Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Going Online To Meet Post-Divorce

Gone online to meet someone post-divorce is a great idea. But beware, if you had no doubts before, surely after the Manti Te'o fiasco you are taking a hard look at your online relationships. If you're not, I'm here to suggest that you do so. It's important to be smart about online relationships. Recognize them for what they are  and accept their limitations.

Questions to ask:

·         Q. Should I be concerned that s/he doesn't want to meet me offline? 

A. Yes! You should absolutely be concerned if s/he only wants to talk online. Not wanting a real face-to-face says s/he definitely has something to hide. It could be the same thing that explains why s/he's never available in the evening or on the weekend. Someone who doesn't want to meet you is not a girl/boyfriend, friend or any other type of intimate. They're just someone you talk to online. 

·         Q. Why am I always the one initiating contact? 

A. Great question. It's easy to be a little needy post-divorce. Men are even more likely to feel a need to jump right into another relationship. Guys, it may not be fun, but it's okay to feel a little pain and it's probably necessary to really move on. Bottom line, although she's quick to respond and flirt when you contact her, it's still a sign that she might not be that into you. In fact, it's a sign that she's likely not that into you. Set a timeframe during which the relationship has to progress. If it doesn't, it's time to move on.

·         Q. Am I spending too much time with people online?

A. Maybe. Your high school boyfriend, with whom many re-establish contact post-divorce, who you haven't seen in 15 years, is not your boyfriend. Why are you spending hours chatting him up online? It didn't work out the first time, right? You might consider what you are not doing that you would be doing if you spent less time online.  Like having dinner with your friends or working out at the gym where you might meet a real boyfriend. Consider adopting a rule of spending at least as much time with real-life friends as on-line friends. You can also try a little technology cleanse.

·         Q. How long do I go without a face-to-face?

A. I'm talking in person, not Face Timing or Skyping. What are you getting out of the online contact and what are you missing out on? One recent study concluded that only real-life friends lead us to feel happier. Another study found that you can have a lot of online friends, but you won't feel supported by them the same way you do by your real-life friends. This is particularly true for people after a breakup. Online chats, texts and even phone calls are for getting to know someone. Once that's done, it's time to move on and meet up, or end it.

·        Q. Why can't I find her on Goggle 

A. I'll bet Manti wishes he'd asked himself this question. Not everyone has a huge internet presence, but you can tell where they ought to show up. Someone who graduates from Stanford should appear on an alumni list and a professional should be listed on a licensing website. The absence of this type of confirmation ought to raise your suspicions. You can always ask the person about it. Any reasonable person meeting online would understand your desire for a little concrete validation that they're who they say they are. After all, people lie.

 Ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly. Then move away from any imaginary boyfriends you uncover and keep it real.

 An earlier version of this post appeared at YourTango.

Fake Friends, Joan Jett


  1. Just don't lie -- however tempting that may be! Saying you don't have kids isn't just misleading, it can factor into custody decisions if your ex can get a screen grab (see - Also, if you check off any kind of income box, and you're bragging, you may be called on the carpet to prove your income, if your spouse thinks you should be paying more in support or your hiding assets. This goes way beyond putting up a photo of your pre-bald days!

  2. It can only be considered spending too much time online if you aren’t taking care of things and if your family sees it as a problem.
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