Kathryn's Blog

SAQ #11. How will I know if he/she is really free (not married)?

Well, you won’t, at least at the first contact and/or early on in your Sweetheart negotiations.  But don’t accept at face value what your correspondent says about marital status, or about anything else, for that matter. Keep your lie detector antennae switched on, at least until you have done some fact checking. Remember, just about anyone you meet online is a stranger, and the Internet makes it very easy for one to invent or reinvent themselves over and over.

On the other hand, I hear less and less about married folks posing as single and cruising the main line dating sites. It used to be more of a problem (“used to be” in the dark ages of Internet dating 10 or more years ago). But the creation of sites specifically for married folks wanting to fool around (AshleyMadision.com is the best known – where there is a need, a service will spring up) has given those folks wanting to cheat a place to go. That leaves the cads for whom fooling an unsuspecting single is part of the fun – and they tend to be a lot more clever at hiding their marital status.  I’ve written a lot about a kind of character I call “The Cyber Lothario,” and I’ve reprinted my article in #5 below about these fellas.  One of my clients got taken in by just such a character, though not while she was working with me. Actually, that’s a very good reason to hire me: I have a fabulous BS detector.

But, just in case, here are some guidelines:

1.  If you KNOW they are married, don’t do it. Sometimes they tell you (they are separated, getting a divorce, living in the same house but in different bedrooms, staying together until the kids get out of the house), but most often they don’t. Though you suspect it.

2.  Pay attention to your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, check it out. Ask questions, and pay attention to HOW they answer as well as what they say. Are they outraged that you would ask? Most people who are honestly looking for love online understand the importance of checking for honesty and will understand and answer questions. Do they evade or give mushy answers? It takes two for deception, one to lie, the other one to be willing to be fooled.

3.  Watch for the obvious: Wedding ring? Tan line or indentation where a ring should be? Refusing to give out a home address or phone number? Insists on calling you and does not allow you to call him/her? Only available at odd times, never on weekends or holidays?

4.  Keep things public. Follow the guidelines that have developed for Internet daters, all of whom are meeting strangers just like you are. Meet in a public place. If your “date” resists being seen by others or avoids introducing you to friends, family, or his/her workplace, then he or she is hiding you, and likely hiding something FROM you.

5.  Ground the budding relationship in reality. Ask about details, like workplace, home address, family and friends. Ask to meet important others. Call the individual at his/her stated workplace. Be sure to see where he/she lives. Isolation from the real world is romantic, but also breeds fantasy and vulnerability.

6.  Use the Internet. Do a Google search on his or her name. Just about everyone can now be found one way or another online. Whitepages.com is a good place to start. PeopleFinders.com found me for free, listed five previous places I had live (all correct except for one), and listed my husband as a relative.

7.  Involve someone else. Your eyes may be clouded by fantasy and lust. Check out details with a suspicious and caring friend – or a romance coach like me, experienced in detecting BS. After all, how much is your heart, your safety, and your future worth?



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