In my days, we would go out and meet boys at the disco, movies, camps, and other social gatherings. Today, in the digital era, technology is one of the major ways for people to meet and connect. But, as much as technology has made communication easier, it has brought on a number of challenges; especially when it comes to proposals like the one you have just received.
Meeting and dating someone on social media is okay as long it’s just that. Marriage, on the other hand, is a totally different ball game. A couple can’t be married on social media. So at one point, the two have to meet to formalize and consummate the marriage for it to be legal.
Challenges of online dating
After dating online and deciding to get married, the real challenges will start.
This is when fantasy meets reality.
For example, he might not smell as delicious as you thought he might from seeing his photos. That is assuming he sent you his authentic pictures. Lies and deceptions are the most common difficulties one encounters in online dating. Unlike meeting physically, where one is able to decipher the usual fabrications men (or women!) use, the same doesn’t apply for dating online.
So I imagine it’s more difficult to determine who is genuine; a lot of people go online looking for sex, to scam, or to get a rich sponsor. In some instances, serial killers have looked for victims online and women are sometimes trafficked to be sex workers.
Having said that, many decent people are looking for a life partner online. The question is: how does one minimize the chances of being misled?
Searching for his information online
One must always do some background checking before going too far. Since you are dating on Facebook, a good place to start is on his profile. If it’s a new profile with very few posts, and with little or no friends, then you should worry. Many con-artists will pretend to be new to the platform and have technological challenges, in order to gain your trust.
You can Google search his full names and town. But beware: the results might shock you.
You could also check out his company’s website for information or even call them and ask to speak to him.
But don't let your background search turn into stalking! Remember that he also has a right to privacy.
Another red flag is when he refuses to do video calls. Video calls are important for you to verify the profile photo is actually his. If he claims to be abroad, you can insist on getting his phone number so you can verify his country code.
If he passes your background check, you are ready to meet him.
Meeting for the first time
Under no circumstance should you ever agree to marry someone before meeting them. Unless of course, your parents have arranged it and you come from a culture where that is normal. Thus meeting the man and dating him is essential before agreeing to get hitched.
- Do not travel out of the country to meet him, let him come to you first. Some young women are trafficked and sold into prostitution this way. Also, if he is in another town within the country then let him travel to see you, even if he offers to finance your trip. You are vulnerable out there without your home support systems.
- Never meet in a private place. Always meet in a public place like a busy restaurant.
- Bring a friend. Your friend doesn’t have to sit on the same table, but they can be on the lookout. If you can’t bring a friend, tell someone where you are going and give details of the man as well.
- Pick a place that you frequently go to, somewhere where the staff know you. Don’t accept to meet him in a neighbourhood you are not familiar with or that is out of your comfort zone.
- Do not accept alcohol on the first date. Some men use alcohol to intoxicate women, so they can take advantage of them. And keep an eye on your drink, as well.
Date him for a while
The fact that you are asking this question makes it evident that you are not comfortable with the current situation.
Marriage is not a walk in the park, even for those like us who dated for five years before marriage.
It’s prudent to date long enough to see him at his best and his worst. His behaviour when upset or happy will inform you on how he will treat you in marriage. I hope both of you will be able to discern if you can live with each other’s flaws and that true love is born.
I wish you all the best.