The Dating Inbox

When dating, women can get concerned about preserving their sense of privacy.  Boundaries are important – what if a guy turns out to be a pest?

Here’s a quick tip:  Create an email address specifically for the early stages of dating.

Most of us have easy access to free email providers like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.  Use a special email address for online dating Web sites and for the guys you meet there.  You may even want to use this email address for new men you meet in real life.

Having a separate email address will create a communications buffer.  If you decide that you no longer want to interact with a guy, and he doesn’t like that decision, he won’t have access to your regular personal email address or your work email address.  The emails will be on your terms.  He won’t be able to harass you at work by pinging you with unwanted or distracting emails.

Maybe you’ve had an annoying emailer before.  I know I have.  After one date with a new guy, and many emails and instant messages, I decided that I didn’t want to see him anymore.  He didn’t like that and emailed me for years….trying to get a response.  I marveled at his persistence, but his attempts probably would have been more troubling if they arrived in my work inbox or in my regular personal email inbox.  But – they arrived in my Hotmail ”dating inbox.”  Years into it, finding the emails was a bit of a hoot.  Maybe it was funnier because unbeknownst to him, I had set a personal boundary and the electronic P.O. Box he had access to was kept at arm’s-length.

None of my dates ever turned into a stalker, but I imagine that the dating inbox decoy might make it harder for a stalker to track you, especially if you withhold vital information like your full last name.  That’s all up to you.

When you move beyond the first few dates and are pretty sure you want to continue seeing a guy, it’s fine to gradually share more personal information, like a work email address, for quick logistical planning for after work events.  But if you start out with your “dating inbox” strategy, you get to control when all of that occurs.

Even if you’re the one who gets rejected, the dating inbox can be nice.  It may be easier to move on if you don’t have a guy’s contact information and old emails staring you in the face.

And here’s the really beautiful part.  When you are done dating, you can simply cancel or discontinue using the email address.  Poof!  If you decide to make a clean break with your past when you get married, you can.

I didn’t read about the dating inbox anywhere.  This was something I came up with for myself as a practical way to put some distance between new guys and me.  When you are dating a lot, “relationship management” techniques can help keep you sane.

Amy Bonaccorso is a life coach, dating expert, and the award-winning author of  How to Get to ‘I Do’ – A Dating Guide for Catholic Women. Her work is regularly featured on radio, television, print and online media outlets. Before becoming a full-time coach and writer, she led a successful decade-long career as a communications professional in the federal government. Visit her at www.amybonaccorso.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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