Dating sites give singles the opportunity to meet people without going to the bars or trying to figure out how to meet other singles. People that have been married for years and then, through divorce or losing their spouse through death, find it awkward in trying to get back into the dating game. It is hard to reach out and meet knew people. We feel vulnerable and a intimidated by the whole thing.
In my experience as a therapist, I have heard some success stories, but I have also had people in my office that should have never gotten married. The ad on television is deceiving and do not be fooled by them, because that is not the normal couples that get together. It is much more difficult than it appears.
Dating sites are a great way to meet new people, but it is important to recognize the potential danger lurking on other peoples profiles. People are only going to share their good points and if they are mentally ill, they can sound healthy, but after you get to know them, the unhealthiness shows up. Then you realize why they are single. If you decide to put your profile on a dating site, be careful what you share. Be general on what you like and be vague. For example if you enjoy biking, just share that you like the outdoors or enjoy exercise. If you share in detail exactly what you like, then if someone contacts you that is not healthy, they are going to know exactly what you want and will be all those things at first. Anyone can put on a show for a while and by the time you find out the truth about them, it may be to late.
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If you see a profile that you like on a dating site, check out their story before you get to involved. Assume that everything they are saying is false and you are out to prove it. Find out where they work and how long they have worked there. Get references from them and check them out. Make sure the references are who they say they are. Google them on the web and find out as much as you can. People lie about their age and anything else they think might keep them from meeting the “right person”. Always be suspicious and be you own private eye if this person sounds to good to be true. Most of the time they are.
If they pass the first test, then move slowly and find out about their relationships with other people. Do they have lots of friends and are they healthy friends or are they drinking friends that like to go out and party all the time. What are their relationships like with their family. Do they all get along or is there a lot of drama and fighting? How long have they been working at their current job? How are they with money? Are they financially stable? How many jobs have they had in the last 5 years? If they are not working now, that is a red flag. They may have all sorts of reasons why they are not working, but if this is a pattern for them. Turn around and run. They are not going to change. Never give them money, FOR ANY REASON.
Do all this before you even meet them. Do not be afraid to email for awhile and when you do talk for the first few times, do not give out information that could allow them to find out where you work or live. If they push to get together, do not be intimidated. Keep your boundaries firm and if they do not respect your cautiousness, then say goodbye. They are not the right one. Anyone that is healthy will understand and go through whatever hoops they need to, if they really care about you.
This may sound a little harsh, but when you are out looking for someone, it is hard work and you do not need to take the first person that comes along. You are worth waiting for and if you are healthy, just be patient. If you are not healthy, then you are not ready to be looking for a partner. Take some time and work on yourself. Being alone can be a great blessing and it will give you time to heal. Do not be afraid and find a good therapist that can help you find the answers to your pain and healing. It will be worth the investment.
Vickie Parker, LMFT
vickiemft.com, Online Counseling