Single Parent Faith

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Internet Dating

"I'm 30 Something and Gorgeous"
Last year I signed onto a Christian dating site. It wasn’t a free service. I did expect a higher caliber of guy, truth be told. Maybe it’s because I paid, and maybe it’s because it’s a “Christian” site. Though I must admit, the guys who emailed me kept their correspondence clean— which is refreshing from the general dating sites. There are some who are genuine in their faith, which is also refreshing. However, other than that, the site is pretty much like any other dating site on the Internet. You can’t legislate crazies from signing up on these sites, just like you can’t prevent the abusers and manipulators, so beware.

I know some friends who think it’s safe since it’s a Christian site. However, some guys are using their supposed faith, as a cover to catch chicks, and some are outright loons using religion to justify their obsessive, antisocial, or abusive nature. A person should be cautious on a religious dating site, and not relax their good judgment and compromise their or their children’s safety.  

In this blog, I refer to guys because I’m speaking from my experience as a woman. My comments can also apply to women. Mental games and unhealthy behavior is not limited to one gender. 

Tip 1: Don’t Give out Phone, Email, or Address
Never give out your email or phone number until you’ve communicated strictly through the site long enough to get an initial read on their character. I can’t tell you how many times a guy in the first mail to me, asks for my number or gives me his.

Tip 2: Don’t Agree to Receiving or Sending Photos Outside of the Dating Site
Many Dating sites caution against this because you have no control over what you receive. He may send you pornography, or a virus embedded in the email.

Tip 3: Don’t Agree to Meet Right Away
The same is true when they invite you right away to meet. What’s the rush? If he's a good person, he’ll still be good in two plus weeks. There’s no expiration on good character.

However, I’ve learned that for guys who are  “acting” like a quality guy, eventually they tire acting, and can’t keep up the front. You’ll see it unfold, especially when you put the breaks on. He’ll either get defensive, or turn it on you and try to make you feel like you’re being foolish. Really? Thanks for the tip; you’ve just told me all I need to know about you. That’s when I exit and am appreciative that I did slow it down and not take “his” pace.

Here’s an example of a dating site email I received:

Guy X: I like your picture. Give me a call and let’s talk

Ella: I’d prefer getting to know you first through this medium before talking on the phone.

Guy X: Well if you’re going to be that way how do you ever expect to meet anyone?

Tip 4: You Don’t Owe Anyone Explanations
In the example email above, there’s no reason to answer and continue that conversation. It’s going nowhere. It’s like arguing with a fool. No reason to explain yourself to someone who at best is only out for himself, and at worse, is out to victimize you.

I know women who would feel it’s their obligation to be “nice” and respond further, or be very polite. But that’s what abusers and people looking to manipulate are counting on: women who continue to engage in dialogue, out of politeness. 

It’s a game, part of their scheme. As long as you continue, they know they’ve hooked you. They learn to identify your weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and how to best approach you to get the results they want. In other words, the longer you engage them in dialogue, the smarter they get about how best to manipulate you. They are pros at this, they’ve been doing this their whole life and you are no match for them. So just end it abruptly and move on. You owe no one an explanation. You owe it to yourself (and especially to your kids if you have them) to be on your toes and in control not controlled. If you learn this for yourself, you can teach it to your children, for their own safety. 

Tip 5: Meet On your Terms, In a Familiar & Very Public Location
After a period of contact, if you feel he’s a man of good character, it’s still not validated. Remember that getting to know someone is a process. Via the Internet it’s even trickier because this environment allows one to hide a lot. Up until this point you can only judge based on what he’s written or what he’s shared over the phone. But what he’s chosen to share, and how, has up until this point been solely up to his discretion. There’s so much communication you miss, when you can’t read facial expressions, and body language. Also, you miss observing how he interacts with others. For example, how he engages with the general public, especially people he has, or feels he has, authority over.

When you feel he’s safe enough to meet, always do so in a very public place. Don’ go to his place if he offers to cook you dinner, or go meet at one of his or your friend’s place. Don’t meet at an event which puts you in a disadvantage, like a party for his friend, etc. You should meet somewhere where you have familiarity. But I suggest not meeting at one of your favorite spots. If he turns out to be obsessive, you don’t want him knowing where to hunt you down.

Also, for goodness sake, don’t bring your kids along. You don’t know what you’re dealing with until you get to know him much better, and judge his character to be honorable. Otherwise, if you rush, you may be endangering your children. Kids shouldn’t be drug through the drama of our dating process.  

Final Thoughts:
The more we learn the better equipped we are at spotting red flags. I suggest the book below. It’s a great read on how to spot abusive and manipulative traits. Even if you never met anyone like that, I suggest reading this book so you never mistakenly fall into the trap.

“Why Does he do That?” by Lundy Bancroft.

By the way, because I read this book, it helped me identify these traits in a female supervisor I once briefly had. Because I was able to identify her behavior as controlling and manipulative, I was equipped to respond in an empowering manner. I didn’t allow her to victimize me, though she tried.
Ella Venezia


  1. Oh girl, I have SO had these experiences with men & Internet dating! Quite honestly, I believe some men view it as a "challenge" to try to score one (whatever manner they view that) with a Christian....get 'em to stumble kinda attitude. The one thing I've found through Internet dating is that NOBODY is who they say they are in the end. Remember, they're trying to "sell" themselves. If I read a profile that has, at best, 2 or 3 sentences & then "if you want to know more, just ask", I pass. Oh, I don't know, here's a concept....why don't you reveal a little bit more about yourself! Also, if I see a shirtless or gym pix....pass. I've had them say "well, I did that b/c women were asking me what I look like from the shoulders down". Really? You have THAT little self confidence in who you are that you have to succumb to their demands? I had a guy ask me once for full body shots. I said, "well, if we ever actually meet, you can see for yourself then. I'm not sending any pix. What's on my profile is a really good representation of different ways I look." Major red flag that he's not remotely interested in me as a person, just what I look like. Oh....and let's face it.....if they actually ever READ a profile, you know b/c their communication reflects that. But I've found that 9 times out of 10 they're e-mailing a picture, not the person! ~ Merana

  2. Merana-
    I definitely agree with all your comments. What's up with "shirtless" Joe-Bob anyway? REALLY? Is that necessary? Can we say E-G-O? Yes, I really want a relationship with someone that's really obsessed and wrapped up totally in himself......

    LOL, and the ones that don't read your profile......I can count on one hand the number of guys who actually made a meaningful comment about my profile that indicated they truly read it. No it doesn't count when they say "I like your profile"......interpret that to read: "I like your PICTURE." I know guys are more visual than us (I still think that's short-changing women. We too are visual), but must it be the "only" criteria? I think it's a fishing expedition. They cast a wide enough net with the least amount of effort....and see who bites. Meanwhile we give the email or profile a level of effort that invokes deep thought. What a contrast.

    For those of us interested in someone substantial, we don't respond. But for those they are best able to relate to, I suppose it works out and they respond. Maybe this is the way it's supposed to be anyway. The common denominator moves toward the like denominator.....uh....don't know why I went to a math analogy.

    I hope this is not interpreted as gender bashing, because there are many great, deep, wonderful men full of integrity, out there. They are all probably having similar experiences?

    Have a beautiful....and hopeful day!- Ella


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