The “E” in e-dating could readily stand for “Easy Pickin’s!”
Gone are the days when families oversaw the courtship of the younger generation. Dowries and chaperoned strolls through the park, characteristic of the 17th century, are long gone. But Andrew G. Gardner, in his Colonial Williamsburg article, Courtship, Sex and the Single Colonist, describes that even in the era of the Puritans, one third of marriages took place with a “bun in the oven.”
Jane Austen’s day was not without scoundrels who made commitments and flew the coupe, leaving the maiden in the socially unacceptable circumstance of being unmarried and pregnant. And young men frequently sought their fortune through their matches. Love often took a back seat to pragmatism and concern for the betterment of the family.
Back then, families were less transient and people knew the character of others who lived in their village or town. A slip in behavior, bad dealings with others, was hard to suppress and marred a person’s reputation for a lifetime.
So why should we expect technology that readily transports strangers into our lives is a safe way to meet a mate? And what about our moral structure enables us to think it okay to engage in sex without thoroughly vetting our love interest?
Whatever a person tells you online could be true, or a total fabrication. And people can transport their charm through techno space as readily as if they sat beside you. What they say can be truth or fiction, depending on their moral compass. They know, if you are looking for love, you are the perfect mark.
Duping people is an art form. And the well practiced CAD is hard to spot. They can lure you with a sympathy play, by mirroring your values, by flattery, and countless other practices that erode your guard.
Some safety guidelines
I’m not saying that you should never engage in internet dating, but rather, you should do so with great caution. Here are some basic protections you should employ:
- Check the photo ID of anyone you meet online. Is it unromantic? Yup… but if the person cares about your safety, they won’t be offended.
- Be sure to note their age and address. Is it the same information you initially received from them? There is no excuse for a lie of identity. If they told you one, walk out the door. You will never be anything but an object to that person, no matter how charming they appear to be.
- Google them. Check them out on Linked-In and their Facebook page. Do they work for a company with a web presence? The likelihood is great that if they used technology to find you, but don’t have other social technology, they are hiding something.
- Don’t have a sexual relationship with anyone until you have met other people who know them. Sex is chemically bonding. Regardless how you feel about them before the fireworks, you will feel more compelled toward them afterward. It’s how the neurotransmitters in your brain work.You will be more susceptible to their lies once you’ve had sex with them which is why impostors will try to quickly sweep you off your feet. Too much, too fast is likely to be a con.
- Remember that there are two sides to every story. People who parent children together, regardless of the fact that they are divorced, should get along with their ex. Not doing so should run up a red flag.
- Not having a bond with parents is a pretty good indication that they are unable to bond, period. Even if a person suffered abuse, they will still feel a bond of love. While they may establish healthy boundaries, they will care about their parent’s well being. People who have no relationship with their parent are likely to be unable to bond. And they may cook up stories of abuse as a sympathy play to explain away their lack of caring.
- Be mindful of the signs that people give off that indicate they have weak or non-existent emotional empathy. How do they treat the waiter? The valet? The cab driver? Have they engaged in any kind of activity for the betterment of others?
You can improve your safety in internet dating by being vigilant and recognizing that one out of 25 people are sociopaths and many more have sociopathic of character disordered traits. Don’t think falling into a predator’s path can’t happen to you.