In the world of online dating, we’re open to endless possibilities. The internet has given us the opportunity to connect with people all over the world. While this has create some fantastic social and economic opportunities, it has also opened the door to a lot of problematic situations, especially when it comes to finding love. There are many people inside and outside our communities wanting to take advantage of hiding behind a screen. This is especially true of opportunistic people from disadvantaged countries looking to connect with lonely men and women in western countries in order to escape their realities.
While meeting someone from a foreign country may seem exotic and romantic, and while they may seem charming and too good to be true, it is full of risk, both emotional and financial. I get so many messages on Facebook of online trolls from Africa, East Asia and the Middle East telling me how beautiful I am and how much they love me and want to marry me and want to be my knight in shining armor. Ya, OK. I also receive many questions and stories about this from my readers so I thought it was time to discuss some of the “do’s and don’t of long distance online dating”.
Do’s and Don’ts of Long Distance Online Dating
Too Good To Be True Usually Is
Do take absolutely everything ANYONE you meet online (local or foreign) with a grain of salt. Always assume it COULD be untrue. Listen to your gut, if something feels off then it probably is. Do use your judgment and smarts.
Don’t let loneliness, ego and the desire to feel special and loved cloud your judgment and ignore red flags. People tell you what they want to tell you, especially online. You can’t trust or believe everything you see or hear. I can be anyone I want online and so can you AND so can they.
Do remember that stranger danger is real. Protect yourself by never sharing your personal information, pictures of your home, information about your finances with these strangers online regardless of how comfortable they make you feel or what they ask for.
Don’t ever send money to these people regardless of their sob story or how special they make you feel. This is FRAUD. Also be careful about what information you share with them.
Keep Loneliness in Check
Do fill up your days with activities you enjoy – classes, volunteering, meetups, events – surrounded by people that make you happy and fulfilled so you won’t be so lonely that you are tempted into these interactions and relationships. Meeting new people in new social situations will also help you expand your social circle, which could help you meet a romantic partner.
Don’t let loneliness or a moment of weakness cloud your judgment when dating.
Face to Face Interactions
Do remember that the true test of someone’s intentions that you meet online is their willingness to meet offline. I advise people that you should be able to meet someone in person within two weeks of meeting online. No exceptions, no excuses. Skype or video doesn’t count. If someone wants to be with you and is serious about it then they will meet you in person. You can’t verify someone is who they say they are unless you are able to interact face to face with them on a regular basis. Short trips don’t count, it’s easy to be Romeo and Juliet for a weekend or week.
Don’t believe excuses that people have for not meeting in person – financial, personal, emotional, mental, whatever. Sending and receiving pictures and online video chat doesn’t replace face to face in person interactions.
It’s NOT Complicated
Do remember that “it’s complicated” is not a relationship status. A good relationship shouldn’t be complicated. Long distance online dating is almost always complicated. Why would you settle for that? Being alone is better than being with the wrong person.
Don’t romanticize the “it’s complicated” relationship status. It should never be complicated. It should be easy. A love story should be simple and unrequited love, although sounds romantically tragic, you should never settle for anything less than an in person relationship that’s just easy.
Before you add & communicate with a stranger online ask yourself: Where are they from? How did they find you? what do they want from you? Why did they add a complete stranger? Who are they really?
Long distance relationships that work are usually the ones that someone meets a romantic partner on a trip, or they grew up together and they were separated for a reason or those that you meet in person FIRST and then need to use online tools to keep in contact. Either way there has to be a consistent schedule of seeing each other in person and a plan to live together in the near future. However, long distance online dating nearly never works out and is full of risk. You need to be very careful with who you meet and what you share with those you meet online. A true test of this type of encounter is meeting face to face as soon as possible and verifying truths. Remember stranger danger is real and protect yourself first. Date smart because it’s better to be alone than falling for the wrong person and situation.
READERS: Have you ever entered into a long distance online dating relationship? Did you ever meet in person? Have you ever been catfished? Share your thoughts & perspective in the comments below!
Your Sister in Dating Bliss,
Single Dating Diva
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I never understand people who are “dating” even “engaged” to people they have only spoken to on dating sites. Most of the time these are scammers looking for money. Granted there are a few times when it’s real but for me personally there have been times when I seemed to connect with someone online, only to meet and nothing. I never consider it dating them until we meet and go out a few times.
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