Online dating sites are used by millions of people worldwide, with many finding rewarding relationships and even marriage. While the vast majority of site members are good, decent people it is important to take some precautions when communicating or meeting with someone.
Guard your personal information
Do not disclose more than your first name in your profile and communications, nor where you work, live, home phone number or any other information that can identify you. Proceed at a pace that you are comfortable with. If you start to communicate outside of the dating site, set up a free email Gmail type account, use an online phone service like Skype (it’s free) or if you are absolutely sure you are comfortable with the person perhaps your mobile (cell phone) number.
Unfortunately, a considerable number of married men use online dating sites to find affairs by presenting themselves as single. There are women that do it to, but it is a fact that men do it far more. Some signs that a man may be married are not having a profile picture (most married men will not have a photo publicly visible on their profile), evasiveness and reluctance to offer any personal information (this is reasonable for women but it is a warning sign for men) and not being reachable during typical “family’ times of the day.
Feel free to ask questions and get to know the person (as far is possible online) before agreeing to meet. Trust your intuition and gut instinct, and if you feel someone is being dishonest, controlling or giving any other negative signals do not hesitate to break off contact with a “thanks, but no thanks” type statement. You don’t owe it to anybody to continue communicating or to meet up if you no longer wish to do so.
If all has gone well and you are happy to meet the other person, arrange to meet in public place where there will be plenty of other people around, and for the first date a daytime meeting is best. Never allow yourself to be picked up from home. The first date is very revealing as you should be able to tell if the person has been dishonest. Always inform a friend of whom you are meeting (including their name & number) and where. Again, it is important to trust your intuition and if for any reason you are apprehensive about the person do not hesitate to cut the date short.
Go at your own pace
If all goes well on the first date, do not feel that you need to rush into anything. Do not get dropped off at your home, or give your full personal information at first. Once you have had a few more successful dates and you have developed some trust you can start to drop your guard. Reasonable, genuine people will respect your caution and not try to pressure you into anything.
Unfortunately, there is a tiny percentage of the population who will try to develop a relationship with someone in order to cheat them out of their money. Although you should not allow this fact to deter you from using online dating services, it is wise to stay aware of it. If someone you have recently met starts hinting that they are in financial trouble, or starts to spin stories that might be a lead-up to asking for money, maintain your guard. Talk to a close friend or relative for a unbiased opinion. You may need to consider terminating the new relationship.
By following your own good common sense, observing some basic safety tips and trusting your instincts you are far less likely to have any problems. So many people gain valuable relationships from online dating there is no reason to be afraid to try it out yourself – good luck and be safe!