In today’s technology-driven world, online dating has become a common way to meet potential partners. Did you know that about half of never-married Americans have used dating apps or websites, and one in ten partnered couples having met online? The digital realm has transformed the way we seek love and companionship. However, opinions about the safety of online dating are divided.
Let’s address the question on your mind: Is online dating safe for matters of the heart? The perception of online dating safety has seen a slight decline in recent years. The share of U.S. adults who believe that online dating is generally a very or somewhat safe way to meet people has dipped from 53% in 2019 to 48% today. This change suggests a growing skepticism and wariness about the potential risks associated with online dating. In fact, statistics show that a majority of Americans support the implementation of background checks as a prerequisite for creating a dating profile, emphasizing the importance of ensuring transparency and security in online interactions. Why is that necessary? Not only do people lie online, but they aren’t always on their best behavior.
Notably, women are more likely to express reservations about online dating safety compared to men. 56% of women under 50 have had negative experiences with online dating.
This article can be your compass, guiding you through the tricky jungle of online dating while ensuring your safety. Together, we will explore practical, essential strategies that will empower you to make informed choices and shield you from potential risks.
So, if you choose to enlarge your pool of potential partners online, how do you ensure your dating safety? Here are 7 ways:
1. Don’t reveal personal information.
Your dating site profile is public. So, be careful what type of information you put on it. Don’t include any contact information that could be used to track you down. If you say something about your profession, keep it general instead of writing out the name of the office where you work. Otherwise, you never know who could show up. For your dating safety, these same rules apply to emails and messages you send to men online.
2. Don’t rush to meet in person.
Most dating sites offer a messaging feature that helps to protect your privacy, so there’s no need to give out your personal email address. If you send a few of these messages back and forth with a man and you like him, it’s safer to have a phone conversation with him before meeting up in person.
Why? You really can’t learn much about someone from an online profile. Sure, you might be able to read all about their job, hobbies, and favorite books, but it’s easy to lie online. Plus, how do you know that the person you’re talking to—and potentially going to meet—is trustworthy just because they like to go for walks and listen to the same type of music as you?
Talking to someone online also removes an important safety check for many women: intuition. Have you ever had the experience of meeting someone for the first time and immediately getting a bad vibe? Maybe you couldn’t explain why, but you just felt a bad energy. Or, maybe you met a man and realized that there was something about the tone of his voice that made you feel uncomfortable. Did you suspect he might be lying because he took too long to answer simple questions about himself? Your intuition can tell you when something is off. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. It’s much harder to get a read on a man using your intuition when all you have is a profile and a few email paragraphs. For your dating safety, add a call to screen him before meeting.
3. Watch out for scammers.
Half of online daters say someone has tried to scam them. Scamming is big business. In 2022, there were 70,000 reports of scams and people lost $1.3 billion. Catfishing is when someone sets up a fake online profile to trick someone who is looking for love. Often, the man appears to be overseas for business or military service, creating the perfect excuse for why you won’t be able to meet in person to see how they really look and sound.
The best online dating protection is to stop contact if a man has not made the relationship real after 3-4 emails. If they are not making plans to call you or meet you in person, there is a reason why. Don’t waste your time.
What’s the harm in keeping contact? They may profess love and discuss marriage, and you may get attached. At that point, they will start to ask you for money. Why waste time and emotional energy on a con artist? Don’t risk getting involved with a fantasy rather than meeting real flesh and blood men. You would be better off using that time to work on your dating skills and see other men.
4. Be cautious when you meet a man.
Even though it may feel like you know him after a few emails, remember that he still needs to prove to you that he is worthy of your trust. Until he does, don’t give him your home address, and don’t get into a car with him. Always meet him in a public place where there are other people around, like a coffee shop or restaurant. If something feels off, don’t be afraid to trust your intuition and politely excuse yourself. It’s also a good idea to let a friend or family member know when and where you’re going on a first date with a man you met online. You can arrange a call at a set time to check on you and give you an out if you want to leave.
5. Take things slow.
Even if you meet a man and the first date goes well, remember that it takes awhile to get to know someone new. So, keep taking things slow. Continue to meet him in public places until you know him better, and don’t rush into bed with him. This will protect your dating safety, but it will also protect your heart from unnecessary pain and heartache.
With millions of Americans embracing online dating and a significant number finding love in the digital realm, the potential for genuine connections is undeniable. However, it’s important to be aware of your safety and to take precautions. With people who lie and thousands of fake profiles online, it’s really important to be cautious. Don’t let your excitement, intrigue, loneliness, or confidence come before common sense.
You can embrace the excitement and endless possibilities of online dating when you follow these precautions. Any man who gives you a hard time about taking reasonable precautions is not your Mr. Right.
Do you think it’s safe to date online? Have you ever had a bad experience? Leave us a comment below. We love to hear from you.
Concerned about dating over 40? Remember the advantages you have at your age. Get my FREE report that spells them out for you.