With sites like POF, Tinder, and OkCupid, and living at such a fast pace, a lot of people have turned to online dating to find a friend, partner, or spouse. But, as I have seen recently with some of my own friends, this can be murky territory. People can present themselves one way online and be totally different once you meet them. It is important as single parents (which this site caters to) to be even more careful since there are children involved. Here are seven steps to help you navigate this terrain:
- Post a clear pic of yourself that is current (within a year) and without location markers in the background. This is important if you meet a future stalker, you don’t want this person to be able to look at your pic and figure out where you and your family lives.
- Cross-reference. Once you have found someone who interests you online, do a little digging on the Internet. Check them out using a Google search, LinkedIn, etc. See if they are being as transparent as they can online and truthful.
- Keep it online initially. The reason I say this is so that you can learn more about the person while you are still in the safe zone. Some feel the opposite and want to meet in person as soon as possible but, if the said individual is not safe, you have averted a possible dangerous situation.
- Believe what they say. While corresponding with them, they immediately mention that they are not looking for anything serious believe them. If after chatting with them numerous times and they are always making sexual innuendo but you want something deeper, let go and move on. Do not waste time living in la la land. Do not look at the pic or see them in person and let the physical override your common sense. Remember there are children involved.
- Initially meet them in public place. Do not have them pick you up at your home or even relatives house. Great first dates can happen during brunch time and early evening hours.
- Try hard to take it slow in the beginning. Sometimes people can put on a show for 3-6 months but usually it quickly unravels after that. If you move too fast, you risk the chance of becoming attached to a person and feel conflicted because you want to leave but comfort and emotions and overpower reason.
- Do not immediately have them around your child(ren). This one is self-explanatory.
Of course, there are other precautionary measures to take but, I thought these were the biggies. I would love to tell you, just have fun and throw caution to the wind but as single parents that may not be the smartest thing to do. I, myself, have been toying with the idea of getting on one of these sites in the future when my life settles down but in the interim I have seen through my friends and even colleagues, that serious consequences can occur. So, I’m sorry but not sorry for the heaviness of this post. Everything should be alright if we use our heads.