Dating smart means avoiding the potential pitfalls in the online dating market. I don’t apologize for calling dating a market because it is. Modern day dating has become a commodity with the best and brightest and most endowed (and should I add sexiest ) going to the highest bidders. Online dating isn’t for everybody and if you are old fashioned like me, you probably would rather opt for face-to- face interactions and meetings. Be that as it may I offer here a few guidelines to help you navigate online dating and perhaps save you from getting burned.
Online dating services now have endless possibilities, catering to virtually every demographic, whim , and vice. You read that right. Seriously there are dating sites out there for one night stands , booty calls, gay/bi/transexual kinky sex, orgies, and even for cheating on your spouse , after all , ” you only live once , so cheat now while you have the chance.” Notwithstanding the potential for sin and vice, anecdotal data is abundant of horror stories of dates gone awry and potentially lethal. You only need to google that to help you realize the moral fallout that online dating can bring.
Yeah people are looking for love the world over. It is human nature. We were created for relationships and intimacy. Looking for love is as legitimate as looking for your next meal or your next drink. But let me state that there is a right way and wrong way to go about it. We who are in Christ are called to be the light and salt of the world. Date smart. We’re obliged to follow principles rather than the sway of lust. If you call yourself a Christ one, a believer , a Gospel person infused with God’s Spirit, what are you doing seeking flowers among the weeds? Light has no fellowship with darkness and the imperative that we not be unequally bonded with unbelievers isn’t about to be revised for modern sensitivities any time soon.
Avoid the bad apples. There’s a solid and inevitable presence of pretentious liars, cheaters, con artists, players, and trolls all over cyberspace. In regards to online dating sites, the virtuous don’t have a monopoly on the dating industry. Rapists, child molestors, adulterous adventurers and pimps are subscribers of darting services, mind you , but they are not about to reveal that. The last thing big bad wolf wants to accomplish is disclosing his true intentions to the chickens. This is acutely so in online dating sites where unscrupulous and malicious “members” prey on the vulnerable and gullible by means of scams, emotional manipulation, and sex games. Even if a so called member sounds and looks reasonable you might never know what their ulterior motives are. Nevertheless anyone who asks you for money, prompts you to undress on webcam, wants to meet you in a remote place secretly, etc, isn’t probably looking for your best interest. You have to employ common sense and avoid suspending seasoned reason and judgment when the rush of hormones in your head suggest otherwise. If it sounds too good to be true, it isn’t. Shady characters aren’t limited to people who merely sound incomprehensible ( “wanna chat sometim , travel the world, I wait ya in the corner, don’t bring your phone”), but also include those who seem too desperate, insecure, says he or she has fallen in love with you ( after two days !), and shows unreasonable and suspicious interest in highly private and sensitive areas of your life. Exercise caution. Practice good dating etiquette by asking questions, never revealing too much, never agreeing to meet privately , and probably letting someone you trust know about your whereabouts with a particular potential date. One more thing. You probably ought to regard the most trusted online dating sites first before you consider other options. Trusted sites will have more strict guidelines and ethics that subscribers must adhere to and some even require that you verify your identity as a prerequisite for signing up. This can save you a lot of headaches should you discover later that your crush was in fact a married person living a double life or a con artist on the lamb.
Avoid the complicated tag. Regarding relationship statuses some people cite “complicated.” Avoid that like the plague . Complicated can mean a number things including but not limited to: “I’m still in a relationship, but it’s on life support,” ” going through divorce,” ” I just like the sex on the side”! “currently with someone but keeping my options open,” hmmmmmm. Really. Who in his sane skull wants to dip into this cesspool of ambiguity and immorality? Why would you bath in obvious muddy waters? One percent sewer, ninety-nine percent water I’m not drinking it. Complicated tags denote unresolved and possibly salacious life and love stories that will add to your detriment if you aren’t careful.
Avoid the I-am-up-for-anything profiles. Sad but true there are people online with zero standards. You can spot them easily as they usually exhibit an air of pessimism and cynism and sarcasm. You should be able to spot these off the cuff. Don’t waste your time. These Dead Enders would not mind breaking you, showing you contempt and condescension or placing impossible, silly, or unreasonable demands on you ( “I’d like to meet you but don’t expect anything from me,” ” I just want to go along for the ride, should we trade spouses?” “All men are hoes and I’m here to prove it” ” I want to try something kinky with you that no one has attempted before and probably become famous or be arrested for it”).
Avoid the my-children-are-my-whole-world-and-my-number-one-priority . It’s a slam dunk people. If you are dealing with a single parent chances are he or she is telling you the truth. No one is toying here when they tell you they are irrevocably committed to their children. And that’s a good thing. Except that you my fellow conspirator in dating won’t get to be first place in this person’s life. You will tag along as an accessory and this person more likely will not assign you a place you at the center but rather you will be lodged on the margins. If you are single-never-married-no kids your best option is to avoid single parents altogether. I’m not denigrating single parents at all. I’m one! I’m only acknowledging that dating single parents isn’t for everybody. Not all are suited for the job. If you are young , fresh out of college, starting a career, you don’t want the added responsibility to parent children not your own. That might constitute unbearable baggage that will not add to your happiness . Each case is different and I’m not here offering you blanket advice . Maybe Christ has called you to love a single parent and his or her kids, as an example of sacrificial, tough love. So be it if it’s God’s will and you are up to the task. But that’s not the biblical norm . Christ wants his people married and then parents, in that order. Some single parents brought it upon themselves to be in the predicament they are in. For others it wasn’t their choice at all due to abandonment , divorce ( through no fault of their own) death, or even rape. These latter cases maybe more appealing to you rather then the instance where parenthood was attained through drunkness, irresponsibility ( one night stands, group sex) , immaturity (teenage sex) , slutting or whoring around.
Avoid international dating unless you absolutely can’t find or have given up finding love in your home country and are fully informed about the risks of going for foreign love. The consequences of international dating can be both mind boggling and catastrophic. Granted some people find their ideal mates outside their home countries all the time, but the experience isn’t as clear cut and hassle free as advertisers promote it. To begin with there is the issues of money. International dating demands vast sums of money and that in itself presents a daunting task that is cost prohibitive for most low to median wage earners. You gotta be somewhat rich and have sufficient discretionary income to be able to afford the expensive airline tickets and overseas stays. That’s not where the greatest risk lies however because of the factors laying with your foreign mate. Some foreign men and women, particularly citizens of third world countries or countries formerly or currently anatagomist to Christian principles ( think Russia and Communist China , the eastern block like the Ukraine ) are currently in the business of bating suitors of rich countries for money or visas. This isn’t the stereotypical scam where you get robbed under false pretensions but it’s a more ingenious and cunning device where your so called soulmate goes along with the courtship and marriage but then dumps you once she or he gains entry into your country or lays hold of your bank account. It’s nearly impossible to verify the genuine intentions of someone overseas who claims to love you. Is she loving you because of who you are or because she sees you as here ticket to a visa? You never know and the few times and restricted instances where you can meet and chat with this person ( mostly through texting, Skype) may not be adequate enough to overcome hidden agendas they are plotting against you. This sham and scam works both ways as many people of the first world sign up for international dating services with the sole aim of pursuing sex tourism trips in sex paradises like the Philippines, Brazil, and Thailand. Know what you are getting yourself into. With international dating you can’t afford to remain ignorant. Do your research well and pray that you will be safeguarded from damaging and debilitating foreign dates. Know your target potential mates sufficiently to make an informed decision and not suffer regret later and a broken bank account and shattered dreams.
In sum. Stay way from the ominous kiss of death. Skip the poisonous grapes. Online dating can both be a blessing or a curse. It depends on how smart you are and how eager you are to do your homework. I should underscore that I’m not endorsing dating sites nor do I advocate that my fellow singletons attend there as their first choice for finding romance and marriage. Some of you are doing it and more will follow suit. To them I say , ” welcome to the world of dating as a commodity.” If you happen to subscribe and get the fuzzy feeling that you are engaged in a competition, you are! The dating carousel is available to all to peruse ( sometimes for a price) , designate, discriminate, and dump. Don’t get your feelings hurt and don’t get offended easily because someone blew you off. Remember there’s thousands of customers vying for the best faces and the best profiles. Why should you be Number One for anybody ? If you can’t answer that question yourself , nobody else will. This is perhaps a little bit like the Steve Jobs Effect: “people don’t know what they want until you show them.” Can you show that ? Can you demonstrate that you are a viable candidate for this enterprise called love not because you have the cutest face and the killer job, but because you can deliver on those more enduring qualities that everyone yearns for but can’t articulate like loyalty , trustworthiness, resiliency, spirituality , and courage ? And by all means , use your online dating experience to witness for Christ . For many singles, that’s the only true love that they need at the moment.