Believe it or not, I found my husband on the Internet. We’ve now been married almost four years. So yes, it is possible to be a good man online. My feeling always was “I’m a good person and I’m here, so there must be good men on here too.”
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There were good men online – and a whole lot of losers and not-so-good men too. I learned the rules quickly, made some mistakes, developed my own very rigid set of guidelines for Internet dating, stuck to them, and had success.
Your mileage may vary, but these rules worked for me and were learned from quite a bit of trial and error. Once I stuck to them consistently it was better.
- Picture or not?
I started online dating without a picture. During this period, on a percentage basis, the men I met were of better quality because they were the types who actually read and were open to learning more. (Now, we did exchange pictures before we met – men are visual and let’s face it, we all are to varying degrees). However, I got very few responses without a picture. Once I posted a picture, whoa! Tons of responses. Tons of responses with a pic, very few with a pic. So that’s one reason to post your photo.
There’s a second reason. I also discovered that men who are married or otherwise involved, but are looking to cheat, almost never post a picture of themselves so they won’t get discovered. So I developed a rule that the man must have a picture posted. So if the guy must, then I figured I must as well.
- Stick to guys in your geographic area.
Long-distance relationships initiated via the Internet are more fantasy than real. And yes, I wound up with an intense, whirlwind, cross-country relationship for four months that broke my heart because (guess what?) he too likely had someone in his quasi-hometown. He just traveled constantly for business nationwide. So he came to see me a lot, he flew me to meet him in California, in Florida, in Minneapolis – just NOT his hometown in Chicago. Sooner or later the truth comes out.
- Exchange several emails, then move to the phone.
Get one of those cheap phones with minimal minutes for these purposes that you don’t have to put a name on. You don’t want to disclose more until you are ready. If after a call or two you are still comfortable, arrange to meet in a public place. Tell a close friend where you are going, and as much as you can about the person you are meeting.
- First date should not be over two hours maximum (1-1/2 desirable).
I also thought I was hitting it off with someone, the date lasted longer than that, and somehow the pressure of the length of the date seemed to fizzle in the “after” period.
- Don’t let someone near your home for two to three dates.
- Use public data aggregator websites (such as Publicdata.com) to research your dates.
Information is your friend. Use the data aggregator to find out about things you can’t live with, but also to test their honesty and transparency. Find out about divorces, arrest records, litigation, etc – but don’t tell them you have and what you know. See if they tell the truth about themselves without too much prodding or questioning. If their story doesn’t match what you know, drop them and move on.
When I did a background search, I found something in my now-husband’s background that, on the face of it, didn’t look stellar. Within 3-4 dates, he told me about it (unsolicited) and gave me an explanation for the situation that made sense and that I could accept. It was the complete and total truth. But had he not coughed it up – well, not good.
This list was first posted as part of this conversation.