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Online dating: Is everyone a catfish, conman, liar, cheater, predator or loser?

Every other week it seems we learn about nightmare experiences people have had with online dating

Whether it’s a conman like Ray Holycross (The Internet Casanova) using various aliases to scam 38 women in seven states; Ronaiah Tuiasosopo (a catfish guy) , creating fake Internet profiles and pretending to be a woman causing Manti Teo the Notre Dame football player to emotionally invest in a non-existent relationship, or someone who was attacked or killed by a person they met online. The message is clear for many people: only a fool would try online dating!

Facts and Stats

First and foremost it is important to remember that media outlets, newspapers, and magazines are in business to make a profit. Secondly horror stories and articles that illicit our fears sell very well. Statisticbrain.com put together some online dating data in June 2012 which illustrated the following.

Total number of single people in the United States – 54 Million

The total number of people in the United States who have tried online dating – 40 Million

Total eHarmony members – 20 Million

Total Match.com members – 15 Million

Average length of courtship before marriage for those who met online – 18.5 months

Average length of courtship before marriage for those who met offline – 42 months

Percent of all sex offenders who choose to use online dating sites to meet people -10%

Men lie most about: Age, height, and income

Women lie most about: Weight, physical build, and age.

Obviously these statistics aren’t likely to sell a lot of newspapers or generate website clicks. Interestingly people who met online got married sooner than those who met offline.

Tools and Fools

Whenever you say, “There aren’t any quality people online.” You should keep in mind other people are saying the same thing even though (you) have a profile!

Online dating is nothing more than another option or (tool) for meeting others. Much like a fork it can be used to eat a garden salad or a slice of double fudge chocolate cake. However I have never heard of an overweight person blame their weight gain on a fork! And yet people blame their bad dating experiences on the Internet/online dating. We make our own choices.

The same people that are online go to the grocery store, movie theatre, beach, park, nightclubs, shopping malls, and church. It’s not where you meet but whom you meet that counts! The Internet did not invent liars and cheaters. It’s important to use good “commonsense” when dealing with strangers no matter how you met them. Refer back to the article: Six Common Mistakes Women Make with Online Dating for additional advice. (Note: men make the same mistakes)

Nothing worthwhile is free

Avoid free or super cheap dating websites; they tend to attract the shadiest people. I know there are exceptions. My guess is somewhere in Chicago there is a dumpster which contains a diamond ring. However if I were shopping for such a ring I’d choose to visit places that are known for selling quality rings.

Selecting a “free” online site is like moving into an economically depressed section of town and complaining about the high crime rate. If you know what type of person you’re looking for your next step is to find out which sites they are likely to join. There are numerous niche online dating sites as well. Research pays dividends. Be selective!

After I gave this advice to one woman she said, “I don’t feel like I should have to pay for love.” Becoming a member of an online dating site is no more paying to find love than it would be to pay a cover charge to get into a nightclub.

Both the online dating membership fee and the cover charge merely grants you (access) to other people who are there. You’re simply joining “the party”. Some people are hoping to connect with a special someone and others are there looking for casual dating, intimate encounters, or being chat buddies. Dating sites are more like virtual nightclubs without the alcohol and crowded dance floors. You still have to do your own screening.

A profile serves one of two purposes. If it’s yours it’s a “Help wanted ad” and if it’s another person’s it’s a resume. In the business world most companies take their time and interview several candidates as well as do background checks on those they are seriously considering before making a job offer. At the end of the day you are responsible for your choices in life.

No matter how or where you meet a stranger always use good commonsense!

Written by

Kevin Darné is the author of My Cat Won't Bark! (A Relationship Epiphany). The book is about learning how to approach relationships with complete awareness, having realistic expectations, and using self-empowerment techniques. Kevin is also a Chicago Dating Advice Examiner for Examiner.com where he publishes articles offering advice in the tricky world of dating. In addition he is also a Continuing Education Instructor for School District 211 located in the NW Suburbs of Chicago where he teaches classes on "How to Find and Choose Your Ideal Mate" and "Avoid the Catfish! How to Date Online Successfully! Kevin is a frequent guest of radio and TV talk shows. You may follow Kevin on Twitter. @kdarnelovealert

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