I’m Dating Online for the First Time. Can I Wait to Share My Last Name?

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Written by: Dr. Wendy Walsh

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Known as America's Relationship Expert, Dr. Wendy Walsh is an award-winning television journalist, radio host & podcaster, and the author of three books on relationships and thousands of print and digital articles. More than 1.5 million people follow her sage advice on social media. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and teaches in the Psychology Department at California State University Channel Islands and has been the host of "The Dr. Wendy Walsh Show" on iHeart Radio's KFI AM 640 since 2015. Walsh is also a former Emmy-nominated co-host of "The Doctors," as well as former host of the nationally syndicated show "EXTRA." She was named a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2017 after speaking out about harassment at a major news network.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Reader Question:

I am a professional young widow (41) with two younger kids. I haven’t been in the dating world for 20 years, so I need more basics than what is here. Today’s technology didn’t exist 20 years ago! I am concerned about sharing details of my home or work which could allow me to be Google’d.

Can I wait to share my last name to ensure the guy isn’t psycho? Should I set up a separate email since mine is my name?

-Sara H. (Illinois)

Dr. Wendy Walsh’s Answer:

You don’t have to set up a separate email account because all the dating sites give you a mailbox on their site. Get as much personal info about a guy before you meet him in the real world and do as much Google research as you can.

When you do meet for the first time, make it in a public place. Bring your own transportation. Make sure you give his name and contact info to a girlfriend and set a time to check in with her to tell her you are safe. Make the first meeting short and sweet — say coffee at Starbucks.

This isn’t a first date. It’s just a visual check-him-out. After that, if you like him, you can go on a first date.

And don’t make the biggest online dating mistake of all: creating false intimacy through an email relationship first. It puts too much pressure on that first meeting. Have a phone call and/or coffee soon after making contact online.

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