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Dating Dangers: Love's a Minefield

Dating advice from the experts about how to find Mr. or Ms. Right.
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WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Your parents did it. Hitchhikers, rocket scientists, even nuns probably do it, at least once. The topic is dating, and the custom is as old as Adam and Eve.

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Dating is the path to love -- and that path, as we know, can be a minefield.

We date and we date, but we don't find Mr. or Ms. Right. In fact, we may find someone a lot scarier.

There's serious stuff out there, like HIV and STDs, date rape, online stalkers. Then there are other dangers -- boredom, disillusionment, getting dumped, or simply getting taken. Two love experts offer their dating advice:

Danger: Blinded by Chemistry

Face it; finding a great mate takes some research. "You're going to go through a lot of people, until you find someone where there is some kinetic thing, some magnetism, some desire to know more," says Pepper Schwartz, PhD, a sociologist at the University of Washington in Seattle.

"You're looking for a connection, someone you're physically attracted to -- who's physically attracted to you -- plus someone who doesn't make you feel bored from the get-go," Schwartz tells WebMD.

Chemistry, mutual interests -- that's all great. "But don't let the love bug mesmerize you," says Paul Falzone, author of the book, Find the Right One and CEO of "The Right One"and "Together," two nationwide dating services.

Falzone tells a story of a North Carolina woman who fell "totally in love" with a Massachusetts man she met online. Six months later, they met. Eventually, he encouraged her to sell her house, pack everything into a truck, and prepare herself and her two young children for a new life. Then comes the email saying, "I can't go through with this. I'm sorry, I'm dishonest, I'm married."

"You have to be very careful," Falzone tells WebMD. "Especially when children are involved, you want to make sure you're doing the right thing." In fact, he advises hiring a private investigator when getting involved with someone new. "People are naïve, they will trust anybody. Then after they're snookered, they feel so silly, so embarrassed about what happened."

His dating advice: "You can't change the spots on a leopard."

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