How to Find Your Prince Charming Without Kissing Too Many Frogs

Dr Veerle Van Tricht MD

This is my safety briefing for you before you enter the minefield of Internet Dating:

But firstly, a little bit about me and why I found myself dating again:

My husband died suddenly at the age of 45. Two years before his death, he became unwell, was grumpy, in pain and difficult to be with. I didn’t like his energy anymore and our relationship suffered. We saw lots of doctors, all of who misdiagnosed Mark. We went on holiday to Belgium where I was born and the first doctor we saw diagnosed him with terminal stomach cancer.  It was a big shock and my husband ended up in intensive care after complications from the chemotherapy. I tried to spend all my time at his bedside. Our children were only allowed to see him on his last day.

Being Alone:

I found myself sole parent of our 3 small children, with no financial or physical support. As a business owner it was hard juggling the children’s needs with my patients. I was only getting around 3 hours sleep as I was doing the household chores after work and looking after the children. In the evening when the children were in bed, I felt so lonely and depressed. Life as a single mum without support from family was hard. I was heart broken because I lost my soulmate, best friend and father of our 3 young children.

Hooked:

Our Australian babysitter KT, came to our rescue. She looked after the children, cooked dinner, consoled me and provided company. One day, she said to me that I could not go on like this and that I needed some company so she signed me up to my first internet dating site. KT uploaded my profile and put a nice photo of me on the site and I was instantly hooked. I then spent hours at night communicating with total strangers and soon, my ideal partner showed up.

Too Good To Be True:

His name was “Andre Archard”. He turned out to be a clever scammer  –  the first but not the last! Andre would contact me for the next 3 months several times a day, by phone, email, text and send me poems and songs. We arranged to meet twice but he did not show up on both occasions. He then contacted me to tell me he had a professional crisis and needed £80,000 from me urgently because the bridge he constructed in London had collapsed and he would go to jail without the money. He also threatened to kill himself if I didn’t wire the money to him – Yeah right!

During my time using internet dating, I came across scammers like Andre who were after money, there were others who were looking for someone to move in with and also married men who wanted a squeeze on the side. I estimate that I made around 100 contacts in the year that I was online dating so I gained a lot of experience in what to look out for. I actually dated around 15 people and often, almost straight away, I found there was no physical attraction. I spent time with 5 people and got to know them before deciding which one was the right guy. (I did have a ‘toy boy’ for a while which was lots of fun!).

Happy Ending:

I had a lot of fun dating and met some strange people but also some fantastic people. Then I found a new partner – if I can do it so can you!

My 7 Steps to Safe Online Dating and how to find the love you deserve:

Step 1. Join 3 or more Internet Dating Sites – statistics show that you have a greater chance of meeting the right person if you use more than one site.

Step 2. Choose a great profile picture – a high quality photo will give people clues about you and your lifestyle.  If you’re into photography, have your camera in your hand. If you’re into music, wear some headphones round your neck. Also, make sure the location suits your personality.

Step 3. Create a short but interesting profile – many professionals are time-poor so will not want to spend ages scrolling through what you have written.

Step 4. Avoid people whose profiles indicate vanity, (i.e. semi-nude images), a lack of humour or if they do not provide any information about themselves (probably means they are only looking for a sexual relationship).

Step 5. Chat on the telephone – before arranging a date. Make contact on the telephone a few times so that you can get an idea of the sort of person they are.

Step 6. Identity check – Don’t be afraid to Google someone you’ve just met online. If you connected on Facebook have privacy settings in place and be careful to not divulge too much personal information. Beware of premature declarations of love or requests for sexy photos. Share a few of their details with your closest pals and if they show concern, take that concern seriously. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Step 7. The First Date – Always arrange to meet in a public place ideally during the daytime. Take control of your own transport even if that means taking a cab, you don’t want to let a stranger know where you live, especially if the date does not go well. Tell a friend where and when you will be meeting or if you are nervous, ask a friend to be in the vicinity of the meeting.

So go on, have fun as if I could do online dating so can you!

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