Friday, June 22, 2018

To Catch a Cheater: Is Your Online Date Actually Married?

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Say goodbye to parties and bars—the best place to date is the World Wide Web! More than 49 million people say they’ve tried online dating, and a fifth of new committed relationships begin over the Internet. If you’re looking for a girlfriend or boyfriend, the Web is the place to go.

Just because online dating is popular and effective doesn’t mean it’s the same as traditional courtship. There are unique dangers to meeting your partner over the Internet, making it essential to keep yourself safe. In particular, there's a heightened risk that the person you meet online might be married to someone else. By looking out for the warning signs of online cheating and other dishonest behaviors, you can protect yourself both physically and emotionally while making the most of modern dating.

Prudent Precautions
Before you look for signs of cheating specifically, it’s important to take some general precautions for online dating. To minimize the risk of physical, emotional, or financial harm, make sure to:

  • Limit Personal Information—Most people know not to put their social security number or street address on a dating profile. But there’s lots of other information you must be careful with. From the name of your workplace to the clubs you join to the sports you play, avoid sharing details that someone could use to find you. Only reveal things like this in private, and only to people you trust.
  • Expected the Unexpected—It’s easy for people to give false or misleading information online, and there’s also a risk you’ll let your expectations affect how you picture your date. Thus, if you’re meeting someone for the first time, be prepared for the possibility that they won’t look or act like you’re expecting.
  • Meet in Public—When meeting an online date for the first time, go somewhere public that you’re familiar with. This will help you stay safe while you figure out whether you can trust your date.
  • Trust Your Gut—If you get a bad feeling about someone, end things. Even if you can’t identify something specifically wrong with them, it's better to be safe than sorry.

These tips are important for anyone dating online, but they’re particularly critical if you meet a cheater. Dating someone who is cheating puts you at extra risk, both because cheaters themselves are dishonest and because their partner might try to harm you if they find out. These precautions ensure that if you do meet someone who turns out to be cheating, there's little risk to you.

Dishonesty Detection
Once you’ve taken the basic safety precautions, the next step is to look out for signs of dishonesty in your date. You can tell someone is lying if they:

  • Hesitate—When people lie about themselves, they must think carefully and make sure their story is straight. They thus tend to hesitate more and speak slower and may use more formal language.
  • Look Unfocused—Before telling a lie, people tend to get an unfocused look in their eyes, or their eyes dart back and forth.
  • Smile Tensely—Liars often smile to make themselves look more trustworthy. If their facial and eye muscles look tense when they smile, it's a sign they're doing this.
  • Fidget or Sweat—Sweating, fidgeting, and other nervous behaviors are all signs of lying. You should also look out for people who lick their lips and teeth, swallow hard, or keep their hands in their pockets.

While these signs don’t necessarily tell you someone is cheating, they suggest they're hiding something. You can then look for the specific signs of online cheating.

Infidelity Indicators
If your online date is married or in a serious relationship, they’re likely to:

  • Avoid Certain Times—Married people are usually with their partners at night and on weekends. So if your date doesn’t communicate with you then, it’s a red flag.
  • Go Out of Their Way—To avoid being caught cheating, online cheaters often insist on meeting at distant locations, even when there are similar locations close by. The more often they do this, the more likely it is that they don’t want anyone they know to see them with you.
  • Send Mixed Messages—Both out of guilt and to avoid detection, someone who is cheating may send mixed messages. Sometimes, they may seem distant emotionally or avoid communication; at other times, they’ll be very close and communicative. Be suspicious of anyone who acts this way.

Although these tips help you detect and avoid online cheaters, for the most accomplished liars, you may need the aid of a private investigator. According to New York private detective Darrin Giglio, an investigator can run a full background check on a person, including their marital, financial and criminal records.

These checks go deeper than the simple name, address and phone number checks available on many “people search” websites. “It may seem a little extreme,” says Giglio, “but you never know who you’re dealing with online. It’s important to protect yourself.”

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