YES, YOU IN THE BACK...

...you had a question?

If you saw the Almost-Valentine’s Day webinar (and if you didn’t, you can watch it here), you heard a flurry of questions from participants. Well, technically you didn’t hear the questions from the participants themselves because they had to type them into a Zoom chat and then I read them out loud… but you know what I meant.

The point is, there were more questions than I was able to get to, so I will answer some of them here. I also invite you to submit questions of your own, either in the Comment section here or just email me at talktoethlie@gmail.com. I may not have all all the answers, but I’m a good listener. Plus I’ve mostly been there/done that, and can maybe warn you away from some quicksand.

Q: I’m having a hard time balancing my intuition and my addictive drive. Is it my inner voice or my addiction telling me to send a text, to reach out or not reach out — how do I begin to trust myself and my gut?

A: The first thing I would gut-check is, “How urgent is this?” Counterintuitively, the more important it feels, the worse of an idea it probably is. If something feels urgent, if it feels desperate, if it feels like “If I don’t talk to them now they will be lost forever and I will die alone!!!”…. that’s love addiction talking. I do realize that these urges are also the hardest one to resist, because it really does feel like life or death. It feels like you’re drowning and grasping for a life preserver, only the life preserver is an iPhone.

One of my bottom lines is: “I don’t call, I don’t text. He knows where to find me.” Sure, I return calls - but I don’t initiate them. It’s too easy to convince myself that he’s trying to reach me but his battery is dead… he wrote my number down wrong… he’s hurt and needs my help and thank goodness I’m so intuitive that I could pick up his non-verbal calls... yeah, it gets bad.

When in doubt, sit on your hands. It’s hard to get in trouble that way.

Q: You talked about only responding to messages but not sending them. What other bottom lines do you live by?

A: One: I do not date/flirt with/sleep with men who are in a relationship with another person, even when they absolutely positively swear it’s an open relationship and the other person is totally 100% on board. Two: I do not have sex on a first date. Or a second date. (I don’t guarantee I’ll sleep with you on a third date, but it could happen.) Three: I do not date men who are younger than my son.

Simple, right? Yet you would be amazed at all the old bad behaviors this arrested, and all the pain it saved me. Probably saved some unsuspecting wives and girlfriends a bunch of pain as well.

Those are my single-girl bottom lines. When I’m in a relationship, I really only have one: “Don’t do anything behind his back that I wouldn’t do in front of his face.”

A: What is a romance scam? And how does it generate money for the dating app?

A romance scam îs when a person — often from a foreign country and often a professional scammer — creates a fraudulent profile to lure a lonely person into an online relationship. They use very attractive pictures and flowery expressions of love to create a perfect fantasy lover (love addicts are suckers for a good fantasy!) and then they milk their conquest for cash. They were in an accident, they’ll say. Their child is sick. They want to buy a plane ticket to come see you. They need to buy their freedom from an abusive pimp. Their business deal is going to fall through and they are going to be ruined without a short-term injection of capital…. you would be amazed at the number of intelligent, professional men and women who fall for this stuff.

The apps may not make money directly from these scams, but they still benefit financially. Attractive profiles command eyeballs, and your eyeballs are the apps’ stock in trade. The more potential matches you see, the more you keep swiping, the more money the app makes. I would guess that half the profiles in certain demographics on certain apps are fakes — and didn’t we learn that 90% of the “cheating wives” on the old Ashley Madison site were fake?

The sad reality is, if they look too good to be true… they are.