Zero Tolerance for Abuse

One isolated incident doesn’t necessarily mean this person is abusive, but if you hear unsettling comments or his actions give you cause for concern, take heed.

By Penny L. Haider
Updated: November 06, 2015
Domestic violence

 When dating it should be standard practice that any new person brings their best self forward on the first date. However, on the second, third, and fourth dates it’s likely that some of their more undesirable qualities begin to surface. Maybe he apologizes because he forgot his wallet, tells you he’ll pay you back, and asks you to foot the bill. Is he critical of your appearance? Does he suggest you would look better in another style of clothing? Asks if you’ve thought of wearing your hair up or down, growing it long, or cutting it short. Does he get irate in slow traffic? There could be a gentle or not so gentle shove. One isolated incident doesn’t necessarily mean this person is abusive, but if you hear unsettling comments or his actions give you cause for concern, take heed.

Also pay attention to how at ease you feel when you’re with him. Are you relaxed or do you often feel some tension? Do they want to touch you/show affection right off the bat? Let them know up front you’re not interested in any physical contact while you get to know them. How do they react to that boundary? If they seem irritated or put off you may want to steer clear.

Are you able to ask him questions? Some people feel it’s not polite to ask questions so hesitate. They feel it’s too aggressive but without questions it will be nearly impossible to get to know a new person. You won’t get to know anyone if you don’t ask them about their likes and dislikes. However, prying by either person should be avoided. It isn’t necessary to ask any new person about previous relationships. Asking questions about their interests, work, hobbies, pets, childhood dreams, however, is a good idea. How a person responds to your questions is a good indicator of how they view questions in general and how interested they are in you. A person who is irritated by question and answer conversation may have something to hide or is uncomfortable giving and receiving information or just isn’t interested in pursuing a relationship with you. A new person should be glad you’re making the effort to get to know them better.

No Contact

This article has been edited and excerpted from the book No Contact: Ending a Destructive Relationship with permission by Outskirt Press, Inc, copyright © 2008, Penny L. Haider. Penny L. Haider is a survivor of domestic abuse and grateful to have had the opportunity to change her life. She is a strong advocate for women, wanting to help others move forward in their lives by leaving destructive relationships behind. Penny is a licensed teacher with a Bachelor of Science in Community Service and Public Affairs from the University of Oregon. For more information visit

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January 20, 2011

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