Posted by Bettina Arndt, Sex therapist and dating coach onPutting pictures up with your profile is usually the best way to go. You'll attract far more attention that way. But there are times when it pays to be more discreet - if you're a well-known figure about town, a celebrity or a man or woman in a big job. There are many people who need to keep their personal life under wraps but that doesn't mean they can't handle online dating.
I know a Melbourne woman in her fifties who's been using RSVP for about eight years - with some great relationships in between. She moves in a pretty select social circle but noone knows that the occasional new man who enters her life is the result of online dating. Many people tell me how surprised they are to meet high profile people via online dating - but believe me, they are out there and it works well for them.
With my dating coaching clients who need privacy I suggest they use RSVP because key features of the site make it the stand-out for people in this situation. For a start, you can hide your photos and only make them available to people you choose - something you can do on very few dating sites. I've been advising some older professional women who are too nervous to post their photos but are willing to show the pics when they send kisses to suitable prospects - which means they are much more likely to get a response. It's very tough for women to get replies unless they let men see what they look like.
The same isn't true of men.. Plenty of women realize some of the more interesting men, the men in professional or high profile jobs, will hide their photos. These highly desirable men still attract a good response, even though some women wrongly assume men must have something to hide if they aren't prepared to be visible. Many men get swamped with responses, particularly men who tick lots of women's boxes, like older, handsome, well-educated or successful men. I've known men who receive over fifty kisses and emails each day, which makes online dating hard work. It's a job in itself sorting through such a barrage and unfortunately many men just opt out.
There is a solution. That's where RSViP comes into its own because it allows people in the most popular categories to keep their profiles hidden and simply choose to reveal themselves to people they find appealing. It gives you more control but also means you have to be active and willing to make the first approach but that's far less time-consuming than trying to find suitable matches in a tsunami of kisses. I've talked to many people using RSViP and finding it offers the protection they need - such as a doctor concerned about patients knowing too much about his personal life, and a company director nervous of his professional reputation.
So there are ways of handling the online dating process if you are too nervous to let the world see who you are, or if you find being too popular makes the whole thing overwhelming. Discreet dating can be a great way to go and the day may come when you are ready to show your face.
Bettina Arndt is a sex therapist and dating coach
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