INTERNET DATING SAFETY TIPS
In every endeavor, there are always dangers. Before we get too worked up about what could possibly happen, let’s explore some simple and easy ways to avoid the pitfalls for internet dating.
Internet dating has been a very successful way for people to meet outside of the usual “bar scene” that dominated the culture when I was in that milieu some time ago. In any scenario, especially in the realm of dating and intimacy, there is great beauty and joy, and the potential for mis-use and abuse. The anonymity that is possible online, obviously can be a wellspring for those preying on desperate people looking for love.
I heard about Dr. Phil’s very relevant show the other day about some of the foibles of Internet dating, and I wanted to expand on a couple of the ideas presented there.
Why do some of these abusers do what they do? Some are just scams to try to bilk money off of unsuspecting compassionate people. My friend and I have recently experienced a few guys who have really come on inordinately strong in the beginning, and then due to various circumstances, they ask for money. Often they say they are American’s in foreign countries stranded for one reason or another, wanting financial help so they can come into the loving arms of their targets – likely never to be seen or known. If you run into one of these types, DO report them to the dating site and block them from contacting you again. It is a scam!
There is another set of people that are just addicted to NRE “New Relationship Energy” that just love the idea of falling in love, but have no intention or ability to sustain that flow of initial passion. NRE is the result of the chemical reactions in the body via a hormone called oxytocin – the bonding hormone that helps to ensure parentage for the likely ensuing offspring of their bond. It can make us a little insane with the rush of delightful feelings of passion and love that come with it. Most of us do love that feeling and many relationship coaches, like myself, work with couples to help them to continue to maintain that juicy connection as the relationship matures. Those in the thrall of new love, are often overwhelmed with such feelings, often throwing their normal, more cautious intelligence to the wind, in favor of the rush.
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1. If someone comes on too fast or too strong, don’t trust it. You get to set the tone for a measured stepping in to relationship for yourself. If they don’t get it, get rid of them. They will only continue to pressure you on their own agenda. It is essential that anyone you get involved with honor your rhythms and needs as well.
2. I know you are looking for love… but love works best with a strong foundation of friendship and mutual respect. In your dating, work on the friendship end first. Really take the time to get to know the person and allow the relationship to unfold naturally and evolve, rather than trying to make this person fit into the image and likeness of your ideal vision. Otherwise, you are only dating your imagined version of the person and not the actual personality that you hopefully getting to know.
3. Do not give out your phone number easily, unless you have a way to block unwanted calls in case the person becomes problematic. Google phone might be one way to help screen unwanted calls ultimately, allowing you to begin phone conversations with someone you are interested in. Get the other person’s number and call them to talk.
4. If you decide to meet, make the first one a short coffee date at a place that feels safe to you, so that if it doesn’t go well, can end quickly and easily with a minimum of discomfort.
5. Do not invite them to meet you up at your place unless you have had two or three meetings at least and you think you have gotten a good strong feeling of the sincerity of this new person.
6. Do not send nude photos or engage in phone sexual flirtations, unless that is all you want it to be. Also remember this is a public forum and anything you send out can come back to haunt you later in ways that you may not appreciate.
When looking for love, my first suggestion is to be clear about what hasn’t worked in the past, so that you do not repeat the same mistakes in your next relationship. In between relationships is an ideal time to educate yourself and work on relationship skills. Make yourself as ready for the next one as you can. Good relationships involve skills many of us have never been taught. There are workshops and online classes that help with various aspects of successful relationship and it always begins with the self. How self-aware are you? How well do you love and care for yourself – this is a touchstone for how well you are able to love others. If you are habitually putting others before yourself, the relationship is ultimately doomed to resentment at best, negative polarity at its worst.
Learn effective communication tools, emotional management tools, clean out your past relationship and personal baggage, learn self-responsibility and emotional autonomy; learn how to balance your head and your heart, how to effectively manage your own life and finances so that you can bring your best self to the next experience.
Dating is an opportunity to discover what you don’t want so that you can create and attract more of what you do want. It is a weeding process, more for yourself, than actually with others. Do not be discouraged in the opportunities to learn more about yourself in the dating process. It is as if you are in the library trying to find just the right book… you have to thumb through a whole lot of possibilities until you find the right one.
Consciously create a strong and clear foundation for yourself as you step into the dating ring.
1. What is the type of relationship that you want? Be honest and clear with yourself and others. You get to write this any way you want, then see if anyone else wants to play in your sandbox! The clearer you are, the more likely that you will find the appropriate matches. So literally write it down and read it before every date to ensure that you are staying in alignment with your intention – and then you can be clear if you choose to change it in any way.
2. Have a list of 5 top non-negotiables on the positive and negative side of your equation for the lover you seek. One example of such a list might be:
a) Sense of humor
d) Passion in career
e) Spiritual and emotional maturity – self responsibility
Negative: (deal breakers)
a) Violence – emotional/physical
b) Cigarette Smoker/Drug Addictions
c) Prejudicial mindset
d) Inability to communicate effectively
3. The initial phases of love are a drug (creating strong chemical reactions in the body), and to manage that energy effectively and to avoid insanity and addiction, it helps to make some rules for yourself that you follow in order to manage the rush of strong feelings when they come. Here are a few examples of rules I have made for myself (when I have ignored them, I usually experience their wisdom):
a) Avoid anything but friendship with someone who is fresh out of a protracted relationship – for a six months minimum. Hopefully that person is taking that time to evaluate their part in what didn’t work and learn from it. You don’t want them repeating those mistakes with you or bringing their rebound baggage into your connection.
b) It takes about 9 months for both parties to figure out whether the relationship has “legs” or not. Don’t jump in with both feet right away. Take your time to discover this person more deeply stepping in gradually, testing the waters by reveling parts of yourself at a time and watch their responses to find your match. Do they honor and accept all that you are and all aspects of your life and family?
c) Scout for the dark side. Can you handle and live with this person’s negative aspects? Can you hold your own center when they are out of theirs? This element is essential to successful relationship.
d) It takes about 2 years for the relationship to mature to the point where you can really know enough to make a clear-minded decision around a marriage commitment. If you can wait that long, you will have moved through NRE, and into a stronger, more reality based bond that has been matured tested with time.
4. For those who are marriage minded; leave sex on the back burner. While it is important that you get those needs met, there are ways to do so that don’t interfere with your ability to evolve into relationship with someone, so that you make yourself less vulnerable to misuse and abuse. Remember before the sexual revolution, we took the time to make out and attune ourselves sexually for more protracted periods of time in the courtship dance before we moved towards intercourse. This ultimately helped us to avoid premature awkwardness, and greater comfortability ensuring a better ultimate outcome and enjoyment with one another when you finally got there and it is based on more than just chemical reactions.
When we join in intercourse, it stimulates that oxytocin, which creates an energetic and emotional connection that fans the flames of bonding. If this is happens prematurely, there can be far more emotional fallout when it doesn’t work out. Take the time to get to know your new person, and move into physical intimacy in stages for a more manageable evolution in relationship.
5. Sexual interaction needs to be earned. Whatever is given away without consideration of its value, will not be valued. Sex is a powerful force, and the only way to manage yourself in that energy is to value it yourself. If you truly want a lasting relationship, open your heart and body only to those who have shown themselves to be offering the quality of relationship and values that honors you every step of the way. Don’t try to use sex to snag another emotionally. That is a manipulation that is doomed to disappoint and ultimately fail.
6. Be honest and authentic as much as you can. In the initial stages, it is quite natural to want to put your best foot forward, but sometimes we can find ourselves setting ourselves aside before we realize it in wanting to please the other person. This authenticity can be a major journey of evolution in and of itself as that is not how we are trained in society. But it is essential to successful relating for the long term.
7. Ask the hard questions. If it is uncomfortable, the most assuredly it needs to be asked. Intimacy means healthy disclosure. I recommend that if any topic or issue has relevance to the relationship in any way affecting the other, than share it and explore it. The more that you do this, the easier it gets and the healthier your relationship will be.
8. Always make sure to create win-wins as much as possible. The win-lose game never works and fosters resentment. Support each other in having as much of what you want in life and in your relationship as possible. It may have to look different than you initially imagine, but if you can get to the crux of the basic need to be met, there are all kinds of ways to ensure that each of you wins every negotiation.
Dating is an interesting challenge that can look many ways… more traditional and formal, or just about hanging out with people that you enjoy. You get to choose EVERYTHING. Make sure that you do! It has to work for those involved or it doesn’t work. So be willing to step out of the box and create the life and scenarios that meet your needs and desires in that delicious dance with another so that you can both have everything you want. It’s a new age of living more authentically and harmoniously, if you honor yourself and your truth in the process. Fulfilling traditional roles for most is no longer enough – there is more to life than just following expectations. Step into passion, creativity, and mutual support!
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