As a woman who has been on the dating scene for quite some time, I have always found it curious how guys are so shocked when I insist on meeting in public. Men, stop and consider why women want to meet in public.
Whether it is the first time we’re meeting from a dating app or the third date, so many men seem to not understand where women are coming from in the dating world. I once had a guy say, “What’s the worst that could happen? We don’t get along? At least we’ll learn something.”
The thing is, that isn’t true for most women and some men. Most men can go into a first date, invite a girl over to their place, and think the worst that happens is she doesn’t like me. But, the female perspective here is very different.
[Read: How to behave on a first date and make a good impression]
Whenever I told a guy I wanted to meet in public and not have him pick me up, he almost always insists. Perhaps it is supposed to be the sign of a gentleman. For many women, it is a red flag.
If I haven’t met you, I don’t want you to know where I live. And it isn’t because I think he is a creep. If I did, I wouldn’t be meeting him.
Women wanting to meet in public isn’t necessarily about not trusting you, it is based on our fear of all men. Yes, not all men are dangerous or creepy, but as women, we must take extra precautions.
You would be surprised how many women you know or have dated that carry mace, hold their keys between their fingers in case they need a weapon, and tell multiple people where they are meeting you. [Read: Texting before the first date – A complete guy’s guide to doing it right]
Whenever I went on a date with someone I met online, I made sure to tell multiple people where I’d be, that I’d let them know when I got there, and when I was leaving. And I was sure to give them my date’s full name.
This may seem like overkill to you, but to most women, it is just our way of feeling safe. Whether our conversations are amazing or not, there is always a risk. I once tried to explain this to someone. I said the worst that might happen for you is that we don’t get along, but for me, it could be rape, murder, kidnapping, etc.
He thought I was being paranoid and expected me to trust him when he said, “Well, I’m not a murderer.” As if that isn’t exactly what a murderer would say. Either way it wasn’t about him. [Read: 15 courteous ways to be a gentleman and keep any girl happy]
Anytime I have taken these precautions it hasn’t been because of the guy, but my past experiences, stories from other women, and just the statistics of crimes against women.
I know that it can seem like like a put off when a woman insists on driving herself to a date or doesn’t want to come over for a home-cooked meal, but it has nothing to do with you. Don’t take it personally. If she wasn’t interested, she wouldn’t be going through this to meet you.
[Read: Signs you’re ruining your first date unknowingly]
This isn’t paranoia or expecting the worst. It is being realistic. Women being attacked by strangers is a real possibility and a real fear. No matter how trustworthy you seem, even if you’ve video-chatted and she knows you’re not cat-fishing her, it doesn’t change the facts.
Women are always at greater risk.
I’m sure, or at least I hope, you get the gist. Here are a few more details about why women want to meet in public, just in case you think this sort of planning is too much.
1. 1 in 3 women will experience some level of intimate partner violence in their lives. [Read: The big signs of emotional abuse you might overlook]
2. 1 in 7 women have been injured by an intimate partner.
3. 15% of women say they have been involved in a conservation that made them feel uncomfortable while online dating.
4. 57% of online daters have admitted to lying to others.
[Read: 14 important do’s and don’ts of online dating]
#5 In the United States, 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner.
6. More than 25% of rapists use online dating to find their victims.
7. 51% of online dating users are already in a romantic relationship.
[Read: 15 online dating tips for men to help you stand out]
8. 1 in 7 women have been stalked by an intimate partner.
9. At least 10% of profiles on free dating sites are scams.
10. More than 40% of men lie about their income, job, or relationship status to impress women.
11. In the UK, the percentage of rapes linked to online dating rose 450% between 2010 and 2016, and 85% of those who made these reports were women.
12. Internet predators commit over 16,000 abductions, 100 murders, and thousands of rapes annually.
13. 55% of people who online date have experienced a threat of violence.
Now, these are just some of the statistics that would make any reasonable person hesitant to meet a stranger from the internet. On top of these, dating is scary apart from the fear and violence that can follow. Being hurt emotionally, being ghosted, being rejected, and being vulnerable are also scary.
Intense feelings are less likely to form in public than private which helps ensure you are taking it slow. I didn’t form serious feelings for my current boyfriend until our fourth date which was the first time we didn’t meet in public.
So, what can you do to make sure you are being respectful of her wishes?
[Read: How to text a girl you met and don’t screw it up]
Let her know you just want her to feel comfortable. Don’t try to convince her you’re a nice guy. Certainly don’t gaslight her. Don’t manipulate her. And definitely don’t guilt her or make her feel like she is crazy for taking practical precautions before meeting a stranger.
Let her know you’re happy to meet in public until she suggests otherwise. Don’t ask for her address. Don’t ask if she wants to go to your place or her place after you’ve met for drinks or dinner.
I know this seems annoying or inconvenient. If you are actually interested in forming a relationship with her, making sure she feels safe and comfortable every step of the way, will not just show her you’re trustworthy but also respectful of her needs.
Understanding where she is coming from should help you make sense of her urgency to meet in public. It should also help you realize it doesn’t matter how amazing your connection is or how good of a guy you are. These fears are ingrained in us for good reason. [Read: The ideal way to meet and date after meeting a girl online]
And if that still wasn’t enough to convince you that she is being perfectly reasonable with her request to meet in public, remember that men are also at risk of online predators and intimate partner violence.
Men are twice as likely as women to report IT security issues due to online dating. These can be things like a device being infected with malware, phishing emails, and even identity theft. 1 in 9 men will experience severe intimate partner violence. While 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner.
[Read: These first date red flags speak louder than what your date says]
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