Millions of people use online dating sites to search for the person of their dreams. And millions of people have learned the great lesson of online dating: It’s easy to lie on the Internet.
So now, not only are there dating sites, but there are sites to expose the lying daters. The New York Times featured some of these sites in an article on February 16, 2006, headlined (Name Here) Is a Liar and a Cheat. (Registration required to read the story.)
The article featured sites like DontDateHimGirl.com and Manhaters.com, which, as the Times wrote, “are dedicated to outing bad apples or just identifying people who may not be rotten but whose dating profiles are rife with fiction.”
Another site, Cyberpaths.blogspot.com, goes after the online predators. “Online players, Internet predators, cyberpaths, dating site frauds…whatever you call them, they need to be EXPOSED!” it states. Cyberpaths has links to 26 websites dedicated to doing the job.
Do the websites actually succeed in saving people from disappointing or even tragic encounters with particular individuals? In my opinion, they may expose the average dater who magically deleted 30 pounds, or the married person claiming to be single. But they won’t stop a sociopath bent on trolling for victims.
The Internet has opened up a whole new world of opportunity for sociopaths. Now, instead of dropping a few hooks in their local ponds, sociopaths can go online and cast nets throughout the seven seas. And dating sites are full of lonely fish just waiting to be caught. The key is knowing how to protect yourself.
I have nothing against Internet dating. It’s easy, fast and fun, and sometimes it works. But I’ve seen the good and the bad. My ex-husband, who I met online, defrauded me and cheated on me throughout our marriage. Later, I met another man online (I knew I wouldn’t get burned again), and he was wonderfully supportive through my traumatic divorce.
If you’re looking for love online, here’s what you need to know
1. At least 7 million Internet users are sociopaths. Many of them have good communication skills.
2. Sociopaths specialize in victimizing lonely people. If you place or respond to personal ads, you are presenting yourself as a target.
3. Experts believe that 65% to 90% of human communication is nonverbal—facial expressions, gestures, body language. When you communicate with someone via e-mail, 65% to 90% of the meaning is missing.
4. Most people fill in the missing information with their imaginations. That’s why online romance is so seductive—you fall in love with the fantasy that you create in your mind.
1. Do not engage in a long-distance romantic relationship. The only way to truly get to know someone is to spend time with him or her. Choose people who live within an easy driving distance.
2. Check the person out. Make sure you meet family and friends who have known him or her for a long time.
3. If your instincts are telling you that something is wrong, pay attention. Know the key symptoms of a sociopath, and if you see them, run away.
4. Watch out for the pity play. If you decide to break up, a sociopath may turn on the tears and pleading—anything to prey on your sympathies. Leave anyway—there are plenty of fish in the sea.