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5 crazy signs your date may turn out to be dangerous
What if everything you think is wonderful about your new date is a sign they may become physically abusive? October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the U.S. Learn 5 signs your date may turn out to be dangerous. - photo by Shannon Symonds
At first, your date seems wonderful. They are so in love with you, and they want to be with you every minute of every day. You always receive a "Good morning, how are you?" text from him or her, loving their sincere interest in you. It is so flattering when they turn green with jealousy if another person flirts with you. Besides, they have been hurt before, and they're afraid you will cheat on them. They have already hinted at marriage. They know you are struggling to stay on a budget and have even offered to help you by setting up a budget and paying bills. They tell you how beautiful you are without makeup and insist you dress modestly. The only downside to your date is their feeling your friends are a bad influence. They prefer time alone together instead of going out with friends or family. They keep telling you that you make them happy, and they need you and only you.

If all of these things were true, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) may be concerned for you. You have just listed five warning signs your date may someday turn out to be physically abusive.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the United States. The NCADV and other agencies serving survivors are urging us all to "Take a Stand" against domestic violence. The National Network to End Domestic Violence and other experts would like us all to increase our awareness of what abuse is and how to recognize the signs.

Most domestic abusers use power and control tactics to maintain control in their intimate relationships. The Duluth Power and Control Wheel shows how abusers use intimidation, emotional abuse, isolation, economic abuse and even threats in an effort to control their victims. When threats don't work, they may break out into physical abuse or physical tactics to maintain control.

Here are five crazy signs your date has the potential to be physically violent:

1. Showing jealousy of the victims family, friends and time spent away

It may start as a suggestion that your friends aren't good for you or your family makes them uncomfortable. The plea to spend less time with friends and family might be innocent, but over time abusers will work to isolate their victims. It is common for survivors to report moving far from family or having lost connections to loved ones to keep the peace with the abuser. Insisting you cut ties with the people closest to you is a red flag for abuse.

2. Stalking the victim or monitoring every move

At first, it's fun to have a date that is always in touch, wondering where you are and missing you. Later, they make suggestions as to how you might better use your time, or complain when you are away too long or don't answer your text immediately. Gradually the strings tighten, and they are tracking you. Abusers, because they are sure you are cheating on them or have low self-esteem, may even resort to using keystroke logging or complicated apps to make sure you are being faithful. Nothing you do to reassure them will be enough. If you are changing your lifestyle to make the abuser happy or have to account for your whereabouts, this is a red flag.

3. Controlling every penny spent in the household

At first, abusers often tell you they want to help. They point out the bad decisions they feel you are making about money. Gradually, in an effort to keep the peace, you may give up more control of your finances. What starts out as helpful becomes the noose around your wallet. Abusers have gone so far as to sabotage victims by calling their office frequently or disabling vehicles until survivors lose their jobs and are dependent on the abuser for everything. What looks helpful may actually be a red flag for physical abuse.

4. Dictating how the victim dresses or looks

This often starts with small requests to wear certain clothes or telling the victim they look good without makeup. Later it may escalate to the abuser telling the victim they are dressing or wearing things to attract others. The abuser may play the victim, confusing the true victim and making them feel guilty for how they dress. A good way to spot this is by asking yourself if you have changed your behavior, clothes or appearance to keep the peace in your relationship. If you have, this is a red flag.

5. Pressuring you for a commitment or marriage

Quick involvement can feel like magic the promise of someone to whisk you away from your stressful life to that place called "love." However, this is also a sign of an abusive relationship. Do they want your commitment because you are truly "the one," or is it because they are insecure and need control and power over you? Someone who really loves you and is healthy will wait until you are comfortable. Quick involvement, even when flattering, is a red flag for abuse.

Award-winning author, Maya Angelou, once said, "Love liberates," and she is right. True love doesn't control. True love trusts and wants what is best for the loved one, even if that is someone else. True love isn't selfish. True love liberates, allowing us to be the best self we choose to be.
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