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Sep 27, 2007
Trusting Your Gut Online: How to Avoid Mr. Wrong

If ever there was a form of introduction that required a woman to trust her gut instincts about a guy, it's meeting in cyberspace. In the online world, you have to be aware of your history and clear about your wishes. Otherwise, in your search for Mr. Right you can end up chatting endlessly with Mr. Wrong. Here are a few tips culled from women who have been there, done that.

Don't be bullied

One woman tells of a guy who kept claiming she was being "rude" to him by not answering his letters within an hour or two. "Didn't anyone ever teach you it's bad manners not to reply?" he wrote. Strong women that we are, we believe that we can calm a bully down, that once he knows who we are, he'll back off. No, he won't. A bully keeps bullying until he's stopped. Say goodbye now.

Why is he telling you all this?

The man who bares his soul to you -- who tells you too much about his ex-wife, his past girlfriends, the intricacies of his libido -- is being inappropriate. You know that in your gut, but you think, well, this is a different medium, so it's okay. No, it's not. Baring his soul to someone he hasn't met is telling you something: He's not interested in whether you want to hear it or not. And anyone who whispers endearments before you've met him is out of the question. No cozy innuendos and sexy asides. No promises of ecstasy or -- listen carefully for this one -- pain. If you see the word "pain" in a message -- DELETE.

Keep your responses brief

Don't confide. Don't respond emotionally, no matter how provocative he is. Don't let someone who irks you take even a moment of your time (DELETE!). Bad grammar -- I mean really bad grammar -- is another turn-off. This is a prospective husband. He doesn't have to have a law degree from Columbia, but you are, after all, looking for an equal.

Pictures are worth a thousand words

Then there's the guy who sends you lots of pictures of himself with friends. There he is, with all those women whose faces have been cut out of the photos. What's he telling you? What's he asking you? And if all these shots are on yachts and schooners, ask yourself, is this where you want to be? If a man is showing you a life he loves and you're pretty sure you won't love it, let him find someone who will.

A soul mate is interested in connecting

Beware the man who doesn't notice what you said in your profile. Oddly enough, many men don't pay attention. They look at your picture, or they like something you said, but from that moment on, your carefully articulated wishes are subsumed into his lengthy discussion of . . . himself. Remember: A soul mate is interested in connecting, in creating a relationship.

Stay away from Drama Kings

There are several signs that the man you're corresponding with is a Drama King -- a solo act, a man who will eat up most of your time and energy. Are you exhausted just dealing with him? Then imagine what it will be like once you meet! Never read your own exhaustion as some deficiency in yourself. It's the surest sign that the man you're exchanging mail with is not interested in connecting. A connection moves; it goes somewhere; it feels hopeful; it feels good. If it feels like something lonelier, something more tiring, DELETE.





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