Is Internet Dating Safe?
This question. Thiiiis question. This question always surfaces when I rehash one of my online dating experiences to a new friend. Listeners seem skeptical, looking at me with wide eyes and wondering why two people who don’t know each other are so eager to meet following a brief conversation online. Anyone who dates online has encountered the stigma in the form of this question. It’s the question most of us ask when we meet that cute couple in our lives who “met online.” I can hear my mom’s voice ringing in the back of my head whenever I tell her about another one of my friends who met her boyfriend on the internet — “Is that even safe?”
Let’s take a minute to assess the reality of actually committing to go on a date from the internet. Here are a few points to consider:
1. If you choose to go on a date from an online dating site like Match or Zoosk, you are deciding to break the fourth wall and meet that screen name in person.
Though you’ve messaged each other, texted each other, and sometimes even called or Facetimed, in reality you haven’t met. This is the truth. Until you meet, there is no way to be positive you’re even talking to the person you think you’re talking to. This is crucial to remember when setting the date. You may be inclined to go on the date because you feel like you already know the person, but you don’t. Try to enjoy the process when first meeting. Don’t worry about what you’re saying or how you look. Be yourself.
2. You’ve chatted so much that you feel comfortable enough to meet without two screens between you.
Perhaps you’ll even meet in the same room at the same time, in some cases even ordering the same drink. You have mustered up the confidence to put yourself out there. Most of us don’t even get to that point; we’d rather stew in our loneliness. Be proud of yourself for putting on your adult hat. You deserve love just as much as the next person.
3. Before you venture to the mutually-decided-upon place, be sure to mention to a friend or relative where you’re going and who you’re meeting.
This is key when meeting someone from the internet. Don’t be an idiot. Tell your friends what’s going on. This safety measure is just a precaution for the situation. You would tell a friend if you were meeting someone who picked you up in a bar, so tell your friend if you are going on a date with someone from a dating website.
4. There is no one telling you how to date.
There are no rules when it comes to courting someone to whom you’re attracted. There are no rules when it comes to being courted. The only rule is this: If the attraction is physical, acts following must be consensual. The dating part has no rules. You can be flirty, funny, silly, or whatever you feel because eventually you’re looking for someone to meet your needs.
Let me give you an example. I identify as a woman. After most of my first dates, my friends like to ask me who paid the bill. Traditionally and as a society, women have been taught that the man is obligated to pay for our dates. This causes confusion in 2016. When a woman asks a man out on a date, is it then her responsibility to pay the bill? If you’re just meeting for the first time and you’re not really sure where the date is going, I would say the easiest method is to split the bill. This common procedure is known as “going Dutch.”
A lot of my friends would disagree with my method, saying that he should always pay the bill regardless of who initiated the date. You should do whatever makes you happy. If you’re looking for a partner who will split everything with you, I think it makes sense to go Dutch. Remember, this is your date.
5. If you are not interested in pursuing the suitor, under no circumstances are you obligated to see them again.
You are free to make up your mind however you choose. The whole point of online dating is to put yourself out there. You are not under a contract to keep dating your suitor. There’s no need to stress over rejecting someone or letting them know you’re not interested; they’ll understand. Signing up for a dating website comes with the risk of being rejected. The worst thing that could come out of a date is that you took a chance and pushed yourself to get what you want.
These five points are important to keep in mind when meeting a date in person for the first time. You deserve love. You’ve fought with the idea of finding love and have decided that it’s worth your time and effort in its pursuit.