Stephany Alexander is all about optimistic safety when it comes to dating online. She is the CEO and founder of Womansavers.com, the world’s largest database that rates men to weed out the “bad apples” and recommend the good ones. (Womansavers donates a percentage of all proceeds from the site to abused women and children’s charities.) Alexander is also the author of Sex, Lies and the Internet: An Online Dating Survival Guide, has written more than 50 articles about women’s abuse and infidelity, created several women’s cartoon comedy e-cards, and has polled over 300,000 women on relationships, sex and dating issues. Alexander shares her thoughts about what it takes to be successful at the online dating game.
Make sure you have a current, close-up headshot and some additional photos showing your hobbies to personalize your profile. Don’t write the standard “loves to travel.” Be specific. If you enjoy cooking, say what, how and where you love to cook. Also, keep the sexual innuendos to a minimum. If you want to meet a partner with some morals, you need to show some yourself. Otherwise, you will attract the type of people who will be more likely to play, scam and use you.
Not pre-screening properly and not asking the correct questions. There are dangerous people out there—including convicted felons, pedophiles, con artists, gold diggers and cheating married people. Anyone can hide behind a phony profile so it is imperative that you screen each potential partner very carefully. Take your time, be selective and don’t rush. I talk about this more in-depth in my book, Sex, Lies & the Internet: An Online Dating Survival Guide, that shows people how to avoid being scammed, used and abused on the internet.
Think of your profile as a “fun” resume. Make sure you’ve spell-checked it, your photos are current and clear, you’re not too wordy and you discuss your likes AND dislikes. It’s important to be honest. If you only want to date someone who has never been married and has no children, then say so. Otherwise, every Tom, Dick and Sherry will contact you.
Unfortunately, according to an MSNBC survey, two out of every five people on dating sites are married. There are all types of match sites out there now that actually cater to people who must be committed or married to join these sites. Even though this isn’t something I agree with, it certainly is prevalent. Dating sites that require proof of a high income level also seem to be gaining more popularity. Adding a video to your dating profile is also something that is catching on. This is a great way for people to see how you speak and handle yourself.
Screen, screen and screen some more. Remember, allowing the wrong person into your life can destroy it. Ask questions, request many photos and pretend like you are interviewing a potential employee for a job. After all, you are worth it.
People tend either to get overwhelmed with responses or not get enough responses. They will also attract people who are simply contacting as many people as possible in order to get a response who don’t take the time to even read their profiles. You can run into fake member profiles that lead you to porn sites or outdated profiles that a dating site keeps up to make it look like they have more members.
Online dating can increase your chances of finding Mr. or Ms. Right. However, it can also increase your chances of finding Mr. or Ms. Wrong. Never give out your real full name, address or telephone number early on. Get a free email account from a service like Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail [that you use just for this purpose] and correspond for two to four weeks to see if this person is someone you may be interested in meeting.
For the first date, meet in a public place like a coffee shop and let someone know where you will be. Ask for their full name and telephone number first, if possible, and then do a background check on them before agreeing to further dates. You can get very affordable background checks on anyone via the internet, which will tell you if they have a police record, how many times they’ve been married and/or divorced, how many children they have and so on. These are usually less than $50 and are very worthwhile and could prevent you from potential heartache or financial ruin. You can also do a free character check on web sites like Womansavers.com, which lists thousands of relationship experiences to avoid abusive and cheating men. For the men, there is Guysavers.com.
If you think you may be dealing with someone who is married or in a committed relationship, ask for a home telephone number, which they will be unable to give out. If they only have a mobile number, continuously call them between the hours of 8 and 10 p.m. If they always have excuses as to why they don’t answer during those time periods, you may be dealing with someone who is with their partner and/or family.
Don’t pay too much attention to rejection. Focus on the positive and move forward. Sometimes you have to correspond with a lot of frogs in order to find your prince or princess.
Life is non-stop change and evolving, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. My goal is to continue improving myself on all levels throughout life.
…it allows me to start over, if necessary. I’ve started over many times on many levels in my life.
The best change I ever made was to develop my spiritual side. I don’t necessarily mean structured religion. I mean developing my physical spiritual side through yoga and meditation, respecting my body in regards to diet and listening to advice and information from people I respect like Deepak Chopra, Ghandi and Oprah, who are great role models.
For more information on Stephany Alexander, visit www.womansavers.com.