No one likes to think about it, but now and then, the person you’ve been chatting with on a dating website may not be who they say they are. Is it possible to develop real feelings for someone online? Sure—it happens all the time. But what’s a person to do when things take an unexpected turn?
The reality is that even though many people are turning to online dating as a way to bridge the gap between two people, sometimes it can be difficult to know who you’re talking to. Unfortunately, this means your cyber mate might not be trustworthy. Even if you think things are going great, it’s important to remember that the goal of online dating isn’t to get married—it’s to meet new people and build relationships.
If someone you’ve met through an online dating site won’t agree to meet you in person, it’s time to consider why. Perhaps the person is trying to hide something—maybe they’re married, or in a relationship. Or maybe they have a criminal past, or they’re just not interested in taking things further than the safety of their computer. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to evaluate if you really want to pursue a relationship with this person.
If you’ve tried talking to your cyber-partner, but they still won’t meet up, it’s likely time to move on. Here are a few tips for cutting ties gracefully – and securely:
• Don’t continue the online relationship. Ghosting someone online is never the way to go—so don’t just abruptly stop writing. Instead, let the other person know that you’d prefer to take things offline and meet in person instead. If they don’t respond, don’t push it. Move on.
• Unfriend and block them. The best way to ensure that your conversations can’t be seen by anyone else is to unfriend and block the person. This way, you won’t be tempted to snoop around or message them again.
• Don’t give out personal information. If you’ve given the person your name, address, phone number, or any other personal details, do your best to restrict their access to it. Change your passwords and take extra precautions to protect yourself from identity theft.
• Make sure your friends know. It’s always wise to sound the alarm if you’re feeling uncomfortable. Share your experience with your friends so they can provide moral support, offer practical advice, and help you find new dates if you’re ready to move on.
Online dating has brought people together from all walks of life, but it’s important to remember that it’s not a guaranteed path to romance. If someone you’re messaging won’t meet you in person, listen to your gut and play it safe.
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