before your first internet date
There are certain things you must remember when starting internet dating. Hopefully, awareness into what to do will reduce your chances of running into problems along the way:
Decide how much "distance" is right for YOU? Do you want to meet someone in
your town? Within 50 miles? 20? You must think about what distance is
feasible for you. Dating and relationships are hard enough, and if you feel long
distances would just make one all the more difficult, stick to what will
work for you. The internet dating sites have ways of narrowing down your
search to people in the areas you choose.
When you begin corresponding with someone via email or chat rooms, it may seem dull and you may want to make it easier by calling and communicating by telephone right way, and take the communication off the internet. This is a really, really BAD idea. The last thing you would want is some person that makes you uneasy or makes you nervous having your telephone number. Too many people have been subjected to telephone harassment, and have had to change their phone numbers, which may seem like no big deal but it is an expense, and a pain in the butt. If someone wants to talk really bad let them give you THEIR number, and call THEM. Please have your number blocked with privacy guard (your telephone company can put that feature on your phone for a small fee, which will leave your number unidentifiable to anyone you call that has caller ID) Of course you eventually, after a comfortable period of time, you can give out your phone number to someone who you have communicated with for a while, just take it slow and be smart! (Internet dating is a whole new ball game)
When it comes to giving details about yourself, at first, be "general". When asked where you live, give out the name of the county you live in rather than the exact town or street address. Only give specific details when you feel comfortable with the person and they are RETURNING specific details about THEMSELVES too.
Decide what kind of relationship you are looking for, and what is most
important for you. Pick people with similar interests rather than just by
photo. Be sure to be honest when placing an ad about who YOU are and what
YOU are looking for, it betters your chances of finding a long-term
When choosing your username try to be creative yet not too "cute" or "sexy". If you are looking for someone to take you seriously, calling yourself "blondebombshell6969" won't necessarily put out the message of "take me seriously". Many people would use the internet not for dating, but for cybersex, so if that's not what you're into, don't use a name that may suggest you are. If you are using a name like that, you can understand why someone looking to engage in that type of behavior might select you to see if you are interested too. Your username, when dating on the internet is equivalent to what you may wear on a date....... and clothing can be a reflection of who you are, so make your username a reflection of who YOU are. When choosing a chat room if you are looking for a relationship, choose the appropriate chat room.
Be careful about when you are talking about yourself. You want someone to choose you for the right reasons ! Don't be ready to tell just anyone the size of your income, how much real estate you own, car / cars you drive, or how much you have in the bank. Let's face it, we all want to impress others, but certain information should only be released to people you have taken to the next level. You don't want someone more interested in your possessions than in YOU.
Be careful when sending out photos, that person now has your picture and can do anything they want with it. Your image is part of your identity, so protect it !
Make some "rules" for yourself, and STICK WITH THEM !!! No exceptions! This will help to protect yourself from any dangers within you internet dating experience! Some good rules would be:
1) If you only plan on pursuing one person at a time, make that known to the person you begin chatting with, if they dont agree, there is your first flag. If they are not willing to invest some time in you and you alone, yet you are willing to invest some time in just them, you already can see there is a striking difference between your dating "morals" and theirs. Also, keep in mind just because they "say" they are only talking to you, does NOT mean they are being truthful. You cannot be as trusting internet dating as you can in the "real world".
2) If you are going to go off the internet with someone and move to the phone, make it with their cel phone, and yours, at first, however, don't let that go on too long. The other person should be willing to give you their home phone number within a reasonable amount of time, otherwise that's another big red flag. They want to meet you but wont give you their home phone number? Ridiculous. They are willing to express feelings for you but wont give you a home number? No way. You must think, if you can't have a home number, that's probably because they live with someone ELSE. Period. If they say they don't have a home phone, this is ridiculous too, very few people do not have a home phone, and if they don't, better safe than sorry, walk away, it's not worth the risk.
3) If you feel that after meeting someone or speaking to them for a while, that you should remove your listings or postings, do so, if the other person does not feel the same way, that means they are not that interested in you. Don't let yourself fall into this trap. It's not going to get better later, this is a red flag also, and should warn you of possible commitment issues down the line. If they are really looking for a committed relationship, why can't they take down their profile for a bit to give you a chance. Because they don't want to give you one, that's why, plain and simple. It's not much to ask, is it? No. So don't be afraid to, find out what they are willing to give! If you can meet this person, or they can be intimate with you, for goodness sakes they can remove their profile or listings.
4) Before you make plans to move to another state to be with someone you have met on the internet make sure you have visited their residence several times, spent a lot of time with them in person, and discussed all the questions you have such as "will you be living together?", "will they help with the move?", "where do they see the relationship going?" "how do they feel about you"? Ask anything and everything. Please don't be afraid to ask! Try to meet their family members and friends and watch how they interact with them. And, for a good safety measure, consider having a background check run on them. There are many internet websites that can do that for you discreetly and inexpensively. Don't be the one making all the sacrifices, and if it is you who is the one re-locating, your putting all your trust in this person, and at great expense financially, career-wise, and in many other ways -- there is nothing wrong having a little extra info from a background check! It could save you from making a horrible mistake!
5) Many people on the internet dating websites, some statistics put it as high as 30%, are NOT single !! Look for clues and signs that your internet love interest it married, such as only using a cel phone and saying they don't have a home phone, saying they have a woman (or man if it's a female) living with them but nothing is going on, or that they are still living with an ex, but it's just for financial reasons. Big red flags!! It seems quite often people go on the internet dating sites and say they are single, and then don't TELL you they are not until you are emotionally vested. This is a trick, unfair, and selfish, and there is no excuse for it, although the commonly used excuse it "I didn't tell you because I didn't want to lose you". Please consider dropping this person immediately, or your most likely headed for the inevitable, which is they don't get out of their relationship, and you wasted a lot of your time. I'm sure you will be fed the "I have to stay because he/she is sick", "I have to stay because we have children", "I have to stay because of money" or "I have to stay because of religion". Now, their religion is never going to change, so forget it. As far as the children go, their children will ALWAYS be their children, so don't think once the kiddies turn 18 all of a sudden they are going to leave. Forget that too. And, the final one, about the finances, ask yourself this, if you were married to someone you did not love, but found someone you truly did, would you give away half your money for your true love and freedom from a loveless marriage? If money is more important that freedom and an opportunity for love, then when will you ever be worth more to this person than money? When will they leave? Never. Quite often you will hear how horrible their relationship is, how lonely they are, how the don't even sleep in the same room, and live separate lives. If that's the case is their enough money in the world that would make YOU stay in a situation like that? One would hope not. It is also THEIR side of the story, it would be very interesting to hear the OTHER side of the story!
Expert Dating Safety Tips
When it comes to online dating, there is always the potential of danger quietly hiding in a seemingly harmless profile. For this reason, woman need to use common sense and to keep their safety as the number one priority when meeting an unknown person from a dating service.
This is not to put a damper to joining and surfing the many online dating services available today in the hopes of finding that perfect soulmate. But again, rules of good common sense need to be followed.
In fact, Dr. Robyn DeVal, an internationally recognized marriage and family therapist and relationship expert who has appeared on "Dr. Phil," CBS's "48 Hours" and "Fox News" nationwide, has a list of practical safety tips for woman.
"With the reach of the Internet and the growing availability of online dating sites, the world is literally at your fingertips," said Dr. DeVal, Executive Producer and Host of The Dr. Robyn Show, a web-based broadcast at www.thedrrobynshow.com.
"Who knows who you're really meeting in an online chat room? Safety and protecting your personal information must always be in the forefront of your mind."
The good doctor encourages women to use these safety tips for first meetings and conversations with possible suitors.
1) Spend time on the phone prior to meeting. But, do not give out your home or cell phone number.
This way you get to feel more comfortable with whom you're talking to and create more of a "relationship." You may also find out more about the person from speaking with him. But, don't give out your phone number to set up the call. Armed with just a phone number, anyone can find out your home address and other personal information. This can lead to identity theft, stalking, or other unknown dangers. Use an anonymous phone service, like MyPrivateLine.com, which offers a disposable number that lets you talk to strangers without revealing your phone number. Once you feel comfortable, you can exchange personal information.
2) Meet in a public place.
When first meeting it's best to do so in a public place surrounded by other individuals. This way you don't have to worry about an uneasy or potentially dangerous situation.
3) Never get talked into anything you do not want to do or feel you're obligated to do anything.
If you feel like you're being coaxed or forced into an uncomfortable meeting or situation, it's best to avoid it. Just say no. Always listen to your gut!
4) Do not get in his/her car.
Getting into a car with a perfect stranger is not advised. Keep to your plan and stay in a public place for a first meeting. Don't let your emotions or the fantasy of it let you get caught up in a dangerous situation.
5) Watch for red flags such as catching your stranger in a lie.
"Little white lies" often reveal much larger ones. If he will not allow you to call him or won't send any pictures, this may be a sign of a potential fraud! Ask him straight out if he is married and about his children and living situation. If he starts off a friendship with lies, odds are it will continue that way.
6) Ask for several recent pictures before you meet.
This way you know whom you're actually meeting. You don't want to find out the picture you saw online was from five years ago. Providing recent pictures also shows more honesty.
7) Let someone know where and when you are meeting and anything you do know about him.
This way if there is a problem, people know where you are, whom you're with, and when you're expected home. It will also be easier to create an exit strategy, if need be.