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Serial Dater or Serial Killer?

Tonight’s post is the latest of the Mars vs. Venus entries, where I’ll provide the female perspective on the topic and my friend and fellow blogger Jamey will provide his male perspective over on his blog. In the past, we’ve covered flirtation, workplace romances, and long-distance relationships, and if you haven’t read any of those posts I recommend doing so (also check out the other topics covered on Jamey’s blog by other female contributors).

The topic of this entry was Jamey’s idea, after hearing myself and other females use the expression “serial killer” in reference to men met via online dating.  

In several earlier posts, I’ve shared some of my concerns and issues with online dating, and while it’s not my preferred method of dating, it’s something that I keep going back to as the most viable option to meet new people. During the times when I’ve had a visible profile, and have actively communicated with men online, the thought of “what if he’s a serial killer?” always crosses my mind…especially in the cases where I’m planning a meet-up with this virtual stranger in real life. Even when I’ve learned quite a bit about a man through many messages back and forth, I still tend to have reservations about the whole experience.

So far, I’ve yet to go on a date with a man who I’ve truly suspected of being a sociopath or serial killer, which makes me wonder why I always fear the worst when it comes to potential dates found on the internet. Last summer, I think I did come very close to going out with a truly insane person, but I cancelled the date once certain red flags started popping up (and changed his name in my phone to Crazy McStalkerton, just in case he tried to contact me in the future). 

I credit my fears and reservations about meeting men online to taking the “don’t talk to strangers” lesson learned as a kid to heart, even though I’m an adult now and most of the time it’s perfectly normal to talk to strangers. Also, horror stories of women who were drugged, raped, or worse tend to creep up in the back of my mind, since the negative parts of online dating are more apt to make headlines than human interest stories of couples who met online and lived happily ever after. I know both situations exist, and would suspect that more cases of happy– or at least non-threatening– meet-ups happen as a result of online dating versus the scary serial killer situations.

From time to time, I will decide to go ahead and have a first date with a guy met online, and have learned some pretty important lessons over the years about the first meet-up.

Obviously, the smart thing to do is to plan the meeting in a public place, which will greatly reduce the risk of something bad happening in the event that the date is a crazy person. I haven’t always followed this rule, and one time made the mistake of meeting a guy at his house for a first (and only date). Allowing the meeting to take place on his turf instead of a neutral location gave the wrong impression, and had I not stood up for myself, I could have been taken advantage of since he thought my being in his home meant we’d be having sex that night.

When planning out the first meeting, a neutral location is always a good idea, but I prefer it to be somewhere that I’ve at least visited or know about, and places where other people will be at whatever time of day the meeting is set for. By the time I’ve committed to planning a first date, I’m pretty confident that the experience should be fairly risk free, but it’s reassuring for me to know that there will be witnesses present in case the guy turns out to be a real creep.

As I mentioned earlier, most of the men I’ve talked to online, and have gone on dates with are pretty normal. None of those dates ever seemed to amount to much of anything, because while I’ve been focused on the idea of all men met online potentially being serial killers, I sometimes overlook the fact that these men might just be serial daters.

By now, I think I’ve had profiles on most of the more popular dating sites, and the same matches tend to always pop up for me, regardless of what dating site I’m using at the time. I can’t really judge these men for using multiple pools to find women to date, since I’m guilty of the same “crime,” but I do have to question the men who I’ve come across multiple times over the span of several years.

A few months ago, I decided to go back to Match.com, and was surprised when within the first few days of having an active profile, two different men that I had messaged with in the past came up as potential matches. I would consider those men to be of the serial dater variety, since neither of their profiles had changed much from what I could remember, and both showed they had been active within the last couple of days.

Maybe I shouldn’t judge those men too harshly, because they may have had similar thoughts if my profile popped up, when in reality I’m probably just as much of a serial dater as they are. In the end, I’m sure the only thing those men are guilty of is trying to find a lasting connection with another human,  which is what we all hope for, right?

What are your thoughts on the subject of online dating? Do you share a similar mentality of questioning whether or not the people you’ve met online could be serial killers? Or do you have other reservations I haven’t yet mentioned?

I’m curious to read what Jamey has to say about this topic, and the concerns from the male point of view, which can be found here.

Responses (4)

  1. Katy–Thanks for the dual entry. This line particularly intrigued me: “During the times when I’ve had a visible profile, and have actively communicated with men online, the thought of “what if he’s a serial killer?” always crosses my mind…especially in the cases where I’m planning a meet-up with this virtual stranger in real life.”

    So that is a thought that legitimately crosses your mind? As you can see in my entry, I posture that women don’t actually think that guys are serial killers–it’s just an exaggerated expression. But this seems to indicate otherwise.

    • Katy says:

      I think my way of thinking is vastly different from most other women in regards to online dating. Instead of being open, I tend to always assume the worst in all situations, even dating. During the course of my online dating “career,” I’ve had some close calls and received messages that seriously made me question the intent of certain men online, so I’ve adopted the “better safe than sorry,” mentality and probably over-examine the messages I’ve exchanged.

      I know a couple of other women who have dated online in the past, and while they’ve joked about meeting in public to ensure their safely, I doubt any of those women truly thought their date could be a serial killer.

      • That is so interesting. And to be clear, the theory I express on my blog post is that many women are afraid (and legitimately so) of what a strange man might do to them. But I’m surprised that your mind actually goes to “serial killer” before a host of other things that are, unfortunately, more likely.

        • Katy says:

          Oh, those other things most certainly cross my mind too, but the worst case scenario that always seems to pop up is the serial killer question.

          And you’re absolutely correct in saying that other bad things are more likely to happen, since from my own experiences I’ve had to end a date and communication because the men were trying to pressure me into doing things I wasn’t comfortable with. I’m not sure why that has happened on more than one occasion in recent history, but maybe I’m unintentionally sending out signals or saying things to make them think I’m on board with anything more than just meeting up and having a conversation for the first date.

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