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Online matrimonial sites are now a normal part of our social lives, but how do you protect yourself or a loved one from the dangers of meeting strangers online? Watch out for these red flags of when searching for a spouse online.
In this article you will learn the following:
1. How to read-between-the-lines of a profile
2. Profile Red Flags
3. What to do after exchanging contact details
4. Face to face meeting tips
5. Warning behaviour signs to look out for
Read-between-the-lines of a profile
Reflect on the following:
• How do they communicate?
• Do they write in all caps or nonsensical sentences?
• What are their hobbies and activities?
• Does that profile picture look a little too good to be true?
If their profile isn’t filled in then you will need to be vigilant in your conversation with them and watch how they communicate. See below:
Profile Red Flags
• Lots of 'I' or 'Me' statements can indicate narcissism, as can someone who refers to themselves as ‘good looking’. Don’t forget that beauty is very subjective. What one person finds attractive another won’t and vice versa.
• Steer clear of anyone who says they ‘don’t want any drama’ or claim that they’re ‘not a game player.’ These statements are red flags and the opposite is probably true.
• Watch out for small or blurry photographs, or a user who only has one profile image.
• Stay away from any language that can be immediately identified as possessive or domineering. ‘I need’ or ‘I won’t tolerate’ are giant no-no’s, as is a long list of demands for a potential suitor. Negative positioning, such as frequent use of the words ‘can’t’ ‘won’t’ or ‘don’t’ hint that they have a negative attitude.
• If they pressure you to swap numbers/emails and take you off the site without allowing you to sense who they might be by avoiding your questions then do not succumb to this pressure. Stay true to yourself and how you want to lead the conversation.
• Follow your gut feeling, if it doesn’t feel right or comfortable then it likely isn’t!
Once you've exchanged contact details
• Sisters, we cannot stress this enough! Have your Wali informed of your communication and make sure your potential spouse is aware that your Wali has access to your messages. This is your Islamic right and if anyone makes you feel guilty about this then he doesn’t have good intentions.
• Does your potential spouse go silent for hours at a time? Do they cancel plans at the last minute? Proceed with caution. It may be a sign that they already in a relationship and didn’t disclose it. Always research and verify who they are before saying I DO!
• After you exchanged numbers and they start spamming you with multiple texts, beware! Watch out for any signs of paranoia or extreme low self-esteem as these are traits of someone who might be mentally unbalanced/controlling.
• If they become aggressive when you don’t reply immediately, don’t reply at all! Early signs of controlling behaviour indicate a dangerous personality.
• If they jump into sexual euphemisms right away or ask for/send risqué photos, block them.
• If they ask for money, dip out immediately! You’re most likely talking to a scammer. No matter what 'sob story' they cook up to justify it, no decent person will ask you for cash before you’ve even met.
Face to Face Meeting Tips – (Go With Your Gut)
• When we meet online instead of real life, we don’t have the opportunity to ‘read’ that person. It’s much easier to spot a lie in real life than over an email conversation.
• We suggest that you meet offline as soon as you feel they might be a suitable potential spouse, but NEVER meet alone, not even in a public place. Always take your wali/mahram or a friend along with you. No matter how attractive your potential suitor might be, stay in public and don’t agree to go somewhere alone with them. It’s always a good idea to arrange a code word with a friend too. If you text them the code word, get them to call you with an excuse to leave.
• Facial expressions are considered a universal language. Language differs, but expressions do not. Even babies recognize them. We judge people face to face and we read body language. Even the most convincing liars can slip up by accidentally revealing contempt or anger. Do not be afraid to test the person that you’re communicating with. You can do this by acting in a way they might not like or saying things they might not agree with. See their reaction and don't make excuses for bad behaviour no matter how much you think you like them!
• If your potential suitor triggers a feeling that something isn’t quite right, trust it. If you meet up and feel uncomfortable, you don’t need to justify it. Trust your instincts and leave.
Warning behaviour signs to look out for
If they are rude to your Waiter/Server, Watch Out!
During your first meeting, be especially observant. If they are trying to win you over, they might seem charming and polite. But observe how they treat others that they are not trying to impress, such as restaurant servers/waiters.
• Are they rude or obnoxious to others?
• Do they exhibit any signs of anger over trivial things, such as losing a parking spot or being brought the wrong item from the menu?
• Do they tell you off for saying the wrong thing?
• Do they keep cutting you off while you talk?
Big red flags!
To learn more read our Guide How to Stay Safe when using Online Matrimonial Sites