Dating online. Online dating.

This will remain short, as I have not experienced online dating first hand. (But I have a bunch of friends who have.)

A little over a decade ago, a cousin of mine introduced me to his then – fiance, whom he met on a dating site. It took me by surprise, because online dating was not as mainstream as it is today. I thought that meeting people online was more of a myth, but suddenly, I had a real – life couple in front of me. They were in love and so fortunate to have found one another. Something that probably would not happen without the Internet. I was weary of her, but who was I to saying anything, since I knew her for 5 mins before they got married… Yes, they ended up getting divorced. Yes, my cousin was left heartbroken. Yes, it was a scam.

In today’s news, I saw a story about a scammer, who got caught and is now facing 15 years in prison. What did he do? He posed as a stoke-broker on dating sites, and received over a MILLION DOLLARS from 13 different women to invest on their behalf. In another incident, a woman sent $2 million dollars (all of her savings) to someone she has never even met in person. This shows you how skilled the scammers have to be. They find your weakness, lure you in, and then bite your head off.

People used to meet one another in school, at work, or out in a bar. Now, with our faces constantly illuminated by the blue light coming from our cell phones, we have shifted to mostly meeting people online. It seems to be easier and faster. You can “weed” out the no-matches quickly. However, this method is not without its downfalls. We all know the trick that a lot of guys swipe right on ALL of the profiles they come across in order to increase their chances with the ladies. There are certain strategies that one can follow in order to increase his chances (what to put in you interests, which pictures to post, etc). And while it is possible for little white lies to open the door to true love, there is a chance that your Prince Charming is less charming than you thought. One might say that dating strangers in real life has similar associated risks, but I still remain a skeptic of the dating platforms. Online, you can be profiled, without knowing you are being observed. There is a growing number of sites for “like – minded” people. While this sounds great in theory, in practice, you have random people signing up to prey on stereotypes.

When you meet someone in the real world, you get to have a real time conversation, during which you can listen to what your date is saying with their words, but also see what they are saying with their bodies. When chatting online, you do not get to see the other person’s facial expression, you do not get to control the time they spend thinking of what to reply to you, you do not get to feel the emotions behind what they are saying. There is so much that can be lost, even in an honest and kind conversation, because of wrong perception on the receiver’s side. In person, you get to sense what they mean when they speak, ask for clarification in real time, and see if anything makes them more uncomfortable than the rest.

Trust is not something I just give. It needs to be earned. I believe in being compassionate and being good, but I cannot understand how someone can be in an EXCLUSIVELY online relationship (without ever meeting the other person face to face) and “help” the other by “lending” them $2mil.

Yes, you are worth loving, but feel free to question someone’s intentions. It might feel exhilarating to meet someone who “gets” you, after dozens of failed relationships, but do not lose your head. Remain realistic. Do your research. Insist on meeting face to face (take precautions there, too). The more you talk to someone online, the more engaged you can be, which might be good (because you do not judge a book by its cover), but can also prove disastrous.

Do you have any stories to share? Good, or bad?

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Sage Olivia

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