"All our young lives we search for someone to love. Someone who makes us
complete. We choose partners & change partners. We dance to a song of heartbreak
& hope. All the while wondering if somewhere, somehow, there's someone perfect
who might be searching for us".
~From The Wonder Years (1988)
Dating Tips: Weasels on the Web?
Of course there are. Common sense tells you that there are bound to be some
snake-oil salesmen among the innocents just looking for a date online. And that
is a problem. There's the guy in Atlantic City who was found guilty of wire
fraud for scamming ten women around the country with fake Internet profiles.
He'd tell women he met online that he needed money to move to their area, then
abscond with the loot. (There's one born every minute, right?)
With the explosion in popularity of online dating sites, some legislators and
lawyers have started to clamor for something to be done about fraud and
resulting heartbreak in the online dating industry.
But, lawsuits against Internet dating sites for the false statements of
customers have mostly gone nowhere, in part because Congress basically immunized
such Web sites with the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which says that
providers can't be held liable for the lies of third parties. You just can't
legislate to protect people from their own stupidity!
Another reason the Internet dating industry has met with such little
regulation: it works! According to a survey by the Pew Internet and American
Life Project, a nonprofit research organization, 17% of online personals users
said their efforts resulted in a long-term relationship or marriage. And 15% of
American adults say they know someone who has married or been in a long-term
relationship with someone they met online. Serious criminal complaints, on the
other hand, are fairly rare.
As with many things Internet, it really comes down to an issue of privacy.
People like dating in cyberspace in part because they can do it in the privacy
of their own home or office. Do we really want the cyberlove police invading yet
another part of our private lives?
The courts, Congress, dating sites and their clients pretty much all agree
that for love to blossom on the Web, there must be privacy and ample space for
fantasy and hope.
Online Romance... Ready To Meet?
Okay, you've been exchanging emails and texting, and maybe even talked for hours
on the phone. He seems great... but is he too good to be true? Maybe it's time
to find out.
You’ve heard stories of successful internet romances... and then there are the
horror stories of deception and worse. How can you safely connect with your new
internet honey? Do you really want to? Follow our tips to bring on the
inevitable... the meeting. [Although aimed at women, our article can help men
understand a woman's point of view and create a great first impression].
Tip #1- Take it slow and easy. Allow your online relationship to unfold
naturally... don't push for a meeting until your gut tells you it's time. On the
other hand, if you have spent weeks communicating... don't let this drag on
forever. Take it offline, and find out if there's something worthy going on, or
a waste of time.
Tip #2- Use the technology. Before meeting in person, meet via a webcam.
This is a great intermediate bridge, and your chat buddy should jump at the
suggestion. If he gives excuses why he can’t connect a webcam, then maybe you
should reassess the romance. Why wouldn’t he want to see you before meeting in
person? Webcams cost about $20 at Wal-Mart and a snap to hook up. So if your
internet lover stalls on the webcam request, be very suspicious and think twice
about the whole thing. A few webcam conversations and everything still feels
right? Time to meet in person.
Tip #3- Out of town? Why is it that you always hear the story of the
woman flying out to meet the man? We recommend the woman NOT to be traveling to
the man's town. She's out of her own territory and could easily become
vulnerable and trapped. If travel is involved, the man needs to come to the
woman. And he needs to get his own motel room. And pay for it himself.
Tip #4- Local romance? Good! Better chance of success if you already live
in the same town. Make a date to meet in neutral territory, in a public place.
Do NOT agree to meet at his place, and do NOT give him your address yet... too
early. A busy coffee shop or restaurant is good. Avoid bars at first. Think
first date. Where would you go for a first date with a traditional off line
Tip #5- Prepare for reality shock. It's easy to disguise yourself online.
And when you two come face to face, everything is going to change. You should
also be prepared for the real person not matching the internet persona. You may
be disappointed to find that the chemistry "just ain't there". Hopefully, you
can endure and see the date through. But, if things really go badly, and you
just don't feel comfortable, you need a pre-planned escape hatch.
Tip #6- Plan an escape. Arrange to have a friend call your cell phone at
a planned time, say 1/2 hour into the date. Have one code word that will alert
your friend you need rescuing from the date and an alternate code word to let
them know it's going well. If the worse case scenario happens, then you can use
the call as an excuse to leave. Plan ahead what you will say if your "emergency
call" becomes necessary. A cup of coffee can be endured, but don't spend 4 hours
on dinner and a movie with a total loser. Do you both a favor and get outta
You might be a very streetwise woman, and this may all sound very elementary to
you. But you'd be surprised at how many women fail to prepare themselves
emotionally and protect themselves physically by planning ahead. Perhaps those
natural instincts and common sense go by the wayside in a relationship built
upon hours spent texting each other. You may feel you know him much better than
you really do. Guess what? You don't know him at all!
So our advice is... view your first meeting the same way you would view any
first date with a stranger. Sure you’ve spent hours discussing everything you
can think of, but when you meet in person, there's going to be a moment of
awkwardness as you learn to respond to each other without a keyboard. If all
goes well on the first date, then both of you will benefit by allowing the
normal process of getting to know each other to unfold.
We hope you are one of the happy-ending internet romance stories... so go for
it, and good luck!
We hope you have enjoyed this issue of Love Bytes Ezine. Each month, we will bring you another inspiring photo, quote or poem, plus fresh new articles on love, intimacy, dating and relationships.