When coaching post divorce, one of the first things I do is introduce clients to the different types of people they will run into. It is vital to understand that some people have baggage. Also, some personality types just do not mesh. In the past people dated from work or social settings. There was a chance to get to know the people, or have friends make references. The worst case scenario was the blind date where the friend set you up with their boyfriend’s date.

Today, almost everyone tries online dating at least once. It doesn’t take long to find out that the waters are muddied, and people lie on profiles. Here are a few quick tips to help you get started.

The Married Person

Yes, there are many married people who come online. They may want a casual encounter, or just to play emotional games. They are fairly easy to identify. They post an old or obscure picture – or no picture at all. They don’t talk about details of their life, you do not get their home phone number, and they typically only talk about superficial stuff.

As time progresses they break dates without any real explanation. Phone calls are never in the evening. Or if they are, the person is obviously at work or at the mall.

These people will work hard to get an emotional commitment from you. They are predators. They have no empathy or sympathy for their victims. They feed off your desire to meet them and your willingness to get into a quick relationship.

The Narcissist

Do not limit these to men only. There are plenty of women narcissists out there. These people are often controllers. The first time you don’t give them what they want, ‘poof’ they are gone. Or worse, they start trying to pull you down, put down your goals.

It is easy to identify these people. They don’t listen to you, repeating questions, and dominate the conversation. They make choices for you, often hidden behind chivalry. They determine what will feed you emotionally and will often make you feel bad if you don’t reciprocate appropriately.

The Controller

Beware this person most of all. After they are sure you are emotionally committed to them, they will start trying to change the way you think. This becomes most aggressive if the relationship has progressed to physical intimacy. The relationship often starts out as a dream come true. The controller is everything you ever wanted, your soul mate. In reality, they are showing you what you can have if you are ‘good’ and behave the way they want you to.

Sometimes it is hard to identify this person early in the relationship. But this is important because their level of possession is so high that they may become dangerous if you decide to leave after a few months.

The Angry and Unforgiving

This person is easiest to identify. As soon as you trip over one of their emotional triggers, they become highly emotional, or leave. They also talk about the people in their lives who have hurt them. You’ll feel sympathy for them, until you realize that you are just there to add fodder to the stories they will tell their next date.

Avoid the temptation to try and save this person. You cannot prove to them that you are different, they won’t see it. They will enter another relationship because they are lonely, but will start preparing for the break up almost immediately. It is a vicious circle that will continue through repeated break ups, and divorces.

The Ghost

This person was perfect. They were romantic in every way. They met your every need, and appeared to have no baggage. Then one day you have the most magical date/night of your life, and poof, they are gone without a call, explanation, or even a forwarding phone number.

This person is most often a man with deep rooted mental issues that need to be addressed in counselling. Do not feel ashamed of being the victim. They trick many smart, educated, and successful women. The commitment phobe and those with attachment deficit disorder need professional help. You cannot save them. They will not come back.

Love at First Sight

Beware this person. They will usually fall instantly in love and propose quickly. You'll find yourself walking down the isle within a year - to hell on earth. It won't be long into the honeymoon before this person's real personality comes out. Abusive is an understatement.

They are glad they no longer have to play games to make you like them. They got you now. Like one woman said "I am in a foreign country with someone I don't know." This person often has anger management problems, or some other issue that makes them inable to see things from another person's point-of-view. Not always, but most of the time. Counselling rarely works, because they do not see the pain they are causing you.

The Player

This person is a lot harder to catch than you’d think. Online dating often has favourites lists that let you watch other people’s activity. This is the most common way to catch them. While they are proposing marriage to you, they are viewing profiles and IMing other women.

This person is very busy, and expects you to understand why dates are broken ‘last minute’ or why they can’t see you for long periods of time. They prey on the innocent or naive because this person buys into their game so readily. The best way to get rid of the player is to avoid having sex for several dates. This spoils their fun, so they move on.

Avoid Problems Before They Start

The easiest way to avoid problems is to have a plan. Work with someone who can help you understand the best type of person for you, and help you determine where you want to go in life. Once you have a strong strategy in place it becomes easier to weed out those who don’t fit your wants and needs.

Avoid jumping into quick sexual relationships. Intimacy is good, and fun, but it also makes you vulnerable. It gives some men the feeling that they possess you, and for some women the connection is so strong they don’t walk away when they should.

When meeting someone online, never give out your personal information until you’ve talked for several times, over a couple weeks at least. It is fairly easy to find your address with a phone number, or an email address.

Agree to meet somewhere publicly. Make sure you are given the chance to set some of the ground rules. One practice that is becoming common is to ask to see the person’s driver’s licence. It is a quick exchange that will reveal if someone is deceiving you, has emotional baggage, or a predator. However, showing a driver’s licence also gives the person your address, so you may want to think hard about it.

Another practice is to use an internet phone like Vonage, or skype as your dating phone, at least for 2 or 3 months. Remember that people who are interested in a serious relationship, especially post-divorce, are not in a hurry to jump into another relationship. Emotionally healthy people take their time. They get to know you. They ask questions and listen to your answers. In the end, a little patience can save a lot of heart ache.

Last advice, bail when your gut tells you something is wrong. Most of these types will not initiate the break up. In fact, they may be insulting, abusive, and self centered, but they will force you to initiate the break up. This is how they justify their actions - it is always the other person's fault - never their own.

Author's Bio: 

Suzanne James has 10 years experience as an online life coach and using the telephone to facilitate her coaching strategy. She has vast experience helping clients reset their core values, make changes in their communication and relationship styles, and take back control of their lives. There is a wealth of information on her website: http://www.suzannejames.com