Six early red flags with online dating

- A forty-year old single mom who was online dating in Washington thought she’d found the man of her dreams. Recently divorced, she had three daughters, ages 12, 10 and 7, who will never see their mother again. This mom met a guy online and began a relationship. Her mother and family knew about him but had never met him. They had been on several dates and he had spent the night numerous times. She went with him to a Mariners’ game in Washington and ended up decapitated and mangled with her body parts being placed in plastic recycle bags in a nearby neighbor’s garbage. The mother had a suspicion, but not one other person did. They knew him only as “John” and her friends thought of him as a casual boyfriend. It was unknown to any of them of his extensive criminal background, and most likely it was unknown to this single mom as well.

Horror stories such as this one don’t happen frequently with online dating, but they do happen. That’s one reason to know the early signs or red flags that the person you’re talking to online is abusive or has a lengthy criminal record. 

There are obvious red flags, such as anger, controlling, jealous, or violent behavior, but most abusers are able to mask these tendencies in dating. By the time you begin to notice the obvious red flags, you may be attached to the abuser, which makes it more difficult to leave the relationship, and sometimes motivates the abuse. These early signs help you look for patterns of behavior that are erratic or don’t make sense. When you see these, DO NOT IGNORE THEM.

1. A sense of entitlement to know specific things or have their way about things.
2. If they use blame frequently and don’t take responsibility for their actions, cut off communication.
3. If they use sarcasm in their conversation. Sarcasm is anger and hostility, which lead to abuse. 90% of all abusers are sarcastic.
4. If they allude to the fact that they are smarter, better or superior, stay away from them. People who need to feel superior have an abusive tendency and need to make you feel smaller.
5. Resentful. If they have past issues they’re angry about it’s likely they use their anger as a defense mechanism and will not be able to be intimate with you. They also will find ways to become resentful of you…just give them time.
6. Liars. It’s difficult to know who is lying to you with online dating, and therefore, if you catch them in a lie consider them a liar and do not continue the relationship. As a general rule, if you lie sometimes you lie all the time.

Be safe and smart. Not everyone you meet online will be a serial killer or a drug addict, but you do have to be smart. When you are going to meet with someone you have been corresponding with, meet them in a public place and have your own means of transportation. Meeting up for an overnighter the first time or before you are exclusive is not smart, and in fact, it puts you in a vulnerable and perhaps dangerous situation. They should not have your physical address, passwords, account numbers or any other vital information about you. Respect yourself and trust yourself. If something doesn’t feel right, it isn’t right. Never put yourself in a potentially harmful situation.

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