Dear Ladies of Online Dating, This Letter Is For You

A few months ago, a college friend of mine who’s an avid online dater, received a note in her dating site inbox. It’s a love letter of sorts, in that the guy who wrote it was genuinely interested in her. But as you’ll see, the love didn’t last long. It was over before it even began, and they never ended up meeting.

According to her profile, she was everything he was looking for, that is, until he scrolled down to a certain point in her profile, and then it all went to hell. Suddenly, his hopes and dreams were dashed. He was no longer smitten.

Was it something she said? Yes, and he let her know it.

Most online dating exchanges are warm and fuzzy, fun and flirty—especially in the beginning. However, this get-to-know-you email was hardly that. It was a tongue lashing.

As you’ll read, he gave her a piece of his mind about life, love, and finding a good man with integrity. I was so struck by his commentary that I felt compelled to share it with you (with her permission, of course).

Below is his letter in its entirety. Other than leaving out names and identifying information, it’s all him. His words may make you cheer or make you angry, but they will definitely make you think.

He titled it “Sigh”

“I approached your profile the way I approach all profiles that catch my eye. I read your words…then look at your pictures…and then scroll down to the information listed at the bottom.

I thought there might really be a connection here. A couple of unhappily single, middle aged people. We would have a blast cooking together, traveling together…loving together.

 I feel the same…passionate about life, believe in love, honorable and honest at all times, good values, big heart, good soul and a sense of adventure you wouldn’t believe. 

And then…

I’ve gotta be athletic and toned, huh? Maybe when I was 30, but I’m 55 now…I’m working on it full time. I’ll never have 6 pack abs again…but, Jesus Christ, I’m 55…How in shape am I supposed to be?!! I can still get an erection without Viagra…isn’t that enough?

And then…the killer…

Why?! Why?! Why do so many women feel the need to put down $150,000+ in that stupid income entry line? Some years I make more than that…some years, a lot less…This year I’m starting a new business and it will be significantly less. But, this is extremely besides the point. Extremely!

Every man I know…every man I’ve ever talked to that I respect…and it’s absolutely true for myself, finds it insulting and extraordinarily irritating when a woman, any woman, feels the need to actually state how much money he needs to make before she’s willing to see him socially. To a man, it feels like you’re saying, ‘If you want me, you have to be able to afford me.’ To a man, it feels like you’re shopping for a fat wallet, rather than a good and honorable man. To a man, it feels like you’re prioritizing money over love. It’s so unbelievably shallow and superficial. Is this the message you’re trying to send? I’m not exaggerating this. Pretty much every honorable man I know feels the same. This is ALWAYS a deal breaker. You see the number and you immediately move on to the next profile. 

In your case, that was hard for me to do…hence the lengthy email.

Yes, you’re used to living a certain way…Yes, you want to make sure your man is a provider…Can you imagine how many quality men you are chasing away because you need to tell him how much money he has to make just to talk to you? What if some incredible guy, a guy who is so perfect for you it would make you weep with joy, only makes $100K or $75K or $50K…Are you going to toss him in the trash heap simply because he doesn’t have enough money to walk in your exalted company? This does NOT reflect sound values.

You seem like such a terrific woman. Men and women will never truly understand each other…I’m wondering if perhaps you don’t realize how honorable men of integrity and character view this obnoxious number.

This is the first time I’ve ever written a woman about this. We seem so compatible in every regard, but I was so completely disappointed when I saw that entry, I just felt compelled to write.

If my words or thoughts have offended you, I’m truly sorry. I meant no offense. I apologize profusely. This was not my intent. I guess my intent was to express my frustration and disappointment. This is really the first time I was significantly disappointed to find that number in the profile of a woman who appealed to me on so many other levels. “

I told you it was a tongue lashing – but a teachable moment at the same time. My friend got schooled and scolded, but she learned the lesson and wasn’t offended. Actually, she felt horrible. Horrible that filling out a particular field on a dating profile could end up making her look bad, which she’s not. In fact, she’s one of the most honorable people I know. She wrote back to thank him, then promptly changed her profile settings.

True, most women want security. But wanting a provider shouldn’t be the driving force in one’s search for love. If all you’re interested in is what’s in the income field, you’re doing love a tremendous disservice. You’re counting out possibilities and dismissing potential. Can you imagine how many quality men you are chasing away because you need to tell him how much money he has to make just to talk to you? He said it, not me. But I’m saying it too.

The prospect of meeting your soul mate should never have a dollar amount, or a price for entry. But if you have requirements, I say keep it private. You’ll find out soon enough if they have a fat wallet or six-pack abs –or neither– which is OK too.

Whoever this guy is, I praise his honesty and respect his message: no one’s perfect, nothing’s perfect. Whether it’s one’s body, age, or bank account, there’s always something that makes us human and beautifully imperfect.

P.S. A man with money doesn’t necessarily make him a great guy, but you know that already.

When it comes to love, you should never compromise. You should never settle. All you need to do is keep an open mind, an open heart, and an open field on your dating profile.


23 replies


  1. Meredyth
    Meredyth says:

    Great article!!!!! So much honesty but here’s the thing….

    The websites ask us for this information. Period. Men also feel very fine about saying “curvy, or fit or whatever body type they would be like with impunity. No one ever takes notice of this remark in their profiles. Privately we women maybe saying ” oh I’m in shape but my stomach looks like I’ve had a life. This man won’t be interested. Women will mostly keep this to themselves. I applaud this man for saying what he feels.

    Now as a single dating woman, I don’t want to exclude any great man from my life. This includes someone who makes under $150K, however, it is important to make clear that I am looking for a full partner, not someone I would support. Like it our not it’s a reality that some men and women won’t pull their financial weight.

    I understand his frustration. That being said, if he wasn’t already angry about this, he would not be yelling this from the treetops. He would have spoken to her, met her and then approached the idea. Sometimes we need to believe the best in someone before we bring our baggage into the situation and assume the worst.

    Perhaps websites need to take more time to re-frame their criteria into more human terms instead of “curvy, athletic,hard bodied,and X amount of money”
    A. Someone as excited and engaged in their work and life as I am
    B. Someone who takes care of their health spiritually and physically
    Etc. How would this change the conversation?

    Us middle age single people are just doing our best. Lets see each other that way and show up to explore.

    • Treva Brandon Scharf
      Treva Brandon Scharf says:

      Great suggestion, Meredyth. Make the preferences/criteria more nuanced, not so black and white. I think in his case he’d seen one too many of these income requirements and it took him over the edge. I think a woman can aim for a financially stable man without appearing like a total gold digger, or eliminating half the male population. I adore you for your input and support xoxo

      • Meredyth
        Meredyth says:

        100% agree Treva! I am in no way a gold digger but would like a partner whos’s stable and excited about the future. I hate some of the questions they ask on these sites. Love your incredible blogs! They are full of honesty, heart and intelligence just like you!

        • Treva Brandon Scharf
          Treva Brandon Scharf says:

          Online dating is tough, so much gets lost in translation, that’s why you gotta take everything with a grain of salt. And if anyone’s full of honesty, heart, and intelligence, it’s you Meredyth, my friend and favorite blog reader!!

    • Wendy
      Wendy says:

      I agree with Meredyth. When you fill out their questionnaire they pigeon hole the income categories…and to be honest, the $150,000 mark fits the average “financially comfortable” guy I’d be looking for. At this time of my life, I’m not interested in supporting somebody! Been there, done that. Looking for equality on all levels, and that is just one of many. They still send me men they consider “matches” who do not match my criteria anyway! Of course I can appreciate this guy’s overreaction, and for a moment I actually considered dashing to change that on my profile….but then I thought about it again, and decided to keep it that way. It certainly doesn’t seem to matter at all to any of the guys who wink, poke, show interest, or email me in the least. It’s a full time job weeding through them all, and anything that narrows it down, as far as I’m concerned, makes the whole experience a lot easier to deal with. Just my two cents. As always, sister Treva, your blog entries are so cool!

      • Treva Brandon Scharf
        Treva Brandon Scharf says:

        Thanks for reading, Wendy, and for your insightful comments too! I feel very strongly about knowing one’s worth and value, and keeping one’s standards high. I advocate it all the time on my blogs. If you want a dude with dough, I get it. Most women want a man with means. But I also get where he’s coming from. It can sometimes look tacky when you see an actual dollar figure on someone’s profile. And if you can’t meet it, it becomes rejecting. If keeping it in there works for you, keep it in. I truly believe the right person will come along for you anyway– online or off 🙂

    • Treva Brandon Scharf
      Treva Brandon Scharf says:

      Thanks PK, I can only imagine how a guy feels when he sees a dollar amount on a profile. It’s like seeing a weight/body requirement on a guy’s profile. Ouch! Love you and thank you for reading and tweeting!

  2. Fletch
    Fletch says:

    I have run into this same thing myself. I am interested in educated women, and sometimes, she makes more than I do. Guess what? Most who do STILL want you to make more than them. If I meet a woman who makes $200k a year, I’m out of luck. I hover around $70k most years, and it’s been a problem for quite a few women.

    Now, let’s be real: I make over $20k above the median income of people in the U.S., and that’s still not quite good enough? MOST people don’t make banker or doctor or Wall Street money. Yes, if you’re going to find a successful person, Los Angeles is a great place to start, but I need to hip some of you to the reality.

    I have grown up with, or met, many men who make a lot of money annually. Guess what most of them have? Many, many options with regard to women. Many of them are spoiled as it relates to women, and they know they have choices. They date multiple women, and are not usually ready to commit to any of them. They sleep with them, but that’s about it. They are looking for the “perfect” woman, and will never find her.

    Sometimes it seems like most women want the same guy, and they end up finding him – along with other women. Then you hear the criticisms about men being dogs. Sure some are, and you whistled for them to come. A real man would never dream of hurting a woman, but most women who look for men with money aren’t meeting real men. They are meeting the Prince Charming fantasy they have been told to look for. There’s no white horse. No knight in shining armor. Just real men and douche bags.

    There are many good men who are looking for a woman they can love, and would never consider dating more than one woman at a time. Good men are out there, but most women will never find them.

    • Treva Brandon Scharf
      Treva Brandon Scharf says:

      I really believe when you give up “perfection,” your world opens up to many more options and choices; when you let go of expectations, the universe brings you what you need. Stay true to who you are and the right person will find you.

  3. John C
    John C says:

    He’s a lucky guy. He has the benefit of online questionnaires and to do his weeding out for him. During my twelve year search for an ideal mate, in the nineties, I had to rely on listening really, really carefully during the first date.

    Example: one woman loved to travel. She had been everywhere, had some amazing stories, and told me where she had been the past year. A little while later, she started talking about her ex (not very classy but lots of info there) and I started piecing together the clues, and this poor guy either ran out of money or ran out of vacation days, and she moved on. So did I.

    I understand completely where the responder is coming from. Sounds like he is working hard on his career, and in the meantime is careful with his money. To him, and me too, 150K feels like a spendthrift with his hard earned money.

    Rather, he is looking for a PARTNER – someone to provide him emotional support, someone to share in the big decisions, someone to run interference for him when needed, someone to build a life with. When the pieces are all in place, the money just flows. I can remember the first year after I was married looking at my Quicken check register and being amazed at how well we were doing.

    Last example: for a while I owned a condo in a Hollywood hi-rise. I stayed with my parents during construction, and one day the doorbell rang. It was a woman who lived in the building, and she tracked me down and wanted to talk to me for a few moments about her husband who was running for HOA president. For the next half hour, she stood in the doorway and talked up her husband, who is a great guy, and I assured her that he has my vote. I closed the door and thought to myself, that is one lucky guy. Here is a woman who would go to the ends of the earth for her husband in an effort to move both of their lives forward. A true partner. I had subsequent conversations with her in the building lobby, and learned that she is an extremely successful designer of sequined handbags, and sells them for thousands of dollars as fast as she can make them, and makes more than her husband. Her husband, having already hit the jackpot with her in the partnership area, most likely considered the extra income icing on the cake. And one time in the lobby, she comes in with a box of baby Rhodesian Ridgebacks – her dog has just given birth. These dogs are very expensive, and she offered me one. I declined.

    See a pattern here? True support? Generosity? Bringing something to the party? A far cry from Miss 150K. But shame on the website if it is a required field.

    • Treva Brandon Scharf
      Treva Brandon Scharf says:

      I haven’t dated online in a while, so the features may have changed. But I’m pretty sure the income/height/weight requirements are still there. If it helps people narrow their search, great. However, like I told the above reader, there’s something a little icky about seeing a dollar amount attached to someone you want to meet. I actually never thought about it before I read this guy’s letter, and then it hit me! Like you said, if you listen closely, you’ll learn everything you need to know about someone– including their values, their goals, their priorities, and yes, their finances.

  4. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    Here’s my thought on this: bullsh*t. This guy is upset because he doesn’t fit the criteria of the original poster. However, men do the exact same thing (screening based on superficial characteristics) to women online with photos & body descriptors, it just happens upfront. If this guy is using a website that has no photos to screen women and is open to women of every body type, then I’d listen to what he has to say. Otherwise it’s another hurt guy not measuring up when criteria cut both ways and wanting to subscribe to a double standard that only benefits him by making this woman feel guilty. Please don’t fall for it, ladies.

    • Treva Brandon Scharf
      Treva Brandon Scharf says:

      I’ve said this before: money is to women what weight is to men. Women want men with money, and men want women with perfect bodies. After a while you learn that nothing/nobody is perfect, so why bother with criteria that can never be met? Thanks for the comment Lisa!

  5. Mack Daddy
    Mack Daddy says:

    Just an anecdotal observation – less than 4% of American men earn over 150K per year, and the majority of them are middle-aged or older. Being too selective can leave you without a chair when the music stops..


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