Intro to Online Dating

The very concept of internet dating scares some people. It can seem dangerous, and if it isn’t dangerous, it’s impersonal and caters toward people who can’t get a date any other way. With these assumptions and more behind the concept, it’s no wonder many singles don’t give internet dating a second glance.

However, more and more people are discovering the truth: these assumptions are false and can keep you from finding love and deep friendship online. As internet dating becomes more and more popular, it’s harder and harder for some to stay away, no matter what they believe or how much they want to.

Find the Truth

If you have stayed away from internet dating because it seems a little scary, rest assured that you’re not alone. However, if you want to find love and aren’t having success through any of the traditional ways, you might want to reconsider your choice to stay away from dating online.

Before you commit yourself to any one choice, it will help to evaluate the assumptions you’re carrying. If you believe that internet dating is dangerous, impersonal, or only for the socially inept, investigate these ideas to find out whether or not they’re actually true.

Talk to People

The best way to find out the truth about internet dating is to ask people who have tried it. Most likely, you know more than one person who has put up a profile on an internet dating site and communicated with several people that way. You might even know someone who met a significant other or even a spouse online. These are the people you’ll want to talk to.

Make sure you talk to more than one person, though, so you get an accurate picture of what it means to date online. One good or bad experience might color your view of internet dating in a way that isn’t accurate, but you should get a well-rounded point of view if you talk to several people who have tried it.

Do Your Research

In addition to talking to people who have dated online, do some reading on the subject. There are some great articles online, and books like this one can be especially helpful. Make sure that the information you get seems to come from a balanced perspective, and that it pertains to the specific type of internet dating you are thinking about pursuing.

Make Your Own Decision

More than anything else, make sure that the decision you make about internet dating is your own. In the end, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about the choice as long as you are happy with it.

If you investigate and decide that there’s a good chance you could meet someone special online, pursue internet dating in spite of what other friends and family members might think. You might have to put up with some comments here and there, but the people who doubt your choice will think again after they see you find love online.

Even when you do everything right, you can still end up with a stalker. You know; that guy that follows you everywhere, watches your house, sends you presents, calls you constantly no matter how often you change your phone number and even manages to get inside your home when you’re not there. It’s a very frightening situation to be in and one that way too many women have found themselves in the middle of. Only in recent years have there been laws implemented to deal with stalker situations. In the past, there was nothing that could be done legally until someone was hurt or killed.

It’s unfair to blame the increase in stalking victims on such things as the internet and online dating sites. Stalking was around even before people had computers in their homes. Men that stalk women do so for varying reasons, which makes it difficult to nail down signs that will warn women ahead of time. Many times, women that are stalking victims don’t know their stalkers at all.

Victims are chosen in various ways. Stalkers may lock onto their victims through work, or even just through passing them at a shopping mall. It may be a certain look that draws them or it might be someone that a woman actually went on a date with. Friendly women can pick up a stalker through something as simple as a chance verbal exchange while waiting at the checkout line of a supermarket or in line at the bank. That’s what makes it so difficult for women to protect themselves from being snagged as a stalking victim. There’s just no sure way to know who has the potential for stalking and who doesn’t.

There are a few things that you can do to protect yourself. First of all, do be very careful about any strange men you date. It’s always better to have at least a couple of people you trust recommend someone to you for dating, but that’s just not always possible. Rely on your own instincts. While there are many men that are perfect in hiding their stalking tendencies, there are just as many that will send out discreet warning signals. These would include such things as he’s always turning up unexpectedly where you are, asks you constant questions about the people in your life, particularly males, and seems to get angry or pouty when you can’t go out with him. Granted, these aren’t always stalker signals, but you probably don’t want to get involved with someone like that, anyway.

Once you start to receive strange gifts, constant phone calls and even start seeing a man watching your house from across the street, don’t try to handle it yourself. Call the police immediately and get them involved. Many states now have officers that specialize in stalking situations and they’ll have advice to offer you as to what you need to do. While a restraining order may not be worth the paper it’s written on as far as keeping your stalker away from you, it’s good to still have one on file. In that way, you can call the police when he’s violating it.

The best thing you can do is follow the advice of the police when they’re professional and caring about your situation. However, there may be instances where all you can do is to change your identity and move; unless you’re brave enough to buy a gun and learn how to shoot it.

Whether you’re already dating or just moving into it, knowing what type of relationship you want can help you find the perfect partner. Having some knowledge of where you are at and what you want will help you be open and honest with the people you meet, so you don’t mislead anyone or find yourself feeling misled.

While it’s not always possible to demand an answer from a new person you may have just met, you should be able to determine fairly quickly whether their agenda is similar to yours.

Knowing ahead of time what your own agenda for your future is can save you both a lot of time and potential heart-ache.

How Serious Are You?

The most important question to ask yourself is about the level of commitment and relationship you’re looking for. Do you want to be married this time next year, preferably with a baby on the way? Are you wanting to spend time with someone and have some fun, without any pretense of a lasting commitment?

Or do you want to meet someone, develop a friendship and take it from there, getting serious if that’s how it works out but not necessarily looking for that outcome ahead of time?

Knowing the answer to this question is important, because your perfect partner will be someone looking for something the same or similar to you. If you are looking for a serious relationship to develop quickly, you’re not going to find that with someone who wants to have fun and take it slow. Thus, knowing what type of relationship you want will help you figure out who is potential partner material and who is not.

Determining Your Seriousness

If you’re not sure about the answer to this question, it will help you to look at what you’ve done in the past. Even if you think you just want to have fun, if you have past experiences of jumping quickly into deep romantic relationships fun may not be what you really want.

Your past won’t always tell you the truth about what you want, though. For instance, you may truly want to have fun but have some draw to partners who want more than that. Once you’re in the relationship, their intensity might feel like pressure and you find yourself caving in to a relationship that isn’t at all what you’re actually looking for.

Thus, it’s important to spend some time examining your thoughts and feelings about dating and relationships as well as your past actions. What you really want could be one, the other, or a combination of both. Take all the time you need to process these things, because you will have a much better chance of finding your perfect partner after you’ve thought them through.

When you find out what you’re looking for, you will know that it’s right for you because of how it fits with your personality and your current lifestyle. It may resonate deeply with you on an emotional level, too, though it’s important to note that your emotions may not be a great indicator of what you really want. If you’ve been hurt many times or have just experienced something difficult, you may want to go with your head instead of your heart in determining the type of relationship you want.

When you’re in the process of building trust and getting to know each other, hopefully you’ll also start building a close friendship with your partner. If you’re going to commit to a long-term relationship and work at building true love, make sure you’re doing it with someone who you not only love, but also like and enjoy spending time with.

In an extended relationship, it can be this sort of deep friendship that holds things together when times are tough or you feel like the spark is gone.

One of the best ways to build a friendship is to pursue common interests. When you’re specifically working at making a casual relationship deeper, working to build common interests from the ground up can be especially effective. Thus, it will pay off for the two of you to spend some time learning something new together.

Make Sure the Interest is Common

While there’s definitely a place for both of you to pursue something that only one of you is interested in, when building a new interest you should make sure it’s something that you both really want to do. Most likely, one of you will be more interested in it than the other one is, but it still should be something both parties have a legitimate interest in.

Find Something to Learn

The possibilities for interests you can pursue together are endless. You can learn everything from dancing to pottery to gardening to a foreign language and more! If you’re not sure where to start, it can help to look through the catalog of a local community college. While you might not want to do something as serious as taking a class together, it will give you a good idea of the different interests you could pursue.

There are also lots of ways for the two of your to pursue your interests. You can take a class, hire a tutor, find a friend who knows what they’re doing and convince them to work with you, or try to teach yourselves.

Some interests, like learning a foreign language, will be better pursued through some sort of formal means while others, like learning to cook Thai food together, are things you could probably teach yourselves.

Get Serious

It’s easy to say that you’re going to pursue learning something new, but that’s much harder to do in actual practice. If you’re serious about building a solid friendship with your significant other, though, you’ll also want to be serious about learning your new thing together.

Ask your partner to keep you accountable and be willing to do the same for them. This doesn’t mean that you have to hound one another, but it can help you remember to do things like scheduling time focused on your interest and collecting materials between times.

In the process of learning something new together, you will not only find knowledge you didn’t have before, but you’ll also build part of the foundation for a close friendship with your partner. This friendship will help you commit to each other, forming another aspect of true love.

Something that happens all too often these days is the rise of abusive relationships. They’ve always been in existence, but many years ago, people didn’t discuss them. Once you were married, you were married for better or worse. Too many times it was, indeed, the death of one of the spouses that parted them. It was the reason for the death that made the situation so outrageous and so sad.
It’s better if these types of relationships are never begun. Believe it or not, there are ways to avoid ever becoming a part of one. Granted, you can’t always tell if you’re getting involved with a lunatic. Many times they hide it very effectively until they have you firmly under their control. That’s when you’ll see their true colors. However, there are nearly always some kinks in their carefully constructed armor that you can spot if you let yourself see it.
The first thing you’ll probably notice is a control issue. This typically comes into play a little at a time. It may surface the first time when you’re dressing to go out and he subtly suggests that a different outfit looks much better on you, or that HE prefers you in the red dress rather than the black one. If you give into that one, he’ll do it over and over again. You may not notice that first control trick but you should definitely pay attention if he starts to dictate your wardrobe all the time.
Another thing that is also a control technique is when he starts trying to slowly isolate you from your family and friends. He’s usually smart enough to keep this to a minimum and use little things that keep you from realizing what his actual plan is. It may be something like telling you that he has a feeling that your parents, sister or your best friend doesn’t really like him. Even though you haven’t noticed anything yourself, when you care enough about someone you don’t want to believe that they’re lying to you. So you accept it as fact and put yourself on alert when you’re around the people that have been accused of not liking him.
Most likely, no one has ever said or done anything to make this guy think they don’t like him. He’s just trying to plant enough doubt in your head that you’ll believe only him and stay away from those people that “don’t like” him. This gets you right where he wants you: isolated and unprotected from whatever he may do to you next.
When you see these danger signs, it’s time to run, not walk, as fast and far as you can away from this man. It’s only going to get worse the longer you stay. The worst thing you can do is continue to stay involved with him under the impression that you can change him. That’s never going to happen. Things will only get worse the longer you stay. When you see any of these signs, it’s time to cut your losses and move on.