Online dating makes it way too easy to create a fantasy in your mind of who he is. The only problem is — it isn’t real.
It’s also way too easy for someone to pretend to be who they’re not. That’s why you have to protect your heart and be smart.
Don’t Fall in Love with a Fantasy
Real closeness takes time. And no matter how much it feels like you’re clicking with someone, you’re still basically strangers in the beginning.
That’s why you don’t want too much contact before you meet. Just a few emails via the dating site. Then a quick call to set up the first date. No long conversations and no texting. Otherwise, all that sharing creates an illusion of who he is. And when you finally meet in-person, it can be a rude awakening.
That’s one reason long-distance relationships aren’t a good idea. The fantasy can get way ahead of the reality. Plus, someone who’s intentionally misleading you can use long-distance to keep up the charade.
What if He Misrepresents Himself?
Maybe his profile says he’s 6 feet tall. But, it turns out he’s a little shorter. Men lie about their height like women lie about their weight. These “driver’s license” lies are usually forgivable. On the other hand, if it says he’s single and he’s married, that’s an actual lie. And there’s no excuse for that.
You can always google him to see if he is who he says he is. There’s even a way to google his picture. Yes, it takes the romance out of things. But, once you know him better you can tell him about it. That way it won’t feel like a big secret.
Is He Too Good To Be True?
If you feel like he “gets” you better than anyone ever has – it may be because he knows just what to say to make you feel that way. Remember, real relationships take time. And con men and scammers do exist. So keep your eyes and ears open. And trust you gut if anything feels weird or off.
If he says things that don’t add up or make you uncomfortable, pay attention. For example, if he wants to keep emailing and is avoiding meeting in person, that’s not a good sign. And of course, if he asks you to send him money that’s the biggest red flag. He may have excuses and long explanations for everything. But, the general rule is — the more elaborate the story, the less likely that it’s true.
For more information on scammers, visit the government’s website on Online Dating Scams. It tells you how to recognize a scam and what to do about it!
Be Smart and Stay Safe
You probably already protect your personal information — your last name, your email, your address, where you work, etc. You may even use a google voice phone number or Vumber so you don’t have to give out your real phone number. But, it’s also important to keep your social media information private — your facebook, twitter, and instagram. Especially if you like to check-in and share your location.
When you’re ready for your first date – meet in a public place, during the day, with lots of people around. A coffee shop usually works great. Let a friend know where you’ll be, who you’ll be with and when you’ll be back.
Hopefully it’ll just be a regular date with a regular guy who’ll make the whole process worth it.
If you’re in the Los Angeles area, I hope you’ll join me for my next Finding Mr. Right meetup. We’ll be talking about How to Protect Your Heart and Be Smart When You’re Dating Online! For more information, just click here.