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Keep Out-of-Shape Suitors at Bay

List the importance of fitness in your online profile and try dating websites that promote physical activities

Q: On dating sites, despite putting that I am in great shape and looking for someone physically active, I get responses from lovely guys who think I am frigid because I am just not attracted to someone who has what they call a "speed bump" for a belly (but which my son describes as "12 months pregnant").

I am stunned at their presumption that I am not interested in sex. Of course, I just say politely that there is no chemistry for me. I would gently say more, if they asked, and would love to encourage them to live a more healthy life. To me, getting so horribly fat says something about who you are emotionally (for example, not caring about yourself and more, that bothers me, too). I would love some suggestions.

See also: 8 ways to find love online.

A: Many men (and women) probably prefer to think that the person who has rejected them has sexual problems rather than realize it's because of the way they look. In this instance, if a man has a healthy ego and has been successful with women before (no matter what his weight), he is even more likely to interpret your reserve or lack of sexual interest as your problem rather than a lack of chemistry between you.

In my role as a dating expert, I tell people that if someone says they are looking for someone fit (even if they also say they will accept someone "average"), they are serious about weight as a selection criteria. I advise people not to contact a weight-conscious person unless they themselves are also very fit.

Now of course the problem is, what does each person consider fit? I know that people like you, who are highly invested in being strong and slim and healthy, might have high standards about fitness in general. A man who is 15 pounds overweight might consider himself fit but not be seen as acceptable by someone who has almost no excess body fat.

I find it interesting that men get angry that you don't want to date someone with a protruding tummy, since it is more often men than women who insist on their date being very fit and slim. I guess no one likes being seen as physically unacceptable.

Still, I believe that there is no right and wrong about personal taste, and you are entitled to your visual needs and values about fitness. If a man doesn't fit your requirements, just gently tell him he's not your type. If he gets defensive or wants to know why the relationship is not progressing, and you need to tell him the truth, just forget about whatever cracks he makes because he is insulted or hurt when you tell him that he is not your physical type. If you have tried to be kind and someone gets nasty, don't let that person's toxic behavior bother you.

On the positive side of searching for someone in shape, you might want to go to some sites that stress fitness and that will help you find people with at least that one requirement. Also, if you stay on the general dating sites, be clear about why fitness really matters to you. Talk about nutrition, an active lifestyle, and discipline as an important part of your life. Someone who has those same values and daily habits will be drawn to you.

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