7 Deadly Relationship Sins – What Not To Do In Love – Part 2

In the previous post, 7 Deadly Relationship Sins – What Not To Do In Love – Part 1, we examined the first three of seven deadly relationship sins, how to recognise them, and most importantly, how to keep them ruining your relationship. In this post, we examine the other four deadly relationship sins, and summarise the seven things you should avoid in your relationship to ensure that you keep love for the long haul.

4. Emotional blackmail

Emotional blackmail is when someone with whom you have a close and intimate personal relationship uses fear, guilt or obligation to manipulate you. You’ve probably heard some of the commonly used phrases before: “If you loved me, you would…”, “After all I’ve done for you…”, “I thought I meant a little more than that to you…”, “I’ve got no-one else that cares about me…” or “I wouldn’t have asked you if it wasn’t important…” Often, because of the close relationship between the two people, the perpetrator of emotional blackmail knows the victim’s insecurities, secrets and other intimate knowledge, and uses these against them to achieve their goal. By its very definition, emotional blackmail involves our emotions, which often cloud our judgement and hinder our rational thought processes. Manipulating your partner to achieve some end is not part of a strong and healthy relationship, so how can you avoid emotional blackmail or deal with it appropriately when it happens? Firstly, be aware of the signs. As Forward and Frazier describe in their book Emotional Blackmail, there are six stages: 1) a demand, 2) your resistance, 3) pressure, 4) threat(s), 5) your compliance, and 6) repetition. Victims of emotional blackmail are often insecure and have difficulty saying no to people. Having a healthy ego by learning improve your self-esteem and self-love can help prevent being a victim – and realise that sometimes its okay to say no to a request and that it doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person. Finally, make sure you try to stay in control of your emotions and judge the situation and the request rationally.

5. Lack of affection & inattentiveness

Withholding affection is a form of emotional blackmail (see above) sometimes used in relationships, but sometimes through the natural drift of a relationship, we can forget to show love for our partner in the form of affection and intimacy. In fact, remembering to express your feelings for your partner and your attraction physically is one of Find Keep Love’s 6 Secrets To Keeping Long Term Love, particularly in long term relationships where affection and intimacy require a little more effort and motivation than newer relationships. It doesn’t have to be too hard – see 10 Ways To Surprise Your Partner and Relationship Maintenance & Avoiding Relationship Ruts for some great tips on how to keep your love alive and avoid the deadly sin of lack of affection and inattentiveness.

6. Unrealistic expectations of your relationship & your partner

As described in The Natural Drift Of Relationships – Why Some Relationships Don’t Last, romantic comedies can give unrealistic expectations of your partner and your relationship when the storylines contained within aren’t treated as a form of escapism, but as realistic. Having unrealistic expectations puts unnecessary pressure on your partner to perform, making them constantly conscious of their dealings with you and making them feel like they are never good enough for you, damaging their self-esteem. These unrealistic expectations can come from a number of different sources: our past relationships and experiences, our family values, traditions and upbringing or relying on others to fill an internal void. What about your own expectations of your partner, family or close friends? Are you expecting too much? Now this isn’t advocating the lowering of your own personal standards, but thinking about your expectations rationally and realistically, and asking yourself, “Am I being fair?” After all, we’re all humans and we’re none of us perfect, and having expectations that are too high leads to disappointment and frustration, and ultimately unhealthy relationships.

7. Undermining or belittling (especially in public & including being mean)

Most of the time you should be your partner’s number one supporter and stick up for them in situations where they need an ally. This support can take various forms: physical comfort and emotional support (listening and sympathising), esteem support (expressing confidence and giving encouragement), informational support (in the form of advice or providing information) and tangible support (taking on responsibilities to assist your partner or brainstorming solutions). Every now and then, they’re in the wrong or you don’t agree with their behaviour, actions or opinions, and how you deal with this is important. This leads us to the last of the deadly relationship sins: undermining or belittling your partner, especially in public (for example, around friends or family). The strength of your relationship with your partner and how open you are with your feelings (and how thick their skin is) determines how honest you can be with your partner, particularly when you disagree. However, dealing with a disagreement by undermining a person’s sense of self-worth by constantly criticising them, belittling their abilities, and calling them names or manipulating them into following your opinion/lifestyle/behaviour is a form of abuse. Being able to disagree on things and discuss them rationally and passionately is a sign of a strong and healthy relationship. Finally, in some countries, making fun of others, including your own partner, or ‘taking the piss,’ is part of the national culture and in some circles considered a way of showing affection. You may think you’re being funny and playful, but depending on the frequency of your jokes and the sensitivity of your partner, it might not be seen as funny at all. There are plenty of other ways to show affection and be funny – and avoid any misunderstandings – without being mean to or belittling others.

Avoiding these seven deadly relationship sins – and actively practicising the 6 Secrets To Keeping Long Term Love – Part 1 and Part 2 – will make sure your relationship runs smoothly and help you keep love for the long haul. In summary:

1. Lack of communication (not listening to your partner, not communicating feelings, keeping secrets)
2. Physical or emotional cheating
3. Jealousy
4. Emotional blackmail
5. Lack of affection & inattentiveness
6. Unrealistic expectations of your relationship & your partner
7. Undermining or belittling (especially in public & including being mean)

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7 Deadly Relationship Sins – What Not To Do In Love – Part 1

Every long term relationship has its ups and downs, and how we deal with difficulties in a relationship defines us as people and defines the partnership. In the next two posts, we’ll look at seven deadly relationship sins, how to recognise them, and most importantly, how to avoid them ruining your relationship.

1. Lack of communication

Lack of communication is something that one or both partners will complain about at some stage of a long term relationship and it is one of the biggest relationship killers. It can manifest itself in a number of different ways, including:

a) Not listening to your partner – one of the biggest complaints between partners and something couples therapists make a ton of money from. Learn to read the body language of your partner and gauge whether something is important to them. Properly, actively listening to your partner is one way of showing that you respect them, support them and are interested in them.

b) Not communicating feelings – your fears, hopes, dreams, insecurities, issues, and problems. People do change with time and without periodically updating your partner on your thoughts, feelings and interested, you can naturally drift apart (see The Natural Drift Of Relationships – Why Some Relationships Don’t Last). Even small issues, like for example a man leaving the toilet seat up over and over again, can build up to resentment over time and injure your relationship.

c) Keeping secrets – a cornerstone of a healthy and strong relationship is trust (see 6 Secrets To Keeping Long Term Love – Part 2), but keeping secrets and having your partner find out can make them feel untrusted and question your own trustworthiness. To build trust in your relationship, check out our post on 10 Ways To Become Trustworthy And More Trusting.

2. Physical or emotional cheating

Cheating doesn’t always have to be physical, and you can do just as much damage to a relationship, if not more, by emotionally cheating. Temptation is all around us, and with the development of the internet, smartphones and other technologies connecting us with people all around the world, there are more and more opportunities to cheat. A fling with someone else – or even mutually entertaining the thought of it – may make you feel wanted or loved (or at least lusted after), but it is masking a void or deficiency in your own relationship that you need to address. In addition, the definition of acceptable behaviour when around others outside the relationship can differ from person to person and couple to couple. Think about the things you might say or write to others, or your body language, in the context of your own partner and your own relationship. How would you feel if your partner said or did similar things to another person? When does harmless, friendly flirting become something more?

3. Jealousy

A little jealousy can be good and healthy in a relationship – it can promote protectiveness and competitiveness to care and protect both your partner and relationship from the perceived threat. It can remind you of your feelings for your partner, and it can help you to think about and understand yourself a little better. In this way, healthy jealousy acts to guard and support a relationship. But too much, too often can be a deadly relationship killer. Overly jealous people see the world through a distorted lens, losing perspective and perceiving danger where there might not be. Jealousy is a highly complex emotion and can be incredibly powerful, causing us to lose control. Jealousy can be caused by insecurity and possessiveness. It can also be caused by a fear of rejection, abandonment or loss, and it can be triggered by feelings of powerlessness or a lack of control. Overcoming jealousy isn’t an easy task, but you can start by learning to love yourself (see Part 1: Find Love. Step 1. Love Yourself) to develop self-love and self-worth, creating a healthy relationship within us. This develops self-esteem and creates a healthy ego, allowing us develop healthy and productive interpersonal relationships with others. Building trust can strengthen your relationship and help overcome jealousy.

Be sure to check out the second part of this post, 7 Deadly Relationship Sins – What Not To Do In Love – Part 2, which examines the other four deadly relationship sins. And don’t forget to read 6 Secrets To Keeping Long Term Love – Part 1 and Part 2.

Online Dating – Creating A Successful Online Dating Profile

In this post, Find Keep Love looks at how to create a successful online dating profile, to give you the best possible chance of attracting possible suitors and finding the most suitable person for you. Here are our three biggest tips for perfecting your profile:

1. Choose your best, most appropriate photo(s)

The photo(s) you choose for your online dating profile are crucial. Your first impression, as in real life, is a visual one. Within the first few seconds of seeing someone new, we make a number of subconscious decisions and judgements based on what we see. Are you someone to engage with or avoid? Are you similar or different? Will you have compatible tastes? Do you appear friendly, trustworthy, competent and likeable? The world of online dating can be cut-throat and your profile picture(s) make a significant first impression one way or another. Think hard about how you want to be viewed. How you are perceived by others can be related to who you attract and an inappropriate choice of photo might attract undesirable suitors. Make sure your photo truly represents who you are and is recent. Some photos to avoid posting include:

  • Retro photos (from 10 years ago when you may have been younger, slimmer and more carefree).
  • Photos with ex-partners (who may be present or cropped out),
  • The bathroom mirror self-shot (with or without the modern day ‘duck-face’ pout),
  • Photos with others (particularly if which one you are is ambiguous), and
  • Party photos (you might like to advertise that you’re fun and exciting, but not many bar/nightclub photos bring out the best in us, often making us look tired, drunk and/or sweaty).

2. Be honest

It is fairly obvious that if you lie about your physical characteristics on your profile, you’ll be found out eventually when you meet for a date. But you’d be surprised how many people describe themselves as a little bit taller, slimmer or even younger than they actually are (good, recent photos can avoid this temptation to overstate reality). When filling out your profile, try to give as much information about yourself as possible, while avoiding some of the security issues with releasing personal information on the internet (see our post on Online Dating – Tips & Advice To Stay Safe Online). In particular, if a site uses a matching algorithm, you have more chances of finding a good match if you have a complete profile. As described in The Natural Drift Of Relationships – Why Some Relationships Don’t Last, without honesty, you might find your partner falling in love with the person you portray to win their affection, and not your true self. Being yourself from the outset can avoid this later on, and this starts with your profile.

3. Sell yourself

One key advantage of online dating is that you can browse profiles without having to interact with anyone and do so in the privacy of your own home, but this allowance for anonymity can make it feel harsh for those who are overlooked with a simple scroll of the mouse. So, whilst honesty in your profile is laudable, you mustn’t forget to sell yourself and paint yourself in the best possible light. How can you set yourself ahead of the competition?

  • Treat your dating profile as you would your resume when applying for a job (without listing all the juicy/gory details of your past experiences, of course). Keep your profile, including your relationship needs/wants, goals, and so on, up to date.
  • Create a profile heading that’s catchy and grabs people’s attention. Something ideally that stays in the reader’s mind, even after reading dozens of other profiles.
  • Be original and creative. By all means use other profiles for inspiration, but focus on what makes you, well YOU. Try to avoid clichéd interests like ‘socialising with friends,’ ‘reading,’ or ‘watching beautiful sunsets’. What are the things in life you’re really passionate about? Write about these.
  • Avoid negativity. Although you may have had bad experiences in the past, or your luck in love might be down, try not to express this too much in your language on your profile. Avoid talk of horrible relationships, cheating ex-partners or how desperate you are to find love.
  • Ask friends/family what they see as your positive characteristics. Sometimes they can see something your own judgement cannot. You could also ask them to review your profile – an extra pair of eyes can make a world of difference.
  • Keep your profile simple and succinct. Simple doesn’t have to mean dull if you’re wise with the words you use.
  • Do one final spelling and grammar check. You wouldn’t send out a resume with spelling and grammar errors in it, and you shouldn’t do the same with your online dating profile.

Following these three steps will put you in the best possible position to get and maintain interest in your online dating profile and take the first step in finding love online. Now you can use some of the suggested tools and websites in our post on Online Dating – The Best Dating Websites & Apps To Look For Love to start perfecting your profile.

10 Girl-Friendly Action Movies That Men Love

A few months ago, Find Keep Love posted 10 Man-Friendly Romantic Comedies That Women Love, which was followed up more recently with 10 Feel-Good & Tear-Jerker Movies That Change Your Perspective and 10 Classic Love Stories & Romantic Movies. Continuing this theme this week, here are 10 Girl-Friendly Action Movies That Men Love. The movies below combine the thrills and spills of action movies with something for the ladies – either in terms of visual stimulation (e.g., a sexy male actor to look at), a romantic/love sub-plot, good fashion (think Bond, James Bond) or just a movie that isn’t too manly. These 10 movies offer something for both sexes that’ll leave you both satisfied.

Girl-Friendly Action Movie #10: Ocean’s Eleven [and Ocean’s Twelve, Ocean’s Thirteen]

Girl-Friendly Action Movie #9: Gladiator

Girl-Friendly Action Movie #8: True Lies

Girl-Friendly Action Movie #7: The Sum Of All Fears

Girl-Friendly Action Movie #6: The Rock

Girl-Friendly Action Movie #5: Paycheck

Girl-Friendly Action Movie #4: Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol [and Mission: ImpossibleM:I 2, M:I 3]

Girl-Friendly Action Movie #3: Armageddon

Girl-Friendly Action Movie #2: The Bourne Legacy [and The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum]

Girl-Friendly Action Movie #1: Skyfall [and any other Bond film: Quantum of Solace, Casino Royale, GoldenEye, and more]

Agree or disagree with the list? What’s your favourite girl-friendly action movie?

Avoiding Toxic Relationships Or Leaving The One You’re In

“How many times do you need to get hurt for you to know it’s time to let go?” one questioned. “A break up is just like a broken mirror. It is better to leave it broken than hurt yourself trying to fix it,” another said.

While it’s all very well receiving comforting advice in the form of deep and meaningful quotes, actions truly speak louder than words. This is why even after all is said and done, it is your actions that will truly define the type of person you really are. So who exactly are you?

Should I stay… or should I go?

While you might feel a sense of loyalty to your other half – or even to yourself to keep the relationship going –  sometimes it’s best to leave and start over. See if you can identify with these five reasons for why you should break up:

1. History repeats itself

You know those couples who break up, get back together, break up, get back together, break up – and then get back together again? It isn’t healthy to keep repeating these cycles as this not only impacts upon your relationship, it impacts upon your friends and family who have to see and hear about it. If you keep having to go repeat history, then maybe it’s time to rewrite it and meet someone new.

2. After the love has gone

Relationships change over time, and sometimes the passion or spark you once had diminishes, making you question whether you are still in love with your partner. If a relationship isn’t nurtured (see Relationship Maintenance & Avoiding Relationship Ruts), you can fall into a routine where you act no longer as lovers, but more like friends or roommates. In many cases, all the relationship needs is a “pick me up,” but sometimes it’s time to realise that the relationship has run its course – and that you should choose another course of action, too. This is all discussed in detail in The Natural Drift Of Relationships – Why Some Relationships Don’t Last.

3. When opposites don’t attract

Sure, it might be fun at first to not share mutual interests – he likes sci-fi, while you’re into documentaries, he loves red peppers when you can’t stand the taste of them, and he’s messy, while you’re obsessively clean. While it might seem like fun at first, doing something different and getting out of your comfort zone, if it gets to the point where being opposites repels either of you, then you either try to compromise or agree to disagree. Whether opposites really do attract or not is up for debate: Dating Someone Similar Or Different – Opposites Attract?

4. When the cat’s away, the mice will play

Cheating is one of the most common reasons for lovers to part ways, and naturally so. Once the damage of knowing your partner has cheated on you has hit home, and having your trust betrayed, it can be hard to let go. Learning to trust again takes time, patience and commitment – but this doesn’t just apply to the person who cheated; this can also be true in the case of the person who was cheated on. If their infidelity has hurt you to the point of no return, then leave the relationship immediately. Find Keep Love looks how to build trust in relationships in 10 Ways To Become Trustworthy And More Trusting.

5. The relationship is at a dead end

So you’ve had the honeymoon period, but then ‘the’ conversation comes up. One of you raises the subject of moving in together, along with hints of marriage, but the other person isn’t so sure. Is there any long-term potential, and do you want that, or was it only ever a brief fling? It’s best for the both of you to talk about your feelings and decide what you want from the relationship, and if either of you conclude that you don’t see any future, then enjoy the relationship for what it was and walk away. Not being on the same level and wanting the same things out of the relationship is one of the biggest relationship killers.

This post was written for Find Keep Love by Susie Francis a content writer for Select Personal Services. Susie specifically loves to write about relationships, dating and travel, but her writing skills are widespread. You can find out more about Susie on Twitter (@SusieFrancisW).

Find Keep Love Blog Competition – Best & Worst Dating Stories

Congratulations to the winners of Find Keep Love‘s blog competition to celebrate 1,000 views and to find out your Best & Worst Dating Stories: Alastair, Sam, Michelle, Rob, Steph and Jamie. Here’s the text from the original post:

Find Keep Love has now passed 1,000 views and continues to climb! To celebrate this milestone, and to thank all the readers and contributors so far, we’re delighted to announce a competition, in collaboration with eHarmony.co.uk, to find out your Best & Worst Dating Stories.

Did the universe align for one special moment? Did a set of unbelievable circumstances result in something serendipitous? Did your date or partner do something outrageously romantic and beautiful to win you over?

Or did things go horribly wrong? Did a trusted family member or friend set you up with someone completely wrong for you? Did something embarrassing happen to you or your date? Have you sent the wrong message to the wrong person while dating?

PRIZE WINNERS  BEST DATING STORIES

Dashing Prince Rescues Damsel In Distress. Travelling for a sales job, I had a flat tire off the main highway, outside of a small village. My mobile phone reception was poor and I was struggling to get through to the AA for help. Then a nice (and attractive!) guy came along, pulled over and offered his assistance. He’d clearly done it before and replaced the tyre in no time. I offered him dinner next time I was in town, which happened to be in two weeks’ time. We hit it off amazingly well, and we’re still together today. We still laugh at fortunate unfortunate situation and at the “damsel in distress” comments many people make!

The Serendipitous Train. It was New Year’s Eve and my friend and I had missed a train (getting ready as girls do), and he missed two (deciding on whether or not to go to another local bar heading into the city for a New Year party with his mate). We caught each others’ eyes through the train carriage window, checking each other out, and the ticket machine in his carriage didn’t work. We were sitting right next to the machine in our carriage, and we struck up a conversation while he purchased his ticket. It turned out they were going to the same New Year party at the same nightclub as us, and we ended up sharing a dance and a midnight kiss, and we’ve been together ever since (for over eight years now!).

PRIZE WINNERS – WORST DATING STORIES

The Date With The Painful, Icy Ending. After a nice dinner date with a guy I’d just started dating, we decided to go to the local ice skating rink. With it came romantic thoughts of gliding and twirling on the ice, hand in hand, him guiding me forward. After 15 mins or so of staying near the guard to get our balance (and a slightly bruised bottom from falling over a couple of times), we decided to attempt moving off the rails and going a bit faster. Not long after, I took a big tumble and landed on my leg awkwardly, resulting in a trip to the hospital with a broken ankle and severely injured pride (and a quiet social life for the next few weeks).

A Dance Move To Remember. Whilst probably not a date in the strictest sense of the word, one of the worst evenings I’ve ever spent with a member of the opposite sex had actually started quite well. I’d been catching up with an old school friend over a couple of early evening drinks in Cambridge and I was snapped out of the conversation by a piercing pain shooting through my right foot, which turned out to be from a young lady’s stiletto heel backing out from the crowded bar, two mojitos in hand. My first impression of her (aside from her aggressive choice of footwear) was that she was very pretty, which may have been why I made a little more of my newly-inflicted injury than was absolutely necessary. Anyway, after she’d apologised for impaling me with her shoes and we’d decided that a trip to hospital wasn’t needed, I found out that the extra mojito was for a friend of hers who she was also catching up with. After the four of us had shared an evening of incident-free drinks we decided to head for a nightclub to dance the rest of the night away. This was where things took a turn for the worse as I always find myself fighting with the volume in clubs and seem to end up holding conversations though a combination of bellowing and then pushing my ear towards my partner to hear. The evening ended when I’d leaned towards my date to hear what she had to say with a little too much gusto and ended up head-butting her square in the forehead, her stilettos offered her little stability and I sent her crashing to the floor. Whilst we narrowly avoided a second trip to the hospital that evening, my apologies did little to cover my embarrassment and we ended up going our separate ways quite shortly after. Needless to say we haven’t caught up for a second date!

The Ex That Wasn’t. I met a girl while out one day and organised a date at a nice restaurant. Everything was going fine until about an hour or so into the date, when a guy comes rushing in after seeing us through the front window. Soon enough a yelling and screaming match began between the two, then crying, all within a few minutes. After the initial shock of the whole situation, I excused myself for them to sort it out (in private!). It turns out they hadn’t just broken up, but were still together and they’d recently been having a few arguments! I politely declined any future contact with this particular lady.

Universal Misalignment. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, some things just aren’t meant to be. On our first date, I wrote the wrong date in the diary and received a text message in a late afternoon work meeting asking where I was. I apologised profusely and we re-organised a second date, but this time around the car wouldn’t start when I went to leave and had to take it into the mechanic to get it fixed. I basically begged for a third date, but the night before the date, a family member of hers passed away and she had to cancel. By then we got the hint that it just wasn’t going to work out!

Thanks to all those who entered and Find Keep Love hopes you enjoy the eHarmony gift cards, Amazon gift certificates and eBooks!

ABOUT THE SPONSOR: eHarmony has over 2,000,000 registered users in the United Kingdom, and isn’t like other online dating sites in the UK: their Compatibility Matching System™ matches you with like-minded singles based on key dimensions of compatibility. Follow them on Twitter: http://twitter.com/eHarmonyUK.

Online Dating – Tips & Advice To Stay Safe Online

The internet offers so many different and exciting opportunities to explore, share information, and meet new people. In Part 1: Find Love. Step 3. (Where To) Start Looking For Love., internet/online dating was introduced as one of the common places to look for love, which was then extended in Online Dating – The Best Dating Websites & Apps To Look For Love. Find Keep Love also covered the potential of Facebook as a dating tool in Online Dating – Could A Facebook Dating App Become The World’s Biggest Dating Site?

But using the internet can put you at risk of illegal activities or abuse, including bullying, fraud, cyber crime or something more serious. Unlike seeing someone face to face, people aren’t always what they first seem in the digital world. In this post, Find Keep Love looks at how to stay safe online, so that you can utilise the huge potential of the internet to enjoy meeting new friends and date safely.

  • Protect your privacy on social networking sites. Almost everyone nowadays is connected via one or more social network, such as Facebook, Google+, Sina Weibo [Chinese], LinkedIn, Bebo and so on. Check your social media privacy settings and the information you are allowing into the public domain and to your connections. The abundant personal information available on such sites is a predator’s dream come true. Set up privacy restrictions to give only trusted people access to personal information and activities. Do not give strangers access to your social networking sites, but if you must connect with strangers for some reason (some games encourage you to build a large social network), make sure you restrict their access.
  • Understand the settings for your GPS and geolocation services on your electronic devices, as well as your social media networks. Consider turning off the GPS on your mobile phones and cameras, unless you want people to know where you are. You may be inadvertently be posting your location when you post photos, status updates, and so on. To keep your location private, avoid sending or posting images from GPS-enabled devices.
  • Don’t give out private personal information online. Unless you are 100% sure of the person you are giving it to, of course. Use discretion when deciding what information to reveal about yourself, but never, ever disclose private information such as bank details, your passport number, account passwords, and so on.
  • Keep your login information and passwords private and secure. Your passwords are the most common way to prove your identity when using websites, email accounts and even your computer itself (via User Accounts). Avoid public or shared computers where login information can be saved or cached, and avoid automatic login features and do not save passwords to avoid entering a password. The use of strong (varied and difficult) passwords is essential to protect your security and identity. The best security in the world is useless if a malicious person has a legitimate user name and password. Here are some tips for choosing the best passwords:

Password Dos:

  • Choose a password with a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and keyboard symbols such as @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ +. For example, SP1D3Rm@n – a variation of Spiderman, with letters and numbers, upper and lower case. But be aware that some of these punctuation marks may be difficult to enter on foreign keyboards.
  • Choose a password containing at least eight characters. Longer passwords are harder for criminals to guess or break.

Password Don’ts:

Don’t use the following as passwords:

  • Your username, actual name or business name.
  • Family members’ or pets’ names.
  • Your birthday or the birthdays of family members.
  • Favourite sports team or other words easy to work out with a little background knowledge of your likes and dislikes.
  • The word ‘password’ (you’d be surprised how many people use this as their deafult password!).
  • Numerical sequences.
  • A commonplace dictionary word, which could be cracked by common hacking programs.
  • Protect your computer from viruses, malware and spyware. Use software, such as free software like Microsoft Security Essentials, Avast, AVG or McAfee’s free virus removal tools.
  • Make sure you’re using a reputable online dating service, chat site or phone app. There are many, many dodgy internet sites, and a number of these are dating sites wanting to exploit those seriously looking for love. For our recommended websites and phone apps, check out our post on Online Dating – The Best Dating Websites & Apps To Look For Love. Make sure you read the dating site or app’s terms of service and privacy policy. This can be difficult at times, because many privacy policies seem to be written in the most confusing language possible. Here are some things you should look for:
  • A dating site should provide online security – HTTPS
  • It should delete all your personal data after you close the account.
  • It should be upfront about how it shares your personal information with other members.
  • It should be upfront about who else gets to see your data.
  • It should indicate whether the dating site shares your e-mail address with third parties.
  • Does it give you a chance to opt out?
  • Does it provide the name of a real human being to contact if you have questions?
  • Use an email address without your full name or use a pseudonym or nickname. If you use a work or personal email account, your full name may appear on any email you send. With your full name and location, someone may find your address and even phone number via people search websites like 192.com. To get around this, we suggest you get a free email account (for example, from Yahoo Mail, Google’s Gmail or Microsoft’s Outlook.com) and avoid using your last name. You may even want to use a different first name – try making up a fun nickname like “StaticKitten”. This nickname doesn’t need to be your screen name.
  • Take your time and don’t rush into things. Do not feel compelled or pressured to do anything you are not completely comfortable with. The online world allows for anonymity, which can work for you and against you. Start with a few emails back and forth or use online chat (some dating websites offer this as part of their package), then a few phone calls, before meeting in person. A highly recommended alternative to the phone is Skype, which offers free video calls over the internet and cheap calls to phones. There are also a number of smartphone apps, like Line, WhatsApp*, ooVoo, Viber and Tango that offer various combinations of free messaging and audio/video calling.
    *WhatsApp is now a paid service.
  • Be aware that webcams and Skype calls may be recorded. Be extremely wary about removing clothes or doing other private things in front of your webcam, which could be used against you, even if you feel comfortable with and think you know the other party. It is really easy these days to record both video and audio using a number of different software packages. Some chat websites, for example, cache live images to show on your profile. Webcam blackmail is becoming more commonplace, where fraudsters record your webcam then use the recording to extort money. Emails, messages, screen captures and so on can be forwarded to others at the click of a button, so be careful what you do and say.
  • When you do meet your new date (especially the first time), do it with a friend and in a public place. If you can’t arrange a friend to be there physically with you (or nearby), at least tell a friend or family member and check in with them at some stage during the date.
  • Never leave or go home with them. Be wary if they suggest going somewhere more private (unless the date is going well and heading in that direction). If you begin to feel uncomfortable (in a more serious way, not those normal dating jitters) or unsafe, leave the situation as soon as possible.
  • Report any attacks or threats to the police immediately.

Are you as safe as you should be online? Have you ever had a bad experience with someone or something online?

With these tips – and following the dos and don’ts in our post on Part 1: Find Love. First Date Dos and Don’ts – you’ll ensure your date is both safe and enjoyable.

A special thanks goes to Alastair at CitizenArc for providing a number of useful tips for this article. CitizenArc is a West London-based computer support service offering technical support and professional training for individuals and businesses, specialising in Apple Mac and iOS.

For more information on staying safe online, check out Google’s post on How you can stay safe and secure online.