I was watching 20/20 the other night. The episode centered around online dating scammers. My heart was breaking for these people who’d been scammed: a woman who sent thousands of dollars to an overseas “soldier”. Another woman who found herself deep in debt after moving in with and supporting her new online “love”. And then there was the other half of my brain that was screaming ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MINDS?? WHY DID YOU TRUST THESE PEOPLE???
Of course the answer is simple: there is such a sense of speed and immediacy about the web. A few well-worded emails and we feel an instant connection with the faceless being at the other end of our cyber-notes. I know that the vast majority of online daters are basically honest and looking for a real connection, but the scammers are just soooo good at sounding sincere and tapping into the basic human need that we all have to share ourselves and our lives with someone special. It’s easy to forget to be ultra-careful sometimes…but it’s imperative that we do ALWAYS remember this.
As I’ve said in previous posts, it would be great if sites like Match.com, Chemistry, eHarmony and the rest did background checks on all members…but that’s still not a guarantee. We need to be our own best friends here and watch our own backs. How? One way is to take it slow….and I mean as slow as summer molasses honey. Sure, it’s great when, after losing count of the number of bad dates you’ve had, you finally meet someone who sends you to the moon….but do yourself a favor and go take a cold shower.
You do not know someone after emailing them, even if you’ve been emailing for months. You do not know someone well after dating them once, twice, or longer (heck, some people have been married for years and still manage to surprise one another). Getting to know someone so well and so deeply that you almost know them better than they know themselves takes time…lots of it.Take that time…and take it slowly…THAT is the challenge and the FUN of dating.
When you’re moving along at a snail’s pace, it gives your radar time to send the proper alarm bells should your date say or do anything fishy. When you’re meeting for nothing more than casual dates in the beginning, you’re giving your brain time to digest the information that you two are sharing with one another. You are giving your instincts time to kick in and tell you if this person is sincere, if they’re looking for the same type of relationship that you are, if they are honest and true.
The FUN of doing the above is that you learn to savor the moment. We have a saying in theater, when you are onstage you need to be “in the moment”. That means being focused on what is going on in the scene. Going slow in the early stages of dating is like that, if you are “in the moment” of each date you experience the joy of discovering this person….this stranger….who you are considering as a match or soul-mate. To me this is always a joy, part of the fun and excitement of dating.
So slow down girlfriend. Date with your head first, if it’s right your heart will follow.
Safe dating my friends,