Every 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.
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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.
Even though Father’s Day is a recent memory, it’s good to point out that single and divorced dads are quite active on online dating sites.
As a matter of fact, Match reports that 30% of their male subscribers are indeed single dads. PlentyofFish tells us that almost 45% of single men in the United States on their site who are between the ages of 30 and 50 are single dads!
So what’s the secret to blending your dating life and dating a single dad?
1. Communication. Talking about your relationship with your children is the most important part of dating a single or divorced parent. Some single dads have split schedules with their children and others are full-time dads. Some have children in college and some even have grandchildren. Talking about your schedules, when to introduce them to someone you’re dating and your long-term goals about staying single or blending a family should happen in the early stages of dating.
2. Tell, don’t post. While your kids are a priority, posting photos of them in your primary dating photo is not recommended. Instead, mention in the body of your profile the ages of your children and how important they are in your life.
3. Respect the calendar. Be understanding of his schedule. Remember, a single dad is juggling kids activities, carpooling the children back to their mother’s home, and possibly a demanding work schedule, while still trying to find time to date. When it comes to to big holiday events, you just might need to celebrate with him on a different date.
4. Love, but don’t parent. There should be an endless amount of love for all children, but when they aren’t your own, resist the urge to discipline and become a parent. Show them love and kindness and make sure it’s not your goal to steal his heart away from his children. It’s not a competition to see who ranks higher on the totem pole. It’s about adding joy to their lives, when the time is right.
The good news is that single dads are 46% more likely to meet someone on their dating site as compared to men without children, according to Match.
When are the guys most often searching for love online?
Match reports that single dads log on most often between 6:00am and 9:00am in the morning before their workday begins.
The good news is that more than half of single dads will email single moms than men without children. Single dads spend time in the trenches with their kids, so they will tend to be more empathetic to your family schedule as well.
Are you a single dad looking for love online?
Find out how our Irresistible Profiles can help you find your dream date.
Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker. She was an early adopter of Internet dating and helps singles who are looking for love online and IRL. For more dating advice follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and sign up for the free Weekly Flirt newsletter.
Sending a text message can be a fun and flirty way to communicate with members of the opposite sex. But depending on the nature of your relationship, more often than not, texting can damage your relationship, create hurt feelings, and send your status from “hot” to “permanently deleted” as quickly as it takes to press the send button.
Here are some of my online dating tips as it relates to text messaging someone you are involved with.
1. Running late? Send a text message to let your date know, if you are unable to call instead.
2. In a meeting? Of course you can’t call, so go ahead and quickly send an update of your status if plans have changed.
3. Flirting by text.?If you are in a relationship and have discussed the use of text messaging, and just want to let your honey know you are thinking about them, go ahead and send a cute text. “Thinking about U” will always make someone feel good about your relationship, but only if you have continuity and a regular phone and dating schedule.
4. Reconnecting with an old flame? Forget about it. It screams booty call. If your intentions are sincere, please pick up the telephone.
5. I Love You! The first time you tell your sweetie that you love them should always be in person, without alcohol, and while you are fully clothed. The anticipation of those three special words should never be done initially in a text message.
6. Breaking Up. Please give someone the courtesy of ending a relationship in person, or at least via phone. Only a coward would break up with someone in a text message.?
7. The Morning After. If your date ends up with a pile of clothing on the floor, please don’t text the woman to say you had a good time. If you truly hope to see her again, call her and tell her how special the evening was. Better yet, if it’s in your budget, send flowers. If you are a woman, don’t text the man to say, “How are you?” It sends a message that you are needy and you may not hear from him again.
Keep in mind that text messaging can end up being a unilateral form of communication. You don’t know for sure if the other party has read your text or not, or if they deliberately chose to delete it.?
Julie Spira is the author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. Visit her at www.CyberDatingExpert.com