Four Rules For Dating – #1

You can’t tell by looking

When I teach the course on defending against abusive relationships, as well as in the university safety class, I have four basic rules to remember when first meeting or getting to know someone new. The first one is “you can’t tell by looking”.

Some guy may be chatting you up at a party and he’s really cute – charming, witty, funny and he seems to be really into you. So what’s wrong with this picture? Nothing… Maybe. But, just because he seems nice and he looks nice and he acts nice doesn’t mean he is nice.

A while back there was a series on TV called “Dirty John”. It was actually a true story. A divorced woman with two daughters who were close to being grown meets a handsome, charming, and younger man. They begin dating and he totally blows her away with his generosity, charm and attention. He showers her with gifts and flowers and convinces her he is madly in love with her. Unbelievably, within three weeks they go to Vegas and get married. Her daughters are appalled and things then begin to spiral out of control. He gets access to her bank account, she finds out he has wives in a couple of different states, and she loses a lot of money, her dignity and almost her daughters.

So the first thing to remember from this story is that just because he’s handsome on the outside doesn’t mean he’s a great guy. Second, he love bombed her with gifts and affection, marrying her within 3 weeks. That’s two more red flags. Red flag number four is that the daughters didn’t like him. A lot of relationship lessons in one true TV story.

And that’s just one cautionary tale. Most of you also probably know the true story of Ted Bundy. A handsome, charming man who was very well known for his philanthropic work in the community. At work he was quite the gentleman, insisting that he walk his co-worker to her can to ensure she got home safely. All the while he was faking a broken arm and luring young girls to help him get his books to the car. For all but one of these young women, things did not turn out well. You cant tell by looking!!