I think we all agree on the benefits of online dating. First it expands the pool of potential partners. Second it increases the chance of meeting someone compatible by exchanging pictures, profiles, interests and goals, philosophies on life. And third it helps overcome the initial shyness or awkwardness which is common on first face-to-face meetings. Along with the benefits comes a long list of online dating risks. Dating online means getting involved with strangers, with people that we barely know. The hazards include:
1. Dating married people or people in existent relationships. Even though members are supposed to be 100 % single, that’s not always true. Married people looking for sexual distractions and a breath of fresh air outside their relationships are not rare on dating sites. However their true marital status is never stated in the profile.
2. Dating people with criminal past. almost everybody has made mistakes in their past, but when there is an ongoing affair with criminal activity, that should certainly raise the red flag for you. Arrests, misdemeanor, sex offence crimes, felonies, dui- they can certainly say a lot about the character of the person that you are dating.
3. Dating people with addictions. Drinking, drug, gambling problems. Any form of addiction could be detrimental for a healthy relationship. And people never “label” themselves as alcoholics or chain smokers. Instead they put down ” social drinkers” and “smoke rarely”. Addictions are never stated upfront at the beginning of the relationship and detecting them later could lead to a disappointment.
4. Dating free riders and gold diggers. A lot of people use dating sites to find additional forms of income. Some are simply trying to free ride on every sort of date activity: from the first dinner to the first big vacation together. Others plan to go deeper, build trust and bonding, find a way to your heart and eventually find a way to your bank account and credit cards. Even though we trust our good judgment of character and consider ourselves immune against possible unscrupulous dates, emotions and dating excitement often cloud our ability to gauge people and situations correctly.
5. Dating sexual predators. Let’s face it, not everybody is in the game because they need serious relationship. Dating sites provide excellent source of one night stands and free sexual partners. Both men and women are taking advantage of this new venue for worldly wants. And while there is nothing wrong with dating for sexual pleasures, sometimes it could be a source of disappointment and frustration for the other partner.
6. Dating people that we are not attracted to. It’s easy to get carried away with emotions and excitement when dating online. You gradually get to know somebody and your interests are aroused. But his true image remains somehow mysterious because you’ve never really met. And here comes the reality check. Fist date in person…The magic is gone. There is no chemistry and no physical attraction even when the intellectual connection is there. Unfortunately online dating cannot answer the question of “face-to-face” chemistry. The answer comes only in the “offline” world.
Online dating risks are numerous. Apparently we can’t leave everything to fate if we want to spare ourselves some unpleasant surprises. If you want to be on the safe side, always background check your date and know who you are going to meet. Otherwise you might be heading for a romance disaster.