Online dating safety
Internet Red Flags and Dating Tips for Kinky People
"Red flag" is a term to describe a personal trait or behaviour that is common in people who are harmful to their partners. When getting to know someone online it is very important that you look for these red flags. When you see these red flags slow down or stop the relationship. Understand that none of these red flags alone are definitely a sign of a bad person. They only tend to be an indicator of a problem situation. The more you see these red flags, the more you are at risk. Many of these red flags can apply to both unhealthy Doms and subs.
These recommendations are to help you avoid getting into an abusive relationship. If you think you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please visit NLA's Domestic Violence Project web page.
- Tries to separate you from your friends, family or BDSM community?
- Avoids talking about personal details. Gets mad when you ask or quickly ends the conversation or answers questions with questions.
- Has no BDSM references or friends you can talk to. Gets angry when you ask for references or ask around about them.
- Is inconsistent with details about themselves. Does not give you their home and work phone number at the appropriate time.
- Only communicates with you at strange hours and gets mad if you try to contact them at other times.
- Criticizes the BDSM community and refuses to participate, especially if they never were part of it.
- Consistently breaks promises.
- Always finds excuses for not meeting.
- Always puts blame on others for things going wrong.
- Does not take personal responsibility.
- Has bad relationships with most or all of their family members.
- Pressures you into doing things you do not want to do. Does not respect your limits, negotiations or contracts.
- Pushes you into a D/s relationship too fast.
- Falls in love with you way too fast and swears undying love before even meeting you.
- Hides behind their D/s authority and says that their authority should not be questioned.
- Tries to make you feel guilty for not being good enough. Says that you are not a "True" sub.
- Loses control of their emotions in arguments and regresses to yelling, name-calling and blame.
- Puts you down in front of other people.
- Turns instantly on their friends, going from best friend to arch enemy at the drop of a hat.
- Treats you lovingly and respectfully one day and then harshly and accusingly the next.
- Goes to great lengths to get revenge on people.
- Lies or withholds information.
- Cheats on you or is overly jealous.
- Will not discuss what your possible future relationship could be like.
- Tries to keep you in the dark about what might happen next in the relationship.
- Does not respect your feelings, rights, or opinions. Belittles your ideas.
- Blames you for your hurt feelings.
- Abuses alcohol or other drugs.
- Is constantly asking for large amounts of money from you or others.
- Threatens suicide or other forms of self-harm.
- Deliberately saying or doing things that result in getting themselves seriously hurt.
- Monitors your communications (emails, phone calls, chats) with others.
- Only interacts with you in a kinky or sexual manner as if role-playing.
- Will not have normal everyday vanilla conversations.
- Never shows you their human side. Is emotionless. Hides their vulnerability behind their D/s role.
- Has multiple online identities for interacting with the same communities.
- Disappears from communication for days or weeks at a time without explanation.
- Is rude to public servants such as waitresses, cashiers and janitors.
- Never says thank you, excuse me or I am sorry to anyone.
Safe Dating and Correspondence Tips
- Do not give out personal information to strangers. This includes your name, phone number, address, place of work or email addresses you use for other purposes.
- Get a P.O. Box if you need to get mail from them. (Be aware that in the UK, it is possible to ask the Royal Mail for the details of the holder of the P.O. Box)
- Do not send money to your online interest. There are online users that earn a living by faking love and pretending to run into hard times.
- When you do make telephone calls, make sure your phone blocks caller ID or call from a public phone.
- Do not call collect - Your number will appear on their bill.
- Exchange multiple recent nonsexual photographs to avoid embarrassment and hurt feelings.
- Get a background check before meeting. There are several services that will do this through the Internet.
- Make it clear you are not going to engage in any BDSM activity on the initial dates.
During the meeting:
- Meet in public places, preferably with a friend. Do not let your date pressure you into going somewhere else even if the date is going fine.
- Try to make your first date a daytime event.
- Drive yourself to and from the meeting place. Relying on them for transportation can put you in an unsafe position.
- Establish a safety net complete with safe calls and details of your date.
- Tell your safety net your date's information, where you went and what to do in case you do not make your safe calls. Make sure your date knows you have a safety net set up. It is a great deterrent.
- Bring along a cell phone on your date and do not become separated from it.
- Do not drink alcohol on your date or leave your drink unattended.
- Never engage in bondage during your initial BDSM sessions.
- Do not leave your wallet or purse unattended. Your date may dig through them to find out information you do not want them to know.
- If you are traveling to the meeting, do not let them meet you at the airport or bus station. Use cabs or rental cars for going to and from the public meeting place. Do not stay with them or let them make arrangements for you. Do not let them know where you are staying.
Be aware that safe words, safe calls, contracts, negotiations or gut instincts will NOT fully protect you from a real criminal. Take your time and be sure what you are getting into. Criminals have less patience for difficult targets.