I have encountered so many people who have been disappointed, ripped off or worse when dating online, that I drew up some guidelines for keeping yourself safe.

Dr. Romance’s guide to dating safely:

  • Be skeptical, not gullible. When you're meeting dates online (it is not dating until it's face-to-face) you have no way of knowing who they are. There are documented cases of con artists conning gullible people to send them money, marry them etc. online. Don't be afraid to ask for details, Google your date, ask to talk to friends and family members, let your date meet your friends. You need objective people to scope him out.
  • Be realistic, not romantic. Don't develop a fantasy about the date until you know the facts. It's a tough world out there.
  • Focus on friendship. Concentrate on developing the friendship. Romance follows later, after you've checked your date out.
  • *Don't tell your date too much: Don't give away your address, home phone, work location until you know who this is. If you have children, protect them by being discreet.
  • Pay attention to how this person acts, what he or she says; seek to discover character, don't fall for just looks and charm.
  • Don't assume you're dating exclusively if you haven't discussed it.
  • Don't rush into sex: Going slowly into sex reduces the risk of STDs; avoids the awkwardness of intimacy with a total stranger; stops codependent obsession; and makes sex more special. There's no advantage in rushing; when sex is right, it will happen. If your date leaves because you won't have sex right away, they'd have left anyway.
  • Don't get too self-conscious. The media focus on youth and fitness can make you feel insecure and unattractive. When you meet him, look your (appropriate) best, and then forget about it. Instead of worrying what your date thinks of you, focus on what you think of your date.

from Dr. Romance's Guide to Finding Love Today

 
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For low-cost counseling, email me at tina@tinatessina.com

 

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.