4 Questions to Help You Look Before You Leap Into Online Dating

Look Before You Leap: My Story

Years ago, I got excited about network marketing. I’d read in some book about how rich I could become by selling a product to my friends.


I invested a lot of time and money in vitamin supplement, hounding my friends and family to buy a monthly subscription for a supply of this supplement.

But I didn’t realize that a very low percentage of people actually succeed with network marketing, nor the toll that all my “selling” would take on my friends and family.

I hadn’t prepared myself for the discipline, organization, and outright gumption it would take to both sell to others, and to recruit others to sell for me.

After about a year, I gave up on network marketing.

The moral of the story is: look before you leap. If I’d interviewed a few people who had been in network marketing for a while, both the successful and non-successful people, I would have had a more realistic idea of what I was getting into, or I might have approached network marketing in a way that would help me succeed.

Look Before You Leap: Online Dating

Recently a parent contacted me, tell me that their 23-year-old young Asperger adult announced s/he (gender protected for confidentiality) is ready to start dating, and that they want to start out with online dating.

I reached out to my online Asperger/autism community, and I also sought out information about the current online dating scene.

Here are 5 questions you should ask yourself before you leap into online dating.



Am I aware of the pitfalls of online dating?

Both people I asked and writers of articles across the web warned about scammers, stalkers, and people only interested in one-time sexual encounters. Women generally have to be the most careful with this regard.

In this CNN article, Psychologists Warn About the Pitfalls of Online Dating, psychologists found that online daters often develop unrealistic expectations about their potential dating prospects because there is no way to truly interact with the person other than via emails. People evaluate potential dates via the online profiles, which may or may not accurately reflect the person behind the profile.


Read the article, How to Stay Safe When Meeting Someone From the Internet, by Lifehacker.

Read this article about the Biggest Online Dating Red Flags.

Read my two articles on how to spot manipulative behavior and how to deal with manipulative people.

Dr. Nerdlove, in his article about The Trouble with Online Dating, gives some tips for putting your online profile together, and proceeding after the first communication with someone you might be interested in

questions-online-dating Am I emotionally ready for a dating relationship?

Here’s some advice from one Asperger adult I reached out to:

When you say online dating I assume the person is someone who has made some headway in life. They have a job, and perhaps a college degree. They are either living in their own apartment or moving with certainty in that direction.

But a young man or woman with little or nothing in the way of work experience, lagging far behind his/her peers in emotional and character development, as is most often seen of 23yr olds on the Spectrum, is not at all a good candidate for online dating.

Not that it is unsafe, predators, few as they are, do not typically look for such an individual, but mostly young and naïve teenage girls or boys. The problem for this person is that few men/women online would be interested. And the few that might be interested would very likely not be interesting to these particular young women/men.

Take the above advice as a challenge to grow. On the other hand, just because you don’t have a great job or an independent living situation, doesn’t mean you can’t date.


Become the type of person that others will want to date. Develop your personal growth plan.

Work on your friendship and conversation skills.

questions-online-dating Am I Willing To Deal With Rejection?

In the offline world, before the internet (yes, I’m that old), I went through dozens of rejections before I clicked in the woman who later became my wife.

In reflecting on those rejections, part of the problem was my lack of social skills, as well as my low self-esteem and insecurity as who I was and where I was going in life.

But the hard truth is that we’ll have many rejections on the way to finding a serious relationship.

Now prepare for this: you’ll have to go through even more rejections when dating online.

Typically, you have to go through a lot more searches and profiles when dating online versus offline, just because there are so many more people online.


Treat dating as an experiment in friendship, learning and personal growth.

Read Dr. Nerdlove’s article on How to Deal With Rejection.

questions-online-dating Am I Willing To Consider Alternatives To Online Dating?

You can get to know someone by first becoming friends online in mutual interest forums. Or in a support forum, like Wrong Planet.

You can get to know someone over time, build up trust, and perhaps arrange to meet offline to get to know the person IRT (in real time).

Another Asperger adult suggests:

I found myself having better experiences and luck just meeting people at local meetups or by chance.

Here are some other alternatives to online dating:

Use Google to search for “social groups” or “social clubs” in your area.

Look for Asperger support groups in your area to meet other men and women on the autism spectrum.

Volunteer at an organization or for a cause your passionate about. You’ll meet other like minded people there.

Check out non-credit courses in your community. If there’s a university or community college in your area, that may be a way to check into these. You’ll be able to meet like-minded people in these classes, as well.

In Conclusion: Look, Then Leap

Now that you’ve asked yourself these questions, you know about the potential red flags of online dating, your need for personal growth to be ready for dating, you’re braced and ready for rejection, and you’re willing to pursue alternatives to online dating.

Now, you can leap! Treat online dating just like offline dating, while realizing that the process will be different than offline dating at first. Persevere, and read as much as you can about online dating to brush up your skills as you go along.

Below are some more articles to arm you as you go ahead on your online dating adventures.

Five Best Online Dating Sites, from Lifehacker.

Which Online Dating Service Is Right For Me?, from Lifehacker.

Wrong Planet threads about online dating:

What are your thoughts on online dating?

Online dating sucks, or is it just me?

Photo credits:

Illia Uriadnikov via 123rf

purpleslog via photopin cc

What are some of your online dating tips?

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I'm Steve Borgman. I'm a licensed clinical professional counselor and blogger committed to bringing you hope, understanding, and solutions that you can apply to your life immediately.

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