Safe dating is the act of using caution and discretion in selecting a person to spend intimate time with to explore a friendship or committed relationship. The word "safe" is used due to cases of date rape, abuse, robbery and murders that have happened on blind dates or with two strangers who decide to meet and enjoy time together. Safe dating includes protecting your personal safety, collecting information about your date and keeping a friend or associate informed of the plans for the date. This can include making plans to escape the situation if there is questionable behavior by the other party on the date.
In the past 30 years, safe dating tips and coaching has been on the rise due to tragic situations between men and women. Serial rapist convictions and other violent crimes have influenced the technique of practicing safe dating. Popular dating websites are among tools used to manipulate dates into a meeting that have been unsafe for some. Safe dating has been used as an alternative behavior and screening process on the first few dates a couple may have.
Popular online dating websites including eHarmony.com have designed their systems to minimize the number of people who may sign up for an on-line dating service with malicious intent. For example, eHarmony uses an extensive list of questions for each applicant based on criteria developed through the company's research. Another dating site, Plentyoffish.com, uses a more relaxed line of questions as criteria to match its users. Some tips for safe dating online include taking time reading profiles to find the type of person you want and asking lots of questions when chatting with potential dates. Before agreeing to go on a date, make sure you know as much about the person as possible. Don't allow yourself to be rushed into a meeting--a patient person will be happy to meet you when you are ready. Don't accept a ride home on the first date and do not reveal your address. These tips can not only be used in online dating, but other types of dating situations as well.
According to Dari Dyrness-Olsen, a psychologist and safe dating expert, one in three teens will experience dating abuse and 20 to 25 percent of college women will experience attempted or completed rape during their college years in the United States. Olsen speaks against physical abuse and rape, and her advice is primarily targeted at women. She teaches women to evaluate a dating situation before and after the first date. Included in her safe dating advice is tips on how to escape an abusive situation.
The Centers for Disease Control has focused on safe dating for teens as a part of the violence and prevention team within the organization. The dating matters program advises teens to use good judgement and look for signs of an abuser in a video entitled "Dating Matters: Understanding Teen Violence Dating Prevention." Some of the tips used in the program can also be useful for adult men and women.
The benefits of safe dating include the emotional and physical safety of the parties involved. Other benefits can include finding a long and lasting relationship that could lead to marriage or a deep friendship. Safe dating is not a process of fear, but it is a process to make the dating experience safe and more rewarding.