When people visit online dating websites, they are looking for fun and maybe love. They don’t expect to find themselves trapped in an abusive relationship, but sometimes that’s what happens. Abusive daters and sexual predators troll online dating websites looking for victims. The lack of physical contact inherent in the initial stages of online dating can mask abusive personalities. When online messages are being traded, the machismo and assertiveness exuded by most abusive men can sound attractively masculine, even romantic. Many women share the romantic fantasy of some day being swept off their feet by a handsome prince who will pamper them and shower them with love and gifts. Abusive personalities play right into this fantasy.
At the beginning, an abusive dater’s constant and solicitous attention can be attractively flattering. Without physical contact, body language clues and the sharp eyes of your friends, it can be easy to miss signs of abusive behavior and mistake jealousy and control for attention and concern. Unsuspecting online daters can find themselves becoming emotionally involved or even begin falling in love with someone they later discover to be an abuser. Psychologists caution that women (and men) who have escaped an abusive relationship are most likely to attract and be attracted to daters with abusive personalities.
Physical abuse is not the only thing online daters need to guard against. Verbal abuse can be even more damaging. Because emotional bruises can’t be seen, people often fail to recognize verbal criticism as abuse. To protect yourself from abusive daters when dating online, be careful if you notice any of the following red flags:
Red Flags of an Abusive Dater
- Jealousy. An abusive dater will want to monopolize your time and attention. A jealous dater may become upset and accuse you of cheating on him or not loving him if you want to go out with someone else or even spend time with friends and family. He will want your life to revolve completely around him and may eventually try to alienate you from the other important people in your life, including your family.
More warning signs next time