Online dating has had its fair share of bad press. MSN posts articles occasionally that deal with the different horror stories dealing with online personals that have turned out to be a disaster. Why? It is because some people do not look at the fine print of dating personals to understand the difference between a stalker, a married individual looking for some extracurricular fun or someone who is genuinely interested in finding a potential partner?
Not all personal ads are alike. Many may seem to describe that perfect someone but you have to pay close attention to the ad. There are con artists out there and though the internet has brought us closer together, it has also increased the likelihood of running afoul by a less than scrupulous person. If an ad seems too good to be true, chances are that it is. If the person's photo seems like a professional picture or they mention another website or make a reference to immediate love... delete the ad, block the person and avoid them like the plague.
Online dating sites often employ writers to revamp a person's personal ad for a fee. A great way to tell if a person's ad has been written by another person is by the first few email exchanges. If the person's ad had exceptional grammar and was descriptive yet their email messages are filled with errors, it is a big clue that the site helped write the personal ad for them.
If you still want to give online dating a shot, you absolutely must have safety precautions in place before you agree to give the person your phone number or meet them for a date. Cell phones can now be traced back to an individual's address, so giving out your cell phone number is not safe anymore. The key is to treat every ad with a bit of skepticism and a healthy dose of common sense.
Singles sites abound on the internet but not everyone is single. There are some websites such as Eharmony that screen for married individuals looking for an affair but it is not a foolproof method. Some online dating websites are perfectly fine with married people looking for other people but it is a slippery slope. Personal ads should be required to ask if someone is married but ultimately you have to take the responsibility for yourself to look for signs that the person is already taken.
With a little caution and attention to detail, online dating can lead to many wonderful adventures in the dating world. People all over the world are finding their matches online and are having great success. It is not impossible to find the person of your dreams, you just have to keep your eyes wide open and avoid the potholes along the way to true love.
Is your date a strong personality? Do you find your relationship to be more challenging than you think you can handle?
As a dating columnist, I recently received this letter from a reader:
You are wise to consider your differences in personality before you get any more involved with your boyfriend. You sound like you are quiet and sensitive. He sounds energetic and exuberant. The very qualities you were drawn to each other for will also be your areas of struggle to understand one another.
You’re right. Your boyfriend sounds like he has many admirable qualities. I can see why you want to try and work through your challenges. Start with the following:
Take a look at your boundaries. Where do you let him and (I suspect) others cross the line of what is okay with you and what is not. No one can take care of you in this area but you. Let your limits be known. Compromise is always important but not to the point where you shut yourself down, feel like you are not heard, and are either wounded or seething inside. Speak up. If you don’t know how to do this, get yourself to a counselor.
Ask him what an ideal life would look like for him. Tell him to write it down, and as he does, you do the same. Compare your answers. Are they compatible? These are your most important moments to be honest with one another.
Even if this relationship doesn’t last, you will have learned something valuable here. Between learning to set boundaries and getting an idea of what kind of life you want, you will be on your way to a stronger relationship–either with him, or with someone else.
Good luck to you.
The Savvy Dating Coach