I have used the descriptions of women who have shared their online dating experiences with me to describe different types of men who are drawn to Internet dating. I realize, as do you, that there are infinite varieties of men who engage in online dating for infinite reasons. In the world of online dating, some types seem more common than others. Here is the collected consensus of categories of men you may encounter when dating online:


Just Looking

He fantasizes about a beautiful love life or sex life but has too much anxiety to let a potential connection leave his protective computer screen. He’s just not ready to involve himself in real-time dating with people he may connect with online. There are a number of reasons why this happens, he is not ready to embark into an relationship, regardless of what his profile says. By avoiding human contact he isn’t forced to push his boundaries or risk challenging the perfection of his fantasy women with the experience of a real life woman. For many reasons, it is difficult for him to make room for something real.


The Wide-Eye

This is the 20 to mid 30’s guy who is excited about expanding his horizons and meeting new people. He is bold, tolerant, open, and ready to see what online dating has to offer. Because Internet dating has been a part of his experience, he is more comfortable with it. Therefore, when he connects and makes plans online, he likely follows through, sometimes sooner, sometimes later. Either way, unlike the first type listed, he has had more positive than negative dating experiences overall. Given his age and other potential factors such as how easily distracted he is, once he discovers just how many choices he has online, he may become less interested in committing and more interested in continuing to look around.


The Experimenters

He believes that older women know what they want. He realizes that the easiest way to access older women is online. He is typically at the age of sexual discovery and imagines that older women are not only more experienced and enticing, but more available as well.


Trying to Get Over the Ex

He is looking to avoid being alone after a heart-wrenching breakup. Sometimes he will admit to the women he finds online. However, with patience there may be the possibility that a relationship can develop. After all, he has experienced love before, which is why he’s so heartbroken now, and why you encountered him online. However, it is equally possible for him to remain non-committal when he is still hung up on someone else, so proceed with caution.


Already Taken

He wants to know what else is out there, but won’t necessarily act on it. Or maybe he will. He is not planning to leave his current relationship, but feels like he is missing out on something. Or perhaps something is missing in his relationship. He wants to be reminded or reassured there is life beyond his current place. Regardless, this is not a category of men that can offer another woman a serious, consistent relationship. Internet dating is an outlet for him and he is not planning to leave his partner anytime soon, if ever.


Lost in Fantasy

How many profiles do you see that list things like amazing communication, amazing sex, must be in perfect shape as relationship must-haves? How much of this criteria do you think is the direct result of the relationship he just came from? More than finding a partner who will meet all his hopes and dreams. He wants everything he has longed for but couldn’t have in previous relationships. Interestingly, fantasy can be so powerful for him that when reality fails to compete, he finds ways to fade away.


Lies about his Age

He is typically older, in his 50s, 60s, or even 70s, and is set on meeting and dating women younger than he is, so he shaves years off his life in his profile, even in his “current” online pictures. However, starting a relationship with a lie—now matter how “harmless” it may seem to him—takes away from the woman’s ability to use her own discretion and decision-making power and therefore eliminates trust. When she inevitably finds out, she typically finds the age difference and the lie far more jarring than he had anticipated. The longer he continues the lie, the worse the discovery is. Relationships that start by duping a partner don’t end well.


Soo Busy

He expects to meet other busy people and have a romance that is hot and connected. He may be quite enticing because of how active and on top of his career he is, he has difficulty converting online dating into a substantive experience. Often, his routines are crucial to him so he may fight with himself to make room in his life for a partner. If his tight schedule fits your own timeline or you’re okay squeezing the relationship into small chunks. Be aware of how often he uses being too busy to avoid real-world connections. It can be easy to get caught up and strung along in this situation. For many of these men, work, routines or even children may offset any sense of urgency or commitment to engage in the messy process of real life dating.


Finally Successful with the Girls

Earlier in life he may have been intimidated by girls, but he has always had a big brain and lots of ambition. Despite his interest in girls when he was younger, it rarely if ever worked out. He is typically in his late 30s through early 50s and may be divorced or single. Either way, he has come to realize that—to his surprise—he can now have most women he sets his sites on, and he hasn’t gotten over his good luck. Now he feels like a kid in a candy store. This may be the man that, just as online communication begins, asks if you’re naked.


He dislikes women and looks for opportunities to shame or control them, typically as a response to painful previous experiences in his own life, or because his wiring is totally awry. Beware: he is not easily detectable at times.  He is not in control of himself and therefore looks to control others through any method he can. If you come across him, do your best to get him banned, so you and other women don’t have to continue being bothered by him.


Loving Partner

He is looking for his partner in love and in life. Maybe comes with a little baggage but so what? He is realistic in his expectations and is serious about being in a relationship. He is genuine and is not typically sidetracked by the number of choices available to him, once he has found you. The question now is are you ready? Before starting a relationship with him, please consider your own motivations for online dating.


It can be a frustrating, even painful process to encounter many of these types of online daters. But keep in mind these men may have become jaded and wary, too, due to their own challenging online dating experiences. It’s much easier to be flaky and noncommittal online—for both you and for your dates—and that is in part why these categories exist in the first place. Without an in-person connection, the person on the other screen doesn’t seem real, and that can enable both men and women to use online dating. However, despite these categories and the challenges of online dating.