“Sometimes you get so swept up with online dating and the “relationship” you form with someone online that you forget that it’s not real. The reality is that you don’t know that person very well – if at all – in real life.” Blaine Barrington, Dating and Relationship Coach.
Online dating is an effective way to find a great guy. And many women do have success finding a great guy using online dating..
But online dating does come with its hazards that you should be aware of.
Other than the usual romantic scams that I talk about there are other dangers with online dating.
Here’s how the typical scenario goes…
You throw up your online dating profile, add a couple of photos, and hope that someone will respond to your profile.
And, usually someone does.
In fact, you might have a number of guys who are interested in getting to know you.
Some of those guys you will “reject” quickly for various reasons – they’re too young, they’re too old, you don’t like their photo, you don’t think you have enough in common with them, or there’s something in their profile description that turns you off.
Sometimes, you’ll reject a guy simply because he doesn’t have a photo on his profile. Many women say in their description that they won’t correspond with guys who don’t have a photo. Now, the theory is that if there is no photo then the guy is hiding something. Many women assume he’s married or in a relationship – which may or may not be true.
Don’t instantly reject a guy just because there is no photo on his profile. He may be a very private person and be willing to send you his photos in an email if you ask him (just be careful that it’s not a scammer and he has a virus attached to his photos.)
Usually, though, after corresponding with these guys or talking to them on the phone you’ll know whether or not to continue with them to see if they’re boyfriend material.
Ultimately, you’ll very likely focus on two or three guys who have caught your interest.
These are the guys who warrant most of your time in your online search for a great guy.
These are the guys you’ve “qualified” to see if they’re boyfriend material.
But here’s the hidden danger of online dating…
You start emailing back and forth with a great guy or two. Then you will probably use chat and move to the phone or go onto Skype.
When you meet someone online and start to email and/or chat back and forth there is what I call a virtual bond that occurs.
This person takes on an image in your mind of the perfect man. He’s funny. He’s fun. He’s interesting. He says the right things. He’s romantic. He becomes real to you even though you’ve never met him in real life.
What you don’t know is whether he’s saying those things to other women. You don’t know if he really is single and available.
And you see him at his best – at the prearranged time you both schedule to talk to each other. You don’t see him under pressure from the stresses at work. You don’t know what his health is like. You don’t know what his finances are like. In fact, you know very little about the real person.
Not surprisingly, many people – both men and women – “fall in love” online. First it’s hugs using emoticons. Then it’s hugs and kisses. And then at some point they say they “love” the person even though they’ve never met each other in person.
You might even get risque and share semi-nude or nude photos. Or you might start talking about sex and what you like and don’t like when it comes to sex and intimacy.
You start calling each other terms of endearment like “sweetie” or “honey” or “darling” just as you would in real life.
You’re smitten with him.
This is the infatuation stage where you start falling for him. And yet it’s not real because you haven’t even met him.
But here’s the trap you fall into:
The “relationship” is a virtual relationship – one that isn’t real except in your mind. It’s based on fantasy and driven by your hope that it works into something that is tangible and real.
You don’t even know if the photo you’ve seen on his online profile is accurate. And even if you talk to each other on Skype, you might be in for a surprise – he might be heavier or slimmer than you thought. In fact, you might even overlook things that normally would disqualify a guy from being boyfriend material.
Even so, you begin to get your hopes up that he’s the guy for you – especially if he’s funny and he has similar interests to yours.
Your feelings develop. He becomes important in your life even though you’ve never met.
And because your feelings develop you get emotional and upset if he doesn’t send you an email or he doesn’t phone you when you expect him to.
And chances are you become a “victim” of…
In online dating, male posturing is where a guy tries to impress you. He could say things about his work, his hobbies, or his accomplishments, or things he’s particularly proud of.
It could also be about how he sees himself – if he’s a romantic his overtures to you will be romance based – cards, notes, sayings, terms of affection, terms of endearment.
His male posturing can also include future plans. For example, it might be where he plans to take you – a vacation spot or hotel or restaurant – when you meet.
This is all part of the courtship ritual.
But in the online dating world it has a powerful effect because it plays on your emotions and imagination.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing but it’s important to remember that it’s not reality because it’s not as though you’re a “couple” at this point. You don’t know how you will interact with him in real life.
He might even go into “hero” mode – where he’s so taken with you that he wants to impress you by doing things that make you feel closer to him or somewhat obligated to him.
For example, he might send you gifts.
Or he might arrange to take you away on a small vacation.
This is male posturing where he’s trying to win you over so that you see him as your hero.
You might even build him up so much that you begin to have doubts about whether you’re “good enough” for him and whether he’ll be happy with you. And in some cases, he reveals to you that he’s not sure he’s “good enough” for you.
But, the problem at this point – even if you’re emailing and chatting and talking on the phone and getting along famously – is that there is no real life chemistry.
You don’t really know much about this guy at this point other than what he’s told you.
You don’t know his habits or beliefs.
You don’t know his friends or his family.
You don’t know how he will treat you. In fact, what he shows you in his emails and chats could be only one facet of his total personality.
The Real Tests – Chemistry, Compatibility, and Time
The real tests to a beginning relationship are chemistry, compatibility, and time.
Chemistry is something that you can’t change. It’s either there or not. Your feelings for him might change over time but chemistry is still an important element in the relationship unless you’re not interested in having sex or being intimate with him in any way and you just want a companion and a friendship – which most people on online dating sites don’t want.
You have to see if there is compatibility – that you enjoy each other’s company and that you enjoy doing things together.
Time is the ultimate test.
It takes time to know someone. It takes time to see how they are around their friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers.
It takes time to see another person’s moods and how they react when they are stressed or frustrated.
It takes time to see how this new guy in your life will treat you – whether he helps you or looks after you when you’re sick with a cold or flu or other disease.
It takes time to see whether you’re happy with him – whether he supports you in what you do, whether he’s romantic, whether he’s a good lover.
You might not like the smell of his cologne.
You might not like his habits.
You might not like how he talks to you.
You might not like the way he cuts his hair…or trims his beard.
You might not like how he eats his food…or what seasonings and condiments he puts on his food.
You might not like the foods he eats.
Until you have spent time with him and you get to know him and his friends and his family, you won’t know what he is like. You have to see how he interacts with others – not just you.
And when you do meet, guess what?
The clock is wound back to zero. Because even though you know him well on the internet, you don’t know him at all in real life.
So, it’s like starting over. You start over by getting to know him. Only this time it’s in real life, not in virtual life.
It’s not like you are best friends where you can pick up from where you last saw each other as though there were no gap in time.
This is entirely different.
You “know” this man in a different – virtual – way.
Key Barriers To A Blossoming Relationship
There are two main barriers to a blossoming relationship when you’re involved with online dating.
First is the fact that you think you know a guy so well online that you trust him.
And that can lead to certain consequences.
For example, you might have sex with him too early – simply because you’ve been emailing and talking on the phone so much that you have a connection.
And if you have sex with him too early that could be a mistake and ruin a promising relationship.
Remember: Until you meet and spend time with each other you’re not in a relationship and you’re not exclusive.
It’s always wise to take normal safety precautions until you know who he is and what he’s all about.
Another barrier to a blossoming relationship is distance.
Online dating lends itself to both local and long distance relationships.
But long distance relationships can be the hardest to endure because once you meet in person you’ll want to see more and more of that person if you click and there is chemistry.
Jumping To Wrong Conclusions
Another very real danger of online dating is that it’s easy to jump to conclusions about someone.
And many of those conclusions usually don’t have any basis in fact. Instead, they’re your imaginings.
For example: He doesn’t come online when he says he will. He doesn’t send as many emails to you. He doesn’t express his feelings to you. Or he has other “friends” who he chats with online.
When that happens you begin to wonder if he’s “faithful” to you or whether he’s getting cold feet or whether things are cooling off between the two of you and he’s starting to lose interest in you.
In fact, chances are you want an instant relationship. Or, at the very least, you want to speed the process up. You want him to profess his undying love to you. And that’s not possible – particularly if you’ve never met him and you haven’t even spent time with him – except online.
Keep in mind that relationships take time to develop and mature. There are limits to what he will say to you when he doesn’t know you. You might “love” him, but he’ll probably be more cautious about using the “L” word until he’s sure about how he feels about you.
The true test of a blossoming relationship – especially one that started with online dating – is getting to know someone in person and seeing if you fit into his life and he fits into your life. And that is something that can’t be rushed.
Blaine Barrington is a Dating and Relationship coach who helps single women find their Mr. Right. He’s the author of the Girl Gets Great Guy System – The System That Cracks The “Guy Code” And Helps You Find The Man Of Your Dreams.
Download Blaine’s FREE Special Report, 7 Best Places To Find Mr. Right, his exclusive list of places where great guys hang out.