I often get the “I’m surprised that someone like you is single”. Well things happen, and then when I mention I’m a member of a million and one dating sites, people think I’m crazy, that I’m making a huge mistake and wasting my time.

So how is conventional dating better than online dating?

A few years ago, I was working in London as a receptionist in a hotel. There was a guy, kind of cute, who stayed at the hotel on a regular basis. It was the general consensus between us that he was a funny guy. He asked me on a date, and of course I declined. He seemed an okay guy, and I know it’s a lame and fickle excuse, but he was shorter than me. He didn’t take offence at the rejection and he continued to be charming, with the occasional episode of flirting thrown in the mix which obviously I found flattering.

One day I’d had a massive argument with my roommate. I was still angry about it when I got to work and was wondering how on earth I’d be able to escape them later that day as our living arrangements were snug to say the least. Yes you’ve guessed it, when that guy asked me out for dinner again I said yes. Anywhere else would be better than in that room with both of us watching that angry cloud float above us. After all, what would be the harm in dinner?

Online Dating or Conventional Dating?He was late. Not a good start, I don’t like people who aren’t punctual. When he did turn up I very quickly forgave him, he’d brought me a present! He was certainly appealing to my inner goddess that requires a steady flow of worship, or at least a small amount of adoration. Of course I felt a little uneasy accepting a gift from a man I hardly knew, but curiosity won me over as I opened it. A bottle of the latest DKNY perfume, not normally the kind of perfume I would choose but thank you very much.

We started officially dating as a couple after the second date. I still wasn’t happy about the height thing, me being taller was definitely a major drawback. It made me feel uncomfortable and rather conspicuous, and flat shoes were absolutely not an option! Me without heals is like a glass without wine, nope, it just wasn’t going to happen! There were a lot of little things that bothered me about the whole scenario, my inner Goddess was jumping up and down, in fact it positively screamed at me at times.

Let me elaborate a little further.

He said he worked for a soccer club, but doing what exactly remained a mystery, whenever I asked I was rewarded with nothing but vague answers. Being female I supposed that he thought I wouldn’t be that interested. He mentioned that he’d spent some time in jail but for what and how long I didn’t know. He told me that he’d been in foster care when he was younger but most alarmingly, he had a child but wasn’t allowed to see him.

My job and my friends kept me busy which meant I only saw him a couple of times a week so I was a bit complacent in finding out the answers to my questions, I was just interested in relaxing and having fun, I didn’t want to become the psycho girlfriend asking a million and one questions. I was happy plodding along and seeing what life would throw at me.

That was all to change. Another massive argument with my roommate landed me with an eviction notice. Fabulous. My boss pushed me that one step too far at work so I quit my job, he seemed to know how to push my buttons, so that was that, I needed to go home, I missed home. I was falling out of love with London and craved the familiarity of Australia.

Of course, he didn’t want me to leave. He somehow managed to persuade me to stay in England.

We planned to go to Manchester for a few days, a chance to experience more of the country and to decide whether I should stay longer or not.Before we left for the north he was due to appear in court, I didn’t know what for but he’d assured me it was nothing serious and really wouldn’t take long. I assumed it was a speeding ticket or a parking fine and as he wasn’t freely offering the information I decided I didn’t want to know. I decided to wait for him in a coffee shop just around the corner, after all I had a lot of thinking to do. I was definitely at a crossroads. I drank another coffee. I indulged in a piece of cake. I waited a few hours and then the final nail in the coffin was landed. I received a text message: “I have been remanded. I’m sorry. I love you”.

That day I decided to head back to Australia. It was time to go home. Annoyingly and probably somewhat foolishly, instead of enjoying my last day in London with my friends I spent the time trying to visit the guy in jail, something I thought I would only ever have to do for my ex-husband. Be under no illusions, itis like in the movies and it is not a place or a thing I enjoyed doing.

After having wasted my whole day I had to rush to the post office before it closed for the day to get a notepad, some envelopes and stamps for when I was back in Australia. I had to mail him at the prison. He owed me money, and to me it was a lot of money. When you don’t have a lot £350 can seem a fortune. The £35 spent on stationary was well worth the investment. I also had to open an account to be allowed to email him with a minimum £5 deposit as each email of 750 word cost 20p. I wanted answers from this man. Finally, after running around I was able to enjoy my last dinner in London with my friends who gave me the best support ever! They made my last night memorable and enjoyable even though my head was spinning.

In each email I asked two questions. What did you do, and how long are you in jail for?

He never answered those questions. I tracked down one of his friends through his Twitter account who eventually told me that he had been sentenced to one year. So obviously it was a bit more serious than the vague excuses he had told me and the minor imaginings I’d had. The second question was answered by Google… Yep, Google is my friend! Google told me what a scumbag and a con artist that guy was and all the little things that hadn’t made any sense at the time were just as clear as water. I should have listened to my gut feelings. I should have ran a mile the first time he’d spoken to me. The fact that he had fooled so many others didn’t make me feel any better about being fooled myself.

So, for all of those people who think I’m mad for trying to find a man online, well there are just as many liars in the real world. None of the men I’ve flirted with online or met for dates have ever robbed me of cold hard cash. Of course there will always be those who pretend to be something they are not, and use a profile to hide behind, but at least you have the time and space to decide if you want to take the next step. Online dating or conventional dating, just use due diligence, always trust your instincts and DO NOT ever lend them money!

Online Dating or Conventional Dating?