When you’re online dating, you’ll probably go on a few bad dates along the way. I once spent weeks talking to a guy I thought was smart and kind — only to meet him and find out he’s dull and narcissistic. It was a painful evening. He showed up late carrying a bouquet, wearing a tux, and sweating profusely. He smelled like nervous nerd and cats. The waiter gave me pitying looks as I sat in silence while my oblivious date droned on about I-don’t-even-remember-what.
I’ve never wanted to leave a restaurant so badly. At the mention of dessert, I blurted, “No, I’m ready to go” and put down my credit card, paying for the whole meal so we could get out of there faster. He was still chatting happily even as I fast-walked to my car.
Cringeworthy dating tales, like mine, are fun to talk about but hellish to live through. If you want to read some oh-wow-I’m-so-glad-that-didn’t-happen-to-me horror stories about online dating, we’ve collected seven doozies for your enjoyment. And, as an added bonus, our dating experts came up with four tips to avoid such crude, awkward, and unsafe dating situations. Let’s get to it!
Online Dating Horror Stories (#1-7)
Friends love to talk about bad dates as if they’re swapping spooky campfire stories of singledom. It goes something like: “He asked her if she enjoyed anal… and never heard from her again. Muahahaha!” The truly horrible online dating stories spread from person to person until they’re eventually immortalized on the internet.
Below, we’ve picked out the best of the worst of online dating: the cheaters, the chumps, and the chillingly bad dates. Reading through these crazy and gross anecdotes ought to make you feel better about your own love life — because, hey, it could be worse.
1. Naughtynurse99’s Date Puts a Foot in His Mouth
Fetishes often come up among online daters because it’s an anonymous and sexually charged dating arena. One guy, however, took his foot fetish to incredibly inappropriate levels on his movie date with Naughtynurse99.
First, he complimented her feet. Kinda weird, but OK. Then he asked if he could suck on her toes. She told him, “Definitely not.” Finally, he dropped something on the floor, bent down, and tried to put Naughtynurse99’s toes in his mouth. She kicked at him and left. All in all, he didn’t put his best foot forward on that date.
2. Playing Hide-and-Seek With a Creepy Neighbor Online
My college roommate was texting with someone she met on Coffee Meets Bagel when the conversation turned sketchy. The guy found out they lived in the same area of Fort Lauderdale, and he had a lot of follow-up questions about her exact location. As in, “What street?” and “Do you live alone?” and pretty much the stuff someone asks if they’re planning to rob or murder you. She stopped answering him.
The next day, he said, “I don’t mean to be weird, but I think I saw you getting your mail the other day.” It turns out he lived three doors down. Yikes!
3. Allison’s Date Left Her Alone & Dumbfounded
Allison is a single New Yorker, which means she’s a pretty tough chick. However one extremely rude first date left her reeling and wondering what went wrong. She met a guy at a bar for their first date. They ordered drinks. When his beer arrived, he paid for it, downed it, and ended the date before it’d even really begun.
“He chugged his beer, looked me up and down, said, ‘Yeah… I can’t do this,’ and left me there.” — Allison, a 24-year-old single
That kind of ego-crushing, jaw-dropping douchery is what many people fear when online dating. It’s too easy for online daters to be superficial jerks to one another. One of my guy friends actually got stood up after driving 40 minutes to meet a girl who just never texted him back. Maybe she was kidnapped on her way to the restaurant. Or maybe she took one look at him and left. Either way, it sucks.
4. A Meth Head Messes With Her Date’s Head
One online dater thought getting in the car of the girl he’d met online was a good idea, but the rest of the date proved him wrong. She started off the date by having an hour-long phone call and screaming about her baby daddy. Hard to imagine, but it got worse from there.
After driving around for a while, she asked her date if it was OK if she smoked for a minute. He assumed she meant she wanted to smoke pot and told her to go right ahead. She dove into the backseat. “Then I hear this popping crackling sound,” he wrote. “I watched a girl do meth.”
This crazy date is an extreme example of why driving with someone on a first date is a horrible idea.
5. The Cold Shoulder: When Good Date Ideas Go Bad
One of my friends had her first Tinder date at an outdoor movie in the park. She packed a little picnic of wine and Cheez-Its to make it extra cute, but her date was totally undeserving of the effort. He chugged the wine immediately and made fun of her for liking Cheez-Its (while eating them by the handful).
Even worse, he complained about being cold early on in the evening, so she lent him her jacket, which he wore for the rest of the night. After my friend repeatedly hinted that she was cold, the guy wrapped himself like a straight jacket around her. Then he asked her to drive him to his car after the movie. “Where is it?” she asked. He pointed 10 feet away. She took her jacket back, dodged his goodbye kiss, and left him alone with the empty box of Cheez-Its.
6. He Showed Her His Sword Collection. She Showed Him the Door
One anonymous single woman shared a chilling story of a bad date with People.com. She’d been seeing a guy for a while, and she liked him enough to come back to his apartment after one date. A decision she definitely regretted as soon as she stepped inside.
“He had loads of swords and machetes on the wall and decided to hold one to my throat to show me how incredibly strong they were,” she wrote. The story stops there, but I think it’s safe to say she ran out of there without looking back.
7. On a First Date, Two Is Company & Three Is Incredibly Awkward
After three weeks of texting a girl, an anonymous single man got himself a date. He was pretty excited, even arriving half an hour early to get a good table at the Italian restaurant. His heart sank when his date arrived, though — because she wasn’t alone. She’d brought her husband.
“The waitress brings her to my table, and I see another man walking with her. They both sit down — at this point, I’m really confused.” — An anonymous online dater on People.com
Turns out, they were interested in a threesome because the wife wanted to have sex with two men at once. The baffled dater recalled, “I was completely speechless. I had no idea how to reply, so I just got up and walked out of the restaurant without saying a word.”
Tips to Avoid These Situations (#8-11)
Not every bad date is avoidable, but some are. Sometimes it’s just a matter of more carefully vetting who you talk to and agree to meet. Setting standards can help keep the crazies you meet to a minimum. Rushing headlong into a date with a stranger isn’t the best way to avoid bad dates.
If you want to keep a dating horror story from happening to you, we have four tips to help you spot the potential land mines before they blow up in your face.
8. Choose a Legit Dating Site With Verification or Blocking Tools
Every dating site is bound to have a few bad apples. Scammers and scum flock to places where people chat anonymously, but most reputable dating platforms will have ways of verifying or stopping unsavory characters. Zoosk uses photo verification and links accounts with Facebook to add extra transparency and authenticity to its membership. Elite Singles employs a Customer Care team to vet all dating profiles for authenticity.
Most dating platforms let you block a user who’s bothering you, and some even require any entry fee for anyone seeking to send you a message. The paid communication features on Match.com ensure that everyone who contacts you is truly committed to making a real connection online. Match sets high standards for its membership, encouraging quality, relationship-oriented adults to join so members are less likely to encounter horribly bad dates.
9. Keep Your Contact Information Private & Secure
Make sure you trust someone before sharing your private details. Giving out a little information, like your phone number or a social media handle, could lead to some serious privacy and safety issues down the road.
For instance, if your phone number is linked to your Facebook account, your date can find you and disrupt your social life. Georgieroset used WhatsApp to talk to a guy she met on Plenty of Fish, and he found her friends list and threatened to send them fake nudes of her unless she sent him actual nudes. Not a winning strategy. She threatened to call the cops on him, blocked his number, and changed her privacy settings on Facebook immediately.
“He started reeling off names of people I’m friends with on Facebook, even though I hadn’t told him my last name and we weren’t Facebook friends!” she said. “I was incredibly freaked out.”
10. Have an Escape Route Planned
Don’t trap yourself on a date with someone you don’t know. When planning your date, make sure you have a backup plan in case you have to get out of there fast. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate “someone is in the hospital” phone call. It could just be a simple: “I’m waking up early tomorrow” or “I’m meeting a friend for drinks.”
You can even mention ahead of time that you have plans later, so he or she won’t be surprised or try to argue when you cut the date short. Hopefully, you won’t need an excuse to leave, but you should have one prepared, just in case.
11. Always, Always, Always Drive Yourself to a First Date
This should be a no-brainer. You met this person online. Do not get in a car with them until you’ve established some level of trust. As in, you’ve met him or her in person at least once. Sometimes, guys offer to drive because they like to be in control of the date or want to appear gentlemanly, but it’s just not safe or appropriate with someone you’ve met on a dating site or app. At least, not at the beginning.
You don’t have to be paranoid while online, but you should be aware of when your decisions could lead to you being left stranded somewhere — or worse. You never really know what a person is like until you’ve met them. And it doesn’t hurt to take precautions. The first time I let someone I met online drive me somewhere, I took a picture of his license plate and sent it to all my friends. Better safe than sorry.
On the Bright Side, Horrible Dates Make Good Stories
Meeting a total stranger on a date is a bit of a coin toss. You don’t know how it’s going to turn out until you’re there, desperately watching the clock and exchanging grimaces with your waiter. Sometimes, you can see the warning signs or make a quick escape before it goes from uncomfortable to horrifying — but not always. After you survive the bad date, though, you usually come away with a good story to tell your friends.
Our seven online dating horror stories showcase the worst-case scenarios online daters absolutely dread. However, it’s important to realize that these cautionary tales are the exception and not at all typical for most people mingling online.
Don’t let the creepiness or cruelty of some of some of these stories dissuade you from joining a dating site. It’s still the best and quickest way to meet available dates! You can use our dating tips (and a little common sense) to avoid online dating disasters and have an enjoyable time. Good luck!