The Perils and Pitfalls of Online Dating

A. Online dating dangers to watch out for

1. Sharing info onlineThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is online-dating1.jpg
There are a lot of people who are seeking to meet someone online and in fact, they can be dangerous at times. People who search online for a mate tend to be a little more cautious than those who are going to bars to meet people. That’s why they naturally want to be careful and limit the possible dangers of meeting with strangers.

One of the biggest dangers to watch out for is the fact that you have to put your information online for other people that see. That means that people can steal your identity. They can find out your generally advertised information and then by pretending to interact with you through forums and such, they can get more and more information until they can either steal your personal information or create a false identity which is virtually the same as yours, which can cause havoc with your social networks. They may be able to get access to your passwords, credit card information, medical records, and all kinds of things that you would prefer to keep Secret.

Another problem with getting information from other people online is that it is really easy for people to lie and give an answer that they think will help them win the attention of others. It is natural for people to want to make themselves look better than they really are. However, there are a lot of unscrupulous people who will actively lie about their favorite activities, they will lie about their hobbies, and they will lie about their past. They lie not merely to make themselves look good, they lie to fool potential dater into believing that the person is something that they are definitely not. They are predators and their tools are deception and trust. Unfortunately, you often won’t discover these perils until you meet the person face-to-face and perhaps not even then.

2. Chatting online
After you have reviewed someone’s personal information, the next step is to begin a conversation with them and that opens you up to new hazards. The first danger is if you start taking your conversation off of the dating site itself and on to some other forum where people can take advantage of you because there’s less protection. It is strongly recommended that you continue talking with people on the original dating site which can keep a clear account of who you’re dealing with and any complaints against them.

One of the weaknesses of chatting online or writing messages to each other online is that people can reveal too much of themselves, too quickly when writing as opposed to face-to-face communication where people tend to be more shy and self-protective. Of course, revealing yourself is the exact opposite problem of lying about yourself, but it is still dangerous. Often we freely reveal things that, in hindsight, we would prefer people didn’t know about us. And once we have revealed our secrets, there is not stopping people from telling the world, if that is what they want to do.

Then there is the additional danger of filling in the gaps of your knowledge of the person that you are communicating with through the power of positive imagination. Our imaginations can be so powerful that no real person could ever measure up to the fantasy that we create about them. Instead of getting to know the person as they really are, you are in fact creating a fantasy image of the person that you prefer -your romanticized dream date. And they can do the same to you- creating a perfect image that is impossible for you to live up to. End the end, you can become quite disappointed with the real person. It can be a lose-lose situation due to the constraints of online dating.

3. Meeting in person
The greatest danger occurs after communicating online- meeting your date in person. When you meet with somebody face-to-face, body-to-body there are all kinds of risks to your health and your safety. Dating sites do what they can to minimize the risk but really there is very little that any site can do about somebody who is determined to meet you and take advantage of you. Every once in a while, in the news, we hear about people who met through personal ads or through online dating and one of them is a predator who kills their date or destroys their life. Those real events are in the back of the mind of every person who is going to online dating even though it happens infrequently.

There are additional sexual risks of meeting in person, such as getting pregnant. Since many of these encounters are short-term, many people don’t take all the precautions that they should avoid unwanted pregnancy. Another related problem is communicable sexual disease. If you don’t care about the person you hook up with, what does it matter if you give them a disease or not? And then there’s the theme of sexual violence, not just rape but also sexual harassment. There are many people online who are hiding problems with anger which lead to violence during dates. And it’s not just men who have such problems, statistically, women commit much of the sexual violence these days upon their dates.

A lot of these problems happen because many of the people that meet online and later in person are not interested in long-term relationships. They just want to take what advantages they can and move on to the next victim. This also happens when meeting people in real life, but online dating seems to bypass many people danger filter. Additionally, people who choose online dating tend to send out strong signals that they want to be with somebody sooner rather than later, which attracts certain preditors.

4. Dangerous and untrustworthy
Another pitfall of online dating is creating a real-life relationship with the wrong kind of person. Some people are actively using dating sites to cheat on their spouse and they don’t have any real desire to form an equal relationship. They are just trying to meet their sexual needs while cheating on their spouse. That can leave their online dating partner and a very awkward and uncomfortable situation.

Also, people can become emotionally attached to the wrong sort of person. And once attached it can be quite difficult to get unattached. Suddenly, you find yourself in a very detrimental relationship but once started so promisingly, only to find deep problems that you could have avoided if you had taken the time to get to know the real person before forming a strong emotional bond.

And then there is the kind of person who refuses to end a relationship. You may have decided that it’s not working out and you just don’t want to continue contact with that person, but they don’t want to give up. You can block them but unfortunately, you’ve given out your name, your number, perhaps they now know where you live. They continue to pursue you in spite of your desire to get out of the situation. Sometimes this becomes a very dangerous and tragic scenario.

5. Failure to make a match
Perhaps the most common and humiliating scenario of all is if nobody really wants to make a match with you. You put yourself out online for every stranger in the world to judge, you share important details of your life, and you open your heart. Yet nobody who you find attractive, thinks you are also attractive. The only people who contact you are the losers you’d like to avoid. That makes you have to wonder if you also are a loser.

B. Online Dating Guys to Avoid

1. The Creep This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is online-dating2.jpg
The first guy you need to avoid is the person who doesn’t respect your boundaries. We call him the creep. He’s a person who shares too much about himself and who wants to know every little detail about you. He may idolize you, but you get the impression he’s not as interested in getting to know you as much as controlling you and getting you to become his robot.

The Creep may shower you with attention and affection, but if you fail to respond correctly, he becomes angry and threatening. Creeps often have very poor body language and inability to read other people’s social cues. When you finally have too straight out tell them how things really are, they have difficulty responding to reality. Instead preferring to fall back into their fantasy image of you as their Perfect Mate, imagining that over time you must accept them.

They will do everything they awkwardly can to get you to accept them. The best way to avoid them is to look for poor social adaption and unrealistic expectations as you get to know them.

2. The Player
A player is just looking for a new score. They are not looking for a long-term relationship and the player will be meeting with a number of different women both online and offline at the same time. Many players already have a marriage or a significant relationship and they are using you to add excitement to their lives in to make them feel special. The player is all about himself and this method of meeting his self-esteem through cheap relationships. Look for signs that they are offering short-term pleasure rather than a satisfying relationship, “love” without commitment.

3. The Psycho
You would think it would be easy to recognize a person with a dark personality. However, these psychos are intelligent and have learned through experience to hide their negative traits. They can appear quite charming, at least for a period of time. What they’re looking for is trust and weakness so that they can take advantage of someone. Typically, they don’t feel empathy for others, though they can fake it for a while.

They’re all about getting what they want when they want it and using every trick in the book. Unfortunately, many people don’t recognize a psycho until they’ve already been hurt. The easiest way to recognize a psycho is to gauge how they deal with rejection. If they can deal with being told no calmly and respectfully, then they’re probably not a psycho. But if they become very angry and controlling, insisting that they right, then these are strong warning signs that you’re dealing with somebody who has a strong dark personality.

4. The Phantom
Some people create relationships online with you, and they may create a great fantasy of the person you’re looking for, but they never actually meet you in real life. They can come up with many excuses concerning why, they talk a good game, but they have absolutely no desire to create a real relationship. They can get your hopes up but they never had any intention of creating a relationship. For them, it was all about a game and your affection was the prize. Most of their data is fake and cannot be verified. Even their pictures copied from the internet, which you might discover with a picture search.

5. The Romance Scammer
This kind of person is using you to get money or perhaps something else dear. They are going into it with a desire to pretend to go through all the steps of a relationship only to leave you hurt and broken and realize it was all a scam. Some of these people are professionals, they do this regularly and leave behind a lot of broken hearts. Other people, perhaps they’re doing it for fun for the challenge but they are a kind of a predator that can leave a large number of people with very bitter experiences and smaller bank accounts. These scammers are too good to be true. They seem to have no flaws. Why would anyone this perfect, settle for little old you?

C. Common sense guide for protecting yourself

1. Only communicate on the dating website itself This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is online-dating4.jpg
One of the things people with bad intentions do is they try to move you off of the dating website onto another forum where they can talk to you without all the protections and restrictions that a dating site has. Once on the new site, they try to get you to reveal your personal information and any number of things that a reputable dating site wouldn’t let them do. So protect yourself by keeping all your communication on the dating website despite whatever excuses a person might offer for you to move off-site. Also, give out no more personal information online than you would give to a stranger that you met at a coffee shop.

2. Quickly weed out the undesirables
There are a lot of bad matches out there, a lot of undesirable people, and you want to find a way to quickly eliminate them or block them from contacting you. You should develop a system for the kind of person you’re looking for, the kind of pictures they post online, the kind of stories they tell about themselves, and the way that they talk to you. You might feel that you want to give everybody a fair chance, but the truth is that there are so many people online that you really should only contact the ones that are the most likely to be a good match for you. If somebody is questionable, just move on. Specifically, look for people who can communicate well online and who present an image of a reasonably normal person.

3. Trust but verify
It is so easy to lie on the internet and it’s so easy to fake an entire application that you can never really be sure about what anybody says. On the other hand, you have to trust a certain amount or you will never even contact even one person. So what you can do is temporarily trust what they say but look for evidence that it is not true. Do an internet search for all the data they offer you.

These days everybody has a fairly large information footprint on the internet whether they are a soldier, s dentist or a housekeeper. And if you are can afford it and you really want to reduce your risks, there are now private investigators who will not only look up online for people they will track down people for you in real life to find out for sure if your getting a person who’s really honest or not.

4. Go slow
One of the weaknesses of online dating is that people tend to be in a hurry to make a match. Whereas they would naturally be hesitant in a face-to-face situation, they tend to speed things up and that often leads to making serious mistakes. So the best thing you can do is slow down your procedure of getting to know the other person.

Don’t quickly jump from email to phone to meeting in person- slow the process down, so that at each step your relationship has more time to mature. Definitely remember that the first time you meet somebody, appear in a public place that’s easy for you to break off and get out of the date.

5. Get peer advice
Often we can get too close to a situation and we find that we lose our objectivity. Sometimes we want something so badly that we can’t see the warning signs that would be clear to others. So to avoid this weakness you should get your family and friends, possibly even co-workers you trust to check out the profiles that interest you as well as your online interactions so that they can give feedback on their analysis of the situation. You can even go so far as to bring a friend along the first time you meet you’re dating person. If a person is really interested in you, then they will appreciate the time it takes to build a solid relationship and when you finally do begin dating in real life it’ll feel very comfortable.

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