How dangerous is Online Dating?

Hardly a day seems to go by without a news story about someone being defrauded or even raped by a person they met through online dating; often in America. But last March the British police also issued a warning according to the Daily Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/relationships/online-dating/9153332/Online-dating-warning-after-woman-raped-and-beaten.html ).

Obviously the lady isn’t to blame for what eventually happened and the fortunately the police were able to find the culprit. However, a thorough read of the story shows that the unfortunate woman didn’t follow the standard advice for dating strangers. Although the couple met in a café (good) they then went back to her flat (bad). Taking your new friend home on a first date is never a good idea, it can give the other person an inflated idea of how they are perceived and might, luckily rarely, lead to this kind of incident. Also we note the attacker was drunk. Would you think taking a drunken man you only met a few hours ago back home is a good idea? What she went through does underline the need to be cautious when going out alone with someone you don’t know very well.

These cases, here and abroad, make the national headlines because they involve online dating. It’s still a relative novelty for many people. Are we to believe that such incidents don’t happen when folk pair up at a party, in a night club, through work or other social arenas? Of course they do! The risk of a nightmare ending to a night out is always there however the original meeting was arranged. There will always be risks to going with a stranger no matter how nice they seem at first. Also these risks tend to be greater for the woman for all the usual reasons.

There is absolutely no evidence that dating through an online site will result in any greater chance of violence or fraud than dating by any other way. Nasty people exist and they will always be on the lookout for a potential victim. Some will try to use a dating site as an easy way to meet new people (for all the wrong reasons) but plenty will still hang around clubs and bars and maybe work at the same place that you do. Ultimately your personal safety is down to how you manage the risks. Follow the general advice and you will be as safe as you can be. And don’t start financially bailing out somebody five minutes after you’ve met either. We would say that any signs that your new partner might be a little odd should lead to a quick exit. Both from the occasion and the relationship! After all, one good thing about dating online is that it’s easy to find a new potential mate so why hang on to a duff one?

As for the best advice when on a new date? That’s for another post soon.