Online dating is not for the faint of heart | #facebookdating | #tinder | #pof

Online dating is not as taboo as society makes it out to be. A lot of people have tried finding love over the screen.

Someone may ask what online dating is – according to Wikipedia, it is a system which ‘enables people to find and introduce themselves to new personal connections over the Internet, usually to develop personal, romantic, or sexual relationships’. Most of these relationships come to halt before the two parties even meet.

Finding true love now days is not easy, especially because Cupid doesn’t do favours anymore. People date for different reasons, which most of the time does not include true love and instead focuses on money, revenge and more.

Let’s look at online dating; how safe is it, how true is it?

Social media is the crust of online dating – you go to someone’s Facebook profile or Instagram and this is where you can pick and choose who to follow. When you feel courageous enough, you send them a direct/inbox message telling them you like them and ask more personal questions. This escalates when you communicate with this person frequently on social pages and then you end up exchanging numbers and taking your chats to WhatsApp.

This is where things become more personal, as you can both see each other’s status updates and can send each other voice notes, video calls and voice calls. You may even arrange to meet at this stage and this is where the dangers of online dating may creep in. One thing women, or men, fail to understand is that a person on screen may portray themselves in any way, meaning they can easily lie about who they are.

They can even convince you to believe their version of themselves, which may not always be the true one. They can make empty promises just to string you along into doing anything they want you to do. When the relationship heads to a stage of meeting up, neither do men or women stop to ask themselves the what if – what if this person is a serial killer or a rapist?

We don’t stop to question ourselves why they can’t find love the traditional way, which is asking someone out face to face. Why do they hide behind a profile? But because love is blind, women and men tend to fall in love with people they have never met. We hardly take into account how truthful or genuine the connection is, because in most cases one party may just be using the other for money (or data or airtime). We never take into consideration that the person behind the screen may already be married or is ‘catfishing’ you.

So in planning to meet this person, you arrange the date and all the logistics such as transportation, accommodation and so forth. When the day comes – if you are lucky enough – the person does not show up, which may be way better then meeting them and then having to fight your way out of being raped or drugged.

Men in general also fall victim to sending women money for transport on the day and the woman may use the money and block you on all social media pages.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying all online relationships don’t work. Some work but most don’t. I know a couple which was together for 10 years and met on Mxit but even so, let us be careful of who we let into our hearts because not everyone who is behind a profile has good intentions. Some are vultures who are waiting to prey on innocent people and make them victims of online dating.

With the advanced technology we have today of video calling, Skype and other platforms of communication, one must make sure you video call the person and when meeting for the first time, take a friend along as an added safety measure. You may never know who is behind that small screen on your phone, portraying themselves as your knight in shining armor.

Always be careful to not give out your details, such as addresses, banking details or passwords to strangers, no matter how in love you may think you are. Never send money or gifts to people you have never met. When it comes to seeking love online, always keep your guard up.

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