Tips for Finding a Safe Date or Mate Online, HuffPost

Tips for Finding a Safe Date or Mate Online, HuffPost

Finding your soul mate is a numbers game and, sadly, the odds do not favor true love.

In fact, research suggests it’s a sucker bet. Studies display that a single man or woman hoping to find a long-term playmate should engage in somewhere inbetween 15 and 25 fresh dates per year if he or she hopes to meet meet just one or two potential long-term fucking partners, but typically singles give up long before they find that compatible someone. While the same research also indicates that many get to the potential prize, more often they abandon after four or five dates — usually blaming themselves for not being good enough — when date No. 6 may have been the winning entry.

So how can a working single person deal in the kind of volume it may require to find happiness? One can certainly cultivate the fields of friends, family and coworkers for introductions to single guys or women, but that can produce only a limited harvest.

This leaves you with only a handful of options. You can join an organization that may or may not interest you, hoping that one of its members might. You can spend time in karaoke and singles bars, and meet people who suspend out in karaoke and singles bars.

Or you can go online. For most of us, this last option is the best. Let’s face it, searching for dates in the digital universe is usually a lot lighter, more pleasant, and more productive than joining a pottery class even tho’ you hate pottery or guzzling overpriced cocktails while listening to some pathetic wannabe demolish the latest Adele tune.

Finding the Right Person

Whatever you’re seeking, be it a long-term fucking partner, a short-term hookup, or anything in-between, there are certain things you can do to raise your odds of success:

  1. Be fair. If you’re 55, don’t attempt to pass yourself off as 35. If you post a photo (and you’ll generate much more interest if you do), make sure it’s reasonably latest (within Three years) and actually looks like you (size, weight, hair, etc.) Don’t say that you’re a doctor or some other type of professional if you’re not, as lounging impresses no one. And don’t say you’re looking for a serious relationship if all you want is casual lovemaking. It’s not nice, and it most likely won’t get you the activity you seek anyway. Here’s the thing, the people you meet online are eventually going to find out who you indeed are and what you’re truly looking for, so you might as well save yourself and them a lot of time and potential heartache by being fair up front.
  2. Know what you’re looking for, and narrow your search accordingly.Online dating sites/apps permit you to refine your exploration in a multiplicity of ways, winnowing out individuals unlikely to appeal to you based on everything from smoking and drinking status, to education and employment, to location. Pick three to five non-appearance-related criteria that are very meaningful to you and limit your search to individuals who meet your benchmarks. After doing this, you can look at the pictures of people with whom you have something in common to see which ones you find physically attractive. If no one comes up, perhaps you are a bit too picky and need to embark again with broader parameters.
  3. Pick the right dating site/app for you. If you’re seeking a relationship, think about established sites like and You might also consider specialty dating sites geared toward religious affiliation, sexual orientation, and/or age such as (for Jews who want to meet Jews), (for Christians who want to meet Christians), and (for those over 50). If you’re seeking a casual sexual hookup, it’s best to consider smartphone apps like Blendr, Skout, Grindr, and PinkCupid.

Liars, Scammers, and Perverts, Oh My!

It’s no secret that the Internet is home to more than a few of nefarious people, many of whom cruise dating sites and apps in search of potential victims of one sort or another. As is the case in real life, dating online will bring up some icky peeps. These individuals are a petite minority of the online population, but they nonetheless exist, so if you choose to explore the online dating world, you should do so with your eyes broad open. To protect yourself, you need to keep in mind that successful online predators rely on the fact that with only written words, photos, and perhaps a brief movie as introduction, an emotionally needful person can lightly “fall for” an individual whom they indeed know very little about. This is a big concern for digital daters (female and masculine alike) who are too busy to meet their opposite numbers in real time. (Former Notre Dame football starlet Manti Te’o is one prime example of this.)

Dating site bad guys essentially fall into two categories: sexual predators and financial scammers.

Sexual predators romance their potential victims via apps, emails, IMs, and movie talks, pretending to be the victim’s flawless fucking partner. Usually the perpetrators are thoughtful, attentive, and flattering. Spinning an intricate web of lies about themselves and their feelings, they build in their victim relationship trust and emotional dependency. Then, when the victim is hooked, they spring their trap, persuading the vulnerable individual (of either gender) to meet them at their home or in some remote setting where that individual will be vulnerable and alone.

Financial scammers also spend much of their time and effort building trust with potential victims. After they get someone to “fall for” them, they abruptly need money that only the victim can provide. Basically, they prey on our natural instinct to help a loved one in need. Oftentimes the scammer is (purportedly) traveling in a foreign country (on business, a charity mission, etc.) and he/she is all of a sudden in the midst of a medical emergency. Usually the scammer needs emergency surgery that can only be paid for in cash (because he/she is in a “rearwards” foreign country). At that point the victim is asked to wire a large sum of money because the perpetrator’s own funds are “tied up” for some reason. Another common scam involves the charming foreigner who despairingly wants to come visit you but needs money to pay for a plane ticket or visa. You send the money, and that’s the last you hear from your online sweetheart.

Sadly, many individuals lured into dangerous situations and/or financial scams are either too afraid or too embarrassed to report the manhandle once it has occurred (think rape or putting your work/individual reputation in the arms of a stranger who now has nude pics of you). Even worse, victims sometimes blame themselves, feeling as if they should have known better. Unluckily, not reporting what happened increases the odds the perpetrator will repeat and perhaps even escalate his/her deeds with others.

Having Joy and Avoiding Manhandle

There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself from dating site and hookup app predators, the most useful of which are:

  1. Trust your instincts. If you’re feeling awkward, something is wrong. Period. So get out. It doesn’t matter how charming and attractive the other person is, if the situation feels “off,” it most likely is. Reminisce, under no circumstances are you obligated to proceed a date or an online interaction.
  2. Meet in public, and “acquaintance up.” Your very first meetings should take place in a public space (coffee shop, cafĂ©, mall, etc.), even if your purpose is a casual sexual hookup. You should arrive at the venue on your own steam, and plan to leave on your own, this way you are less likely to get “trapped” in someone else’s car for a premature make-out session or driven to a location you’d rather not visit. Make sure a close friend or family member knows who you are meeting, when, where, and for how long. Arrange to check in with that person at least once during your date. It’s also not unheard of–nor is it impolite–to ask a friend to suspend out at the venue, discretely keeping an eye on you from across the room.
  3. Never react to a stranger’s request for money or nude pictures that display your face. You can showcase your face in person or you can send a picture of your face at the Grand Canyon, just make sure you are wearing clothes in the picture. Always recall that pictures and movies taken and sent via smartphone can lightly be posted online for all to see.
  4. Go Dutch. When you originally meet an online companion IRL (in real life), both people should pay their own way for at least the very first few dates. As stated above, if anyone you’ve met online wants money, naked pictures, or gifts, walk away. That person is not looking for love. No matter how charming and attractive he or she may seem, your alarm bells should be going off. And when alarm bells ring, it’s time to stir on. Should you feel your emotions overriding your instincts, ask a trusted friend or family member what they think about the situation before you take any next steps.

No matter what, if someone you’ve met online victimizes you in any way, you need to report the manhandle. In addition to local authorities, there are a number of websites designed to assist people who’ve been victimized online, including and Don’t hesitate to use them to protect yourself and others.

Why Bother With the Internet?

The plain fact is millions of individuals have dating and hookup profiles posted online — vastly enhancing their and your dating pool. Tho’ online dating absolutely requires you to be on guard for potential harm, using the Internet to meet and date can truly be a game changer. Reminisce, the more fair you are about your appearance, what you have to suggest, and what it is you’re looking for, the more likely you are to find the type of relationship you seek. As long as you pick the right dating site for your desires and go after some basic safety rules, there is no reason you can’t securely and pleasurable locate whatever type of fucking partner you seek, be it a lifetime relationship, casual lovemaking, or anything in-between.

Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S is the author of several books on sexual addiction and an experienced on the juxtaposition of human sexiness, closeness, and technology. He is founding director of The Sexual Recovery Institute and director of Proximity and Sexual Disorders Services at The Ranch and Promises Treatment Centers. Weiss is a psychotherapist, addiction specialist and clinical educator. He has provided sexual addiction treatment training internationally for psychology professionals, addiction treatment centers, and the military. A media experienced for Time, Newsweek, and the Fresh York Times, Weiss has been featured on CNN, The Today Showcase, Oprah, and ESPN among many others. Rob can also be found on Twitter at @RobWeissMSW.

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