6 rules of psychological safety when dating on the Internet


In recent years, the online dating bias has diminished significantly. Millions of people manage to have strong and healthy relationships after meeting on the web.

Dating sites and apps enable us to:

  • meet people outside of our social circle whom we would never have met otherwise;
  • overcome social isolation;
  • consider many candidates and understand who we really want to find;
  • find a partner with exactly those qualities and character traits that attract us;
  • learn something new about yourself;
  • find a person with whom you can build a long-term relationship.

At the same time, in such dating apps, we risk:

  • face deceivers and other dangerous individuals;
  • meet people who themselves do not understand what they want, or are not ready to honestly say who they are looking for, to bump into tactless, rude or simply strange and inadequate interlocutors;
  • experience disappointment, experience unpleasant rejections;
  • waste time and money.

“Unfortunately, dating sites often register people who are in a relationship or even married but who claim to be free,” recalls family therapist Dan Newhart. “It is no coincidence that on many sites you can find warnings about scammers who are trying to cash in on those who are looking for love.”

We cannot verify why the person actually registered in the application

It is known that many users are cunning about their weight, salary and occupation, and about half do not indicate their real age.

Anyone who has ever tried to get acquainted on the Internet has probably had to deal with the rudeness, tactlessness and unnecessaryness of online interlocutors. Often they try to hurt or offend us with something, or just suddenly disappear without warning.

“The old adage is especially true on the Web,” All is fair in love and war. ” Of course, relationships are always associated with certain risks, but when meeting through mutual friends, at work, at the place of study, there are still less of them, – Dan Newhart is sure. – We cannot verify why this or that person actually registered in the dating application. We do not know if we can trust his words, and warning signs are not always obvious at first glance. “

No matter what the interlocutor tells us, we do not know whether he is looking for a long-term relationship, or wants to find several lovers at once, or is simply trying to test his attractiveness, or is playing some of his games. Perhaps he already has a partner and wants to make him jealous.

With all that said, we can formulate several basic safety rules for online dating.

1. Hope for the best, but don’t count on too much

You may come across rude people or people who do not appreciate honesty and goodwill. Someone just broke up with a partner and is now “scouting the situation”, someone started an account under pressure from friends or relatives. Some may not be emotionally ready for a relationship, others will claim that they are looking for the love of their lives, but in fact they do not want or cannot build long-term relationships based on sincerity and emotional closeness.

Online dating is designed in such a way that your interlocutor will most likely correspond with other people in parallel. Competition can be very fierce, and many weed out potential partners very quickly.

It’s best not to overestimate expectations, but at the same time it’s important not to get cynical.

Some interlocutors may disappear without warning. Others may make you a “fallback” and occasionally write something in case relationships don’t work out with those they really care about.

So the wisest thing is not to overstate your expectations. But at the same time, it is important not to fall into cynicism – this can prevent you from finding the “right” person. Remember, many people do manage to build healthy and happy relationships after dating online. Nothing is impossible in this.

2. Pay attention to actions, not words

If someone promised to call back and did not do it, this already says something about him. If on the first date he or she talks about himself 80% of the time, it could be a sign of narcissism or just ordinary excitement, but in any case, you are probably looking for a partner who can not only talk but also listen.

It is known that the true essence of a person is manifested in his actions. This is especially true with internet dating. If someone deceives about his age and then tries to justify himself, thereby he clearly shows that he does not see anything wrong with a lie and believes that the end justifies the means.

Anonymity and unlimited choice on dating sites cause some dismissive attitude towards potential partners. Beware of any disrespect.

3. Rate his personality

Pay attention to:

  • how this person reacts to criticism, disagreements, rejections,
  • how he endures difficulties and setbacks,
  • how is he with a sense of humor,
  • how he treats strangers and service personnel,
  • how he spends his free time,
  • what is most important to him,
  • what your intuition and flair say.

4. Don’t take anything too personally

Others’ inappropriate or tactless behavior says much more about them than about you. Be aware of your boundaries and protect them, but do not blame yourself for someone else’s rudeness.

Online dating is not for the faint of heart. Despite your best efforts, resentment and disappointment are possible. It’s important not to suppress these feelings, treat yourself with kindness and empathy, and learn the lessons for the future.

But if the interlocutor is uninteresting or indifferent to you, he is, by definition, not the person you need, no matter how attractive he may seem to you. You are wasting time trying to get his attention. The one you really need will be honest with you, will love you, respect and admire you. Don’t settle for less.

5. Do not give up other ways of dating

The Internet is just one way to meet potential partners. Effective, but far from the only one. Often, after spending a lot of time on the Web in search of love, we begin to better realize that there are other opportunities for dating: in a cafe, shop, on the street.

Go on group hikes, join a book club, attend autograph sessions at bookstores, or attend public lectures on topics of interest. By leading an active social life, you greatly increase your chances of meeting the “right” person.

6. Don’t get callous and cynical

Online dating can display both our best and worst qualities. You may feel more confident trying to show your best when dealing with potential partners.

Decide for yourself how you want to treat others and how you would like them to treat you. Ideally, you should treat everyone with respect and never intentionally humiliate the other person.

A lasting relationship is impossible if you are not willing to open your heart and be vulnerable. But for your own good, it’s best not to rush. You deserve a partner who will treat you with love and respect.

About the author: Dan Newhart is a family therapist.

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