Have you tried Internet dating yet? Finding a date on the Net no longer has the negative connotations it once did when it first became popular a few years ago. However, in spite of the increasing social acceptance of online dating, there are a few things to look out for when you decide to join the millions of Internet daters. Keep these points in mind and your experience will more than likely be a positive one.

PHOTOS: If there is a profile without a photo, this is generally a red flag. If someone is serious about looking for a relationship online, they want to make it as easy as possible for potential dates to see them and become interested. Some people use the line that they can’t put their photo online due to their job, and that’s just what it usually is, a line.

In my book, no photo more often than not means that the person is married, attached or unconfident in their appearance. Also, what you see is not always what you get. If there is only one photo, ask to see more photos. If they say they don’t have any others, tread carefully. The photo may be from 10 years and 30 pounds ago.

PHONE NUMBERS: When online daters first exchange numbers, they usually use their cell number – that’s understandable. However, if you don’t eventually get a home or work number, watch out. In that case, make sure you’re able to go to their home. Once there, look around to make sure that their "home" is really theirs (i.e., check out magazine subscriptions and photos). If they skirt around the issue of you visiting them at home and you have no land line number for them, it’s a red flag.

E-MAIL RESPONSES: If their original e-mail to you sounds like a form letter, with no references to your ad, that’s probably exactly what it is. If someone isn’t inspired to write a personal e-mail meant just for you, how interested or interesting can they be?

Also beware of language that is too flowery. Here’s an example of an e-mail I received that turned out to be from a con man (no, I didn’t respond to it): "… I can see that there is a depth to your soul and to the essence of your womanhood … I just want you to take the chance to discover the being of my manhood and soul." Guys generally don’t talk like this, unless they think it’ll work in separating you from your money. Don’t fall for it!

RELATIONSHIP STATUS: Speaking of separation, watch out for a profile where the dater is "separated." They could simply be married with no intention of divorcing, but will use their separated status as an excuse for why you can’t come to their home – they’ll say they’re still living with their spouse for financial reasons, for the kids or for many other reasons. Meanwhile, they have no intention of divorcing and just want to play around. I wouldn’t recommend dating someone that is separated from his or her spouse anyway – what if they decide to reconcile? There are plenty of single people out there. Why would you want to be a part of someone else’s drama?

OUT-OF-TOWNERS: I have to admit, even I fell for this one. Here’s how the scam typically works: A dater from out of town will e-mail you and tell you they’ll soon be moving to your city. While traveling back and forth, they would like to start seeing someone (maybe you!).

Sure, it’s possible, but, more often than not, they have as much intention of moving to your city as you do of moving to theirs. The best thing to do is ask questions, such as, "Where will they live? Where will they work?" and "Why are they moving?"

Also look for things that don’t add up. My recommendation? Don’t get too heavily involved with someone until they’ve actually moved. However, if you don’t mind long distance relationships, then go for it. Just don’t expect the other person to be faithful, because out of sight is often out of mind.


Dear Lucia,

Why would someone want to enter into a relationship with the thought that the other person needs to change to make things work? Don’t you think that change must come from within?

—Jason D.

Dear Jason,

You’re absolutely right! Change can only come from within when someone is ready to change. It doesn’t come because someone is nagging them to change. Trying to change the other person is the mistake most people in relationships seem to make.

Think about the last time that you tried to change something about yourself. Was it easy? Of course not! Then how can you expect to change someone else if you can’t even change yourself? Instead of trying to make someone over into the image you want them to be, you probably just need to find someone that has more of the qualities you’re looking for.

REMEMBER: Love inspires, empowers, uplifts and enlightens.

Write to Lucia at: