The five-question test

Note from me: I wish i learned this before I started dating.

These days if you are single and NOT dating online, you may be missing out. Over 40 million Americans (that’s about half the single population) are looking for love in cyberspace. Gone are the days of having to pretend that “er… Aunt Sally set us up!” At this point, most of us know someone who has found a great long-term relationship as the result of being on an online dating site.
What we don’t hear about as much is the number of people dating online who are not single. Some estimate that close to one-third of those dating online are, in fact, otherwise attached.
There are a number of reasons why people who are already in a relationship go online to find love (or more realistically, a fling), but that is for another installment. For now, you need to protect yourself so you don’t end up being misled by a person you really like who is e-cheating.
Consider these five questions to determine if you are with someone who is already… with someone.

#1. When do you communicate with each other?

Noticing your date’s schedule is the first step in spotting an e-cheater. Are you communicating with your date at odd hours — very early in the morning or very late at night? Have you ever spoken during peak times, like between 7-10 p.m. during the week? What about the weekends? If your date is only free to see or call you at odd hours and rarely around on the weekends, take note.
Even if this person isn’t e-cheating: A person who is never free to speak or meet at peak times, perhaps because he/she is a workaholic, is still unavailable!

#2. Are you confined to emails and texts?

While it’s true that some people hate the phone, make sure to have at least a few phone conversations with your date at peak times. And a word of caution: if you have enjoyed intimate online chats for more than a month but have never met in person, that’s a warning sign. Typed words are no basis for a relationship! Whenever possible, communicate three to five times before booking a live date, and then go outside and get offline.
Even if this person isn’t e-cheating: There’s no point in communicating online for months on end. Doing so only increases expectations and decreases your chance for a spark when you finally meet.

#3. Have you met your date’s friends, family, or co-workers?

Have you seen your date in his/her world? Of course you likely won’t meet your date’s network right away. But after a few months of dating, it is a valid concern if you have never met people connected to him/her.
Even if this person isn’t e-cheating: If you’ve dated for months and your partner does not want to introduce you to others, it doesn’t matter whether or not he/she is single; you should be concerned that you are not meeting people close to him/her.

#4. Have you been to your date’s home?

After a few months of dating, your partner should have shared his/her home with you. I have a client who used to tell me that the guy she was dating was so romantic. He flew into her hometown every month on business and would invite her to hotels all over the city for dates. Turns out this guy — who she thought was flying into Canada from the U.K. — lived 30 minutes away from her with his wife and two kids.

#5. Do you trust your intuition?

Bottom line: you have a better sense than anybody does about what feels right. It is true that people who have nothing to worry about in a relationship rarely question their partner’s fidelity. If you have an “off” feeling, trust your gut and investigate further. There’s likely a good reason why you are questioning where you stand.

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