On Tuesday evenings, my wife and I facilitate a divorce group that helps those who are going through a divorce or have been divorced. One of the most common topics of interest revolves around where one should look for a potential mate. This seems to be of interest not only to the recently divorced but also to those who have been divorced for some time. However, the more we listen, the more evident it is that loneliness is rampant for all of these individuals. The unfortunate thing is that no one in the group, not even my wife or me, could come up with a positive solution.

Is There Any Safe Way to Date Online?The conversation last week then turned to social networking sites and online dating services. Several in the group mentioned the bad experiences they had experienced when using online social networking sites including some of the services that are frequently advertised on television. Then, yesterday morning on NBC’s Today show, two participants representing opposing viewpoints shared their perspectives about the safety of online dating. One of these participants was from a company called saferdates.com, and they talked about a program the company is offering, for a fee, called InvestiDATE. The service promises to do a background investigation on potential people one may wish to date online. The owner of the company stated that people needed to protect themselves from predators that have flourished online at social networking sites.

On the flip side was a psychotherapist who had a different point of view. She stated that you can’t find out everything about every person that is out there and that some of the facts discovered could be false. She also stated that there still needs to be some trust when dating anyone before an intelligent decision is made about the person. People who investigate people before they date them could become paranoid and believe that there are no good people to date, when actually there are.

After watching the Today show segment, I am not sure that advising someone to try an online dating service or a social networking site is your decision to make. So, given the above information, take the time to consider what you are looking for and go from there.

Comments welcome.