One of our LifeBytes fans posted a great article, Dating Globally: Real Life Story, on her blog. She tells of meeting an American man on a plane ride to her native Ukraine as he traveled there to meet someone he’d found through an international dating site. The author, Lucy, gave him much needed assistance when they arrived and he found that he was totally lost in, what was to him, a foreign city. Sadly, after spending far to much money, his meeting with the online woman did not go well and he was left angry and disappointed.
The global reach of online dating sites and “agencies” now opens the doors for us to meet singles from around the block to around the world. We meet people whom we never would have crossed paths with just a few short years ago. We can email, chat with and get to know men or women who live thousands of miles from us, who hail from cultures far removed from our own. Wonderful? Yes. Scary? Yes again.
The prevailing sense I get from authors who’ve submitted stories to LifeBytes, Real Stories of Online Dating, and from single friends and bloggers is this: We all have a primal drive to connect, whether it be for a short term or a lifetime. That drive is what leaves us open to dating scams and “agencies” who prey on us for our time, our hearts and our cash. It’s not just overseas connections that leave us open to this. Home-grown scams abound and we need to be extra-vigilant, lest our bank accounts be broken along with our hearts.
My married friends love to fret over my safety every time I meet someone new from an online dating site. I understand their fears. I also understand that there are many more honest, good people dating online than there are bad. Still, we need to be cautious.
As singles we need to learn to take our time when meeting new people online. If the website or agency, asks us for money over and above a reasonable membership fee, we should RUN not walk away. If the person we’ve met online is vague about themselves or if THEY ask us for money, we should move on. When we do meet someone, it needs to be in a public, crowded place and, after that meeting, we should still be cautious – because it takes many weeks and months to begin to get to know someone. And we should share our stories and advice with other singles. We need to have one another’s backs.
This is one of the things that I truly love about the LifeBytes project. Not only are we sharing wonderfully entertaining stories about the ups and downs of online dating, we are helping one another avoid the pitfalls of dating “heart first” instead of “head first”. As much as we want – need – to connect we really do have to be practical and listen to our single brothers and sisters in order to keep ourselves safe and happy in our search for love.