10 Tips to Online Dating Every Savvy Mom Must Memorize
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December 13, 2013 - Updated March 10, 2014

computer2.jpgThe top 10 do’s & don’ts of Internet dating

One of the bonuses of exiting a bad marriage is that you get to try and find love again. And the Internet is a great place to look for love. It's true-- there's someone special for everyone, you just have to find him. But, as with anything, it can be a mixed bag. With these handy tips on navigating the online dating world, you’ll be ready to enjoy the ride.

  1. Do be honest in your profile. First, post several recent photos of yourself that actually look like you. I’ve talked to countless people who went to meet someone for the first time and discovered that the photos looked nothing like the real person. In fact, a friend told me about a meeting a woman who turned out to be 10 years older than her photo and an extra 70 pounds heavier. It’s not a great way to start off a potential relationship. Second, be upfront about what you’re looking for in a date. If you want to get married, say it. If you hate the “great outdoors” and would much rather watch movies and cook dinner at home, say that, too. Treat your online profile as you would your professional resume. Lying or exaggerating just gets you into trouble.

  2. Do be safe. Never give out your home address. Always meet in a public place. Tell a few people where you’re going and who you’re meeting up with before heading out. Not too long ago, I read an article about a woman who met a guy online. On their first date, they parked their cars at a church and went for a hike in the nearby canyons. Afterwards, he walked her back to her car and raped her. You can never be too careful. Just because someone seems honest and “normal” doesn’t mean it’s true. Proceed with caution.

  3. Do plan on paying Dutch. It’s not fair to assume that the guy will always pick up the tab. When it’s time to pay, if he insists, that’s terrific, but it certainly shouldn’t be your expectation.

  4. Do keep the initial meet-up short. A lunch or a coffee is a great first-time date. If the guy you’re meeting turns out to be a dud, you’ll be relieved to know it’ll be over soon. If he’s amazing and the feeling’s mutual, the next date will be better. I once met a guy who seemed terrific. We agreed to meet up in the afternoon for a soda. Thank goodness! He soon started telling me about his side business that featured massages with happy endings for the ladies. He offered to give me a free session. After I stopped myself from choking on my lemonade, it was time to go!

  5. Do know that if he’s interested in you, it’ll be obvious. If you don’t hear from your date within a day or so, move on. Don’t waste your time, energy or emotions on a guy who doesn’t ask you out again soon. And by soon, I mean like that same day. It might sound harsh but if this happens, cut your losses and move on.

  6. Do beware of scams and fraudsters! A friend of mine met a guy online and she felt like she was falling in love. They hadn’t met in person yet but he was going to fly out to see her after a business trip to Africa. While on that trip, she got frantic messages from him. He was being held captive by warlords that were demanding $5,000 before they would release him. Could she wire transfer those funds and he’d pay her back? Thank goodness she didn’t fall for it. Another friend just re-entered the dating world. Not too long ago, she came over to the house and started telling me in whispered tones that a guy she met online helped her invest money in foreign currency. She was sure that in a few weeks, that investment would be worth millions of dollars. Turns out, it was all a scam. Be very careful out there! If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Someone once suggested that I pay $50 to do online background checks of men I met online. I’m not sure that’s necessary but practicing extreme caution definitely is!

  7. Don’t keep communicating with someone who won’t speak to you or meet you in person. If you haven’t seen the MTV show Catfish, maybe you should. I’ve seen episodes where someone has been in an online relationship for years with someone they’ve never met or spoken with over the phone. If this happens to you, bolt.

  8. Don’t connect with too many men online at the same time. Sometimes, online dating can be like walking through a candy store. So many options… But if you start contacting too many at the same time, it’ll be impossible to keep them all straight. Start with a few that look the most promising and then go back to shopping when you’re done with that batch.

  9. Don’t assume you’re the only one he’s dating. This can be awkward because you can go online and see that his profile is still active and, perhaps, has even updated his profile with new photos since you’ve met. While you may find that disappointing, you should be dating others, too. Don’t stalk him or even bring up his online dating activity at first. Keep things between the two of you fun and light. When, and if, it starts to heat up, then it’s time to have “the talk” about expectations and boundaries. Until then, practice your poker face.

  10. Don’t lead him on. If you’re not interested, tell him. If you’re not great with words, text him. Be nice about it. “Hey, you’re a great guy but I don’t sense a connection. I wish you all the best.” That kind of text will suffice in a pinch.

Online dating can be fun, aggravating, heartbreaking, and entertaining. It’s a great way to meet people and get out of your post-divorce blues. Just make sure you stay safe and keep your sense of humor.

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