Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Online Dater's Family Disapproves

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am trying online dating for the first time. I used to be opposed to this idea -- I felt that people should meet each other naturally in person -- but that has not been working out for me so well. My past relationships started when guys approached me in person, but they all turned out to be toxic.

My outlook on dating now is that online gives me the power to choose who I want and to filter out the bad seeds. My family, however, doesn't think that this is a good option due to safety concerns. I am stuck; I am ready for the next stage in my life, but I am unsure what steps I should take. -- Online Dating

DEAR ONLINE DATING: Safety should always be a priority in life, including in dating. Meeting someone online versus while walking down the street or at a museum does not offer a measurable difference in terms of the safety factor. You must always be on the alert.

Online dating has worked for many people. You can be somewhat discerning based on what your filters are. If you describe the qualities you are looking for and what you value, hopefully you will attract like-minded suitors. When you notice someone interesting, start to communicate online, then by phone, then in person in a public place. Take your time. If you live by your values, you may find someone who lives by them as well.