Kathryn's Blog: Dating Tips

How honesty gets you everything

Now, talk about an up-front and honest profile: He described himself honestly as a smoker with 11 children (ages 8 to 29) from two previous marriages. And he hadn’t cut his hair in 13 years.  And he STILL got the girl.

Elopement wraps up romance with a bow
By Joe Blundo

BERLIN, Ohio—Keeping marriage plans secret isn’t easy when the bride and groom have 15 inquisitive offspring between them.

Arlene Essinger and Kenny Link, both 49, got it done by eloping this month to a cabin in Amish country.

She wore a cranberry-colored dress and a wreath of roses in her hair. He wore his “dress sneakers.” A minister they’d met just minutes before pronounced them husband and wife, they kissed, and that was that.

It was a relief, the new Mrs. Link said.

“I don’t have to dance around questions my family keeps asking me.”

Their trip to Berlin, about 90 miles northeast of Columbus in Holmes County, had raised plenty of suspicions among relatives.

The Links confirmed them when they broke the news of their marriage to about 30 gathered for a cookout the weekend after the elopement.

“They thought it was an engagement party,” Mrs. Link said. “A couple of family thought it was going to be a wedding.

“So, after a while, everybody got over the initial shock, and I think we all had a good time.”

The couple’s elopement marked the culmination of a three-year romance that began online.

Mr. Link, a Mechanicsburg factory worker who believes in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get approach, ran a Yahoo! personal ad that softened no edges: He described himself honestly as a smoker with 11 children (ages 8 to 29) from two previous marriages.

The ad included a photo showing his hair, which hadn’t been cut in 13 years.

A mother of four (ages 16 to 30) who was living in Marysville, Essinger had recently divorced after 27 years of marriage. She initially considered Mr. Link more of an adviser than a romantic interest.

They chatted online for three months, with him schooling her on the Internet dating scene. His savvy and helpfulness impressed her.

“He’s a very intelligent man,” she said.

They met in person and began dating. Eventually, he cut his hair, although whose idea that was remains a he-said/she-said issue.

Mr. Link, an Air Force veteran, calls himself a “radical conservative”; he’s both anti-war and anti-tax. His new wife said she doesn’t agree with all of his views but she’s learning a lot.

She isn’t a person with strong political opinions or a penchant for speaking out.

They have other things in common, though.

Mr. Link had adopted four children; Essinger, two. He plays the piano; she’s a part-time music director at Hoge Memorial Presbyterian Church in Columbus. She wanted the freedom to pursue her goals; he encouraged her.

Mr. Link isn’t big on formality: He once wore a cardboard tie to a relative’s wedding. So an elopement suited him, although he insisted that the religious ceremony be preceded by a private commitment at which no one else would be present.

“There’s a plethora of symbols in our lives that mean nothing,” he said. “I don’t require a ceremony, but I will acquiesce if that’s what Arlene wants.”

He not only acquiesced but also made her a headpiece of roses and pipe cleaners for the service. And he hummed Wedding March as she made her bridal walk from the side door of their rented cabin to a patio where the minister waited.

The Rev. David Stutzman of Sugarcreek conducted a simple service in which he compared marriage to wine:

“My prayer for both of you is: Just like good wine that’s been sealed and tastes better with age, so will your marriage be.”

They exchanged rings, and the union became official.

“I’m not singing the recessional,” Mr. Link joked afterward.

The couple have different goals: Mr. Link, a Cleveland native, wants to retire from his job in two years and spend one baseball season as an usher at Indians games; then he wants to do service work, perhaps in a hospital. Mrs. Link, who recently completed a vocal-music degree at Capital University in Bexley with a minor in journalism, would like to work as a copy editor.

They’ve promised each other that in marriage they will continue the approach Mr. Link took in his personal ad: Be honest and speak plainly.

Which explains his cleanshaven face.

She asked him to remove a few days’ worth of stubble before the wedding.

“And I believe I said it plainly.”


Pre-nups and should you?

You can believe that the financial columnist Jane Bryant Quinn would be aware of the need for firm understandings about money for new couples.  For sure when she found herself heading for the altar.  See her article below.

Slicing Up Assets in Advance

It’s one thing to write about prenups, and quite another to live through their making. Doing a prenup isn’t for sissies.
Jane Bryant Quinn
Updated: 1:18 PM ET May 31, 2008

There I stood, in Vera Wang’s dreamy Madison Avenue shop, trying on a wedding dress. On either side, 25-year-olds, with their mothers, their bridesmaids and their 22-inch waists. In the center, me, trying to pull something white and swishy over my hips. Available wedding dates are few for brides of a certain age. You have to celebrate after your grandchildren get out of school and before your friends go away for the summer. So I’ll be a June bride. I have two more weeks and am hustling to finish the paperwork.

Oy, the paperwork!

When my husband died four years ago, I hadn’t expected love to come back into my life. It did, in the person of Carll and his children. Between us, we have eight. That raises the unromantic question faced by all parents who go to the altar, bringing families along. What do you do about the money?

If you do nothing, state law intervenes. When one of you dies, the other can claim a share of the assets, no matter what it says in your will. If you divorce (gulp), a court can divide the property in ways that seem fair. Couples wanting a different result have to draw up a prenuptial agreement—a legal contract defining the financial arrangement they prefer.

It’s one thing to write about prenups, as I have before, and quite another to live through their making. Most decisions were easy. One, however, required us to dig into feelings that were hard to talk about. Embarrassing, even. Doing prenups isn’t for sissies.

The easy things were our separate assets. Neither of us needs financial support. The prenup says that what’s mine goes to my kids when I die, and what’s his goes to his.

There’s a twist with my retirement fund. You can leave an Individual Retirement Account to anyone you want. By law, however, some or all of your 401(k) or pension trust is earmarked for your spouse. A prenup can’t change that. To free me to leave my pension trust to my kids, Carll has to sign a special waiver after we marry, not before.

So here’s the nightmare (only an obsessive financial reporter could think this one up): I say “I do,” waltz from the wedding ceremony to the party tent, trip on the dance floor, break my neck and breathe my last. Carll inherits the pension trust and can’t give it back to the kids without paying a gift tax. They rebel. I haunt the lot of them.

OK, thoughts like that mean I need calming down. Nevertheless, I asked a lawyer who’ll be at the wedding to drop his notary stamp in his pocket. I won’t take a step until the waiver is signed and legalized.

The tough decision was what to do about the weekend house we own together in upstate New York. When we bought it, we agreed that if one of us died or the relationship failed, the house would be sold and the proceeds divided. That was still OK with me. For Carll, however, the house is now our baby and he’d hate to lose it. If I gave him my half, it would take a chunk out of the assets I’m leaving for my kids. I balked.

This sudden, fierce desire to protect my children’s full inheritance came as a surprise. After all, I’m getting married—for richer, for poorer, and all that. Spouses are supposed to take care of each other financially, as well as emotionally. How could I tell him no? There’s other money for the kids.

Reaching a resolution took several uncomfortable (for me) conversations. In the end, it worked out. Each of us will be able to keep the house if we want, with the kids inheriting it, eventually. And—very important—all the children are in the loop. I don’t believe in surprises when the will is read.

Meanwhile, back at Vera Wang, I arrived for my first fitting. The gorgeous young thing at the desk looked at me and asked, “What’s your daughter’s name?” “It’s me,” I said. “I’m the bride!”


Rising costs of long distance love

I’m a big fan of looking wherever you need to to find the love of your life.  I looked all over when I was single, and in fact, Drew was the closest at 482 miles away.  But the current economics of travel are making people think twice about starting up the old car or buying a plane ticket.  That’s sobering when it comes to finding a mate.  What do you think this will mean for your own search for love?

The toll on long-distance love As fuel prices climb, couples choose between breaking the bank and breaking hearts.

By Lini S. Kadaba

Inquirer Staff Writer
Love has its price.

Every few weeks for the last six months, Amanda Sheronas has paid $120, even $180, in airfare to see her sweetie 760 miles away.

But this month, Sheronas, 37, reached her limit.

The $219 cost of a one-way plane ticket to visit Jaime Alvarez, 40, in Jacksonville, Fla., broke the bank.

“I couldn’t afford it,” said Sheronas, who lives in Devon and works as a director at bridal gown company Alfred Angelo in Fort Washington.

Bad enough that the climbing cost of fuel has hurt school budgets, fire companies, and everyone’s grocery tab. Now, long-distance lovebirds are feeling the pinch on wallets - and hearts.

“It’s put a hold on us,” said Sheronas, who is unsure when she and her boyfriend of six months will rendezvous. “We’re seeing if we can wait it out. It’s not easy. . . . We’ve had to dial things down a little bit.”

The couple, like others, is fueling the flame - and easing the financial burden - with technologies such as texting. Others are cutting corners or choosing to meet at a halfway point.

According to an online poll conducted this month for The Inquirer at dating site OkCupid.com, nearly two-thirds of 1,179 clients said they would see a faraway mate less often as a result of higher gas costs.

About 65 percent text, call or e-mail more. More than 70 percent would cut back on extras, like a night out or gifts.

Locally, a philly.com poll posted two weeks ago found that 41 percent of 472 respondents had gone so far as to break up a long-distance relationship due to travel bills.

That might reflect Philly grumpiness more than actual love lost.

Still, said Kimberly Flemke, a couples and sex therapist with the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia, long-distance love, already complex, is “tougher now than ever before because gas prices are out of control. It really does force people to prioritize relationships. Who’s worth the money, the time? Where is my payback? . . . Who do I want to invest in, and who do I not?”

About 3.5 million dating couples consider themselves long distance, according to the Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships, a Web site affiliated with author Dr. Gregory Guldner, who wrote the self-published Long Distance Relationships: The Complete Guide. An additional 3.6 million couples have commuter marriages, the Web site notes.

Experts say the number of LDRs, as they’re known, has grown with the rise of online dating - which increases the likelihood that Mr. Right lives three states away. The average LDR couple lives 125 miles apart, visits one to two times a month, and calls each other every three days for 30 minutes, according to a Guldner study.

As gas prices reach a nationwide average of $4.11 a gallon - more than a third higher than a year ago - nearly 60 percent of OkCupid.com poll takers would look for a match in a smaller geographic area and 70 percent would not date someone more than 50 miles away. The price of jet fuel has soared even more. In the last year, it has doubled, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Ironically, the same weak economy that might force LDRs to fizzle also could lead the number of love commutes to multiply, according to Caroline Tiger, author of The Long-Distance Relationship Guide. As jobs become scarcer, one half might have to move to chase employment, she said.

Jim Donohue and Christia Gordon, both 26, saw the financial stress mount when he left the San Diego area in late 2006 to come East, where he has family and landed a job.

“We don’t have a ton of disposable income,” said Gordon, a publicity manager. Recently, she worked the Web for a bargain to Philly. Fares hovered above $400 - double what she had paid just 18 months ago, she said. “Basically, right now, you could go to Mexico or the Caribbean for the same money.”

Even worse, those bucks go for a too-short turnaround. Donohue, who lives in Media, spent $450 for a West Coast drop-in over the July Fourth weekend - an expense he found “hard to justify” until he considered the prospect of “not seeing her for three months.” (Awww!)

Gordon was ready to quit her job and join him. Instead, she negotiated a deal as part of a promotion: She can work out of Philly for a week once a month, easing the situation.

Martha Blackburn, 29, lives in Marlton. Her boyfriend, David Williams, 25, a freelance TV station engineer, resides outside St. Louis. The couple bridges the 800 miles with video.

“It was his Valentine’s present to himself and to me,” said Blackburn, membership coordinator at the American Association of Teachers of German in Cherry Hill. “He got a little video camera, and we can see each other over Skype.”

The software allows free phone calls and videoconferencing over the Internet. Alas, “you can’t give someone a hug over Skype,” Blackburn lamented.

Ultimately, said Lisa Chase Patterson, a relationships expert at JustAnswer.com, LDR couples need to resolve the distance.

“Love is love,” said Patterson, who has seen an uptick in queries that mention the toll of gas prices on relationships. “But the reality is that you can’t do this for another five years. The person who does most of the traveling is going to get resentful.”

Tiger, the author, has had three LDRs of her own. The last, with Jon Dunsay, 36, an attorney and now her fiance, worked beautifully: He moved from Washington, D.C., to Center City, a block away from her.

“There’s really no substitute for seeing each other,” Tiger said. Besides, “we can use the money we’re saving . . . to actually travel places together.”

Others, in the meantime, are cutting corners to fund road trips and flights.

“We eat in more often and watch movies at home instead of going out as much,” said Katie Delach, 26, a public relations account manager who lives outside Boston and drives - round-trip: $120 - two, three times a month to Morristown, N.J., to spend time with Will Stokes, 24, a management associate with Subaru of America.

If she drives down more than he drives up, they split the cost of gas and tolls. “Sometimes,” she said, “we meet halfway in southern Connecticut. It gets to the point where, as much as you want to make the drive, we’re both starting out, and we can’t afford it.”

“It’s been a shock,” he said.

A few days ago, the couple caught a break (of sorts) on gas. Stokes’ company moved him to Chicago - and spontaneous, frequent drives are no longer possible.

The couple plan to rely on once-a-month flights. “We’re just going to have to see each other less,” he said. “It’s the only feasible, financially responsible option.”

Karlene Lihota, 25, a graduate student at Thomas Jefferson University who lives in Bella Vista, is luckier than most LDRers.

In another year, she’ll complete her degree and plans to join boyfriend Michael Salguero, 27, an entrepreneur, in Boston.

For now, she watches “100 percent” of income from a part-time Internet job go toward travel between the cities.

“You’ve really got to like the other person to do this,” she said.


Guys, marriages and eHarmony…

Back in January 2006, I wrote a blog post that said eHarmony claimed 90 singles a day were marrying because of eHarmony.  This article below says the numbers are now 236 people marrying a day who met on eHarmony.  I’m not a big fan of eHarmony, but you can’t argue with success.  What are the stats for Match.com and Yahoo! Personals?

eHarmony says its goal is not just to find users dates—It wants them to get married. In fact, the company claims that 236 people a day in the U.S. are married as a result of meeting through their site.

Part of a comment on OnlinePersonalsWatch by Evan Chase:

...while some men find eHarmony a pain in the butt due to all its hoops in guided communication, I actually like it and find it a must have for men dating online.

It’s actually more efficient due to the fact that you don’t have to be creative about your answers until long in to the communication process. How many different ways can you answer, “Your Idea of adventure is?”


Economic realities and dating

A tightening economy is putting the pinch on dating in Britain, and probably here in the old USA.  Read about how our single friends in England are doing with less in their dating budgets. 

Credit Crunches Cupid’s Arrow

LONDON, July 21 /PRNewswire/ --

- Spend on Love Hits All Time Low as Men Expected to Pick up the Bill
- PARSHIP’s Cost of Love Index, Finds Singles Have Decreased Their Love Shopping Bill by 12%
Spiralling debt, soaring inflation and a stalling housing market are hurting Britain’s 8 million love-seeking singles, according to online dating firm PARSHIP’s annual Cost of Love Index.

In just 12 months British singles’ love “shopping bill” has dropped by 12%. In 2008 singles will spend just GBP11.5 billion in the pursuit of love and happiness, compared to the staggering GBP13.1 billion forked out in 2007. What’s more, the cost of love is likely to hurt men far more than women as singles revert back to traditional dating rituals with the man expected to pay on the first date.

PARSHIP.co.uk’s Love Index found that singles have decreased their spend by GBP207 per year. In 2007 they racked up an all-time high of GBP1647 per person - GBP1008 on nights out on the pull, GBP156 on internet dating services, and a further GBP602 on first dates. However, 2008 has seen the average spend per person drop to just GBP1440.

At the height of the dating boom last year, singles went on seven dates over a 12-month period. 2008 sees a return to more modest dating patterns, with singles clocking up just four dates. Likewise, the cost of a first date has dramatically decreased in the same period from GBP69 in 2007 to GBP48 in 2008. Men now spend GBP49, compared to GBP46 spent by women. All things being equal, you would expect the bill at the end of the evening to be split, however only 40% of women were prepared to go Dutch. No less than 42% now expect the man to pay and only 1% of women would be prepared to pick up the bill, preferring to spend their budget on a new pair of shoes.

Although the average single man now spends GBP146.50 a month in his quest for love, one fifth of men (19%) claim to spend over GBP300, while 9% splash out GBP500 or more. By contrast, only 2% of women are prepared to invest over GBP500 a month in love, with their average spend falling to just GBP93.50, over one third (36%) less than the man.

Dr Victoria Lukats, psychiatrist and PARSHIP’s dating expert, commented:

“The rise of online dating as a way of finding a partner may partly explain the reported reduced spend on an average date. When dating on the internet, people may be less likely to spend excessive amounts of money on a first date - because it’s with someone they’ve never met before. Going out for dinner remains a popular choice for a first date, but more and more people tend to opt for lunch, coffee or a drink in a bar. They opt for a less pressured first date to determine if there’s any chemistry before committing to spending a whole evening together.”

“It’s also interesting, but perhaps unsurprising, that men and women alike still expect either the man to pick up the bill on a first date, or for the bill to be split - rather than the woman being expected to pay. Some may feel this is old-fashioned but it’s far from outdated: previous surveys have repeatedly shown that men rate good looks in a partner more highly than women do, while women rate generosity and income of a partner more highly than men do. While these distinct differences exist, it seems that we’re a long way off from women being just as likely to pick up the bill on a first date. Many men still feel a need to demonstrate their generous side on a first date and figures show that many women are still impressed by this.”

The Cost of Love Index survey of 1,000 British singles seeking a long-term relationship was commissioned by PARSHIP, Europe’s largest serious online dating service for single men and women, which features a unique psychometric compatibility test and a methodology that matches you with people who are genuinely right for you.

Cost of love monthly spend Single Men Single Women GBP50 49% 63% GBP100 20% 23% GBP200 12% 8% GBP300 7% 3% GBP400 3% 1% GBP500 9% 2% Cost of a date Region London GBP61 South GBP56 Midlands & Wales GBP38 North GBP41 Scotland GBP55 Northern Ireland GBP118

Notes to editors:
About the survey
The survey was conducted by Innofact in June 2008 and YouGov in August 2007 with 1,000 British adults over the age of 18.
About Dr Victoria Lukats (http://www.drlukats.com) Dr Victoria Lukats, MBBS MRCPsych MSc is a psychiatrist, agony aunt and dating and expert. Dr Lukats is a Specialist Registrar working in the NHS and dating expert for PARSHIP.
PARSHIP.co.uk is the UK’s largest compatibility-based online dating service, specifically for people who are serious about forming a lasting relationship. It is the British subsidiary of Europe’s most successful serious online dating service, now with millions of members, predominantly affluent, educated men and women between 28 and 55 years old.


DNA Matching to find your True Love?  Sounds bogus to me…

This sounds SO ridiculous to me: Getting matched based on your DNA?  Come on,now, folks.  What does your DNA have to do with love and attraction and long-term relationships?  Don’t get sucked into this one. 

From the Washington Post:

Ok, We Have Our First DNA-Based Dating Service: GenePartner

Tuesday, July 22, 2008; 1:48 AM

It was only a matter of time before someone launched a dating site that looks for potential matches based on DNA compatibility. That time is apparently today with the launch of GenePartner (ok, it’s not the first, but it’s the cheapest).

The Switzerland-based company says they can use a $199 DNA test (compare to $1,000 for 23andMe) to help you find your perfect match, statistically speaking. They’ve analyzed “hundreds of couples” and have determined the genetic patterns found in successful relationships. Based on their algorithm and your DNA, they’ll determine the probability for a satisfying and long-lasting relationship between two people (color me skeptical).

What about romance? Chemistry? That certain je ne sais quoi when you meet someone and get a tingling sensation in your stomach? Forget it. The future of dating is DNA tests and buccal swabs, so get used to it:

A brush for collecting your DNA sample from your saliva ? called a buccal swab kit ? will be sent to your address. Following the simple instructions included with the kit you will gently collect the DNA from the inside of your cheek. Use the addressed envelope supplied for returning the brushes.

GenePartner is looking to partner with dating sites and have those services encourage users to see if they’re a DNA match.

Will they be able to avoid tough emerging U.S. laws around genetic testing? Well, they’re in Switzerland. My guess is they’re not going to be too worried about California and other state laws prohibiting their service.

From the Roanoke Times:

What your DNA can (and can’t) tell you about you

Mehmet and Mike are happily married. No, not to each other. To two wonderful ladies (one each, of course). But if they weren’t and they lived, say, near Boston, a peculiar dating service might arouse their curiosity.

For $1,995.95, a company called ScientificMatch.-com claims that if you crack open its special kit, rub a cotton swab on the insides of your cheeks and ship the swab to its lab, that the company will use the DNA it collects to find your soul mate.

The company examines the genes that relate to your immune system—technically, the genes in your major histocompatibility complex—to match you with another member of the dating service who has a very different MHC makeup.

Studies suggest that people are more likely to feel that romantic lightning-in-a-bottle called “chemistry” when they have genetically dissimilar immune systems. (One theory suggests that blending diverse genes gives children stronger immune systems, so it’s an evolutionary advantage.)

This matchmaking venture is just one of dozens of consumer-based genetic testing services that have popped up in recent years. Many others promise to look into your DNA and tell you whether you’re susceptible to certain medical disorders. For about $1,000 and up (not covered by health insurance), services such as 23andMe, Navigenics, Genelex, deCODE Genetics and others will scan your DNA for gene markers linked to heart disease, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, certain cancers and more. Other tests claim to identify nutritional deficiencies and then provide diet advice.

Beyond these pricey services, many over-the-counter DNA test kits are now sold in drugstores for as little as $30. Send in your swab and, for an additional $200 and up, they’ll test your DNA for markers of lupus, sickle cell anemia, depression, glaucoma, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, high blood iron ... the list goes on.

Are they legitimate? In the case of romantic bliss, we have seen the studies linking diverse MHC with sexual attraction in animals and humans.

But we also know that these limited studies—like nearly all research involving genetic testing—probably reveal only a tiny part of a complex process that nobody truly understands yet. So we’d take any advice from ScientificMatch.com (or any other personal DNA-mapping or -matching service) with a grain of salt the size of a Volkswagen.

Gene testing is an amazing tool. Mapping the human genome has yielded powerful new weapons against cancers of the breast, ovaries, colon, prostate and others.

In fact, we have colleagues who refer people for testing for the BRCA 1 and 2 breast-cancer genes every week. For adopted children, gene testing may be the only way to acquire valuable medical information. These tests are conducted by certified laboratories and interpreted by physicians who can help patients decipher and use the findings.

Also, while research has identified genes that contribute to about 1,400 diseases or disorders, so far most of these provide only preliminary clues. And with certain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, genetic mutations don’t always mean you’ll get a disease. So you really need a counselor help you interpret the results.

The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate the quality of the counseling you get after using one of these consumer DNA tests. These kits could give you helpful information, or leave you feeling falsely safe or needlessly scared. Before trying one, start with these steps:

n Thoroughly discuss your family medical history with your doctor, going back to your grandparents. This can yield vital information. Counselors should ask for this history; if they don’t, you need a different laboratory and counselor.

n If you decide to go ahead, be sure that the company keeps your test results confidential. A recent federal law prohibits job or health insurance discrimination based on genetic tests, but we’re still in uncharted legal territory.

n Review the test results with your doctor or a certified genetic counselor (ask your doc for a referral), not just a rep from the testing company, especially before buying pricey supplements or additional services.

Comment on posting on OnlinePersonalsWatch:

When you take a healthy objective and critical look at these claims of “chemistry” related to DNA matching, one quickly realizes that there’s nothing substantive there to back them up. In fact, some companies have no grasp of the very research they tout to justify their methods.

However, my team has volunteered pro bono to conduct a real-world test of at least one company’s claims. The double-blind experiment would then be submitted for academic publication. It’s disappointing, but not that surprising, that this particular company desperately avoided this offer.

Interested reporters are encouraged to contact me for full details.

As an industry insider and respected compatibility researcher, my professional opinion is that consumers should stay away from DNA dating (and save money on these costly services) until real-world validation studies on their services prove they actually predict relationship quality.


James Houran, Ph.D.


What do people lie about online?  BeNaughty.com weighs in…

Here’s a very interesting survey by a British dating site about what singles like about.  A whopping 29% lied about the level of their debt!  I rarely hear about debt as being of concern.  Most folks get angry about lies that concern looks, like old photos or guys who say they are taller than they are.  Maybe Brits worry less about being over 6 feet—this survey says only 5% lie about height anyway. What’s the purpose of a lie about height, when anyone can tell on a first meeting?  Come to think of it, debt likely is easier to hide. 

BeNaughty.com Survey Exposes Britain’s Top Fibs

LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Britain’s top fibs exposed in BeNaughty.com survey.

1. Debt (29%)

2. Smoking/drinking (28%)

3. Weight (24%)

4. Number of sexual partners (14%)

5. Age (13%)

6. Salary (11%)

7. Fidelity (9%)

8. Hobbies (8%)

9. Job/employment (8%)

10. Education/qualifications (7%)

11. Travel experience (5%)

12. Height (5%)

13. Where you live (5%)

14. Physical endowments (4%)

The number one thing we lie about in the UK is our own personal level of debt, according to a new national survey into our biggest fibs.

The Truth Be Told survey, commissioned by online dating site http://www.benaughty.com, revealed that nearly a third (29%) of the 1,028 people between 16 and 64 that were interviewed said they lied about how much money they owe*.

Running a close second (28%) of the things people lied most about was how much we drink and smoke.

And third in the benaughty.com survey, with just under a quarter of votes (24%), were lies about how much we weigh.

Number of sexual partners comes fourth in the list (14%), while a person’s age is fifth (13%).

Surprisingly, the thing both men and women lied about least was the size of their physical endowments.

Men versus Women – who are the biggest liars?

While just one in seven men lie about their weight, the figure leaps to more than one in three women.

The benaughty.com survey also reveals women lie slightly more than men when it comes to debt (30% compared to 28%), and are similar when lying about their smoking and drinking habits (28% and 27%).

Max Polyakov, EasyDate Ltd chief operating officer, said: “I admit I was surprised by the results of our survey because to be honest I expected most people to say they lied about their age or their educational qualifications.

“People must feel pretty ashamed of their financial situation or how much they drink or smoke if they feel the need to lie about it. These are really important things and honesty between people is really very important for relationships to survive and develop.”

http://www.benaughty.com will offer its website users the opportunity to compare themselves against the survey results, to see how they compare with the various national and regional trends.

Notes to editors

*Research conducted by TNS OnLineBus among 1,028 GB adults aged 16-64.

Interviewing was by CAWI over the internet between 24 and 26 June 2008.


The Boston Globe tunes in on mid-life dating…

I like this article that just came out in the Boston Globe.  It features just the folks I write for and coach, those singles over 35 or 40 who want to find the love of their lives.  Too bad the author didn’t find me, because as you all know, I found my love on Match.com, am a Romance Coach, and am from Maine—so is Stacey Chase!  Oh well, maybe next time.  But anyway, back to the article.  I LOVED how the author treated the gay male couple exactly as she would have a heterosexual couple, right down to the question of getting married.  I do think that the women’s expectations of the guys at the dating event were too high.  Go easy, ladies.  Thye may not see you as that much of a catch, either. 

Older, Wiser, and Available The middle-aged dating scene, filled with singles weighing one another’s emotional baggage, isn’t for the weak of heart.
By Stacey Chase
July 27, 2008

IT’S A MONDAY NIGHT AND Gretchen Grufman, a home remodeler with freckles and strawberry-blond hair, has just met eight men in a series of six-minute “predates” - the romantic round robin better known as speed dating - at a Portsmouth, New Hampshire, sports bar. There was the soft-spoken, baldheaded Briton; the goateed general contractor who loves ballroom dancing; the 48-year-old grandfather of seven in a suit; and the Harley-riding IT manager who divorced a second time three months ago. * Single since 1992, Grufman is herself twice divorced with two grown sons. “I’ve been engaged a few times, but I haven’t worked up the courage to get married again,” says the 55-year-old who recently moved to Amesbury from Wells, Maine. Still, middle-aged dating is not for the faint of heart. Baby boomers like her, born between 1946 and 1964, are more likely than previous generations were to find themselves - graying and with badly bruised egos - on the youth-obsessed dating scene. The high incidence of divorce, declining marriage rates, and longer life spans have contributed to the single-boomer phenomenon. An AARP analysis of 2007 US Census Bureau data found that of the 76.7 million baby boomers, 18.5 percent were divorced or separated, 10.6 percent had never married, and 2.8 percent were widowed, making nearly a third of the generation (24.5 million) single.

“Fifty, 60 years ago, dating among this age group would be unheard of,” says 46-year-old Mary Elizabeth Hughes, a demographer at Johns Hopkins University and coauthor of a 2004 study The Lives and Times of the Baby Boomers. “Most people would already be married, and if they weren’t married they probably weren’t dating.”

For those looking for love with like-minded and like-aged people today, it’s a brave new world often complicated by love-gone-wrong histories with ex-spouses or lovers, and by children and grandchildren, dependent elderly parents, careers, health problems, and emotional baggage that won’t fit into the overhead compartment. Framingham State College sociology professor Virginia Rutter says all that can be good: “The baggage is actually part of what makes the person you’re with a human being, and you have this opportunity to connect with them in the middle of the plot of their story.”

Many older daters, like those at the speed-dating event sponsored by Cupid.com/PreDating, are embracing Cupid and other online dating sites like Match.com and eHarmony.com. Though helped along by modern technology, much of the conversation Monday night was painfully predictable: weather and work. One man mentioned the diarrhea outbreak at his mother’s assisted-living facility. Another told Grufman afterward that he’d frequented a strip club in her old town.

Sally LaRochelle, a 49-year-old two-time divorcee and administrative assistant in Dover, New Hampshire, sporting ultra short white hair and dark-rimmed glasses, was turned off by the potential suitors. “On a scale of one to 10 . . . they’re probably like twos,” she says. “They seemed a little desperate, and some of them just seemed to be too old.”

The newly re-divorced IT manager, Charlie Petrikas, 56, from South Berwick, Maine, confesses: “I still think I do need to heal a bit, but I don’t want to sit around.”

Susan Fox owns Personals Work in the South End, a matchmaking service that provides its largely female boomer clientele with tools such as ghostwriting personal ads and flirting and style tips for finding a mate. Says Fox: “I’ve even told women who’ve come in that they need to color their hair.” She helps singles to first figure out who they are and what they’re seeking - physical characteristics, occupation, religion, interests, smoking habits - and then create a list of “non-negotiables” for Mr. or Ms. Right, often disregarding a client’s “wish list.” (One client rattled off 142 deal breakers and, needless to say, was not a success story.)

Her advice? Forget love at first sight. Take a second look - and a third, and a fourth.

“We’re not all pulled together with the same level of hormonal urgency that we were when we were 27 or 33,” says the 50-something Fox. “People really need to be able to say, `OK. I like this person well enough to see him or her again and see if something develops here.’”

Bostonian Beverly Summer is a slender brunette in her mid-40s, never married, childless, Ivy League-educated, and runs her own financial-services company. “If I were a guy,” she quips, “I would be the most eligible bachelor in Boston.”

Having tried everything from charity events to pub crawls, Summer turned to Personals Work two years ago in her hard-charging hunt for a husband. Since then, she has viewed dozens of profiles and dated two men from Match.com, going out for several months with each of them, but she still hasn’t met The One. “There’s no science to it,” she says. “It’s a just a matter of time, kissing frogs.”

THEY SPARKED THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION, but for many boomers - those in the first wave are turning 62, while late boomers are hitting 44 this year - reentering the dating game, sometimes after decades, or continuing to search despite long odds, is both unnerving and liberating in ways that hooking up in their younger days was not. “The romance of your 20s - whether you actually decide to have children or not - is the script about how, especially in the heterosexual ideal, we get together, and we make a family, and we have our little dream world,” says the 44-year-old Rutter, who became a widow at age 35. “That is no longer on the table when you’re in your 40s, 50s, and 60s.”

By shedding stereotypical gender roles, Rutter says, midlifers have a lot more freedom to be themselves, and romance becomes less of a fantasy than a practicality that involves negotiating complexities such as child-custody arrangements, retirement planning, and medical directives. “That isn’t less romantic,” she says, “but the romance is different.”

Michael Walsh, a 50-year-old landscape designer in Braintree, and his partner, David Richman, 52, of Aventura, Florida, had a whirlwind courtship after viewing each other’s profiles on Match.com on October 2, 2006. That Monday night, they exchanged e-mails. Tuesday morning, they talked by phone. On Friday, Walsh was picking up Richman, a commercial property manager, at Logan Airport. By Sunday, they were in love.

The blissful pair, who currently maintain separate homes in their respective states (and another in Seattle), are together roughly 70 percent of the time. They have yet to decide whether they’ll marry, or to work out the logistics - primarily their careers and assets - in order to live in the same city. “My home is where David is,” Walsh says, “and his home is where I am.”

“It’s such a relief [not to be looking anymore] because that was my life - I was always looking for a partner,” continues Walsh, who eats only organic food and advertised himself on Match as Upbeat Buddhist Jock Seeks Attachment. “Other people stop looking; they give up.”

Boomers still on a quest for a mature, meaningful relationship say they have learned from their mistakes and heartaches and - though the peer dating pool is significantly smaller - seem to even cherish the peculiar bittersweetness of middle-aged love: that the biological urge to reproduce is typically over, that expectations of love are more realistic, that women tend to have a greater level of equality, that partners understand neither person will be molded to fit the other’s desires.

“With the mush comes the gloom,” Richman says. “I want to be able to be naked in front of somebody . . . and be completely comfortable. And naked in even more than the physical sense, emotionally be naked.”

Annie McCormick, a 51-year-old graphic artist in Burlington, Vermont, has had her heart repeatedly ripped out in a series of long-term, monogamous relationships since her 1984 divorce. “I tend to choose men who have addiction problems,” she says. “One cheated. One was violent. One was an alcoholic who drank. And, then, the last one was a pothead.”

McCormick blames herself, not the men. “I’m not honest from the start, as far as: `This is me. These are my needs,’ “ she says, “I’m a people pleaser.” Five years ago, after she and her last, live-in boyfriend split, McCormick says she “kind of went into hiding” but is timorously ready to seek love again. “I do get lonely lately, a little bit.”

Boomers, who took the first birth-control pills and campaigned for women’s rights, are leading active sex lives, surveys show, but those out of practice and on the prowl can be as nervous as fumbling teenagers when it comes to physical intimacy. “Generally, for people who are widowed or gone through a really painful divorce, there’s a fear,” says Fox, the matchmaker and a trained psychologist. Others are free-lovebirds who want “to get back out there and have sex to kind of get them in the swing of things again.”

“I’ve worked with women clients who regularly have sex on the first date!” she adds. “And older boomers!”

In 2004, a sexuality study by AARP revealed that slightly more than a third of the midlife and older respondents - and half of those with regular sexual partners - reported having sexual intercourse once a week or more. In addition, 53 percent said they engage in sexual touching or caressing, while 69 percent reported they kiss or hug their partner on a regular basis.

Leonard Steinhorn, a communications professor at American University and author of The Greater Generation: In Defense of the Baby Boom Legacy, predicts boomers will continue to transform American society even as they age. “Boomers are going to also reinvent the idea of what it means to be elderly,” says the 52-year-old former political speechwriter. “They’re going to look at being elderly as being vital, as vigorous, as still irreverent. Boomers are going to grow old but stay young.”

They may, or may not, decide one is the loneliest number. Cathy Chamberlain, a 59-year-old human resources manager in South Burlington, Vermont, has had boyfriends but never gotten married or had children and says she’s committed to her singlehood. “The loss I feel is more the sense of family,” she says. “I have it with a variety of girlfriends - you create your own family - and I just don’t know what that’s going to look like 10, 15 years from now.”

Meanwhile, Grufman, the speed dater from Amesbury, continues her pursuit of a mate. On her Cupid.com score card, she selected the option “Let’s Talk!” over “No Thanks” for five of the eight men she’d recently met; three men indicated they would like to hear from her again. (She believes some of them didn’t pick her because they thought she was an actress or model hired as a ringer.)

“My uncles, and my dad, and my grandfathers all treated their wives like they were on pedestals,” Grufman says. “I don’t really expect to be on a pedestal, but I sure expect to be treated pretty good.”

Looking wistful in a dark corner of the bar, she adds: “I’m not an unhappy person, but I definitely don’t want to grow old alone.”


More on scamming and how to protect yourself

As far as I am concerned, I can never warn you too much about scamming.  You have to pay attention when you are dating, online or otherwise.  It is all too easy to let what you want to happen get in the way of what actually is going on.  Here’s an article from ConsumerAffairs.com that says it all again, with some good guidelines that I have put in bold.

Love’s Labors Looted: Internet Dating Scams Can Get Expensive
Organized crime preys on the lonely; sites don’t check backgrounds

By Joseph S. Enoch

July 28, 2008

Like so many others who go looking for love on Internet dating sites, Annette was lonely.

She thought she had found the answer to her loneliness when in early March, Eharmony.com matched her with John, a fair-skinned 41-year-old Christian building engineer from California.

The only problem was that he was working on a project in Nigeria, but would be back in the U.S. soon with his daughter, Hailey.

John was everything a lonely woman could want. He was attentive, sent lots of text messages and e-cards and even called Annette’s cell phone. He even said he was a millionaire.

Everything was fine until John said the customs agents at the airport in Nigeria confiscated his luggage for a week containing his $45,000 in travelers’ checks, he told Annette. He just needed $1,300 to get him and his daughter by for a week. Annette didn’t think twice about helping the man of her dreams.

But John’s situation worsened by the day after that. His luggage was stolen, his daughter was kidnapped, they were ambushed by thugs and by the end of it all in June, Annette had wiped out her life savings by wiring $36,300 – not to mention $733 in wire transfer fees—to Nigeria.

John kept pushing until she had nothing left to give, said Annette’s brother, Warren, who spoke on the condition that he and his sister’s full identities would not be published for fear of shaming their family. Warren spoke for Annette because she was too embarrassed to be interviewed by ConsumerAffairs.com over the phone.

In saved chats Annette provided, John wooed her by calling her cutesy names and making promises of a life together. Despite his terrible grammar and her hesitancy later in their relationship, she still gave him everything he wanted.

“Honey,i just wanted you to know the sitaution here is getting worse and i’ve negotiated with the man that brought me back to Africa,” John wrote. “He said i should bring the sum of $2600 before i would be able to sign the document belonging to my house. ... Honey i know i’m causing you alot of stress but i want to promise you this problem i’m facing here will end in time. ... I want to spend the rest of my life with you and Hailey.”

He repeatedly promised he would pay her back in full with interest.

John made repeated comments about “God” and “going to church.”
God will provide

“I believe the almighty God will see both of us through,” he wrote.

When she balked at his requests, John would say, “If you don’t give me the money, it means you don’t love me,” Warren said.

Although Annette’s case may be the most extreme, it’s not the first. ConsumerAffairs.com has received at least 20 complaints from consumers who fell or nearly fell for scammers they met on online dating sites.

“I met someone whom I thought was special and he turned out to be a con artist from Nigeria who asked me for $300,” Minerva of Long Beach, Calif. wrote. That was not an isolated incidence. “These predators contacted me about eight different times on Match.com, but I learned from the first one.”

In October 2006 ConsumerAffairs.com published the story of Eduard of Mantua, N.J. who wired $13,000 to a woman in France he met online.

Mark Brooks, editor of the Internet dating publication, OnlinePersonalsWatch.com and a consultant for the industry, said every dating Web site has problems with scammers from all over the world.

“This is organized crime,” Brooks said. “This is not necessarily individuals out there. They are targeting lots of different industries, but idating is one of them. They have it down to a science – knowing what threshold people will take.”
Organized crime

Many of these scammers work together to create enormous fraud rings and share data on how best to scam people, said Scott Olson, vice president of marketing for iovation, a company that tracks computers so that Web sites can block devices that have a history of being connected with fraud.

“We’ve seen fraud rings that have hundreds of accounts per device that they basically are repeating their scams over and over again with many different people,” Olson said. “These are organized fraud rings that do this as a big business. They have a formula very much like telemarketing where they have a script.”

Brooks said he has spoken with many consumers who have been the victim of fraud on Internet dating sites.

“You look at these cases and you think ‘how could anybody be daft enough to part with so much money?’ But one only needs to talk to these victims one on one to realize that these are vulnerable people and these people open up their hearts and minds to meeting new people and trusting Internet dating sites with these very precious things,” Brooks said.

Scammers sometimes take several months to develop relationships before they start asking for money, Brooks said.

“They’re very good at pulling on the heartstrings,” Brooks said. “They want to get as much emotional connection with their victim as quickly as possible so they can convert them to whatever scam they want to. The main thing is that they want to open up the wallet as soon as possible and as soon as they have the wallet open for any amount ... then they know they can extend that and they can keep upping the ante.”

Besides Nigeria, Brooks said Russia is also on the cutting edge of online date site fraud.

“The males tend to fall for the picture of the beautiful Russian woman and they get to the stage that they want to fly her into the country, she can’t buy a ticket on her side ... so he’ll spring a thousand plus dollars to fly her from Russia, (he waits) at the airport and no one shows up,” Brooks said. “That’s a very common scam.”

Eharmony.com’s vice president of marketing, Fiona Posell, said the company is not responsible for any money its consumers lose to scammers that Eharmony.com matches them up with.

“We are very clear with our users, but ultimately it’s their responsibility and with many things, finding a relationship is an emotional experience and judgment can be clouded and that’s why we tell them to follow the guidelines we give them,” Possell said.

According to Eharmony.com’s Web site, customers should avoid those who:

• Ask for money
• Ask inappropriate questions
• Want to speed up the pace beyond the user’s comfort level
• Tell stories with inconsistencies, some which may sound grandiose
• Give vague answers to specific questions
• Urge consumers to compromise their principles
• Constantly blame others for troubles in his or her life
• Insist on getting overly close, overly fast
• Ask for the user’s login or password information

Eharmony.com relies on its network of 20 million users to turn in those who break the rules so representatives can remove them, Posell said.

In the case of “John,” Eharmony.com discovered he was using a stolen credit card 15 days after he signed up and notified Annette three days later on March 14, three days before she wired John the first loan of $1,300, Posell wrote in an e-mail.

“This is a very unfortunate, very unusual case and we feel really bad about it,” Posell said.
No background checks

Eharmony.com clearly states on its Web site that it does not perform background checks.

“There is no way to do that with complete certainty that it can be done in a way that wouldn’t convey to our users some sort of safety net that we can’t provide,” Posell said. “It’s very hard to perform a background check on an individual to the extent that you would want to. We are very clear that we don’t do that.”

Some Web sites do offer background checks, but Brooks agreed with Posell that most background checks would be costly with little increase in safety.

“They inspire a false sense of security, they don’t really work that well and they kind of cost a lot,” Brooks said.

A very basic background check costs about $10, Brooks said but warned that most scammers would still be able to get around that layer of security.

“If you did a real background check that actually did sophisticated phone verification and friend verification and other things like that, it would be so cost prohibitive the industry couldn’t even exist,” Brooks said.

Everyone ConsumerAffairs.com interviewed for this story said consumers should never give any money to anyone they meet online and that’s why Warren said he doesn’t completely blame Eharmony.com for what happened to Annette.

“Ultimately, it’s my sister’s fault,” Warren said. “I believe people should take personal responsibility. Maybe (Eharmony.com) was a bit too lax, but at the end of the day, we should all be grown ups. ... We should be smart enough, mature enough and wise enough not to fall for these things.”


Gays, lesbians and purchasing power

I’ve thought for a long time that it would be the money that gay people have to spend that would be the key to unlock the proverbial closet. Gay folks, particularly gay male couples, have a lot of money to get rid of—just think about it: Usually two wage earners, both men, who tend to get paid more than women, and most often, no financial responsibility for children.  Gay male couples can be economic powerhouses, and just look at ads in the New York Times to see how the tonier businesses are going after their bank accounts.

This article below spotlights businesses that are leaving gay money on the table, eHarmony being number one.  eHarmony may be getting enough straight dollars to pooh pooh potential gay clients, but in this economic downturn, no markets can be ignored.

What I don’t like about this article is the use of the word “cater.” The word implies “giving special treatment to” and that is just what the political right tries to portray gays as trying to get: Special treatment.  It is not special treatment to get the same service—or rights—as anyone else.  The dollars may be gay ones, but they are worth exactly the same whether a gay or straight person spends them, and the money is indistinguishable once it is spent. 

Homosexuals’ Money Is No Good Here
Some Businesses Don’t Cater to Gays, Lesbians at a Cost to the Bottom Line

June 19, 2008 —

Some businesses still don’t cater to homosexuals, ignoring a potentially lucrative source of revenue, says University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee economist Keith A. Bender.

One of the most well-known examples is eHarmony.com, even as California, the country’s most populated state, began performing same-sex marriages this week. The online dating Web site bills itself as a provider of what it calls unique measurements for compatibility that, according to a representative, do not cater to same-sex partnering.

“The research is based on six Ph.D. psychologists and 29 variables for compatibility called the compatibility matching system,” said David D., an eHarmony representative who refused to give his full name.

The Pasadena, Calif.-based site, which began in 2000, says it serves about 20 million members across the United States, Canada and Australia.

On the sexual orientation issue, “It is false to say eHarmony discriminates against gays or lesbians,” the company said in a statement. “Nothing precludes us from providing same-sex matching in the future. It’s just not a service we offer now.”

The Web site’s measurements for matches were developed by Neil Clark Warren, who says that eHarmony is the first online dating service to use relationship science to pair its singles.

Bender, the Wisconsin economist, believes that the Web site eHarmony and other companies could be more profitable if they offered their services to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.

“These companies are cutting out a certain segment of the population that they could be getting revenue from,” Bender said. “Statistics I’ve heard say that around 10 percent of the population expresses some homosexual tendencies. One way to think about these businesses is that companies like eHarmony could increase their revenues by about 10 percent, assuming that the same rates of homosexuals as heterosexuals would take advantage of these kinds of dating sites.”

There are 417,044 pairs of unmarried male partners and 362,823 pairs of unmarried female partners living together in this country, according to a 2006 American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau. That does not take into account homosexual singles or married couples.

Robert Lee, the owner and editor of aLoveLinksPlus.com—a dating service directory—said that while some dating Web sites explicitly exclude homosexual singles, others do not make their policies as obvious.

“EHarmony.com is a standout,” Lee said. “But there are also some smaller niche sites that are only for straights, which are not as vigilant in saying you have to be straight to join.”

Some fitness centers, resorts and other services continue to exclude homosexuals as well.

Recent examples include:

In New Mexico, Elaine Huguenin, a professional photographer from Albuquerque, told a lesbian couple in April that she would not photograph them because she only works with straight couples.

In July 2007, Rochester, N.Y., couple Amy and Sarah Monson were refused membership at the Rochester Athletic Club. These two women said that they were in a committed relationship and that they should be allowed to buy a membership.

It took until June 2007 for the University of Virginia to allow same-sex couples to join its gym, according to the Washington Post.

In May 2008, Drs. Christine Brody and Douglas Fenton refused to give infertility treatment to a lesbian couple because of their religious views. One of the patients wanted to be artificially inseminated, and the doctors’ refusal led to a case that reached the Supreme Court.

Clinical Coordinator Christopher Johnson of the Gay Men of African Descent advocacy group says these practices are offensive and discriminatory.

“In terms of a social decision, it keeps people who are of the lesbian-gay-transsexual-bisexual community outside of society where they can’t connect to one another through those institutions or those businesses,” he said.

“That is discrimination. Although society has made some progress, there is still a lot of work to do to make people know that gay people have rights as well. The decision to have people keep us out of their businesses is unconstitutional.”

But the legal issues are unresolved, said Emma Dickson, a New York attorney.

“There has been discussion about whether sexual orientation is necessarily included under our civil rights laws,” she said. “As we are moving towards recognizing gay rights as civil rights, we could make a parallel between not serving a black person in a diner because of his or her race and not being able to participate in a dating Web site because of one’s sexual orientation.”

Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures


Get smart and protect yourself from scams

Now, if the following piece isn’t enough to put you off those millionaire sites, I don’t know what is.  This guy was able to swindle eight women by posing as a music mogul.  It seems pretty clear that these women assumed that the guy was telling the truth.  Likely, that he had presented himself as rich and that these women were looking for rich (since both were listed on MillionaireMatch) blinded these ladies.  The guy was HOMELESS.  They sent the money to his ex-wife’s address!  A simple background search would have alerted a wise single. 

I’m working all the time to help singles avoid being scammed.  Take a look at my One Page $1 Wonders ...  Not only will you be better able to protect yourself with my concise, digestible reports on scamming, but also, you get a 25% discount from my favorite background checking source, AssetSearchPros.com

Homeless man gets more than $100,000 from online conquests
By Sofia Diogo Mateus
Last updated: 1:17 PM BST 05/06/2008
A homeless man posing as a millionaire was arrested for scamming 13 women for more than $100,000.

Through the website MillionaireMatch.com, Paul Kruger, 50, met and convinced eight women that he was a Grammy-nominated music mogul who had worked with Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones, amongst others.

He met the other five alleged victims through one of the women he met on the website.

Later he said needed money for a CD and DVD manufacturing investment, for which the women sent him a total $102,000.

One of the victims was even shown a false stock reports, the court heard, since the operation apparently involved group investment in stock options.

“He did have a good story,” said one victim, a sales manager in Costa Mesa, Calif., who records show gave him $10,000.

The website, which describes itself as the “number one dating site for succesful singles and admirers”, is free and unregulated and anyone can join and claim to be a millionaire, simply by saying that they win $150,000 or more annually.

Steve Kasper, the marketing vice president of Successfulmatch.com, the parent company of MillionaireMatch.com, both bases in Toronto, said it was up to users to self-police.

“We do tell all of our members on all of our sites that you have to take precautions when you’re on the Internet and looking at people that you’re going to meet,” he said.

Charges were filed in Souderton, Pennsylvania, because that is where he told women to send him money; it is also the address of the home of his ex-wife, authorities said.

The money was used to fuel his gambling addiction, since he had various VIP casino accounts, authorities said.

Mr Krueger declined to comment to reporters as he was arraigned on charges of theft by unlawful taking or disposition, theft by deception, deceptive or fraudulent business practices and Pennsylvania Securities Act violations.

The Californian woman said she was willing to be a witness but that the experience had not put her off online dating.

“You have to be careful whereever you go,” said the woman, who is in her 30s. “You could get scammed meeting someone at a bar. It doesn’t matter. You just have to do your due diligence, and I didn’t.”


Deals on keeping yourself safe

Anyone who reads my blog or newsletter *eMAIL to eMATE* knows that I am constantly harping about safety.  While I don’t think scamming is as much of a problem as most folks think, still, you are the only one who can protect you.  Being educated is the first line of defense. Reading what I have posted here on this blog is a great place to start your education.  I’ve also started developing products to help you get informed, the distilled, “nitty-gritty” about scamming (and lying!) in cheap ($1 each) easy to digest bites: My One Page $1 Wonders.

I’ve also located a great resource for singles concerned about their safety:  AssetSearchPros.com Asset Search Pros has offered an excellent deal for my Find-a-Sweetheart readers and clients: A big 25% discount on all their search packages!  Yea!  We like deals! 

To get you to make yourself just that much safer, all you have to do to take advantage of AssetSearchPros.com’s offer is to buy one or more of my One Page $1 Wonders. After your purchase, you’ll get a followup email with a promotional code that you will use on the AssetSearchPros.com’s site for your selections there.  Is that a deal or what?

AssetSearchPros sent me the following description about background searches that will help you figure out if they are something you can use.  You might want to think about having a search done on yourself.  After all, someone you are dating could easily do a search on YOU.  Shouldn’t you be aware of what might come up?

The Value of a Dating Background Check

Online dating is the fastest growing method for singles who are looking for compatible partners. Whether a person is in their 20’s and just looking for someone to “hang out with” or is older and seeks a “serious relationship”, online dating is the preferred method of millions of people.

Companies such as Match.com, eHarmony, and PlentyofFish provide information on millions of profiles, and sustain business by enrolling hundreds of thousands of new members every year. While it is exciting to find someone whose profile appears compatible with yours, remember that all information is provided by the member themselves. Each member understandably portrays themselves in the best light. Who hasn’t wanted to shave a few pounds of extra weight off of their waistline or deduct a year or two from their actual age? Doesn’t every 41 year old have a better chance of meeting “Mr. Right” when they say that they are 39?

While it is never a good idea to lie when you are looking to build a long-term, trusting relationship, some convenient fudging might be excusable, like height and weight.  But perverts, predators, rapists and murders have equal access to computers and dating sites. While online dating is “safe” and impersonal while you are behind a computer and emailing someone, there comes the time when you actually meet your online partner. How do you know that they are in reality who they claim to be?

A Dating Background Check is an inexpensive method to verify information that you have received. While it can seem minor that someone tries to cover over a few gray hairs or denies owning a herd of cats, information regarding current marital status, financial and legal problems are important, and will be revealed by having a Background Check from a service provider such as Asset Search Pros.

Here are some frequently asked questions and recommendations from our clients.

Q: I just met my date for the first time. We had a cup of coffee. When we discussed jobs and families, he told me that he had just moved to the area and didn’t really know anyone. How do I know he was telling me the truth?

A: We would recommend our Bronze Peace of Mind background check package. It is priced at less than $20 and will verify the name, and possible aliases, as well as current and previous addresses.

Q: I am in my fifties and am just starting to try to meet someone after my spouse died. What kind of things should I be wary of?

A: You need to be protect your personal finances. You may be self-sufficient in the area of money, but in today’s society, many people have had financial reversals. Some of these people are victims and some are guilty of fraud. You don’t want yourself and your children to lose everything to someone who has bankruptcies or court ordered judgments against them. If you should get married, remember, you could become liable for their debts. We recommend our Silver Peace of Mind background check for only $39. It is a small price to pay to discover any public information financial records including bankruptcies, tax liens and property ownership. This package also includes the name and address information provided in the Bronze package.

Q: I am a single mom with two teenage daughters. I just met the most wonderful man. He told me he has children, but doesn’t have much contact with them. How can I know that he is on the up and up?

A: Although it is exciting to meet someone, our children’s safety must be our major priority. Asset Search Pros has access to nationwide criminal databases. We specialize in obtaining names of convicted sex offenders. Our Golden Peace of Mind background check is available for $59 and includes searches for criminals and sex offenders. The package also includes the financials and other information provided in the Bronze and Silver packages.

Q: The person that I have been dating says he has never been married before. He always avoids looking me in the eyes when he talks about his past.  He makes good money, but never seems to pay for his share of the expenses on our dates. Things just seem fishy. Any recommendations?

A: Many of us have things in our past that we are not proud of and are reluctant to reveal. Still, it is better to learn as much as you can about someone before a major surprise comes at you unexpectedly. There could be financial problems or a past criminal conviction. He could have been married before and the reason he is not paying for your dates is the fact that he has court-ordered child support garnishments. There are steps you can take to verify the information he provided. One of the simplest, most economical and accurate methods is to purchase our Platinum Peace of Mind dating background check. It is only $89 and will provide information for: Nationwide criminal convictions, sex offender search, previous marriages, maiden name, bankruptcies, tax liens, civil judgments, possible aliases, extensive address history, property ownership and property values, vehicle ownership, professional licenses, and business ownerships.

All of these packages are available by going to http://www.assetsearchpros.com and clicking on the button “Dating Background”. Just click on Dating Background Check packages and you will see the description of each package. There is a convenient shopping cart for your benefit.


Millionaire Scratch?

In Internet dating, the caveat is always “Buyer beware!” and here is another good example of why.  I haven’t the vaguest idea why any millionaire would list on a dating site like MillionaireMatch.com, or why anyone would believe the riches story.  But clearly folks do—believe, I mean.  Remember the other adage, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” Underlines below are mine.

Homeless man gets more than $100,000 from online conquests
By Sofia Diogo Mateus

A homeless man posing as a millionaire was arrested for scamming 13 women for more than $100,000.

Through the website MillionaireMatch.com, Paul Kruger, 50, met and convinced eight women that he was a Grammy-nominated music mogul who had worked with Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones, amongst others.

He met the other five alleged victims through one of the women he met on the website.

Later he said needed money for a CD and DVD manufacturing investment, for which the women sent him a total $102,000.

One of the victims was even shown a false stock reports, the court heard, since the operation apparently involved group investment in stock options.

“He did have a good story,” said one victim, a sales manager in Costa Mesa, Calif., who records show gave him $10,000.

The website, which describes itself as the “number one dating site for succesful singles and admirers”, is free and unregulated and anyone can join and claim to be a millionaire, simply by saying that they win $150,000 or more annually.

Steve Kasper, the marketing vice president of Successfulmatch.com, the parent company of MillionaireMatch.com, both bases in Toronto, said it was up to users to self-police.

“We do tell all of our members on all of our sites that you have to take precautions when you’re on the Internet and looking at people that you’re going to meet,” he said.

Charges were filed in Souderton, Pennsylvania, because that is where he told women to send him money; it is also the address of the home of his ex-wife, authorities said.

The money was used to fuel his gambling addiction, since he had various VIP casino accounts, authorities said.

Mr Krueger declined to comment to reporters as he was arraigned on charges of theft by unlawful taking or disposition, theft by deception, deceptive or fraudulent business practices and Pennsylvania Securities Act violations.

The Californian woman said she was willing to be a witness but that the experience had not put her off online dating.

“You have to be careful whereever you go,” said the woman, who is in her 30s. “You could get scammed meeting someone at a bar. It doesn’t matter. You just have to do your due diligence, and I didn’t.”


Getting to know you…sometimes too much!

Here’s an article that highlights one of the advantages—and distinct changes—that online dating has brought to courtship and mating.  And one of Internet datings BIG advantages: You know a lot about a person before you even make the first contact, because so much is revealed in their profile.

And just as so often a plus is also a minus, you can find out too much, as the article points out. 

Facebook deletes much of the mystery from dating
By Heidi Stevens
Chicago Tribune
Article Launched: 06/04/2008 12:04:06 AM PDT

Oliver Pangborn hates Dave Matthews Band.

If you looooove Dave Matthews Band, Pangborn probably doesn’t want to date you. If you share his loathing, eh, drop him a line.

Gone are the days when it took a date, maybe two, to find out a person’s resume of likes and dislikes — favorite movie, favorite quotes, special causes. Online matchmaking sites rendered that notion quaint years ago, and now social networking sites are doing their part to obliterate it. “Facebook and MySpace are kind of robbing the mysteries out of dating,” said Pangborn, 30, who lives on Chicago’s Gold Coast. “You find out all these little things about people that you might otherwise let go. If I see someone’s favorite quote is a Dave Matthews lyric or favorite band is Jimmy Buffett, I automatically have an image of them. And it kind of lingers.”

Thanks to online profiles that list everything from salary range to current reading selections, we’ve gotten used to knowing someone’s vital stats before we even meet face to face. Has this changed the qualities we look for in a partner?

Are we becoming a society of mirror-image seekers?

Not quite, say some experts. But we are becoming more adept at linking ourselves to kindred spirits — and that’s a good thing.

“We know from research that opposites don’t really attract,” said Les Parrott, author, psychologist, family therapist and, most recently, online marital counselor for eHarmony Marriage.  “The truth is we’re drawn to people that are like us, and the more we have in common — especially on matters that mean the most to us — the easier time we’re going to have.”

That doesn’t mean you should seek out your doppelganger. For one thing, he or she doesn’t exist. “There’s no such thing as the perfect match,” Parrott said. “Human beings are so complex. No matter how much you have in common, you’re going to have differences.”

Vive la difference

And besides, those differences are half the fun.

“We help each other become better human beings,” Parrott said. “You’re the proverbial sandpaper for each other’s rough edges. If you’re well-matched, you’re going to expand each other’s horizons.”

Pangborn admits he sometimes longs for the days when we weren’t armed with quite so much information.

“It kind of takes away those certain peccadilloes that become endearing later on,” Pangborn said. “If you see right away that they have an Elvis collection, you say ‘Oh, what a freak,’ instead of finding it out as this charming bit later on.”

Louise Baker, 43, met her boyfriend, Bob, on Match.com a little more than a year ago. She says she scanned profiles for a good lifestyle match, rather than a reflection of her own interests.

“I wanted to first find someone that was interested in making a commitment and getting married, then go from there,” said Baker, an artist who lives in Roscoe Village, Ill. “So if they listed that they love to run marathons and spend vacations rock climbing, I knew that our lifestyles were different. But if they listed that they love a glass of red wine with a steak, I knew that the restaurant would also serve white wine and fish for me.”

Helen Fisher, a noted anthropologist at Rutgers University and author of numerous books, including “Why We Love” (Holt Paperbacks), says savvy matchmaking is crucial for 21st century relationships.

Seeking a companion

“We’re looking for a companion,” she said. “One hundred years ago a man needed a woman who would bear him healthy babies and take care of the home. Now we’re looking for a marriage between equals.”

That means carefully interpreting whatever data are in front of us.

“If you discover he’s reading a book about Bertrand Russell, that makes you think he’s educated, he’s curious, he’s therefore productive,” Fisher said. “The mind builds on these little pieces of information.”

Especially, she says, in a time when we’re less likely to pair ourselves with someone we’ve known since childhood.

“We don’t have our family and community to send signals,” she said. “You can’t sell your reputation, you can’t sell your upbringing. Suddenly the book you’re reading becomes magnificently important.”

Of course, the real work begins after a match is made.

“You still need the skills to make the relationship work,” said Parrott. “It’s not like you match up and you’re on easy street. You still need communication and conflict resolution and all the rest.”

Baker says her pre-Bob dating experience bears that out.

“It’s kind of like the housing market,” she said. “Because there’s so much on the market right now, people always want to see what else is out there. But I don’t like house-hunting. I find it very stressful. To me, I feel like I can live in a lot of different places. You make a place yours.

“It’s like that with dating,” she said. “A lot of people are looking for that perfect thing, you know? But it’s never going to be. You just have to have the same dreams and the same goals.”


Love those men in uniforms?

Years ago, when I was practicing as a psychotherapist in a rural Maine town, I saw a man who was in trouble at work because he had been reported for running across a field in women’s lingerie.  That wasn’t the worst of it: His job was driving truck for a major beer distributor, and the truck with the beer logo plastered all over it was sitting on the roadside by the field.

The message I gave him, and is repeated in the story below, was: Don’t mix your work life with your sexuality!  Particularly if your work life is easily identifiable. 

Mountie rapped for ad seeking transsexual date
Officer posed in red serge, said he sought relationships with transgendered Thais
Matthew Ramsey, The Province
Published: Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Lower Mainland Mountie has received informal discipline for posting a dating profile online, using a picture of himself in a red serge uniform, to find transgendered and transsexual mates.

“I am looking to meet mature Thai women who are interested in a sincere friendship that can develop into a LTR [long-term relationship] and possible marriage,” wrote “Dave” on the thaikisses.com site.

“Special interest towards TS [transsexual], TG [transgendered] women. Any nice Katoey women looking for a serious LTR.” “Katoey” is a Thai term that typically refers to male-to-female transgendered persons, commonly known in English as “ladyboys.”

Dave identified himself as a divorced 49-year-old from Vancouver who would travel the world if he won a lottery and likes the beach and TV.

He listed his qualities as “humorous, loyal, honest, attractive, realistic, quiet, tolerant, attentive, shy, friendly, sympathetic, fond of children, intelligent, romantic.”

“Dave" registered his profile on Sept. 3, 2006. Senior officers were not aware of the posting until late March.

Staff Sgt. John Ward told The Province it’s “totally inappropriate” for any member to use the RCMP uniform, insignia and their identification as an officer in the context of an online dating forum.

“Dave" has removed RCMP reference from the site, Ward noted.

The RCMP’s chief concern for members revealing their jobs on online social sites is operational, Ward said.

“You might be telling people where you work, who you are, what you are doing,” he said.

Ward declined to reveal any details about “Dave” except that he has been with the force for a “number of years” and his unit commander initiated the discipline process.

Shawnigan Lake RCMP Const. Trent Richards was ordered to resign in February after it was revealed he used plentyoffish.com, flirtbox.com and ratemybody.com to seek sexual partners while on shift. Richards also posted images of himself in the iconic red serge.


Bipolar dating

For those of you who have wondered “What happened?” to the date you had last weekend who never called back, or to the guy or woman who seemed one way in emails, on the phone, or on a first date, then radically different the next time, this article that was in the New York Times a few months ago might explain what was going on:

Modern Love
January 13, 2008

AS a bipolar woman, I have lived much of my life in a constant state of becoming someone else. The precise term for my disorder is “ultraradian rapid cycler,” whi