This is a post written by my friend Sara Stringer, a freelance writer based in Southern California. I hope you enjoy her post!
For some reason, many people seem to believe that online dating is a completely different animal from the garden variety kind. The first mistake is thinking that there is a garden variety kind of dating. There are as many configurations of dating as there are people. The second mistake is thinking that online dating is anything new.
Back in the day, dating via correspondence was quite common. One might even say that it was the precursor to online dating. Back when we wrote with tapered, pointy cylinders called “pens”, we sometimes wrote personal letters to strangers known as “pen-pals”. When adults formed pen-pal relationships, it often led to dating, then to marriage. It was the equivalent of playing chess by mail vs. turn-based chess online. Different technology, same result.
Online dating is still dating, and the same, common sense rules apply. For the safest, most enjoyable experience, you will keep these things in mind:
Bars and Churches, Choose Wisely
What do bars and churches have in common? They are major hubs for seeking dates. In the real world, you have to decide what type of partner you are looking for. Do you want the kind of man that frequents bars, or the kind that goes to church. For the moment, let us just ignore the large cross-section of the two.
Once you have made that decision, you quickly come to the reality that not all bars, and not all churches are created equally. Selecting the best hunting grounds can be quite difficult.
When it comes to online dating, the challenge is the same. With what seems like thousands of dating communities to choose from, it is difficult to know which is best. Fortunately, there are places online that offer reviews of the top sites for dating. Having access to professional and user-based reviews really comes in handy for knowing which sites it is worth creating profiles on. If only bars had signs that said, “Beer, 4-stars. Dating, don’t bother!”
Letting Your Freak-Flag Fly
Let’s not go into details about your kinks. I don’t want to know. The one who does want to know is the person you plan to date. At some point, the two, or three of you (however that flag swings) might end up being intimate. You want someone who shares, or at least appreciates your kinks.
In the real world, this can be challenging. We tend to not wear signs announcing the fact that we have some type of fetish, let alone disclosing the particular variety. These disclosures are tentatively made only after a relationship has begun. Guessing wrong about your partner’s tolerances and inclinations could be disastrous.
This is not a problem online. There are so many dating sites to choose from it is a trivial matter to locate a community that caters exclusively to your particular kink. Because of the anonymity of the Net, you can lead with an honest description of what you like and what you are looking for. You don’t have to worry about being judged. And you can be sure that your partner shares your interests. The key is to be honest and upfront. Online, lying is not necessary for finding a date.
Safety in Numbers
Ever been on a blind date? Was your first meeting with that person at their house, a hundred miles from anywhere? Of course not! You don’t know this person from an ax murderer. You meet in public spaces with lots of witnesses.
Dating online, especially for a long period of time, might give you the false sense of knowing a person. You don’t. No matter how many photos you have exchanged, no matter how many secrets shared, you can’t be certain if any of it is real. The safest course of action is to treat it like a blind date.
The spirit of online dating is nothing new. It is quite legitimate. And it can lead to all the joy and heartache experienced by people without an Internet connection.
About the Author: Sara is freelance writer. When she’s not writing, she enjoys maintaining a healthy lifestyle through swimming and practicing yoga.