, J-Date, e-Harmony, Christian Singles. These, and many more, are the portals to the wonderful and terrifying world of Internet dating. Internet dating is a part of contemporary life in the U.S. and around the world. It allows people from around the globe to meet one another virtually. Before the advent of these websites people would meet one another in clubs, bars, lounges and other venues designed for folks looking to connect with one another. In today’s world, one does not have to leave the comforts of home in order have a conversation with a stranger. One can even make visual contact through the likes of video chat, Skype, and other web based video applications.

General Introduction to Internet Dating.

Some sites are more sophisticated than others. Some just ask for a picture and have you post a brief profile. Some require participants to answer a questionnaire detailing what they are looking for. They want to know whether you are seeking a long term commitment or a casual relationship. Some are using psychologically based tests to help find persons who are well-matched from a psychological perspective. Other cater to one’s religious preferences or sexual orientation. The concept behind these sites is that people who share common interests, common religious preferences, common values, etc., are more likely to enjoy each others company.

The most basic sites ask the participants to post a photograph, a self-description that sometimes is based on a variety of questions created by the website. Sometimes there is room for the participants to write a narrative describing themselves, their interests, and their preferences. These descriptions are open for all viewers. The participant can indicate that he or she is interested in getting to the person better by inviting them to reply. If the recipient of the invitation accepts, the parties can then email one another, chat, instant message, video chat or telephone one another. If they choose, they then can arrange to meet.

Some sites are free, while others charge a monthly fee to participate. Consider that if a person is willing pay a significant fee, two assumptions can be made: 1) they can afford the fee and 2) they are more committed. Neither assumption may be valid, but there is an increased probability of validity.

Some Cautions.

Check a variety of Internet dating sites in order to find out their philosophy and mission. Find a site that meets your needs. Be intelligent when you engage in Internet dating. You do not know whether the person whom you are contacting or who is contacting you, is who they say they are. No one is doing a background check on participants. No one is checking whether the picture being used in the profile that is posted on the site is recent or is even of the participant; it could be a picture of someone else. Remember: people lie! Spend some time getting to know the person through a series of emails. Attempt to learn as much about the person as possible before you meet them in person. Inquire about their marital status. Many married people are looking to hook up with unsuspecting singles. Inquire about place of employment, not only about what they do for a living. Before giving out your address or even your phone number, do some investigation. Make attempts to verify that the person is who they say they are. Google the person. You can find out about their residence, their marriage status, and a variety of other important information. Call their place of business to find out whether they actually work there. If you become suspicious, check out your suspicions with the person who is contacting you. If they become defensive, be careful. On more than one occasion I have spoken to people who met their boy or girlfriend online only to find out later that the person was married. By that time they were in love. And then story of pain unfolds as they learn that there have been a series of lies told. Stay tuned for Part 2 of Making Internet Dating Work for You in which I will show you how to have fun with online dating and how to psychologically grow while do so. In the meantime, I suggest that you read Chapter 6, p. 92-100 of my book, Someone Right for You: 21st Century Guide for Finding Your Perfect Someone.

Click here for Part 2 of Making Internet Dating Work for You in which I will show you how to have fun with online dating and how to psychologically grow while do so. In the meantime.


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Ed Dreyfus

About Ed Dreyfus

After more than 50 years as a practicing clinical psychologist, Dr. Dreyfus has now turned his attention to full-time writing. He has published five novels - currently working on number six - along with five nonfiction books including Someone Right for You: 21st Century Strategies for Fining Your Perfect Someone.

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