Online dating is a valuable outlet for people who are too busy (or too disillusioned) to meet people in bars; however, it can be a dangerous or disappointing experience if not approached with common sense and a grain of salt.
History of Online Dating
The U.S. government first started using the Internet in the 1950s, as a tool in the cold war against Russia; however the public did not start using the Internet until the 1980s, and it was really only popularized as a social-networking tool in the late 1990s. In the beginning, online daters were viewed as people who could not meet others in the "real" world; however as the media and youth movements popularized online dating, it became a worldwide social phenomenon with many complex rules.
The "rules" may be unspoken, but the fact remains that if you are going to commit to meeting someone online, you must be careful, brave and steadfast and have a sense of humor.
There are varying degrees of rules for successful online dating. Naturally, there are the obvious ones. One is to be careful: Never give out personal information like bank-account numbers, Social Security numbers or a home address. However, there are more intuitive rules, like putting yourself in the other person's shoes: Try to understand what he is looking for and evaluate if you are that person.
Once you've met someone online whom you think might be worth pursuing, ask yourself these basic questions: Is it feasible? Do we have the same short-term and long-term goals? If this person is looking for a one-night stand and you're looking for love, save yourself the heartache and move on.
Go in with your eyes open. If you can't be sure what your potential mate's intentions are, dig deeper. Don't assume anything, and don't allow your desire for a certain outcome to cloud your judgment about a fledgling relationship.
Online, things may not be what they appear. Always double-check facts and the timeliness of information. Google people if you can, and try to ascertain their full and honest history. Sadly, online predators are a fact of life, but with careful attention to detail, you can avoid them and find true love.