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Anxiety over online dating

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As mentioned, don’t talk endlessly about the past, about the downsides of your life, and in particular about partnership breakups.Instead, concentrate on building the here-and-now relationship between you and your potential partner by making the conversation equal, and about mutual interests, common experiences and shared values.

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The standard safety rules are well-known; they are for the benefit of women, but men too need to be aware of their importance.Remember that how you are treated here is probably better than how you can expect to be treated in future.Short meetings – coffee, one drink, in a public place – are better than setting aside a whole evening or weekend.If someone violates one of your deal breakers, it’s only fair to tell them that and allow them a chance to alter their behaviour; “I’d prefer if we didn’t order that third bottle of wine…”, “I notice that you’ve told me a lot about yourself – is there anything you’d like to know about me?” If such alerts are ignored, this isn’t a good sign.They bear repeating because after several emails and phone calls there is a (false) feeling of knowing someone far better than you actually do.

So however much rapport there is: Dress well, not over-formally, not over casually and well-groomed.

As always, notice what is happening – the balance of conversation, the interest a potential partner shows, how attentive they are to what you need.

That said, people may have off-days or health issues, and the fact of a first meeting may make many nervous; take that into account.

If one or both of you have ignored danger signs in emails and phone calls, the face-to-face meeting will be the moment when you realise the mistake you’ve made..

Sadly, we often have very high expectations; because emails and phone calls are held at a distance, they may have been genuinely delightful there may have been no danger signals to ignore. This may seem brutal, but is far better than showing fake enthusiasm to be polite, then sending a dumping email when back home.

Here we get even nearer to ‘real life’ dating – though there are still some pitfalls. If things are going well with emails and phone calls, it’s best to suggest a meeting sooner rather than later.