Meeting other singles through online dating sites is a great way to expand your social network and find potential romance. Emailing and IM-ing allows you to get to know each other quickly, especially if you don’t live close enough to each other to meet in real life (IRL). You can even develop a strong emotional attachment to someone you only know virtually. With 15% to 20% of online romances leading to real-life relationships and marriage, you know that online dating is a legitimate way to meet real, sincere, and loving men and women who are doing their best to find someone they can spend the rest of their lives with.
Being forced to get to know someone virtually before meeting in person also helps you overcome some of the dating pitfalls that happen to couples who only meet face-to-face. For one thing, you won’t be as distracted by the physical feelings that come with dating an attractive person in real life, so hopping into bed too soon isn’t a damaging factor here.
Additionally, it’s easier to become more emotionally intimate more quickly when exchanging IMs, emails, or phone calls rather than face-to-face meetings. Somehow, the seeming anonymity of communicating online rather than face-to-face often makes it easier for you to share more of your personal thoughts and feelings. Maybe it’s that you never have to worry about watching your date for social cues or signals or get interrupted by outside influences during a deep discussion; instead, you can compose your responses with a little more thought, allowing you to dig deep into each other’ psyches. Courting online can lead to very strong real-life relationships in the future.
But there are scammers out there, as well. Some unscrupulous people have and will continue to pretend to be sincere in order to steal your identity, sucker you out of your money, or just to play with your emotions. Knowing what red flags to watch out for can help you avoid getting sucked into a scammer’s plot.
- The scammer will move the relationship along too quickly, coming up with pet names for you, asking for sex before you’re comfortable in the relationship, or demanding that you cut off contact with other online friends of the opposite sex
- They start sending you tons of personal photos very quickly
- They ask for a lot more photos of you almost immediately, perhaps including photos of you naked or in compromising situations or positions (these can be used to blackmail you later or steal your identity)
- They ask for your home address too soon (usually with some excuse about sending you something romantic)
- They ask for money or give you a sob story about being in financial straits and need you to help them solve some money problem immediately
- They always have an excuse for not meeting in person; they seem reluctant to ever meet you in person
Take your time in developing online relationships. When it’s time to meet IRL, follow safety precautions by setting up that first meeting in a public place. Most people are not trying to hurt or scam you, so by taking sensible precautions, you could end up meeting the love of your life and live happily ever after.