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5 Red Flags and Tips for Online Dating

Red FlagsEvery once in a while a story comes out in the news about a person who has had a bad dating experience with someone they’ve met online. Men are fearful that every woman will turn out to be crazy. Women on the other hand need to know that they will be safe with their date.

I’m here to tell you that the same people who date online also date offline, so when it comes to dating safety, these rules will apply for both.

Let’s start with the fact that about one-half of the single population in the United States are now dating online. This number is huge and should give you the comfort of knowing that you’re not alone in cyberspace.

Here are my rules for safe online dating.

1. Have a phone pre-date.

Not everyone gives good phone, but if the phone call is awful and you’re struggling to keep the conversation going, chances are you’ll have a bad experience on your date. After a few email or text exchanges, I recommend scheduling a phone date. Keep the phone call to 20 minutes or less, as you don’t want to reveal everything about yourself before you meet IRL. If you click on the phone, that’s terrific. Suggest putting a date on the calendar, sooner rather than later. If you feel like you’re sitting in the dentist’s chair or in a deposition, be kind and let the person know that you don’t think you have enough in common and wish them the best with their search. If someone is unwilling to take the time to call you, then move on to someone who values your desire to hear his or her voice.

2. Do a Google search.

I’m often asked if someone should search their date on Google and the answer of course is yes! Everyone does. However, just like you shouldn’t kiss-and-tell, you should not Google-and tell. By revealing and questioning your date about your findings on Google, you will come across as a stalker and just might get canceled on. Knowledge is power, up to a point.

3. Check their Facebook photos.

A picture tells a thousand words, or does it? Those posting old prom shots or photo-shopped pictures can get old when you go on a date and barely recognize him or her. My recommendation is to hop over to Facebook or Instagram and view real-life photos. If the photo from last night’s concert resembles his or her online dating profile shots, you’re in pretty good shape. Better yet, view some of their selfies, which are less than polished.

4. Listen more than talk.

If your date seems to be a drama queen or catastrophizes and plays the victim, they’ll let you know early on. This is a red flag that if the relationship goes south, it might not be an amicable departure. For this reason, I stress that you should wait before allowing someone to know where you live. You should continue to meet in a public place for your early dates. Let them talk about ex’s, bad dates, and all the reasons why they are still single and sit back and listen.

5. Trust your gut.

Trusting your intuition is the number one way to make a decision whether to go on a date with someone or not. Take your time in getting to know him or her and enjoy the courting process. If stories aren’t adding up or if you feel in your heart there’s something wrong, you just might save yourself from a future heartbreak.

Contact us for more information on how to create an Irresistible Profile to attract your dream date.

Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker. She’s the founder of CybeDatingExpert.com and was an early adopter of Internet dating. Julie’s been helping singles find love online for 20 years. Follow @JulieSpira on Twitter for dating advice and like us at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert.

Dating Advice – When You’re Not a Priority

Ask the Cyber-Dating ExpertDear Julie,

Hi there. I wanted to run something by you. I’ve been in a serious relationship with this guy for a few years now, and I’m looking for at least a hint of commitment from him.  On the surface, it appears that we have everything together — both well educated, accomplished individuals who have lots of friends and strong family ties. But, there have been a series of red flags that lead me to believe that this is just a relationship of convenience for him.

It was my birthday last week and he completely forgot and actually went out with his guy friends that night 🙁 I know, not so good huh??? Worse yet, when I told him about it a few days later when he was at my apartment, he gave the most insensitive remark of all time: “well, there’s always next year.” I was taken aback to say the least.

Once I regained my bearings, I took two steps forward and delivered a stinging slap to his face for that remark.  His response (as he’s standing there holding his jaw) “Well how about dinner tonight?” Strike two. I pointed to the door and he got the message loud and clear. I’ve given him the silent treatment over the past week. What would you do?

Karen

Hi Karen,

Thank you for your email and for reaching out for advice.

I have to wonder, why would you want a commitment for someone who doesn’t make you a priority in his life?

When you know for sure there are red flags, you should write them down. Ask yourself if you’d want your best friend to be in a relationship like this, or would you encourage her to find someone who has her on a pedestal.

A birthday to a woman is like Valentine’s Day. All men know that. To disappoint you on a day like that is very hurtful. He made it clear by forgetting that you’re lower on the totem pole than his friends are. Sure you may both be well educated and have great times together, but if you’re asking if you’re a convenience after a few years, the answer is pretty clear that it’s yes.

Rather than giving him the silent treatment, it’s time to regain your power. Tell him you’d like to take a break and start dating others. Consider joining an online dating site and fill your calendar with interesting people to meet. You’ll be expanding your social circles and may even find someone who will treat you the way you truly deserve to be treated. You’re not giving him an ultimatum, which men dislike. You’re just taking action with your love life and regaining your power.

If he comes running back to you, think about creating a list of deal-breakers that you can’t live with and discuss them with him. Either he steps up to the plate and won’t want to lose you, or you’ll be free to meet someone who will cherish you.

Keep me posted on your progress. Let me know if you need my help in creating your irresistible online dating profile.

All my best,

Julie

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Peril of the Week – Advanced Warning Issued

Peril of the Week - Warning IssueIt started out as an email sent from a man in New York who was a member of a popular online dating site. The recipient, an attractive intelligent single female shared the introductory email with some of her friends on Facebook, myself included. She wanted to know if she should go out with the man with the red flags. At first she thought it was hilarious. I told her not to go. Her curiosity got the best of her, so without further adieu, here’s an example of a date destined to go bad.

His first email appeared to be a ‘cut and paste’ to many filled with a negative attitude. It read as follows:

“This may sound rude/odd but…what’s wrong with you? I have found there has to be a catch if I come across a cute, seemingly intelligent, well manner girl on this site.”

“I have tried this online dating thing for a while and to be honest… IT SUCKS!!!

“In the last month or so, I have been: stood up three times, canceled on at the last minute, met a girl who started to make out with another random guy at the bar while I watched, found out mid-date that the girl was inky 21 when her profile said she was 29, had a girl tell me how she is still in love with her ex, been told the day after a first date that she was getting back with her fiancé, but would love to use me for sex and my favorite…told that I was part of a “30 dates with 30 guys in 30 days” dare and that I had no shot. Fun times, right?????

“Now…based on the fact that you seem pretty awesome and the fact that I am apparently not cool enough to have plans on what should be a beautiful Friday night…How would you feel about being totally spontaneous and meeting me this evening? (who knows we might even like each other and get to make out?)”

“Now, I know you may want to email back and forth for days and then build up all this excitement hoping you found “the one”…but…I have found that usually leads to disappointment and then possibly therapy and sadness, right? Let’s skip all that nonsense and meet right away…OK? It will save us the let-down in the long run.”

“Now if you call/text/email, we can have possibly the blindest of dates…(assuming you don’t stand me up) or we can flirt via text from now until we do meet and build up expectations. Your choice, but first, please warn me about what is wrong with you so I know going into this that there will be little surprise! ;-)”

With an email like this, I would have done one of two things. Either deleted it without response and forgotten about it, or send an email saying ‘No thank you. Best of luck with your search.’

Comments from her friends included, “Just be careful” to “This is hilarious. Go and report back to us.” I explained that it was a mass email sent to many other women and told her not to go. Online dating safety is a hot button for me. I had a bad feeling about this from reading just the first sentence of his email. I thought she should use her time wisely and find a man who is positive, emotionally healthy and worthy of her. I told her to do her homework, Google his email and phone number to find out more about him if she really wanted to pursue this. I had a bad feeling. I was told that I was too serious and that this was hilarious.

She did indeed go on a date with him, which was a disaster. She said she should have known that he was going to be crazy. After resfusing to tell him where she worked or lived, he left her in the bar. That would have been fine if it was over, but it wasn’t. He started to send her mean and nasty text messages. She asked him not to contact her again, and he said ‘no.’

Not only does this date qualify for The Peril of the Week, but it’s a warning message to spot the red flags and remember how to date safely. Don’t give out your home or work address, create a separate phone number on Google voice so you can change it if you continue to get harassed by a date gone badly, and trust your intuition. Listen to your friends if they are concerned about you. There are many wonderful singles looking for love online, but if you come across a situation or profile like this, report it to the Internet dating site you met on.

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