In the News

Online Dating and Catfishing – Safety First

online dating 101 1 200x300As Season Two of MTV’s Catfish is now underway, it’s likely that you may think that online dating is a little “off.” Hopefully this article and these statistics will change your mind.

Of more than 19,000 couples who married between 2005 and 2012, 35 percent originally met online, according to a study conducted by the market research firm IBISWorld (and funded by eHarmony). The research found that couples who met online were less likely to divorce and experienced higher levels of marital satisfaction.

With those types of statistics and the overall grim nature of dating, why not take a chance to meet the love of your life on the Internet? We know first-time online daters may be skeptical. Keep a positive attitude and be prepared to face any of these online dating risks:

Exaggerated Online Identities

For some people, online dating websites are spaces to set the past right again and erase relationship mistakes. It’s a space where people want to appear as perfect as possible, from a Photoshopped portrait to a falsely crafted profile. Unfortunately, the disparity between an online dater’s perfect self and the real self is often so gaping that in-person dates can be disastrous, as you can read from some of our Peril of the Week stories or in my bestselling book, The Perils of Cyber-Dating.  Whether or not someone will live up to who they seem to be online is a gamble. Prepare yourself to take that chance and never let disappointment shatter your spirit.

Catfishing Victim

“Catfishing” is the act of creating a completely fictitious online persona (often via Facebook) to mislead or defraud others, according to LifeLock. It’s easy to get tricked into believing catfish are real, as they go to great lengths to develop fake profiles, including those with more than 300 friends and photographs to make it look real. Facebook photographs can easily be stolen from accounts of real people and falsely used on a catfish’s faux Facebook profile. To combat this:

  • Do a Google search on Facebook photos, which could easily be stolen from others’ profiles
  • Do the same with a few distinctive phrases in the person’s profile bio. Perpetrators often have duplicate or near-duplicate profiles on multiple sites, each with a different picture or location
  • Fraud and identity theft aren’t the norm, but they happen. Limit how much personal information you share until you know you can trust your potential date.

Impossible Expectations

With so many dating sites and pages upon pages of singles’ profiles, it’s easy to maintain high standards and keep a mentality that, “someone better may be out there.” You should never have to settle for someone with whom you don’t have a connection, but focusing on trivial aspects of a person’s profile or appearance will only hinder your quest to find the one. Know your deal breakers while keeping an open mind.

Also, understand that many online daters become addicted to the process and accustomed to easily disposing of people they’ve met. Make it a point not to take rejections personally. You can’t let your self-worth and confidence break down because of strangers over the Internet.

A Proper Profile

Have a friend or family member whom you can trust to look over your profile or allow us to create your Irresistible Profile to help you attract your dream date and to ensure that it accurately represents who you are. Honesty is the best policy, especially in regards to photos. Oprah.com’s “Tips for Successful Online Dating” recommends that online daters keep pictures “recent and real.” Posted pictures should be taken within the last six months and include both a headshot and full-body shot. Also, avoid pictures with props and try not to post pictures taken with other people.

At Cyber-Dating Expert, we believe in authenticity from the onset and wish you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may roam.

Julie Spira is a top online dating expert and was an early adopter of online dating. She’s the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating and coaches singles on the dating scene. For more online dating advice,  follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and sign up for the free Weekly Flirt newsletter.

National Punctuation Day – Dating Punctuation and Grammar

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Just one grammatically incorrect sentence in an online dating profile can turn off a potential date from responding to your email or contacting you. Has your Internet dating profile been proof-read and passed the spell-check and grammar check?

On National Punctuation Day, we challenge everyone to review their dating profiles and double check their emails before pushing the send button. We know that auto-correct software sometimes has a digital mind of it’s own. This can result in blowing your chances with that cute hunk that you think might be “the one.”

Simple things such as making sure that words such as “I” are capitalized and that you avoid using acronyms and emoticons are critical if you want to be at the top of his or her list.

Remember to proof read your emails before pressing the send button and take an extra moment today to review your profiles.

If you’re looking for a profile that’s irresistible, contact us for more information on Irresistible Profiles to help you attract your dream date.

Happy Dating.

Julie Spira and the Cyber-Dating Expert Team.

Julie Spira is a leading online dating and relationship expert.  She’s the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. Visit her at CyberDatingExpert.com and follow @JulieSpira on Twitter.

4th Anniversary Tribute – The Joys and Perils of Cyber-Dating

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Today is a momentous day for me.

It’s a day of great reflection and a day of digital pride.

It was four years ago today on July 31, 2008, that I started writing my first book, The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online.

Four years later, on July 31, 2012, I’m now sending out my 15,000th tweet to 25,000+ loyal followers on twitter. I’m humbled. I’m grateful. I’m filled with joy. I want this digital milestone to be meaningful and I’m honored to share this story of a powerful and passionate reinvention you. My life changed dramatically four years ago. It’s an honor and joy to help singles find love on the Internet. It’s time to share my journey. I hope you enjoy the ride.

In the beginning

How did a broadcaster turned technology executive become an online dating expert?

It wasn’t a childhood dream of mine to be an online dating expert or create Cyber-Dating Expert. It was my dream as a young child to become a music radio DJ. I considered myself a “musicologist,” listened to the radio non-stop and knew that was my calling. I was fortunate to have lived that dream as the first female DJ at a big FM rock station in Upstate New York, where I wanted my listeners to be enriched by sharing my favorite songs on the radio. I believed my listeners would be my forever friends. There was no such thing as BFFs, tweets, updates, and broadcasting was a unilateral. I spoke. People listened. That all changed with social media, where it’s now about the conversation and community. It appears I now have the digital gift of gab.

My love affair with technology started many years ago when I became a network executive. At RKO, we were the country’s first digital-delivered satellite radio network. I was, and still am a hopeful romantic and my life was filled with music and love. I had no idea that my future would include the marriage of love and technology. It makes perfect sense now, of course. I was an early adopter of the Internet and an early adopter of online dating. Why not marry the two things I was so passionate about?

Four Years Ago Today

So what exactly happened on July 31, 2008, and why did I feel the need to open up my entire personal life for people to read about and comment? Basically, I lost a bet at girls night out at Jazz Night at the Hollywood Bowl. It could have been as simple as flipping a coin. One could say I lost the bet. Other’s say I won.  I was sharing some of funny dating stories while passing my BlackBerry around to my married girlfriends to view photos of a date I was considering going on. The odd thing about this particular date was, his mother selected me on behalf of her son on Match.com. She said I was perfect for her never-married son. I found it quite odd that she was looking for love, while playing the role of wing-woman for her son.  Out of curiosity, I wanted to see how it would play out. That story ended up in Chapter 13 of my book, “The Perils of Cyber-Dating” in the story called, “The Mother-in-Law.” We never met, but it made for humorous conversation.

Then the floodgates opened. I shared the story of the man who went berserk in a restaurant over 10 years earlier because he thought I looked like his recently deceased wife, the gentleman who told me graphic details of his colonoscopy while we were eating lunch, as well as the fairytale romances leading to marriage proposals. All of these stories were a result of online dating. Could I be alone, I wondered?

What we all realized on that important night was that singles everywhere were struggling to find love, both online and offline. These amusing dating stories weren’t unique to me. I had spent years perfecting the Irresistible Profile and helped singles throughout the U.S. shorten their search so they could ride into the digital sunset together. I knew I had a gift. I was told from my mentor that my storytelling skills from being a media personality could be transferred to literary works. I believed him because he believed in me.

When my girlfriends dared me to write a book, I laughed it off and said, “sure.” They were serious and I thought it was funny. However, I reflected to a day 13 years earlier when I decided to write a book about my online dating stories and came up with a the title of “The Perils of Cyber-Dating.” This was as a result of being proposed to by a married man. That would be perilous, wouldn’t it? I shared the love for my book title with my girlfriends who all agreed it would be perfect. “Of course someone must have written this book already,” I said to the girls. Then they made a bet with me. If this title had not been published, I must write the book. If it was already written, then being an author wasn’t in the cards for me. I agreed, thinking that I’d be off the hook. Certainly in all these years, there must have been others wanting to write about such perilous stories.

When I returned home, I received a call from my girlfriend who was determined to win the bet. I checked online. I checked on Amazon. Apparently no one had written The Perils of Cyber-Dating. However, as a marketing and communications strategist, I knew I’d need to have the corresponding domain name. I assumed someone was blogging under this title, or perhaps it was parked somewhere. I wasn’t sure how it would pan out. I jotted down chapter titles and a few stories and went to sleep exhausted but enthusiastic about writing the book I promised myself I’d do over a decade before.

The next day, I checked to see if perilsofcyberdating.com was available. Much to my surprise and joy, the domain name was available! “How could this be?” I asked. Then I knew it was meant to be. I had hundreds of stories that I had collected from almost 15 years. I was on the Internet before most people even knew the Internet. I had been a charter member of Love@AOL before the days of Match.com, eHarmony, and mobile dating.

From my Heart to Print

And so my love affair with my first book began. I wrote. I edited. I reflected. I laughed. I cried. It was empowering, healing, cathartic and more. I knew my story had to be told.  There was no one else with such a unique perspective from dial-up to mobile. I knew I needed to help other singles and that humor and wit would shine along with my authenticity. The first agent I contacted told me that no one would be interested in anyone’s dating stories. Apparently he was wrong and didn’t see the future on how dating blogs and television dating shows would rise in popularity.

When I finished writing the manuscript, I created CyberDatingExpert.com as a place for singles and couples to share their online dating stories and to provide free dating advice for singles looking for love online. Readers started to submit stories for the Cyber Love Story of the Week and Peril of the Week features and commented with enthusiasm.

I remember how exciting it was to create my book cover. I had a vision of a girl getting ready for a date with a city background. The day my first copy of “The Perils of Cyber-Dating” was delivered to my home. It was like giving birth. I was so very proud. I had received glowing advanced praise including Joan Rivers who said, “Hilariously Funny! Singles of all ages need to read this book” and E. Jean Carroll from Elle magazine said, “It’s Like Sex and the City in a Web 2.0 World.”

I started tweeting about my book’s progress using my social media marketing strategies and engaging like-minded singles leading up to my Valentine’s Day launch. On the day it was released, I was filled with tears of joy. “The Perils of Cyber-Dating” became a best selling dating book in several categories. My passion for helping singles became known worldwide and I started coaching more and more singles every day by giving them the tools to be confident in the digital age.

Words can’t express how grateful I am to have been able to reach millions with my online dating advice. Every day I thank those who have supported me on my journey. Cyber-Dating Expert is now one of the top online dating advice sites on the Internet and has been nominated for numerous awards. I’ve been named “One of America’s Ultimate Experts” by Woman’s World magazine and “The Pioneer of Online Dating” by Cosmo. Our advice has been featured and quoted in and on over 450 stories around the world. I’ve had the opportunity to write for Betty Confidential, eHarmony, Huffington Post, JDate, Match, Your Tango, among others. It’s been an honor to have been quoted on ABC, CBS, Mashable, Men’s Health, and NBC and speak at the Internet Dating Conference.

In the Future

As online dating continues to grow and evolve with mobile dating, our team is at the forefront. Our mobile app, Dating Expert is celebrating its third year and our annual “Top 10 Mobile Dating Apps” list is highly respected by journalists and singles. Our team created Mobile Dating BootCamp in 2012 and we’ll be casting a second season to be held in Las Vegas in 2013. I’m in the final stages of finishing my second book, The Rules of Netiquette: How to Mind Your Manners on the Web as well as an exciting screenplay.

I was just a girl with a dream, a huge heart, and hundreds of stories, who happened to be an early adopter of online dating. I now have dreams of seeing my story on the big screen and riding off into my very own digital sunset. I have a feeling my dreams will become a reality.

My message to all of you is to follow your heart. Dream big and be open to the possibilities of a new beginning in both love and work. Don’t discard someone who isn’t perfect. None of us are. Be honest and authentic. Remember that patience is a virtue and the best things in life are worth waiting for. Your shelf life does not have an expiration date on it and you can ask for forgiveness and give love another chance. One of our featured couples in the Cyber Love Story of the Week found love on eHarmony at the age of 70. Find your passion and it will welcome you with open arms. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me share the love every single day among 6 continents. I couldn’t have done it without you.

At the end of the digital day, I wish you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may roam.

~Julie Spira

Follow @JulieSpira on Twitter

Like Cyber Dating Expert on Facebook

Online Dating Sites Will Become Safer for Singles [video]

Online dating has just taken a big leap to help singles feel safer while looking for love on the Internet.

This week, Kamala D. Harris, the Attorney General for the State of California released a joint statement for online dating safety practices to help singles feel safer while looking for love online. Online dating sites eHarmony, Match.com and Spark Networks signed the agreement together, which will require sites to provide dating safety tips and do the necessary background checks to as agreed in the statement.

On our site, CyberDatingExpert.com, you’ll now see a link for SAFETY on the top of our home page. We want you to fall in love and we want to help you find your dream date. We also want to make sure that you’re following our safety tips as we take this topic very seriously.

In a recent interview on GenConnect TV, I discussed some dating safety tips that you should take to heart.

For more online dating safety tips, visit CyberDatingExpert.com

Julie Spira is an online dating and cyber-relations expert. She’s the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. Follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and like us at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert

 

Dating Advice – How Do I Know if He Likes Me?

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Cyber-Dating Expert

This scene may sound familiar. You meet a guy and have an instant connection. You start flirting back and forth and the next thing you know, you’re wondering, Are we in a relationship? Are the feelings mutual?

When Deb wrote to me with this familiar scenario after sending multiple flirty text messages to each the new man she had a crush on, she was concerned that things were moving too quickly. Was she becoming too attached?

Deb now wonders if her new guy is a player as he was also flirting with other women. She became anxious about the situation. Now her dream guy is sending her emails and text messages saying that he loves her. Even more confused, she called him out on his flirtatious behavior, of which he replied, “I get it.” Should she move forward with this guy? What should she do?

Well Deb, some people are born flirts. Instant chemistry is rare and when we find it, we automatically fast-forward our feelings and start thinking about our relationship, our future, marriage, children, the works. But slow down Deb. Why is this guy who’s texting you with love notes flirting with others in the same sentence as he uses the “L” word so freely. Just how many other women does he say that to? Is he waiting to hear it back to feed his ego or is he sincere?

A man who is committed to being in a relationship with you isn’t going to screw it up by making you jealous and putting himself in the position of being discarded, with his phone number permanently deleted on your iPhone and in your heart.

What should you do? Play the field. Yes. There’s no ring on your finger, and hopefully you haven’t been intimate yet. Don’t confuse love with lust. While your emotions and hormones are running at high speed, you don’t know his intentions other than he’s that instant chemistry guy, which can be dangerous. I know this first hand, as I wrote about it in my book The Perils of Cyber-Dating, when I too, had that instant chemistry with a guy I met. It turned out that he was a major player, and just like the Fleetwood Mac song, Dreams, I’ll hum the line, “Players on love you when they’re playing.” It’s a game that can leave you feeling empty and alone.

My advice is simply, to take it slow. Date other men. Don’t sleep with this chemistry guy. Have fun flirting here and there, but don’t assume you’re in a relationship. Some relationships that start off hot-and-heavy, end just as quickly.

Hopefully your guy is different. Perhaps he’s just nervous. Texting can’t replace quality time in person. Take a look at my latest YourTango Experts video, where I address the texting issue in a relationship. Time will tell if your guy is for real and time is a precious gift.

Keep me posted.

Wishing you much love and happiness.

Julie

Do you have a question for Julie Spira? Send your dating and relationship questions to CyberDatingExpert.com/contact and sign up for our Weekly Flirt.

Julie Spira is an online dating expert and bestselling author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. Follow her @JulieSpira on Twitter for dating advice and at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert.  

New Online Dating Site Hitch.me Mixes Business With Pleasure

linkedinDo you believe that LinkedIn profiles are more accurate than most online dating profiles? If so, you’re not alone. On Friday the 13th, Hitch.me was officially launched using LinkedIn profiles as the basis for their site’s algorithms.

I had the opportunity to interview Hitch.me founder Navid Nadir, who is happily married with two children.  Nadir has a degree in computer engineering from Queens University in Kingston, Canada and although he isn’t interested in finding love online, both he and his wife have single friends who were frustrated with the process.

Nadir believes that over 50% of online dating profiles are fabricated. Nadir said,  “If you want to date someone, why lie?” That’s a question that many single daters struggle with as they hope there’s truth-in-advertising when viewing online dating profiles.

Nadir added, “It’s not just another niche site. It’s a niche site that is in demand. This is something we have been waiting for a long time. You can actually search for a profile based upon a skill-set, find someone based on specific industries, and search within groups that you are a member of on LinkedIn.”

The site is simple to use and there are no monthly fees.

Hitch.me members purchase credits in a pay-as-you-go format. Their 3 levels are:

  • Beginner: $10 for 500 credits
  • So Much for So Less: $25 for 2000 credits
  • Guaranteed Satisfaction: $50 for 4000 credits

So how does the credit system work?

For 20 credits, you get just a “smile.” It’s their way of flirting.

For 50 credits, you get a “pitch,” the opportunity to send a 200 word email to the object-of-your-affection.

For 100 credits, Private Presentation: 100 credits. Can add youtube videos and images, 500 words and can add 3 images and one youtube video.

Does the site mix business with pleasure? Only if you want it to. You can select from finding a casual date, soulmate, friend, or a business partner.

For a limited time period, they are offering 200 free credits as they build their membership base. Click here to get started on Hitch.me

Do you believe LinkedIn profiles are more accurate than online dating profiles? Your comments are always welcome.

Julie Spira is an online dating expert and bestselling author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. Visit her at CyberDatingExpert.com and Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert for dating advice and follow @JulieSpira on Twitter. 

The Love Issue – Online Dating Dos and Dont’s

fashionmagcoverFashion magazine is celebrating with a very special February issue devoted to love. With Valentine’s Day just a few weeks away, I was asked to contribute to their article, Love Among the Laptops.

In this in-depth article, we looked at Facebook, Twitter, BlackBerry Messenger, Google searches, and the high-digital pressure act of friending and unfriending someone you’re dating.

Read how to deal with the new challenges posed by dating in the online age. An excerpt from the article is below.

With appreciation, many thanks to Siofan Davies for quoting me in the story, along with Sherrie Schneider, co-author of the famous relationship book, The Rules and follow-up, The Rules for Online Dating.

Julie Spira, the L.A.-based author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online says the urge to research a prospective date is natural. “Do a Google search, make sure they work where they say they work and that there’ nothing bad about them,” she begins.  This is sensible advice my mother would appreciate. “We also want to make sure their Facebook photos match their online dating photos, and find out if we have any friends in common. The next thing would be, well, let’s friend each other.” Her reasoning. Well no, don’t friend each other. ” Her reasoning: Just as you will be mining his profile for useful or petty information, he will undoubtedly be mining yours. “You still want someone to get to know you,” says Spira. “If everything they get to know about you is because they saw it on Facebook, what’s left to talk about?”

For the full article, pick up a copy of Fashion magazine, Canada’s number 1 beauty and fashion magazine, where you’ll find the story on pages 81-86. If you aren’t in Canada, I’ve attached the .pdf of the article here:  Fashion Magazine – Love Among the Laptops. As always, comments are welcome.

Julie Spira is an online dating expert, bestselling author, and founder of CyberDatingExpert.com. For more dating advice follow Julie on Twitter @JulieSpira and like her at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert

Halloween Flirting Tips

CDElogoHalloween 150x150Halloween is one of the most fun holidays for singles and couples of all ages. Dressing up for Halloween is an absolute must for singles looking to connect.

So how does a single person enjoy this fun and flirty holiday? I believe that Halloween gives you permission to jump out of your comfort zone and become more approachable. Besides the youthful trick-or-treaters ringing your doorbell,  singles holiday parties are in abundance. I suggest you RSVP to as many as possible, grab a few friends and go out with a smile on your face along with a devilish grin.

In preparation for Halloween, it’s also a good time to brush up on your flirting skills. Dr. Pat Allen, author of “Getting to I Do” and one of my mentors,  teaches the 5-second flirt technique and encourages singles to flirt with 5 men every day and gaze into their eyes for five very long seconds.  Although it’s a challenge and may seem like an eternity, on Halloween it should be a piece of cake, or at least a handful of candy corn.

Let’s start with selecting your sexy Halloween costume. Although you wouldn’t dress like this on a first date, you now have permission to show some skin without the expectation of jumping into the bedroom. Some of my favorites are from Leg Avenue.

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Halloween Cheerleader

1. The Cheerleader. What guy didn’t fantasize about being with a cheerleader in high school? Now’s his chance with this sexier version guaranteed to put a smile on his face. Cost $38.

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Halloween - French Maid

2. The French Maid. This class Halloween costume never goes out of style. Now’s your chance to flirt with him with your duster in tow. Who knows just where he might be ticklish? Cost $65.

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Halloween - Queen of Hearts

3. Queen of Hearts. Poker night will never be the same after he sees you in this Queen of Hearts outfit. Approach him and make a bet. See if he ups the ante.  Price $75.

Don’t forget to bring your camera, iPhone or PDA and set your camera settings to movie. Go up to that cute guy and compliment him on his costume and ask if you can take his photo. Better yet, jump into the shot and have your friend take a picture of you and that hot guy. Then ask him if you can friend him on Facebook or email him the photos.

Remember to memorialize your Halloween festivities in a video on YouTube or upload your photos to Facebook. Go ahead and tag him if he agrees.  He’ll be flattered that you took the time to do so.

Julie Spira is an online dating and relationship expert and author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating.  Visit her at CyberDatingExpert.com where you can share your Internet dating stories. Follow her on Twitter @JulieSpira and at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert

Should You Become Facebook Friends With Someone You Just Started Dating?

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To friend, or not to friend? This question comes up all too often from singles I’m coaching when they first start dating someone new.

My advice is always a firm no. Not just yet.

Although you may be enthusiastic about your phone conversations, have sent a few text messages back-and-forth, and enjoy spending 1-3 hours every day on Facebook,  it might seem like the next logical step to add your new date as a friend on Facebook. I call this trend “premature friending” and it might lead to a startling ending of a relationship that never had the full chance to move forward on a normal digital course.

Setting romantic boundaries on Facebook and other social networks can be quite tricky. However, it really doesn’t have to be so complicated after all.

So without further digital adieu, here are some of the most popular questions I’m asked, with answers to help your love life, both online and in real life.

Should you ignore a Facebook friend request before meeting your date?

If you regularly ignore other requests from strangers or friends-of-friends, then do the same with the man or woman you have not yet met. Think about it. Your new date might be secretly cyber stalking you to check on your where-abouts to see if it adds up to the way you described yourself. Sound creepy? Well, it is. So yes, ignore it. They aren’t a friend yet, nor are they your boyfriend or girlfriend.

You had a great first date. Is it safe to send a friend request?

No, not just yet. Unless you discussed a business deal or partnership and want to ease your way in with a Linkedin request, he or she is quite likely still on the market. They won’t want you gazing at their online activity, nor should you be staring at theirs. Avoid posting comments about your date or post the cute photo that you snapped on your iPhone after your first martini. It’s too soon to go spreading the news on the public Internet.

You had sex. Are you ready to be Facebook friends?

Just because you spent time together between the sheets, doesn’t mean it’s time to change your status to “In a Relationship.” Make sure you have the talk first about your relationship. If you’re both on the same digital page, then go ahead and change the relationship status together. If you aren’t in a committed relationship, you’re likely to have your feelings hurt when you see his arm around another girl or her in an uncompromising photo with another guy. If either one of you is sitting on the digital fence, then stay friends offline before becoming friends online.

The relationship never took off. Can we just be friends?

If you know for certainty that there was no chemistry or a chance for romance, and no one feels jilted, go ahead and become friends if you truly like each other and know it will be platonic. If you find yourself staring at his or her wall wondering what they’re up to, then you’re not being honest with yourself. Politely unfriend them until you know you’re over it.

At the end of the digital day, don’t let your feelings be hurt if the other party ignores your friend request. Everyone has their own prerequisites for friending and unfriending each other on the world’s largest social network.

Julie Spira is a leading online dating and netiquette expert.  She’s the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating. Visit her at CyberDatingExpert.com for dating advice. Connect with Julie on Twitter @JulieSpira, Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert and Facebook.com/RulesofNetiquette

Peril of the Week – Facebook Love Affair Ends with a Lawsuit

logo bookIn the category of Peril of the Week, this week’s news story of the Michigan woman who met her online boyfriend while playing Mafia Wars on Facebook makes it to the top of the list and on the court docket.

According to the Seattle Times, 50-year old Cheryl Gray, who initially claimed to be 42, claims Wylie Iwan from Washington state led her on, publicly humiliated her on Facebook, and cost her to spend money on an airplane ticket for a trip that was abruptly cancelled.

According to the Seattle Times, Gray was planning on visiting Iwan in Washington and had paid for an airline ticket that cost about $900. Just days before she was to fly to see him, he advised her that he had met someone else. It was a facebook breakup and she didn’t see it coming.

The Seattle Times reports:

Cheryl Gray says Wylie Iwan led her on, caused her to spend money on gifts and a trip to the Tri-Cities, then humiliated her when he posted vulgar comments on her Facebook wall.

They became Facebook friends in September and had about 300 friends in common, she said. During the next couple of months, they began talking through Facebook messages, and Gray said Iwan wanted to exchange personal information and get to know her.

Although they met on Mafia wars, they created their own Facebook war after the relationship ended with Gray setting up a hate group on Facebook. She accused Iwan of being an online predator. Iwan then allegedly posted bitter messages about her on Facebook, where Gray is now seeking damages in the amount of $8,368.88. Gray’s attorney is seeking damages for misrepresentation, promissory estoppel, defamation of character, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. So much for being social, on the world’s largest social network.

To you have an online dating story or dating disaster story to share?

Submit your story for consideration in the Peril of the Week

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Julie Spira is the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. Visit CyberDatingExpert.com for online dating advice and to share your online dating stories. Follow Julie on twitter @JulieSpira and at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert

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