Looking for Love Online? Nine Tips for Staying Safe

 Have you known anyone who has dated online?

You do now.

I cannot tell a lie: in the 23 years I’ve been a single mom, I’ve given online dating a whirl once or twice. Maybe more than that. I tried Match.com and Eharmony. The results have run the gamut, and I’m including some of them in my second book Facing the Odds, One Man at a Time.

Recently, I agreed to give a presentation for the Alaska Chapter of the Romance Writers of America www.akrwa.alaskawriters.com/ on internet dating safety tips. Their writers may use the tips to create fictional characters who date online.

With my background of working in domestic violence and now in law enforcement, complimented by a history of internet dating, I decided it was a good fit. How could I make it better?  I decided to sign up for a month with Match.com. to see if anything’s changed in the last six years since I dated online.

The results are listed below. Some are offered on Match.com, and some are strictly from my experiences.

1      1    Don’t let your loneliness drive your decisions

 If you’re feeling vulnerable and depressed, this may not be the best time to reach out to a stranger. Strength-based versus need based relationships have many advantages. You’ll be more likely to set appropriate limits, avoid whirlwind connections, and move cautiously if you work towards a healthy self-image before going online.

2     Keep your expectations in check

There is no such thing as a waste of time. Ask questions of your date as though it’s a job interview. If there’s no spark, take the opportunity to learn something from his/her world that you can incorporate into yours. Consider each date as a story to be told to a friend later, and at best, a new friendship to be made. At worst, it was a chance to learn something more about your own likes and dislikes.

     3  With every interaction (until you meet your date) remember that you might be getting Catfished

Think you’re online with a man? It could be an old woman posing as one. It’s easier than ever for posers to download a picture online and create a false profile. So don’t give your whole name, your personal email address or even your cell phone number. At least not in the beginning, and preferably not until you’ve met at least a few times in person.

4  Keep your wallet closed

Does your new online match have a child that’s suddenly sick, or need emergency funds to come visit you? Don’t buy it, and keep your full name, credit information and social security number to yourself. Don’t wire money, either.

5     Meet for coffee in a popular local establishment

No alcohol or large financial commitments that a lunch or dinner could invite. Arrive early and park away from windows.

6     Do not leave your beverage or food unattended
7      Listen carefully to your date

Does he/she speak disparagingly of a past relationship with unusual vehemence? Do stories from past relationships in which your date was consistently the victim flow easily from their lips?  

8     After your date, stop by another public place on the way home
 …just in case. Things may have gone well, but why chance it? You don’t really know who you’re dealing with right away, so make sure you’re not able to be followed home.

9    If you live in Alaska, punch your date’s first and last name in the Alaska Court Index.
Go to the State of Alaska’s website, and scroll down the page to My Government.  Underneath that, click on Court System. To the right, a column appears- How Do I?  Then click on Find Online Trial Court Information.You’ll be directed to a search tab, and you’ll want to insert your date’s name. It’s public information, and what you may be surprised at what you learn.

For non-Alaskans, look at what your local community offers in the way of public information.
Worldwide, one in three women become victims of domestic violence within their lifetime.
Have fun, but stay safe. If you have experiences you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them.
As luck would have it, I met someone I actually like this time around when I was doing “research” on Match. Bonus!

Top Five Blog Posts of 2012

Top Five Blog Posts of 2012

Can you believe it’s already been a year that we’ve been together?
Thank you for each and every time you’ve tuned in. I had no idea what I was doing when I began except that I needed to develop a platform for my book on related topics. Generally speaking, I’ve stuck to the topics, domestic violence, finding missing loved ones, and child abduction. I’m not a techie, and still don’t know a lot of basic things like how to create a link in text, but I’ll try to learn more.
I just looked over my more than posts, and found your favorite top five. And guess what? Three of the five are posts about completely unrelated topics. Without further adieu, here they are:

        1) Secrets of A Thanksgiving Survivor: Guest interview with Jack the Turkey

2)Tuesdays with Duane, and the Teachings from His Everyday Life

3)The Furry Victims of Domestic Violence

4)TheTransformation: Signs a Victim Has Become a Survivor


5)Traveling to Alaska? Four Laws of the Land

What would you like to hear more of in the future? Write me! 
If you’re shy, you can contact me at Liza8m@gmail.com

The Ingredients to Lasting Love/ Interview with Danny and Joan Meredith

It’s Valentine’s Day this week; time to celebrate love and romance.

 What do I know about love and romance? As a single mother of 23 years and a blogger on domestic violence and kidnapping, this is not my area of expertise.

 I can talk endlessly about warning signs of unhealthy relationships, but what exactly does it take to enjoy lifelong love?
To find answers, I turned to my longest-married brother, Danny. I love visiting with him and his wife Joan in Kentucky. The way they look at one another, the way that they speak to one another other leads me to believe that there must be a recipe for lasting love.
The two met in a Kentucky church in the early 50’s. Danny developed a crush on Joan, and was only too happy to help her find a needed geometry book. Now, more than fifty years and three children (and many more grandchildren) later, the rest is history.
Thank you Danny and Joan Meredith for being with us today!
QTo what do you attribute your relationship success?
Danny and Joan Meredith flanked by Joan’s parents, 8/29/59

A. Marriage has always been a commitment to each other.
We trust in each other, have stayed in church and have had faith in God, and asked Him for the guidance and understanding we need to face things each day in our lives.

We’ve continued doing things with our children and as they got older to still be a family, even after they had their own.
Also, we’ve always worked to get along and agree together on things. We try to find a compromise.

I know this may sound hokey to the world today,but it has worked for us going on 54 years now!

Q. What advice do you have for adult children of divorced parents who may worry they’ll repeat their parents failures?

A. My parents divorced because my dad was unfaithful to my mom and also abusive to her all my childhood.

But  I was determined to never do that to my wife or children.

Just believe in yourself and consider the things  I mentioned earlier that have helped in our marriage. It seems    that couples today  think that divorce is the answer to everything.  And sometimes if a person is in an abusive marriage or they  have been unfaithful then I feel divorce is the answer.

Q. What will you do with your beautiful bride this Valentine’s Day?

A.  I will get my wife a card for Valentines day and take her out to eat. If there is anything else she would like, she knows I will get it for her on Valentines day or any other day because I LOVE her.

Happy Valentines Day to all.

 Thank you, Danny and Joan Meredith.

Want to hear tips from the longest married couple in America?

 Look at the link at Happynews.com. http://www.happynews.com/news/252013/longest-married-couple-celebrates-80th-anniversary.htm

In it,101 year-old Mr.Betar reinforced Danny’s message that compromise and contentment are important ingredients to a lasting love, adding that people should live within their means, and he encouraged men to “let your wife be the boss.”

Mr. and Mrs.Betar on Connecticut on their 80th anniversary


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The Danger of Victim Stereotyping

Recently, a legend from the fifties passed away quietly.


Linda Pugach was a twenty year-old girl in 1959 when she left her older and married attorney-boyfriend. He subsequently hired men to throw lye in her face. They did. She was left disfigured and blind in one eye. How did she respond?

She married him as soon as he was released from prison.  And after more than a decade of marital bliss, when her husband was caught threatening another mistress, Ms. Pugach stood by his side yet again, blaming herself for his infidelities. Their marriage remained in tact until Ms. Pugach died in her seventies.

Today, we have another famous pair making headlines with their volatile relationship. Singing superstar Rihanna returned to Chris Brown  better than three years after his pummeling of her face shocked the world.


There are few things more frustrating to domestic violence experts than the stereotyping of battered women, or having to acknowledge that some fit perfectly into the negative stereotypes.

Top Stereotypes 

Victims of domestic violence are poor.

Rihanna reminds us that this simply isn’t true. Victims come from all socio-economic backgrounds.

 In late January of 2013, Wisconsin epidemiologist Jennifer Boyce was murdered by her estranged husband. A family member said, “these things happen on TV, they don’t happen to us.” The family member went on to say, “We’re middle class, normal Americans, and she was a nice girl.”

Jennifer Boyce


The victims must love being beaten or addicted to abuse since they return to their abusers.

I can tell you from experience that being hurt by your partner isn’t lovely or addictive. But generally, just after the abuse occurs comes a period of remorse, or what psychologist Lenore Walker terms the honeymoon period. The abuser is sorry, and may apologize to his victim or be especially attentive. He may buy her flowers. After a honeymoon period, the victim may wish to forgive and forget about the incident.

So does stereotyping matter?

Definitely, experts say. Wisconsin domestic violence advocate Shannon Barry told the Madison press that “There’s this idea that, ‘This doesn’t happen to people like me. I’m strong, I’m independent. I’m well-educated. I come from a good family.’ That can be a real barrier to reaching out for assistance,” Barry said.

So whether a woman is a superstar or an everyday person living a pedestrian life, she may need help staying safe from domestic violence.  

Does someone you know need help from abuse? Call 1-800-799-7233-The National Domestic Violence Hotline.