I am in dire need of your wise advice. My self esteem keeps taking a fantastic header over and over again and it’s starting to get frustrating. While I was blaming the guys, I’m starting to wonder what’s wrong with me.Here’s the scenario: I’m attracted to the kind of guy who’s… well, nerdy. The kind who’d prefer to stay home on Friday night than be out “living it up”. But of course these types are also usually virgins, or guys who’ve not had any real relationships. That’s not the problem though. These guys are always posting in dating forums and on their own journals about how they can’t meet a girl, and they’ve never (or rarely) had a girlfriend, because girls don’t like nerds, and they don’t initiate the first email, and they don’t respond to their emails, blah blah blah. Yet, when I email these guys, I either get no response or I get one of those responses that are obviously just them trying to be polite… and then they go back to complaining that girls don’t message them. I’m no super model, but I’m decent looking and I always fit, personality-wise, what the guy says he wants in his profile. It’s frustrating that a guy who can’t otherwise get a girlfriend doesn’t even want to talk to me online. Is there something I’m doing wrong? Am I chasing the wrong guys? Are they just hypocrites? And how does a girl keep this from bursting her self esteem every single time it happens? Patti

The people I like don’t like me. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Dear Patti, You’ve pretty much summed up the dating process: The people I like don’t like me. Wash, rinse, repeat. Our entire single lives are spent rejecting people who like us, and chasing people who don’t. It can be, suffice to say, exhausting and emotionally draining. Especially when you’re doing your best and asking tough questions like: ‘What can I do differently?’Alas, I don’t have a magic bullet for you. You sound bright, self-aware, and personable. You sound like you value an underappreciated portion of the population: nerds. (In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few nerds reading this want to figure out how to contact you). But that doesn’t solve your problem. It’s really difficult to feel like you’re doing the right thing and not get any results. Like dieting and exercising without losing weight, it makes you say, ‘What’s the point?’Without talking to you or evaluating your online dating profile, it’s impossible for me to tell you specifically what you’re doing wrong. What I can say definitively is that there is some sort of disconnect between how you see yourself and how these guys see you. Don’t take that too harshly: we ALL have a disconnect between our private vision of ourselves and others’ perception of us. This is not to say that nerds are above hypocrisy. They can state all day long about how they’re looking for someone to watch Battlestar Galactica and play Xbox with them, but, like most guys, they’re powerless in the face of a Maxim model.

Like millionaires (workaholics), tall, hot guys (narcissists), and brilliant men (stubborn, arrogant and neurotic), nerds are going to have their downside, too.

And, as I think this through, I would guess that this is going to be your biggest uphill climb. Guys who’ve been around the block, like yours truly, eventually, HOPEFULLY, come to the conclusion that it’s not all about initial attraction. Guys who have no experience with women have nothing BUT their fantasies. And if they’re picturing Tricia Helfer or Jeri Ryan or Olivia Munn as their dream partner, well, then, a cool down-to-earth chick like you doesn’t stand a chance. But you can’t control that. All you can do is be aware of it: you’re dealing with adult men who revel in adolescent behavior (sorry, nerds). Like millionaires (workaholics), tall, hot guys (narcissists), and brilliant men (stubborn, arrogant and neurotic), nerds are going to have their downside, too. As to your flurry of questions at the end of your post: you should not let your esteem get battered in online dating. There’s way too much volume to take any interaction personally. Approach it with the same detachment as buying a lottery ticket, and you’ll have a lot more fun. And whether you are coming across well in your photos, profile and emails, my guess is that, if you’re like most people, you can stand to use some improvement. I can’t tell you how many people are convinced that they’re doing a good job in online dating until they talk to me. It’s like being blind, until a friend lets you try on her glasses, or being a smart kid who finally took an SAT prep class. Which is why, if you really want to improve every aspect of how you’re dating online, I’d highly recommend www.findingtheoneonline.com. It is literally the only system in existence that answers every single online dating question you have, including how to deal with rejection, self-esteem, profiles, emails and everything in between. Please come back and let me know how it goes.