How to Be Wary While Cyberdating
Written By: Jane Smith
The Internet is a great equalizer that allows people to be judged based on the quality of their ideas instead of age, physical appearance, race, or other characteristics. That anonymity also makes it incredibly easy to lie, which is something that everyone who uses an online dating service needs to be aware of. Online dating is a great way to meet people, but it can be difficult to find a lasting relationship. The keys to successful online dating are to be truthful, remain vigilant, and temper your expectations.
Why Do People Date Online?
Online dating is incredibly popular, and the majority of the old social stigmas have worn off. Use of the Internet to find dates was primarily associated with social outcasts at one time, but over 40 million singles in the United States have tried at least one online dating service. Since there are only about 54 million single people in the United States, that’s a relatively large number.
Each person turns to online dating for his or her own reasons, but most people use it as a time saving measure. It’s far easier to weed through online profiles than to use other methods of meeting people, and it’s also incredibly convenient. However, that convenience comes with a downside.
The main problem with dating on the Internet is that people lie. Since there’s no real accountability, it’s incredibly easy to lie on an online dating profile. People lie about their ages, incomes, and virtually everything else. Men are most likely to lie about their ages, heights, and incomes, and women tend to lie about their weights, physical builds, and ages. That means you should never take an online profile at face value.
When you fill out your own profile, it’s vital to be as truthful as you can. According to online dating statistics, nearly 45 percent of people claim that the most important qualities on a first date are either a sense of humor or good personality. That’s compared to only 23 percent who are primarily interested in either an attractive smile or good looks. If your profile is an honest representation of your personality, you stand a good chance of attracting a compatible date.
Honesty is vital to successful online dating, but there is a point where a line must be drawn. You should never give out any personal information over the Internet. That includes obvious information like credit card numbers, but you should also avoid handing over your full name, phone number, or address. Identity theft can occur on dating websites, and you may even attract a stalker.
The safest way to set up an online dating account is to start with a fresh email address. That will allow you to easily separate your online dating activities from the rest of your life. Stalkers and identity thieves will also be prevented from discovering more information about you by searching the Internet for your email address.
Meeting in Public
Online dating can be confined to the Internet for a time, but you’ll eventually need to meet in person. The safest way to do that is to arrange a meeting in a public place. You should also let your friends or family know where you’ll be, and you may even want to invite a friend to tag along. That might not make for the most romantic meeting, but it will help guarantee your safety.
Dealing with Unhealthy Online Relationships
In a perfect world, online dating would take all the guesswork out of finding the perfect date. It does that for many people, but it also has the potential to go very wrong. Since people constantly lie on their profiles, you always have to be wary of that possibility. In addition to bad dates, you also have to be vigilant against online harassment and stalkers.
If you find yourself in a bad situation, there are a number of resources that you can turn to. If someone is harassing or stalking you, it’s vital to save any communications that you have with them. Harassment and stalking are crimes, so you can go straight to the local police with your information. In some cases, it may be necessary to take out a restraining order.
Can Online Dating Work?
There are a number of risks associated with online dating, but regular dating carries many of the same dangers. If fill out your profile honestly and remain vigilant, it’s quite possible to begin a successful relationship online. About 17 percent of all the marriages in the US during 2011 started out online, so it’s clear that every instance of Internet dating doesn’t result in a success story.
Online dating does seem to speed up the process of marriage. According to online dating statistics, people who meet online get married twice as fast as people who meet offline. Online courtships last an average of 18.5 months, and offline courtships typically last about 42 months.
Tips for Online Dating Success
With that in mind, there are some things you can do to increase your likelihood of success. You should always:
- Look for a dating site that’s a good fit.
Some online dating sites cater to a specific age group, and other sites target one ethnicity or religion. If you target the right dating site, you’ll have an easier time finding compatible people.
- Be truthful on your profile.
That includes not lying about your age or interests, but it also means that you shouldn’t submit an old picture of yourself. If you send in a picture that’s 10 years old, you’re just setting yourself up for failure.
- Take things slowly.
You may be tempted to jump right in and start dating, but it’s a good idea to get to know your potential date first. If you correspond with someone for a while, you can look for clues that he or she might not be on the level.
- Put safety first.
Your safety is of the utmost importance, so you shouldn’t ever hand out personal information or meet someone from the Internet in a secluded place.