Dear Melissa Q&A: Going beyond the surface in online dating
August 2, 2021

Meet Melissa Klein, Keepler’s in-house dating expert! Melissa is a licensed marriage and family therapist, relationship coach, and all-around generous soul. In this installment of her monthly advice column, Melissa gives helpful advice on the laws of attraction and going beyond skin deep when finding a partner. (Got a question for Melissa? Drop her a line!)Dear Melissa, How do I deal if I’m not physically attracted to the person I’m dating but I love everything else? -JoannaAs a former matchmaker and current relationship coach, I cannot count the number of times I have received this question from my clients.When thinking about the word “attraction,” consider every aspect of it — emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual. Do you find the person you’re dating emotionally attractive? Physically attractive? Intellectually attractive? Spiritually attractive? If you answered “no” to more than just physical, you might have your answer right there! If the answer is “yes” in every area other than physical, then let’s take a deeper dive. Some questions I ask my clients are:

  • What specifically about this person is blocking you from finding them physically attractive?
  • Do you consider this person more of a friend than a lover? Is there room to grow in this area?
  • Does this person remind you of anyone in your past to whom you may still be emotionally attached?

These questions can often lead us toward figuring out what might be blocking us from physical attraction, as well as highlight other areas in which we are very much attracted to them.Lastly, a helpful reminder that my clients have taught me over the years is that love can grow and attraction can build over time. Sometimes chemistry is found quickly between two people and sometimes it has a little warming up to do.Dear Melissa, I tend to choose people mainly based on looks. How can I add more substance to my search? -NickGreat question, especially for those of us on dating apps. Generally, the first thing we notice on someone’s profile is their picture, correct? And I imagine it takes us all less than a second to gauge our level of attraction, after which we then swipe left or right. That said, the quickness in decision-making could quite possibly be limiting our ability to meet someone. While I’m not saying that looks aren’t important (they very much are), I agree with you that there is more than just physical appearance that can be taken into consideration when choosing a lifelong partner. Here are a few good strategies to add more substance to your dating search:

  • When going through dating profiles, try and stay on each person’s page for at least 15 seconds. Even if the picture doesn’t catch your eye at first, read the entire profile. Allow yourself to see if there is anything on their page that interests you, and try your best to look for similarities versus differences.
  • Continue doing this with every profile (regardless of physical attraction) and see if there are any themes on what you find attractive. Once you get to someone you find physically attractive, try to find at least two other things on their profile that fit the themes you’ve deemed important. If you can do this, then message that person and tell them what you liked in their profile, and if not, move on.
  • Your profile says a lot about you, and it can help you attract a more intentional partner. Do a deep dive into your profile(s) and see if they have elements of honesty, humor, and authenticity—all with a personal touch. (Adding photos with people that you love is great.) Always try to stay positive wherever possible.
  • Respond to messages promptly, and if you feel a connection with someone, feel free to take it offline as quickly as you can. Maybe something like, “I have been really enjoying getting to know you on this platform. Would you be open to continuing communication offline? If so, here’s my number!” You’ll be able to assess for that substance you’re looking for as you two continue to interact more intimately.

Good luck! We are all rooting for you here at Keepler.Dear Melissa, I’m always filtering my photos online, and I’m afraid my date won’t like how I look in real life. Do you have any thoughts on what to do about this? -AngelaHi Angela! I have been there before myself, and I know the feeling all too well. It can be confusing because the whole idea of filtering is to portray ourselves in a light in which we feel most comfortable, yet sometimes it can feel inauthentic all at the same time. For me, I have found that part of the solution was (drumroll, please…) an inside job. I know it can sound a little cliché, but this was really my truth! I learned that I had to accept what I looked like on- and offscreen before I believed that someone else could appreciate the way I looked as well. Some days I had to fake it ‘til I made it; other days it came more naturally, but putting in the practice really helped! A fun activity to try: Reserve a night for you and one of your closest girlfriends to get together at your place. Get dressed up in something that makes you feel confident and comfortable, do your makeup and hair the way you would for a date, and grab a glass of wine. Then put on upbeat dance music, and ask them to take fun and candid pics of you! I know how uncomfortable this can sound, but trust me. You’ll be with your bestie, and you’re setting up an enjoyable night together with fun memories to look back on. Remember that taking pictures outside a few hours before sunset will provide you with the best outdoor light. Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. If we can see ourselves as beautiful on both the inside and outside, then we will surely attract someone who will as well. You’ve got this, beautiful!-Melissa Klein