of intimacy with a total stranger; averting co-dependent obsession; and having sex to look forward to. If and when sex
is right, it will happen and there's no advantage in rushing.
*Don't date beyond your budget. It doesn't impress your date if, in the long run, you have to make an embarrassing confession. A wide disparity in income calls for frank discussion early on. If your date spends a lot on you, reciprocating with a homecooked meal, a handmade gift, or needed repair work will even the
*Don't get too self-conscious. The media focus on youth and fitness these days can make anyone feel insecure and unattractive. Look your best, then
forget about it. Instead of worrying what your date thinks of you, focus on what you think of your date.

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