Dating - How To Stay Safe*

*This is a collaborative post*

You'd have needed to be in hibernation not to have heard about the 'Me Too' movement which went viral across social media in October last year. Sexual harassment and abuse in any form is completely unacceptable. Today on GirlGoneDreamer I'm talking ways to stay safe whether you're out on a date or chatting on an adult dating site.

Keep Safe

First dates and dating in general can be a nerve-racking and exciting experience. Before you get too caught up in the moment, bear in mind your safety and follow the tips below;

My parents always advised me to meet any dates in a public place and I'd still give this same advice to anyone today. Like the saying goes, 'safety in numbers!' 

Never ever get in your dates car unless you already know them pretty well as you could be potentially tempting trouble. Likewise don't offer to drive your date home. If you don't want to drive yourself or if you can't yet drive, why not ask a friend or family member to chauffeur you there and back? If this isn't an option then book a taxi through a trusted and reputable firm instead.

Keep your wits about you. Don't get so drunk that you can't take care of yourself and don't leave your drinks unattended.

Make sure that a friend knows where you're going on your date just in case something goes wrong. You may have read my post on 'Ask Angela' a few weeks ago so perhaps look for a venue that is participating in this campaign. 

Always have your phone on you and a friend ready on speed dial in case of an emergency. 

My mum used to tell me to have a stash of cash hidden in a discreet place just in case I lost my handbag. You could tuck a twenty pounds note in your bra or anywhere that feels comfortable. You don't need loads of money, just enough so that you can get yourself home or somewhere safe. 

Don't give out personal details such as your home or work address until you've had the chance to really get to know someone.

Check that any dating site you're using is a member of the Online Dating Association.

If you're talking to someone online and they start to get out of hand, offensive, threatening, or inappropriate then cut all contact and report them to the dating site provider.

Consent And Clear-Cut Boundaries 

In any relationship and at any stage, communication is vital. A lack of this can lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretation when it comes to boundaries and/or consent. Just because you dress in a particular way this doesn't mean your date should expect sex. And just because you met your date on a sex dating site this doesn't mean that sex is a given either. A kiss isn't necessarily a green light for anything more. Consent should always be gained and can be both verbal and/or physical. If one of you withdraws or backs off then this should be taken as a sign to stop. Check if your partner is comfortable as things progress and encourage them to do the same with you. If you don't like something or if you feel uncomfortable, don't be afraid to speak up or to stop them. On the other hand, if you're enjoying yourself and want to carry on then do let them know.

Above all, dating should be a fun and pleasurable experience. There's no reason why this can't be the case provided that you stay safe and don't put yourself in a vulnerable position.  

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