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Dating Advice #195 - Disappearance in Cyberspace
Dating Advice 195

Dating Advice #195 - Disappearance in Cyberspace

A tale of dot-come dating gone awry.


Dear Rosie & Sherry,

By chance, I met a man while playing a game online. We chatted online and then we talked on the phone. I really fell for him. He says that I am perfect for him, and he promised to come visit me (he lives in another region).

But now he keeps putting things off, and has even started "blocking" me from seeing that he is online. He says that I can call any time, but I only get his voice mail and he doesn't return the calls. I think I have been vulnerable and fell for someone who is just getting his kicks on the internet.

On the other hand, when we do talk, he goes on and on about spending his life with me. I really like this man and would like to have him in my life. Yet it's very difficult because he controls all communications. What shall I do?


Dear Anne,

This man is avoiding you for a reason, but it could be any of dozens. Please do not waste your time and emotional energy trying to figure out what went wrong. You won't be able to and you will only feel worse about yourself if you insist on over-analyzing your cyber friendship.

One of the risks of online dating is an experience such as the one you had. Someone you meet online could: 1) be afraid of face-to-face relationships, 2) have several e-mail partners at the same time, 3) is commitment phobic and cannot move any closer in a "relationship" than where the two of you got, 4) uses the Internet to escape to fantasy, 5) is married, 6) has lied about himself, or 7) was honestly pursuing an e-mail romance but decided at some point that it wasn't for him.

Even when people actually do agree to meet face to face, they may not get along as well in person as they did in cyberspace.

Don't think that we're paranoid alarmists, but... while the vast majority of people who use on-line dating services are well-adjusted adults, some of them are not. The potential to be hurt by someone you meet through the anonymity of the Internet is greater than if you are introduced by a mutual friend, or if you meet through a work-related or organizational function.

The fact is that intelligent people have been duped online by less-than-honest people who are looking for a way to relieve marital boredom, or to con people out of their savings, or who may cause others physical or emotional harm. Everyone who uses Internet dating should follow these simple precautions to help safeguard their privacy and keep out of trouble.

Keep it anonymous. When you correspond over an anonymous entity like the Internet, don't divulge biographical details like your full name, address, phone number, place of employment or any financial information. (Many sites let you keep your email address private, too.)

This is good advice whenever you meet someone on your own (such as at a bar, singles event or through a personal ad) who has not been referred to you by someone you know and trust. You can release limited information, such as your first name and metro area, but better to save additional info for a live meeting.

Exchange personal references. Don't dismiss this advice as too business-like or distrustful. Many reputable dating services and "matchmakers" ask for a list of references when you apply, and expect you to do proper follow-up about a prospective match. Nobody can learn everything about someone's background over the course of a one or two hour meeting. Similarly, you can't take what any stranger tells you at face value -- and your Internet date is, for all intents and purposes, a stranger.

You should always request references before dating anyone you "meet" through an anonymous entity, and refuse to date anyone who is not willing to give you that information. A reasonable person will understand your caution.

And be sure to do the follow-up, checking these references before your next date. Don't assume that everything is all right because you've been given a list of names and phone numbers. We know of many "references" who either did not exist, or had never heard of the person who used them as a reference.

All in all, Internet dating can be a great experience, one that can lead to marriage and a lifetime of happiness. But be aware of the Internet's limitations -- particularly at the outset of a relationship. This will help ensure that your online dating encounter is a pleasant and successful one.

For the present, we hope that you can realize that this man just isn't The One, and work on getting over the disappointment and sense of loss you feel.

Rosie & Sherry

December 17, 2005

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Visitor Comments: 8

(8) Anonymous, January 1, 2006 12:00 AM

I know of a few profiles that are not all they are meant to be on a certain Jewish dating site and contacted the administrators of the site. I was told very rudely by them that I was making mischief and I am not welcome on their site.

(7) Ronda, December 25, 2005 12:00 AM

playing games online

I had a similar experience, and am glad to see this addressed. I met someone online and we had great telephone and e-mail exchanges for two months. But somehow he always had an excuse for not meeting face to face. We only live one state away, which is not far by Internet dating standards. I decided he is confused and confusing, and God was taking care of me in the end.

(6) Merav, December 21, 2005 12:00 AM

references are good

Many years ago in computer dating infancy, I met a man who I really liked and told my mother about him. My mother told a friend who was a retired cop and he did a little investigation finding out my friend was well respected and had wonderful references. Unfortunately the relationship did not result in a marriage, but he is a wonderful human being who I wish all the best in life.

(5) Ilysse, December 20, 2005 12:00 AM

I agree with the Anonymous poster that references are just odd. I met my husband online and we have been best friends for 9 years now. We spoke by email almost a month b4 we spoke by phone for about a month then dated for a month by meeting in a public place until we felt safe meeting at eachother's home or office (office first). My bridal shower was filled with stories about how worried my mom was about me meeting this strange guy but soon enough he won all our hearts. The key is to be careful. Remember the rules your mother gave you...never get into a car with a stranger, never invite a stranger into your home, don't give out too much personal can take the candy tho :-). Just use your best judgement, if it feels wrong don't go.

To Anne; these things happen, especially in cyberspace. I would wonder about someone who talks about marriage b4 he even met me and being in a different region makes things even harder. There are plenty of fish in the sea, just keep surfing.

(4) Anonymous, December 20, 2005 12:00 AM

Similar issue

I am a 22 year old guy, stuck in a similar situation. I met this girl (in real life, not cyberspace), and we started going out and talking on the phone, but gradually she seemed to want total control over when we meat and our communications. If i ask her out, she would say 'I would have loved to but i have to be/do etc etc....'(just repeat excuses) and if i call her, she does not reply back but a few days afterwards would call again, or ask me out. Its frustrating because i enjoy talking to her, and when we do talk, she seems nice, caring and all, and her excuse is always that I am expecting too much!! I admit to being a person who is not so often in and out of love but i am being hurt by this experience..I told her that i like her even if just as a friend, but now I do not even know what to do or say if she calls me backand any advice would be most appreciated. I do not even understand why a person would want to behave in this way towards another human being and it really is frustrating me. is it possible that she is genuine but i have scared her away by 'wanting too much'?? and if so, would it help if i give her more time and space??

Happy chanukkah

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