Dating online is more common than ever, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any pitfalls or dangers to avoid. It helps to know some of the common online dangers so that you can better protect yourself.
The world of dating has changed markedly in the last couple of decades. The emergence of social media and the plethora of dating websites has all but eliminated the stigma once associated with meeting people online, and these days couples are as likely to meet on the Internet as at the local bar or night club.
If you are looking for love, chances are you will go online at some point. Whether you sign up for one of the many online dating sites out there or just put out a few feelers to your cadre of social media friends, it is important to keep your defenses up. While most people are honest both online and off, men and women with nefarious intentions sometimes hang out online and look for easy victims.
In some cases, those nefarious online daters are out for your cash. They try to guilt you or trick you into paying their expenses, financing their business dreams or bailing them out of their latest misadventure. In other cases these online fraudsters are trying to take advantage of you in other ways, soliciting sexual images or talking you into doing things you may regret later.
No matter what the situation, falling prey to a bad online dating partner can be devastating on many different levels. These best defense against these individuals is prevention, and that means learning to spot the red flags. Here are some troubling signs that your online dating partner is not all he or she is cracked up to be.
- They have a sketchy social media presence, or none at all. Watch out for would-be dating partners who seem reluctant to share their social media with you – they could be hiding something.
- They move way too fast. Watch out for online dating partners who profess their love after a couple of texts or chats on Skype. If you feel that things are moving too fast, you need to take a step back and evaluate the situation.
- They ask for nude or provocative selfies or try to engage you in sexual talk too quickly. There are creeps online, and asking for inappropriate pictures is one of their main modes of operation.
- They say they are an important person or have pictures of holding hands with the president or something that seems to good to be true. There are military and other scams out there where men are pretending to be who they are not. If they give you images, check closely to see if they look photoshopped or upload them to google (where you can do an image search) and search them to see if they come up connected to a scam of any kind.
- They want you to cash a check for them or try to get you financially involved with something.
- They don’t want to take you out somewhere public and instead want to know where you live, to hang out are your house or to take you to their house where it is easier to allow things to get hot and heavy too fast.
- They go dark for long periods of time. Watch out for the person who bombards you with text messages and proclamations of love one day and suddenly stops responding. Long periods of online silence could mean your new beau is living a double life or hiding a troubling secret.
- They hate to talk about their pasts. Everyone has a past, and talking about family and personal history is a big part of the dating process. Be wary of partners who seem reluctant to share personal details or even talk about their past experiences.
- They avoid face-to-face meetings. Talking online and chatting over Skype is great, but eventually you will want to meet face to face. A potential dating partner who refuses to meet you in real life is a major red flag.
- They are cagey about their careers. There is no shame in working an entry-level job, or even being unemployed, so you should be wary of anyone who seems reluctant to share what they do for a living.
Dating online can be a great way to meet that special someone, but it pays to be cautious. Whether you are new to the dating world or jumping back in after the end of a long-term relationship, recognizing and avoiding these red flags and pitfalls is the best way to protect your heart – and your wallet.