Why you should use this app
People with personality disorders can have a significant impact on your life as a close relative of mine can attest. Her partner was emotionally and psychologically abusive, which left her with deep, long-lasting scars. While creating this app, I’ve spoken to numerous people who have personally experienced abusive partners or whose close friends have.
Perhaps the best real-life example is the subject of the Netflix mini-series Dirty John. John Meehan was a charming man, as well as a manipulative liar, who tricked women into falling for him, and then exploited them. Over time, he became increasingly threatening and ultimately violent. Meehan brought pain and misery to the lives of multiple women and their families.
If you have a similar personal story you feel would be helpful for others, please consider sharing it on our Facebook page.
We’ve created this app to assist you in recognizing difficult personality traits as they may emerge throughout a relationship. You can analyze your suitor’s behavior with the help of questions devised in close consultation with psychologists. This app also provides a journaling feature, reminders, and a to-do list to aid you in this character assessment.
Please remember it is your responsibility to take the proper care and precautions in the decisions you make and the actions you take. This app is a guide to help you observe and analyze. We do not accept liability for personal injury or emotional distress suffered while using this app. You should not be alone with your date until you feel personally reassured that he or she is of good character. Please do not solely rely on the app to make this decision for you.
Please note this app is not a diagnostic tool. The diagnosis of a personality disorder should only be made by a fully trained and qualified professional. This app is intended for informational purposes only.
Now some terminology. ‘Date’ can mean either the person you’re interested in, or your meeting with that person.
So where there’s confusion, we’ve embraced an old-fashioned word ‘suitor’ to mean the person you’re dating; we’re using ‘date’ for meeting.
Tips For Staying Safe
– Congratulations on your upcoming date! It’s important to be cautious when meeting a stranger. Don’t reveal your address or be alone with him, until you’ve completed all the assessments in this app and you’re satisfied he’s of good character. It can take a long time for red flags to arise. Ensure your social media is set to private, as the encoded information in photos can include location.
– It’s really important to do some due diligence up front. Carefully ask for his full name, phone number and where he lives in order to do some googling. Try to find him on social media. Check sites like www.womansavers.com for any warnings about him. Search court registries and the sex offender registry. Ask him where he works and see if you can verify this through LinkedIn. Have a video call with him before the date – you can start with a phone call and then suggest Facetime.
– On the first date, we recommend you meet for coffee (so you can make a quick exit), during the day. It’s remarkable how much soft evening light hides – someone can look much older in the harsh light of day! So, this might be important for detecting whether he’s lying about his age.
– It’s very important to update the date details if your plans change. We’ll be sending you important reminders before the date, so if you reschedule the date and don’t change it in the app, you might miss the reminders.
Adding a Date (person)
Step 1: Select your suitor’s gender.
Step 2: Enter your suitor’s name.
If you have a date scheduled already with your new suitor, you can add the details here, or tap ‘Skip’ to do it later when you have all the information.
Editing or Deleting a Date (person)
You are encouraged to enter as much detail as you can regarding your suitor’s physical description as this will be sent to your allies in case of emergency.
If you delete a suitor, you will lose all related journal entries, warnings, and answers.
Deactivating a suitor will delete future reminders for this suitor.
Adding a Meeting
You can access this feature by tapping the menu icon in the Suitor Summary page or by tapping on the ‘Review Dates’ button.
Before the date, the app will prompt you to keep the date details updated to make sure you do not miss important reminders and safety precautions.
Editing or Canceling a Meeting
You can enter the street address and your suitor’s car details in this page. You may also see a notification before your date asking you to enter the street address of the meeting place to ensure all important details are available to your allies in case of emergency.
Reminders: 24 Hours Before the Date
– Please set up your emergency number. This is the number (e.g. 911) the app will call if you fear for your safety and request help (the siren icon at the foot of each page).
– We strongly recommend you enter his physical description, as soon as you can. This would be sent by text to your allies in an emergency (the siren icon at the foot of each page).
– We strongly recommend you enter the street address of your meeting, as soon as you can. This would be sent by text to your allies in an emergency (the siren icon at the foot of each page).
– We strongly recommend you set up your friends and family as allies so the emergency function (the siren icon at the foot of each page) can text them.
– Please check your To-Do List items.
Once you are done setting up the items above, the app will mark them as completed and you should no longer receive the same alerts for the same date.
You may also view the active reminders and take action from the main menu.
Reminders: 4 Hours Before the Date
– Don’t worry about detective work on the first date! Just have fun, although you should remember the details of what he talks about so that you can tell if any inconsistencies arise later on.
– Please check the address of the venue. Predators have been known to fool their victims into entering a private address, while pretending it’s a restaurant or other venue.
– We recommend you drink very little alcohol on the first few dates. When you’re feeling very relaxed, it can be very easy to let important details slip, or agree to something unsafe. If you are taking a taxi, make sure he doesn’t overhear your address. Also, be careful he doesn’t see your address on your driver license.
– It’s important to be cautious when meeting a stranger. Don’t reveal your address or be alone with your date, until you’ve completed all the assessments in this app and you’re satisfied he’s of good character. It can take a long time for red flags to arise. Ensure your social media is set to private, as the encoded information in photos can include location.
– For your third date, we recommend an activity which he might find challenging, so you can see how he reacts if things aren’t going his way. At some point later, he should meet your friends or family so they can give you their input.
– Lie detection is something you must take seriously in the early stages of a relationship. You must be very tuned in to the details of his past life. Dangerous personalities lie often. The way to discover this is to pay careful attention to what he tells you and to remember the details. Then, on later occasions when he’s forgotten his own lies, and tells you something contradictory, you will be on to it.
The needle is initially set at the lower end of the yellow band. Every time you complete a date assessment, the safety dial updates accordingly. The needle will stay in the yellow band for the first six date assessments, but if the app raises red flags about your suitor’s behavior, it will drop into the red band. If there are no red flags after six date assessments and a general assessment, the needle will move up to the green band.
The dial ascends higher into the green band if you answered ‘Yes’ to any of the three positive character questions (the second, third and fourth questions) in the latest date assessment. To clarify, these positive character questions will only affect the score when the needle is already in the green band.
If there are outstanding to-do items, the needle will not reach the green band. Check the warnings or go to the to-do list section directly by tapping the to-do list icon at the foot of the page.
This page is also referred to as the ‘Suitor Summary’ screen, where you can view warnings and take action, review dates or answer general questions about your suitor.
The app generates warnings in relation to your answers. Go through each one of them by tapping the Warnings button, then tap on ‘Review’ to jump to that specific question. You may change your answer or keep it as it is.
To select or add or edit a suitor, tap the Edit icon next to the current suitor’s name in view and select the name from the list. You can then review your dates or take the general assessment.
The first question asks you to rate your suitor according to how much you like him. Your answer decides whether you will get the full set of questions – if you rate your suitor less than 7, you will only get to answer the first 13 questions. If you rate him higher, all 34 questions will be available for you.
You are encouraged to record your thoughts for each question. Tap the Describe button and enter the details in the input field. For convenience, you may also use your phone’s speech-to-text feature. Tap the mic icon on your keyboard and dictate with your voice.
Each question comes with an explanation to help you understand its purpose. You can tap ‘Read more’ to view it completely in a new window.
Also, the app has an automatic Save feature in case you need to stop in the middle of the assessment. The Back, Next, Home, and Hamburger buttons all save your answer before showing the next or previous question or the other functions. Just select the same date when you are ready to continue and you will be able to resume right where you left off.
Whenever you rate someone poorly, you will see a warning or the home icon at the bottom of the page will be highlighted. Tap the home icon to go to the Suitor Summary page and see your suitor’s score represented by the safety dial. You will also be able to see all of the warnings by tapping on the ‘Warning’ button.
Navigation and formatting are similar to the date assessment, except for the ‘Skip’ button where you can postpone answering the question. You can come back to it when you are ready and see the safety dial update to reflect your answer. Remember that all questions need to be answered for the safety dial to record a positive assessment.
You will also see the same options as in the date assessment such as adding notes and viewing explanations about the questions.
You can also review and edit your notes immediately after completing the assessment by tapping ‘View Notes’ from the Date Summary view.
The notes are organized into categories. Select the category from the list to view all the notes under it.
You can also sort them according to the date they were added.
If you have outstanding tasks, you may see a notification reminding you to check your to-do list. To mark an item as done, simply tap the checkbox next to it and it will be grayed out – indicating that the task has been completed.
If you have created 10 or more notes in the last week, an item asking you to back up your phone will be added to the list.
In case of emergency, the app can call your designated emergency number and send a message to your allies alerting them of your situation and asking them also to call the police on your behalf. The message includes your suitor’s physical description and street address.
To add an emergency number, tap the large pink button and enter the emergency number in your country – for example, 911.
To set your allies, tap the Set Allies button. You can enter their phone number manually or pull their data from your phone’s Contacts.
Once you have set up your allies, it is very important that you test the Emergency call function (the pink button) to familiarize yourself with how it works. Remember first to set the number that will be called to an invalid number, such as 565. And of course let your allies know that they will be receiving a text as part of the test, so they won’t be alarmed.
If you feel uncomfortable on a date, you can also get a friend to call you to help you leave immediately without arousing suspicion. Tap ‘Get Friend to Call’ and select the ally from the list.
To set it up for the first time, tap the lock icon and choose the app for the secret exit. The next time you tap the lock icon, you will be switched immediately to the other app. When you return to DateShield, you will be redirected back to the screen where you left off.
In Settings, you can set up or change the ‘Secret Exit’ app, the emergency phone number, and your allies. Toggle the switch next to the option ‘App active’ to turn the reminders on or off.
Visit the ‘Resources’ menu for more information on the app, dating safety advice, and further reading.
Available on the app stores in January