Therapy 101: When Is Online Dating Bad For You?

Despite being a licensed therapist, I have done many things that other single young women have done at least once in their lifetime.

The most unforgettable one for me was online dating. It happened in 2010 when I was getting my Master’s degree and interning at a mental health facility. My load in the university and at work kept me from going out and meeting guys, so I decided to try going to a virtual chat room. I figured that it was the next best option for me to meet new people.

My Chatting Experience

The first time I went on the chat site, I honestly felt overwhelmed by all the pings that I got from the men. It was one chat box after another, and I could not even say hi to at least one of them as the boxes continued to pop up. That was not a great experience, but it made me feel good that many people seemed to want my attention.

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After a few tries, I finally learned how to filter the individuals who sent private messages to me. Doing so was a lifesaver, considering it allowed me to understand which man was on the chat site for fun or a serious relationship. Of course, I wanted a fun boyfriend, but I also did not dream of becoming a mere notch on someone’s bedpost.

My friends said I was fortunate as I found a great man on chat. His name was Chad, a young medical doctor who could not find an opening in his schedule to attend blind dates. But as we got closer and our connection deepened, I was pleasantly surprised when he told me that he already bought tickets to fly to California to meet me.

It was the beginning of a fantastic relationship. Chad tried to visit me as often as possible, and I did the same. Then, he popped the married question, and we practically lived happily ever after.

Would I Recommend Online Dating To Everyone?

Simply put, no.

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As you know, I was not the only person who tried online dating. It was more convenient than the conventional way, after all. You did not need to spend any time looking good for your date, especially if all you would do was chat or talk over the phone.

Despite that, I had seen many people in despair because the man or woman they liked on the internet turned out to be a poser or a fraud. One of my best friends even got conned as the guy she was talking to at the time cried to her about getting evicted from his apartment. The guy blocked her as soon as she sent $2000 to him, showing his real intent.

Furthermore, online dating requires a lot of patience. It is technically a waiting game, and you have no clue when the wait is over. I only had to stay on the chat site for six months before I met the love of my life, but I knew many people who were still there even after years of waiting.

So, as helpful as online dating was for me, I would not recommend it to everyone.

When Is Online Dating Bad For Me?

In case you dove into the chat scene before reading this, that’s all right. You do not need to step away from it, especially if you have met some potential people to date. I would merely suggest checking out the scenarios below, which would indicate when online dating could be bad for you.

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It Makes You Decide Wrongly

I had a confident-looking client who needed my help to get over her current online relationship. When I asked why, she said that she was dating a married man.

“Please do not think of the worst of me,” my client uttered hurriedly. “I did not know about it at first, but I stayed in the relationship even if I promised myself that I would never be a homewrecker. Now, my boyfriend’s wife found out about me, but the guy was not sorry at all, so please help me strengthen my resolve.”

It Exposes You To Things That Do Not Make You Happy

A client I recently had told me that she did crazy things on the internet to please the man she met on a chat site. She was brave enough to admit her desperation to be with someone. Hence, even if she wanted to wait until they met to be sexual with the guy, she felt obliged to do so on cam so that he wouldn’t leave.

The fact that the woman reached out to me even if she was still with the same guy was a cry for help. She was unhappy, but she was also unsure if leaving the guy would be suitable for her.

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It Pulls You Away From Your Loved Ones

Another friend of mine had an online boyfriend who wanted to keep her for himself. It sounded sweet until she said that he would get upset whenever she would hang out with her family. And one time she caught up with her friends without asking for his permission, he refused to answer her calls until she apologized.

The woman needed therapy as the relationship was draining her. She did not want to turn her back on her loved ones. However, she felt like it would be impossible for her to find a new man.

What Can You Do?

Leave. It may seem scary at first, but it’s the best decision you will ever make in any scenario mentioned above. You need to retake control of your life, which has been driven by the guy you’ve been dating online.

Perhaps you will meet someone like my Chad on the internet in the future, but if your man acts anything like the guys that my clients try to run away from, that’s terrible news.