6 Warning Signs You Need To Know If You're Dating Online

mbg Contributor By Allison Cohen, LMFT
mbg Contributor
Allison Cohen, LMFT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist based in California. She received her master's degree in marriage and family therapy from Pepperdine University and has over 12 years experience empowering individuals and couples to achieve their best selves.

If you’ve ever ventured to a dating website, you know of the horrors that await. Mixed messages, rejection, Houdinis (i.e. potential dates that seemingly vanish into thin air), and the general difficulty in finding a suitable prospect. Take a deep breath, friends, help is on the way. Use the six guidelines below to lessen your stress and hone in on the right fit for you:

1. A first-time home date is usually a sign that this isn't going to be a great long-term mate.

The way you start a relationship is the way you end it. When those early dates are ‘hanging out at home,’ you set a dangerous precedent for the level at which you will function as a couple. If he/she wants to stay in at the earliest stage of dating, you know up front that this will likely be the tone of the relationship down the road as well. That lack of effort early on translates into many potential future problems for the relationship including a low desire to communicate and resolve issues, difficulty addressing health concerns, and inability to interact with your friends, family and the general world. Dating is an active process and as a result, requires a conscious attempt to plan and execute. Additionally, someone that is willing to invite you to their home or go to yours after just meeting likely has little more than sex or a very casual relationship on their mind.

2. If they're truly interested in finding a deep connection, they'll want in-person meetings to happen quickly.

Once you make contact with someone online, the interaction should move fairly quickly. After exchanging a few emails and hopefully a phone conversation, a date gets made. Barring extenuating circumstances or a life emergency, when someone truly intends to meet you, they make it happen. If you find that weeks go by with nothing more than exchanges of emails, messages, texts and a promise of ‘getting together soon,’ he/she is looking for some casual entertainment with no intention of meeting in person.

3. Texting means the person is looking for easy sex, while phone calls show a true romantic interest.

When someone is truly looking to learn about you, they use the telephone to reach out. Granted, we are a technology society and email and text can expedite an interaction. Yet when it comes to romance, a phone call signals true intention. A text that reads, “Hi. How are you?” ultimately means that he/she wants to keep up contact without putting out a real effort. No text in the world could ever substitute for hearing someone’s voice, thoughts and laughter.

4. Little content on a profile or during communication means there isn't a lot there to sustain a future.

Ever stumbled upon a profile or received an email with little to no content? Any prospective dater that is serious about finding a mate puts in the time: time to share something meaningful about themselves (on their profile) and time to make a thoughtful comment/ask a question that’s specific to you (over email). When you receive a generic email or it takes less than a minute to read his/her profile, it’s an indicator to move on down the line.

5. Dirty talk means exactly that.

It’s certainly flattering to have someone be so attracted to you that he/she initiates a flirtation or sexual dialogue from the get-go. Unfortunately, it’s also the biggest tip-off as to what this person is looking for. You of course, you want him/her to desire you but conversations of a sexual nature at the start of an exchange not only limit the chance to get to know each other in a real way but create expectations that you may not be comfortable fulfilling once you two meet face-to-face.

6. If you see red flags, treat them like a red light. Stop!

Ever spoken to someone and their story just doesn’t add up? Or perhaps they seem too good to be true? Sadly, sometimes this is the case. Whether it’s a matter of low self esteem or nefarious schemes, not all people can be trusted. If you are seeing red flags or get that intuitive feeling that something is off, listen! It is always okay (and necessary) to decline an invitation or end communication when your gut is quietly (or loudly) encouraging you to do so. If he/she doesn’t respect your request and keeps pushing for interactions, this is even more fuel and acknowledgment that your instincts are right on the money.

Now that you know to be mindful of these warning signs, go log in and meet your mate!

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