Nothing can be more disturbing than realizing that someone that you are dating or being intimate with is causing you distress or danger. I know, because it happened to me. Your intuition is absolutely there to guide and steer you from harm. As I get older (ahem) and wiser, I have discovered that dating is an active engagement between you and another person. Dating requires that you communicate well with your partner, but to also listen to your intuition and that “gut feeling” about the other person. In hindsight, I wish I had listened to that sixth sense, which would have guided me from ever dating someone who was mentally and emotionally damaging. In Gavin de Becker’s book, “The Gift of Fear”, the chapter that resonated with me was, “I was trying to let him down easy”. de Becker states, “There are two broad categories of stalking: unwanted pursuit by a stranger, and unwanted pursuit by someone the victim knows…often someone the woman has met or dated.” He cites that American culture and media (movies) give license to the pursuit at any cost without consideration of the woman’s feelings or thoughts, “left behind is the notion that a woman should be heard, the notion that no means no, and the notion that a woman has a right to decide who will be in her life.” Movies romanticize the pursuit, but at the expense of us real women. The harassing threats over the phone or the web wins you no points, but can win you a court date! The last thing a victim of stalking wants is to seek revenge on her pursuer, but if pushed enough that is a real consideration. Beware of a backlash.
Here are some additional tips that I gleaned from de Becker:
- “Do not negotiate. Once a woman has made the decision that she doesn’t want a relationship with a particular man, it needs to be said one time, explicitly.”
- “I suggest that women never explain why they don’t want a relationship but simply make clear that they have thought it over, that this is their decision, and that they expect the man to respect it.”
- “An axiom of the stalking dynamic: Men who cannot let go choose women who cannot say no.”
- If you are a woman being harassed by phone calls, change your outgoing voicemail to another female’s voice. The stalker may be calling just to hear your voice. Get a second line and give your new number to those you want to share it with. Changing to a male voice may lead the date stalker to do some more investigation, which is the last thing you want.
- “The way to stop contact is to stop contact.”
The last one is a personal favorite. And, ultimately, as de Becker eloquently states, “Best response: No response.”
Listen to your gut feeling, your intuition, or that sixth sense. I also encourage both men and women to take action if you feel threatened by someone you are dating. I recently participated in a self defense workshop at http://www.therockboxing.com/, located in Lakewood, Colorado in support of missing teenager, Kenia Monge, who went missing back in April 2011 from Downtown Denver. This was an opportunity for me to hear about the family’s plight in locating their beautiful daughter, while learning how to protect myself during my everyday routine.
Owner of The Rock, Tasha Morris, led the self defense techniques and is a former boxer and 6th degree black belt. Trust me! She’s impressive. Using common sense and good judgment can keep you from danger whether it’s in the day or night, alone or with friends, carry a cell phone, and take a self defense class to learn more about moves that may save your life or the life of a loved one.
The Rock Boxing Center
3225 S. Wadsworth Blvd.Suite S
Lakewood, CO. 80227
Gavin de Becker
The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence
1997 Little, Brown and Company. Boston.