It’s not a happy thought when you go out to meet the potential love of your life that you might be putting your safety in danger – even your life. But you do need to think about it, and take sensible precautions, without going overboard into paranoia.
If you look around on the web, you’ll find quite a few articles about online dating safety, but you can be just as much at risk (if not more so) from the guy you bumped into at a club.
Just because you meet face to face for the first time doesn’t mean you should necessarily trust him with your life.
Here are 23 of the best ways to make sure you are safe and not sorry while dating, wherever you met your guy.
Trust Your Instincts
Whether you are exchanging emails with someone on an online dating site, talking on the phone or meeting in person, if you feel something is not quite right, it probably isn’t.
If the emails or phone calls make you uneasy, chances are things won’t be any better in person. End it before you meet.
When meeting a guy for the first few times, always have a ready made excuse so that you can exit politely pleading a headache or something, if your instincts tell you that you’d rather not stay.
Your survival instincts sense danger before your head, so trust them.
Meet In Public
Arrange to meet in a public place so that you can enjoy the date without worrying about being alone with a guy you don’t know. He’s probably not a murderer but, if he is, murderers are unlikely to kill you in the local coffee bar. They have to get you alone for that.
This is one (of many) good reasons not to have sex for the first few dates. (see Should You Sleep With Him On The First Date?)
Get There Under Your own Steam
Don’t get into a car with your date alone until you trust him. Once you’re in his car, you are a virtual hostage to anywhere he wants to take you. Kids shouldn’t get into a car with strangers and neither should you.
Have A Taxi Fare Back
Even if you got to the date on public transport, have enough money to get back by taxi. If he turns out to give you the creeps, you don’t want to have him follow you to the station or bus stop, especially at night.
Pay Your Way
Always offer to pay your share of the date. You don’t have to go over the top insisting to the point of rudeness, but firmly offering pay (and meaning it) removes any sense of obligation that you owe him anything. You don’t, no matter who pays, but the less that thought has the chance to rear its ugly head, the better.
Following these safe dating tips will help keep you from serious harm, but no one is 100% immune to the really bad guys, who have an intention to make you a victim.
If you are ever the subject of violence by one of these predatory men, it is absolutely not your fault. It is never your fault, because no one has the right to harm you – at any time, for any reason.
Dress conservatively for your first few dates and avoid showing too much bare flesh, unless you want to give the impression you’re looking for sex rather than a longer term relationship. There’s no need to look like a nun, and a bit of femininity doesn’t go amiss, but don’t overdo the legs and cleavage.
Avoid Drinking Too Much
Stay in control, and keep your wits about you. Avoid leaving drinks and food unattended so there is less chance that your date can slip anything into them. Remember date rape drugs GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) and Rohypnol are undetectable in food and drink as they are odorless and colorless. These drugs can make you disoriented or unconscious and the effects are stronger when you have been drinking alcohol.
Tell A Friend (Or Two)
Always tell a friend where you are going, and provide as much information as you can about who you are meeting. If things are going well and plans change during the course of the evening, send an update to your friend.
There’s no harm in telling your date what you are doing. “Just texting my friend about the change in plan. She worries about me and I do the same for her” This can really deter predators, but won’t put off the good guys, who will understand.
Know Who You Are Meeting
The more you can be sure who you are meeting the better.
- If you met through work or through a mutual friend you can be pretty sure that you know who you are dating.
- If you met in a club or shopping for groceries, you have no idea, so be especially cautious.
- If you met online, then you should have a profile picture, possibly an email address and phone number, and the dating site should have details of the guy. To be sure those details are valid, avoid free dating sites where you can pretend to be anyone – you don’t need to give credit card or bank details to join so they have no way of verifying your identity.
Leave, If He’s Not What You Are Expecting
If the guy who turns up is very different from what you’re expecting, then be wary. Lots of people lie in little ways on their profiles to make themselves seem more attractive, but if he doesn’t match what he said in a drastic way (for example, he said he was 29 but he looks 59), it’s a warning sign that he is a trickster.
Keep Your Personal Information Private
You don’t want cyber chatting to become cyber stalking once you know you don’t want anything more to do with the guy.
- It’s better not to divulge your home address or work address until you trust someone. Provide a mobile phone number as it’s too easy to reverse look up your home phone to get your address (and if you call him from your home phone, block caller id).
- Get a free email address that you only use for dating. That way, it will be easy enough to change if you want to cut off communications from someone who is becoming a pest.
- Also be wary about giving away too much information in online chat. “I like to run” is fine. “I work out at the gym before work” leads to questions about which gym that you may not want to answer and it becomes awkward.
Choose Your Online Name Carefully
Do not use your own name, and use a different account name for dating than those you use in other places online. Avoid names which have sexual connotations unless you want to attract guys looking only for (and expecting) sex.
Don’t lead your date to expect something you are not, as this can cause problems. A nice guy would be disappointed and not show it too much, though you’re unlikely to get a second date. A less than nice guy may get angry and take that anger out on you.
It sounds romantic to be whisked off your feet, but it’s dangerous. Get to know someone well before they whisk you away anywhere, and let your head rule your heart just a bit!
Take things slowly and get to know your date one step at a time. If an online contact is a bit pushy about meeting in person, hold back a bit and call him (on your cellphone) a few times first. Really get to know him before you decide to meet up.
Scammers can have you believe that they fell head over heels in love with you after a few emails and two dates. Genuine guys are more likely to be shy about declaring it, even if they are smitten.
Have a friend look over your communications. She may see something you don’t, if you’re starting to wear rose colored spectacles when it comes to him.
Keep everything light-hearted with your dates with a lot of good humored banter and nothing too deep. Scammers are looking for women who are sad or lonely or desperate – you are easier prey when you’re in a vulnerable state. If you also don’t seem have a lot of friends or family to look out for you, then watch out, you may be the bad guy’s next target!
Be Wary Of Inconsistencies
If anything does not add up in the stories your date tells over various emails, phone calls and meet ups then he may be spinning you (and various other ladies) a line. He may not remember what he has said to whom about his life. If he is telling the truth then everything should tie together. Does his profile match what he is saying? If not, why not? Find out.
Be worried if your date avoids answering questions about things that are important to you, such as whether he has been (or is!) married, when he was divorced, whether he has kids, his job, his family etc. What is he hiding and why?
Look At His Attitude To Others
If your date is inconsiderate to others or is demeaning or disrespectful in his comments, then chances are he will soon be disrespecting you. There are plenty of nicer guys to date. It’s time to move on.
Tell Him To Stop
If your date starts touching or kissing you before you are ready for physical contact, ask him to stop. If he continues, tries to make you feel bad about being uncomfortable with his behavior or starts touching you inappropriately, then leave. He doesn’t deserve a polite excuse.
Be Sexually Responsible
If you are at the point where you are considering having sex with your date, then make sure you have a talk with him about past sexual behavior and how responsible he has been, before you decide if you want to risk your health and future fertility for a night of passion. Be aware, he may lie, and always use a condom with a new partner. Don’t rely on him to supply one. If you have condoms in your purse, there’s no excuse not to use one.
Don’t Give Him Money
Scammers typically have some major emergency that they need money for, and some reason why you are the only one they can ask. Your guard will be down because, up to the point of asking, the guy has been the perfect date on several occasions, and you may have started getting serious about him. He knows you have money. (He has made it his business to find out, or he can assume it from your lifestyle). But never give into this. It is almost certainly a scam. Just tell him “Sorry I never lend money to friends”. You don’t have to give any other reason and, if he continues to plead, he is definitely a scammer.
Don’t kid yourself it’s Ok, if he doesn’t ask directly. Many women, caught up in these scams, offer money once they hear about the “desperate” situation their date is in – without him even asking. He’s desperate all right – but only to get his hands on your money.
Protect Your Kids
If you are a single mother, keep your dating life and kids separate until you have known a new partner for a few months and trust him. Never leave your kids alone with him.
Don’t Fall For A Checklist
Just because he ticks all your boxes in the compatibility questionnaires online, doesn’t mean you should fall head over heels in love with him. There are plenty of boxes not in those questionnaires that you need to get satisfactory answers for, whether you meet him on a dating site or elsewhere, like
- are you honest?
- are you trustworthy?
- are you an all round, great guy?
- are you worth my attention, never mind my affection?
- can I live with your baggage?
- is there any chemistry between us?
and most important for your safety
- are you a scammer?
- are you a predator?
OVER TO YOU: Do you have any tips to help women stay safe when dating? Have you ever felt unsafe on a date? What did you do? PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW