March 21st will mark my four year wedding anniversary. It is an event that may never have happened if it weren’t for the invention of online dating a few years ago.
I am happy to say I’m a success story. My wedding band and two-year-old daughter prove that. However, I know for every story like mine, there are many others who not only fail to find love but have a horror story to share.
Using the Internet to meet people, to me, isn’t really much more dangerous than meeting a stranger at a bar. And, it does have its advantages, such as meeting new people you may never have met using more traditional means. For example, my wife lived more than an hour away from me and we would probably never have crossed paths if we wouldn’t have met online.
And, you shouldn’t assume that everyone using the Internet is desperate. In my case, I had just moved to a new state and didn’t know anyone. And my wife lived in a town of about 100 people who were all related to each other. There are legitimate, decent people who are just looking to find that someone special and you have a good chance of meeting that person who makes you happy the rest of your life. You just need to find them.
However, it does take some commitment and a lot of common sense.
First and, most important rule I tell people when they attempt to meet people over the Internet; if you are going to join a dating site, join one that you have to pay for. The more expensive you can afford the better.
The reason I offer this advice first is it will eliminate some of the issues you run across with online dating. Free sites are decent, but there is nothing to prevent people from signing up their friends without their knowledge, or joining as a joke, etc.
On a site that charges a fee, married men or women won’t be able to post an ad pretending to be single without their spouse noticing the credit card bill. And, the need to pay also serves as a deterrent for sex offenders since a credit card gives too much personal information, including their address.
Also, if you’re looking for someone who is financially stable, you’ll know they make at least as much money as you do if they can afford to join the site.
The second piece of advice I give to people, especially women, is to post your profile without a photo. Yes, profiles with photos get more hits. But, that’s only because you have a lot of people (mostly men) looking for a pretty face to have a one-night stand with rather than a long-term relationship.
By not posting your photo, you are making your potential date get to know you on a philosophical level first. You’ll be able to find out their likes and dislikes and, without knowing what you look like, they have less incentive to lie to you.
I suggest talking to the person for at least a week, both by e-mail and possibly over the phone and then send them a photo. If they are still interested in meeting you, then chances are they are worth meeting. Conversely, if they insist on seeing a photo and even pester you for one, chances are they aren’t serious about a relationship.
If you do feel the need to post a photo in order to get more people to choose from, I would suggest posting a Polaroid of you on an average day, not one that is professionally done. If a person thinks you’re attractive when you’re not at your best, then you have a better shot at love.
The last thing I tell people is to use common sense, starting with keeping their expectations realistic. The odds are against you finding a millionaire or an ex-supermodel over the Internet. And, if someone claims to be, then they are probably lying to you. Listen to your gut, if it sounds too good to be true, don’t trust them. This is why I always tell people to talk to their date over the phone first (you can invest in a Tracfone and be relatively anonymous) so you can quiz them about their previous answers and get a better feel for whether they are telling you the truth or not before meeting them.
Also, don’t do this if you’re looking to have a date for a specific event. If you’re pressured to find someone before Valentine’s Day or the big company party, then you run the risk of being so desperate you overlook things that might otherwise make you say no. And, that’s something that will get you hurt.
Internet dating is becoming more popular than it ever has before and, if you’re single and tired of being single, it’s a great way to meet people. And, if you’re smart about it, there’s a good chance you’ll have the same success I did.