Online Dating – Five Steps to Cut Thru Fantasy & Fraud

Have you ever felt like the time you spend engaging with online dating sites is a waste of your time?  Join the club!  But what can you do about it?  Sometimes, it seems there are a whole lot of weirdos out there and only one perfectly normal person – you!

Maybe it is time to cut through the clutter, and seek out a genuine, eligible online date.  If you are willing to examine this a little further, you may also find that you – yourself are the one who lives in fantasy or lies –  just a little.  But, that doesn’t constitute a fraud, or does it?

Five Steps to Cut Through Online Dating Fantasy and Fraud

Step #1  Examine Yourself

  • If you find that you are mentally looking for a replacement of a lost spouse or loved one, you may need to face the fact that you will never find them.  Yet, there is always the possibility you will find someone very special and even better in some aspects.
  • When you look at photos and profiles online, do you look outside your age range or search among prospects with habits you hate?
  • Are you ready to meet the person you winked at online?  Or, do you hide behind the computer screen.
  • Decide whether or not you are ready to actually meet someone, have fun and potentially foster a long-term relationship – before you waste your time and that of potential dates.  You need to be ready to engage!

Step #2  Identify Online Dating Fantasies

Whether we admit it or not, every one of us has fantasies.  Right now, I am fantasizing about a forthcoming date with a man I winked at online, but have not yet met.  In his photo, he looks like the Marlboro man (without the cigarette).  His profile shows an interesting combination of values and interests. Will he live up to my fantasy?  Well I won’t know until I meet him.  And, I might not know for a while.

According to Dr. Seuss, “Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.”

Sometimes your online search runs you smack dab into a person who is not ready to meet anyone!  They just want to fantasize about it.  I talked to a man who talked on and on for weeks, until I discovered that he was avoiding an actual face-to-face meeting.

A lady told me that she gave up online dating because the men always wanted to meet her after talking for only a few times.   But, she wasn’t ready to meet them.  So, why keep talking through messages and phone calls?  Some people would rather fantasize about meeting someone than put themselves out there –  for fear of rejection.

We all have fears.  But if your fears control your actions, you are limiting yourself and wasting the time of those with whom you engage. ( Unless, of course, you are both into long-term fantasy and both have no intention of actually meeting, in which case, go for it!)

Step #3  Identify the Online Dating Frauds

You know who you are!  Maybe you are just shaving a few years off your age or padding your education or financial status, etc.  But, in the end most potential partners will recognize the real you.  Here are some major categories of fraud that I have encountered.

  • Guys who want to date someone who is twenty to thirty years younger!  Dream on!
  • Young women –  Older men tell me there are young women online who are ready to send them photos of their big boobs.  Why?  And what are they really after, a sugar daddy?
  • People who depict photos that are way out of date!  You wouldn’t even recognize them if you met them.
  • Guys who lives too far away to make dating practical.  This rarely works, and usually spells trouble.  One fellow I met online, then had lunch with (although we lived over two hours apart) ended up sending a photo of his erect privates to my cell phone! He didn’t really intend to date in the normal sense of the word, as I hoped.   He just wanted phone sex.
  • Young men – who are after the widow with a nest egg.  Yesterday a young fellow 38 years old, bare-chested in his photo send me a “Hi, there!” message.  What does he want with someone old enough to be his mother?  Some people are slick.  They can steal your money without ever having to meet you face to face. Beware!  Read the lessons I learned from my first online dating encounter.

It is so sad to watch someone who is vulnerable be taken advantage. Often, I have been told that I am gullible, too trusting.  That may be, but a fair warning is sometimes all you need to look for tell-tale signs of a fraud.  If you have reservations about anyone or just want to know more, do an online background check.

Step #4  Limit Your Online Dating Exposure

Recently I have dropped my presence at online dating sites that do not provide a reasonable means of security. I had no idea the extent of deception with which some people will engage.  Not just a photo of themselves that was taken 15 years ago (although there is that) but photos of completely made up names, photos, locations, etc.  Instead, I subscribe to Zoosk.com because it has photo and Facebook identification.  The person with the profile is who they say they are (within limits).  Free sites, and even very popular sites like Match.com do not offer this security.

If someone says they are “trying to quit” or smokes “socially”, and you do not want to be associated with that, do not engage.  If you have identified certain religious preferences, or personal habits or interests, look for these – it is okay to discriminate!  That is what you do when you are choosing a potential mate.  You are important enough to go after what you want.  You do not need to entertain every person who contacts you.  It may be flattering, but useless if there are show stoppers in their profile.  Don’t settle for whatever you can get!   Be kind to everyone, but don’t lead someone on if you have already ruled them out mentally.

Step #5  Know When to Move On

It’s better to bring up touchy issues earlier in a relationship than later.  You don’t have to scare someone away in the profile, or even on the first date, but don’t wait indefinitely.  Treat your first date like you would a job interview.  It can be more relaxed and social, but you need to be prepared to bring up any important questions that may be lurking in your mind.  If they just aren’t your type, be ready to let them go.

Young and old, we all need and thrive on love and companionship.  Be tenacious, don’t give up because love does not come your way, or because you were hurt in the past.  Stay the course.

Someone said “I’ll leave it to God to bring me a mate, or I will remain alone.”  There is no doubt that God is in control and there are limitations on what we can do.  His timing is not always ours.  But, I say that it helps if you leave a trail to your door and if you open the door when someone knocks.    Enjoy yourself and make the process fun.  Give it a break for a while if you get frustrated.

Life is all about choices.  For me, having a love life is one of the important things in life.  I am fine on my own.  Life has so much to offer!   But I believe my life could be richer and fuller with the right man in my life.   How about you?

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