The dating scene has never been easy; we humans have been hunting for our Mr. or Miss Right for pretty much as long as we’ve been around as a species. But — with apologies to the elaborate dating rituals of the Victorians and other humans of yore — our modern dating scene might be the strangest and most complex in history.
Once upon a time, would-be lovers fell for each other in restaurants and bars, met through mutual friends, or were even set up by their families. All of that stuff can and does still happen, but a lot more is going on now. These days, online dating is the norm.
The madness of online dating
Online dating can be great: Lots of people now meet their future spouses online, and dating apps will likely lead you to meet a lot of people who are interesting and fun to hang out with, even if they may not be “the one.” But online dating has its drawbacks, too. It’s a competitive scene in which would-be partners frequently chat up multiple people at once. Conversations can end unexpectedly — and connections may be severed even after meaningful dates, as the numerous victims of “ghosting” know all too well. And online dating can feel deceptive, because people will use camera angles, cropping, and carefully written bios to suggest that they look or think in ways that they really don’t.
Worst of all, online dating can be dangerous. Turning up and finding out that the “clever” girl on Tinder actually stole all her jokes from the internet will give you a boring date, but that’s no big deal compared to the risk of your date being a con artist or a sexual predator. That’s why those of us who date online should take care to protect ourselves in certain important ways.
Staying safe when dating online
So how can you stay safe when dating online?
For starters, you can remember the common-sense rules for staying safe online in general. Keep private information private, and be careful of who you give your phone number or last name to. You’ve been wary not to hand over your credit card number or your home address to people you’ve met on online forums, over online video game chats, and in other situations on the web — don’t forget to be just as careful with your online Romeos and Juliets.
General online safety rules apply to online dating. So do general dating safety rules. While you’re off on your date, be smart. Watch how much you drink — and watch your drink itself to make sure that your date doesn’t spike it with something.
Remember that your date may not be who they say they are. The first time you meet someone from the internet, be sure to get together in a public space. Until you get to know this person well, it’s best to stay away from secluded spots.
And you may want to check out your date even before you meet them. Thanks to the power of the modern internet — not to mention the ingenuity of private investigators and other privacy and security professionals — it’s easier than ever to find out about secret pasts, criminal records, and other unsavory details that your date may not be so forthcoming about. You should take a look for an online mugshot and criminal record search sites to make sure that you’re not getting together with someone you shouldn’t.
Love, trust, and your future
It’s important to be smart when you’re dating online. You should be vigilant and use your common sense to protect yourself. If you’re doing everything that you can to stay safe, then you’re going to find that online dating can be a wonderful thing. Over time, people who were once strangers could become something much more. When your trust is earned over time, you’ll enjoy a happy and healthy relationship with someone who deserves you as much as you deserve them. Finding love online can be challenging, but your future is waiting for you.
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