Virtues and Victims: The Low-Down on Online Dating

You've heard so many success stories about online dating, right? Everyone seems to know someone who met his longtime girlfriend, fiancée or wife through a match-making site. But what about the not-so-successful stories? Some of your friends also know someone who has been tricked or treated badly by would-be dates on these sites.

Uncovering White Liars
Some of the problems with online dating involve people who are simply stretching the truth. You find a beautiful young woman's profile and then when you meet her, she's not so young and not so beautiful. What happened? She posted a photo of an actress because her friends tell her she looks like this famous female. Or she posted a very old photo of herself because she likes how she used to look better than how she looks now. Or the photos are fuzzy and dark. In reality, she's not as thin as she states and she doesn't really play the guitar or belly dance. When asked, she explains that she used to do those things. Beware - you don't always find truth in advertising on these dating sites.

Encountering Rude Reactions
Unfortunately, some ladies will treat guys rudely when you connect online. Your potential date might simply log off in the middle of a chat and never respond again. Or she might tell you that she doesn't go out with bald guys or guys with a beer gut or something else insulting. Remember that this type of behavior is her problem, not yours, thankfully. With girls like these, there's a reason that she's single. You can expect that most people on these sites have good intentions and good manners. Don't let the classless girls get you down. And don't stoop to their level of interactions by responding in a nasty way. Move onward and upward.

Spotting Bad Seeds
Besides white lies and lack of manners, you might encounter some downright dirty behavior. Beware of the online dating scammer. If she seems too good to be true, she probably isn't good at all. Some tip-offs: She sends photos that don't match her online profile, and she's much more attractive than you are. You notice someone else's name in the text of the e-mail or something that seems pasted in at the wrong spot. She's from another country, and her writing shows that she struggles with English. She emphasizes honesty, talks about trust and seems very religious. She rushes the emotional commitment, saying she loves you before you've even had a phone call or face-to-face meeting. She is vague about her line of work or where she lives, and her explanations at different times aren't in sync. Those are some clues that she's not what she appears and that she's baiting you. Then she'll try to reel you in.

Fending Off Predators
Yes, even guys can get duped by dating scammers. If you missed all the warning signs just mentioned, you might get drawn in by her sad personal history. She's an orphan or a widow, her only sister is having an organ transplant or her child needs surgery. Or maybe all those terrible things have happened to this one sweet girl and she's just looking for some happiness. Before too long, she has some other crisis and urgently needs a temporary loan. Maybe she has unexpected business difficulties. If you help, she'll be able to earn a huge income and she can come see you often. Don't fall for the faker. Hold out for the slow and steady type who meets you and gets to know you before professing undying love and sticking her hand in your pocket, so to speak.

Even if you encounter these phony females, don't get discouraged. There are plenty of women who really are looking for an honest guy who has a good heart. Just take it slow and look for things you have in common besides the desire to find your soul mate. With online dating, having a bit of a suspicious mind might be smart. But try to keep an open mind and an open heart as well. Since you're looking online, you obviously haven't hit it off with the girl next door. But maybe an online introduction will be just what you need to find love with an even better girl nearby.

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