The Rules for Online Dating: Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right in Cyberspace

The Rules for Online Dating: Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right in Cyberspace

The Rules for Online Dating: Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right in Cyberspace

The Rules for Online Dating: Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right in Cyberspace


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What the international phenomenon of The Rules did for conventional dating, The Rules for Online Dating does for the search for love on the Internet. You'll never hit the "reply" button the same way again.

Millions of women around the world are meeting men on the Internet, or they've met in person and are corresponding by e-mail. But though e-mail and Net-based dating services have revolutionized the dating landscape, they've created their own pitfalls and challenges. Women need new strategies that will improve their chances of capturing Mr. Right.

Boasting the same time-tested formula and romantic spirit that made The Rules an international bestseller and launched thousands of women down the path to committed relationships, The Rules for Online Dating shows all women — regardless of age, status, or computer savvy — how to use electronic communication to relate to men in a way that maintains self-esteem and leads to a healthy relationship.

Here is a comprehensive list of dos and don'ts that will help every woman conduct an e-courtship safely and successfully; find and keep the interest of suitable mates; and save time, energy, and potential heartache by weeding out dead wood. The Rules for Online Dating takes women through the process — step by step, Rule by Rule — to the ultimate goal: a relationship based on mutual attraction, interest, and respect.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743451475
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 07/01/2002
Edition description: Original
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 680,830
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Ellen Fein is a graduate of New York University and lives on Long Island, New York, with her husband and two children. Ever since she and Sherrie Schneider began weekly meetings in a Chinese restaurant years ago, lamenting their dating woes and discussing their friends' relationships, the two have been formulating and formatting their rules for dating that have now become so popular. They have come a long way, having been featured on Dateline NBC and the Today show, chronicled in People, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and USA TODAY and even spoofed in a skit on Saturday Night Live. Since the success of the first book, there have been several spin-offs, adaptations, and parodies of The Rules, written by other authors, but none have garnered the attention of the original.

Read an Excerpt

E-mail and The Rules for Online Dating

E-mail has become a universal part of relationships these days, whether a relationship starts online or not. Millions of women around the world are "e-dating," whether they meet men online or in a local bar. In the last two years, we've seen a rapid shift in our consulting business — today about 50 to 75 percent of the calls and e-malls we get concern relationships being conducted on the Internet. And these women have been asking us for a book of Rules for dating online.

As many of you know, our first book, The Rules, spawned a worldwide movement. Readers began — and continue — to set up free online and offline support groups around the world and visit our website ( at the rate of over 400,000 hits a month. But when we wrote The Rules seven years ago, little was known about online dating-many even considered it dangerous — so we did not even include it. By 1997, when we wrote The Rules II, there was a little more interest in online dating and we wrote a short chapter telling women the pitfalls of this chat-intensive dating method, how to best apply The Rules, and how to play it safe.

Back then, there were only a handful of dating websites. By 1999 there were more than 2,500 Internet sites devoted to matchmaking. And the numbers are still climbing worldwide.

Today, busy professional men and women think nothing of placing an ad and photo online and coming home every night to dozens of e-mails from desirable members of the opposite sex. They spend hours on the computer every day in online relationships or chat rooms or just answering their e-mail. The only problem is that online dating has become a little like a bad bar scene. Women are making serious mistakes in the way they meet and talk to men online, Women need to know:

  • how to write effective ads
  • how to answer e-mails
  • how to act in chat rooms
  • how to set boundaries with men online, and
  • how to weed out the good guys from the bad.

And we're not just talking about women who use online dating services and chat rooms (an online forum where people can converse with each other by posting messages in real time). Today, virtually everyone uses e-mail; it's as common as a phone call. More men are simply asking women out or asking them about their day by e-mail instead of or in addition to calling, whether they first met these women through love@aol, personals,, or at a party at a friend's house. These days, men and women meeting for the first time often exchange e-mail addresses — sometimes before they exchange phone numbers!

Women meeting new men at business conferences, birthday parties, or clubs give out their e-mail addresses and also take men's e-mail addresses, and then find themselves in an e-mail relationship with a man. These women are just as prone to making the same mistakes online as women using online dating services and chat rooms — mistakes that can ruin their relationships.

E-mail courtship has made dating more hazardous than ever. With e-mail, women are tempted to let their guard down, let it all hang out, Instant Message men all night, and have cybersex (not The Rules!). But we believe you cannot e-mail with abandon, without thinking, without Rules. You must watch what you say, how often you say it, no matter what or how often he e-mails you, otherwise the relationship becomes so casual that it can go poof! — disappear — like a blank computer screen.

What many women don't realize is that an e-mail is just like a phone call-it does count! Women are making the same kind of mistakes online they make on the phone, mistakes that allow an e-courtship to become too easy. But these mistakes can be easily corrected with a set of Rules do's and don'ts. Hence The Rules for Online Dating. In this book, you will find out, among other things:

  • Why you must let a man e-mail you first, regardless of how you met him
  • Why not to answer men's ads
  • How to create a good screen name or ad name
  • The right way — and the wrong way — to write an online ad
  • How and when to answer men's e-mails and Instant Messages
  • How to do The Rules in any relationship that uses e-mail, no matter whether you first met online or offline
  • How to prevent the relationship from becoming too casual
  • How to not let online men waste your time
  • How to set up the first face-to-face meeting with your e-mail guy ("date zero")
  • How to evaluate the quality of an online relationship as it develops
  • Potentially life-saving safety tips

You may be wondering at this point: If the premise of The Rules is that a man must pursue a woman and she must be mysterious and challenging, how is that premise going to work on an Internet dating website where you have to post a photo and describe yourself in an ad for all the world to see? You can definitely retain your mystery and keep yourself from being too available on dating websites and even in chat rooms. Read on, and we will tell you exactly how to apply the basic Rules premise to online and e-mail dating for the best possible results.

Copyright © 2002 by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider

Table of Contents

Foreword: Meet the First Online Rules Girlxi
Introduction: What The Rules Are and Why They Workxvii
1E-mail and The Rules for Online Dating1
2A Word to Online Dating Skeptics5
3An Online Consultation Success Story9
4Be an Online "CUAO"18
The Rules for Online Dating
Rule 1Don't Answer Men's Ads or E-mail Them First25
Rule 2Create a Good Screen Name31
Rule 3Less Is More When Writing Your Ad34
Rule 4Post a Smiling Photo44
Rule 5Wait 24 Hours to Respond47
Rule 6Don't Answer on Weekends or Holidays50
Rule 7Write Light and Breezy E-mails52
Rule 8Block Yourself from Instant Messages61
Rule 9Rules for Chat Rooms67
Rule 10Don't Volunteer Your Phone Number First74
Rule 11If He Doesn't Ask You Out within Four E-mails, Delete/Next!78
Rule 12Screen Out Mr. Wrong86
Rule 13Don't Waste Time on Time-Wasters95
Rule 14Don't Force the Relationship from E-mail to Phone99
Rule 15Put Safety First107
Rule 16Don't Ad-Interrogate on Dates111
Rule 17Don't Have Sex on Dates One, Two, or Three117
Rule 18"Disappear" in Between Dates125
Rule 19Keep Your Ad Up Until You Are Exclusive135
Rule 20Don't Get Caught Up in Online Fantasy Relationships138
Rule 21Never Date a Married Man, Even Online142
Rule 22Don't Ruin Your Real-Life Relationship over an Online Flirtation150
Rule 23Don't Be Jealous of Non-Rules Girls Online160
Rule 24Journal Your Online Dating Experiences165
Rule 25Don't Break or Bend The Rules Online--Even a Little Bit172
Rules for Special Circumstances
The Rules for Long-Distance Online Relationships180
The Rules for Older Online Daters185
10 Tips for Teenage Daters193
Online Dating for Recognizable Personalities198
Most Frequently Asked Questions and Consultations204
18 Extra Hints216
Plan B: Until You Can Do The Rules 100 Percent221
Final Thoughts from a Psychotherapist225
A Rules Glossary227
Authors' Note233
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