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Healthy Women's World

Is Your Internet "Date" Lying to You

  • By: Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach

  • Internet dating has so much going for it. It's convenient, it's easy, it's affordable, and for many, it's the best (or only) way to meet eligible people to date. If you live in a secluded area, or in a place where there aren't many eligible people with the qualifications you're looking for, it can seem like a godsend. You can swing a wider net, and that's all to the good.

    With sites such as,,,,,,,,,,,,, and what a choice! And new ones are added daily.

    Individuals who are looking provide data about themselves, and in some cases, such as eharmony and, take a personality test, and the two of you send a set of prepared questions back and forth before commencing to protected email. Some sites attempt to match people for compatibility. Most sites allow you to communicate within the site before sharing your real email address, and you're cautioned not to give too much personal information.

    How can you tell if the person is misrepresenting important facts about themselves? We heard one case where an individual posing as a female had a long correspondence with a man, and even flew to meet him. The poor guy was expecting a woman at the airport. Why would someone do this? I don't know, do you? There are some crazy people out there.

    One site takes some effort to protect registrants, doing a criminal background screening using an Internet database, to eliminate people with a U. S. felony or sexual offense conviction. However, Internet databases aren't reliable.

    You can check for sexual offenders yourself. Most states are required to establish and maintain a statewide Sex Offender Database on the Internet showing people who've been convicted of certain sex offenses and/or crimes against children. Google "sex offender" and your state. However, these sites don't list other criminal convictions.

    Many people lie about being married. If someone is representing themselves as single when married, they can be guilty of fraud and subject to civil and criminal penalties under US federal and state law. Title 18, Section 1343 of the US Code authorizes fines up to $250,000 and jail sentences up to five years for each offense.

    But more importantly, if you get involved with someone who's misrepresenting, you'll waste time and energy, endure heart-break, and your physical safety may even be at risk.

    You need to know, however, that Internet databases are incomplete, even the ones you pay for. Services such as have access to privileged information. Why not eliminate sources of worry that you can?

    What can you do to protect yourself? Here are some tips:

    1. Have the person investigated. This is the only way to know for sure.

    2. Keep within the confines of the dating website at first, without exchanging any personal information. With just your last name and home town someone can find out where you live. That information is readily available on the 'net.

    3. If you feel it safe to meet with the person, agree to meet in a public place. Before you go, give the person's name and information to a friend, and take your cell phone with you. Tell them where you're going, and specify a time for your return. (You want to time-limit the first date anyway.) Then if you don't return, your friend can take action.

    4. Gentlemen should know that the current dating rules, ones we recommend, are that the gentleman do the traveling - either to some place in the woman's neighborhood, or to her state, if from out-of-town. Ladies, this is for your safety. The man does the work.

    5. Work with a dating/relationship coach. Those of us who work in this area are familiar with "yellow flags" and "red flags" and can guide you in the process. It will shorten the learning curve.

    6. Be aware that relationships conducted in writing can give a false sense of intimacy and security. People are different on paper than in real life. Since I coach in this area, I peruse profiles continually. I have yet to read someone say "I have an uncontrollable temper," "I am jealous and possessive," "I beat my first wife, but had anger management coaching," "I'm a gold-digger and a pathologic liar," or "I'm an alcoholic and a sorry mother."

    7. Don't read things into what is said, and let your fantasies run wild. When a man says "I'm sensitive," he may be recently divorced and mean he's sensitive about himself, i.e., full of self-pity. When a woman says she's "independent" it may mean no man has wanted her so far - for good reasons.

    8. Gentlemen, avoid women with "professions" that preclude stable relationships, such as strippers and belly dancers. Exercise caution with women who have had children but never married, unless you fancy paying child support for 18 years for a child you didn't want in the first place. If she did it to someone else, she will do it to you. (You can also end up with custody of the child if he or she bonds with you and requests it, and/or the court orders it.)

    9. Ladies, any man who proposes to you in an email should be eliminated. It demonstrates either a lack of reason, or desperation. Send them to the Russian bride site! Don't fool yourself that you're "that special" and someone's finally discovered "the real you." It isn't about you. Furthermore, men fall in love visually, and when the two of you meet is when the rubber hits the road.

    10. Be wary of individuals from outside the US who come on too strong. It's a sad fact of life they may be interested in getting papers.

    11. Meet the person (when you feel it's safe) as soon as possible, and until then, don't let your heart go. It's the "fit" between the two of you, the chemistry (emotional and mental as well as physical), and that must be explored over time, and in person.

    12. Go slowly. Use your head. Think. If it seems to be too good to be true, it is.

    13. Avoid people who are separated or newly divorced. Let them cut their teeth on someone else. Men, particularly, move too fast, wanting to assuage the emotional pain with "the love of a woman." You want to be loved for the individual woman you are, after being known, not some woman - any woman - who gives affection.

    14. Avoid people who clearly don't want you to know them. If you feel like they're hiding something, they are!

    15. Use your EQ and your IQ. Think smart, and manage your emotions.

    Your goal is to take care of yourself and find the love of your life. Hopefully you'll have an enjoyable experience dating on the Internet. Like anything else, you'll get better with practice, and learn how to eliminate non-candidates more rapidly. There are plenty of great people looking on the Internet. After all, you are, aren't you?

    ©Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach, .

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