Surprise dating

The connection you make with someone — otherwise known as the relationship you have with them — starts at first contact: You can hook up with someone for months and call it or not call it whatever you want.

Perhaps not defining our relationships is our way of dodging responsibility. But if there are still feelings involved, and there usually are, does it really matter what you call it on paper or on Facebook?

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But label or not, ending it with someone hurts that person. When you act unreliable, it causes pain. When you interact with another human, that is a relationship, and you owe it to that person to be respectful. Amber Madison is a Manhattan-based relationship expert and licensed therapist. You can follow her on Twitter ambermadi. By Amber Madison Published: Recommended Slideshows 17 Pictures. Trump administration took thousands more migrant children than originally reported.

Web analysts do not predict online dating services will become a major piece of the growing Internet economy.

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Still, between hard working single people having less time to meet each other and the divorce rate hovering at 50 percent, online service executives say they expect continued revenue. Stories of relationships and even marriage thanks to these Internet cupids keep hope alive for the unattached. See sidebar for success story.

Online dating options are varied. They range from services that connect people based upon similarities in questions they answered on a questionnaire, like what Match. Some services have software that will match prospective partners based on similar interests. Photographs often, but do not always, accompany, both types of offerings.

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The number of users during the past six months for both online personal ad sites or dating services indicates something electric is happening. Users, on average, logged minutes in May on Matchmaker. The Pros and Cons Psychologists and users say the services have both benefits and problems. Wachs says dating is hard work and that online forums provide another way to meet people. Wachs says to get the most out of these services you should be as honest as you can about your likes and dislikes assuming that the person you will meet will be truthful, too.

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Of course, people misrepresent their age, their income, their appearance and their intention. People should be careful of online dating as they would typical dating, she says. If someone has made poor choices in the past, they probably will do so again. Wachs also recommends proceeding cautiously before giving out phone numbers or agreeing to meet.

It was chat rooms — another way people connect virtually — and an exchange of sadomasochistic e-mails that brought together Columbia University biology student Oliver Jovanovic and the woman he was convicted of raping four years ago. More recently, a Toronto man was charged with raping a woman he met on an online dating service in May. With most services, prospective daters can keep their anonymity via e-mail forwarding services until both parties agree to lift the veil.

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Women should always take the phone number of the man first and not give out an address, Wachs says. She suggests a couple meet after a few e-mails and a phone conversation or two, and always in a public place or with friends. Wachs feels romance hunters should limit their e-mails because some people will e-mail each other more frequently than they would use the phone.

Because of the anonymous nature of the e-mail interaction, people also start engaging in sexual banter too early in a relationship, she says.

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Wachs says sex is not the sort of the thing that most people engage in on first meeting offline, so she does not suggest it online. She recommends that couples, although each is different, wait a few months before having sex to ensure they really know each other.