I’m going to be honest at the expense of embarrassment, but what’s new?
Looking back on my past relationships, both romantic and in friendships, the red flags that ultimately ended up being the reason for us parting ways were actually apparent to me within the first few days/weeks/month of dating/starting a friendship.
I had a talent for glossing over red flags.
How did I allow months (and in some cases years), to go by before I had allowed the relationship to rob me of my security, value and dignity?
Why did it take so long for me to acknowledge and act upon those same red flags that I had noticed from the beginning?
Am I alone here? Why do we do this to ourselves?
Dating is supposed to be fun and exciting, but more often than not, we forget what else dating is there for because when we’re in the dating phase, we’re too consumed with trying to come off a certain way; we’re too wrapped up in portraying ourselves in the best possible way and analyzing all of the inconsequential stuff instead of opening our own eyes and ears to what needs our immediate attention. It’s like exercising. I’ll go to the gym because I want a nice ass, or I’ll go to yoga because if I master that reverse backbend headstand, then I can Instagram it and everyone can see how flexible and amazing I am, but I’ll forget the real reason that I go and that I need to go: for my health, emotional wealth, and well being. I go so that my heart can keep beating, so that my arteries can stay clear and so I can take care of this body that has never for one second quit on me.
Dating is tough because during the honeymoon phase, both people are on their best behavior and when everything makes so much sense in the moment, looks so good on paper and it’s all so new and exciting and the passion running high, any red flags that come about are not given as much power, influence or need for attention. You don’t want to see that sh*t! You’re happy for once, getting laid and nothing is going to rain on your parade.
We don’t want to notice and act upon any red flags that we see because we don’t want to the new found excitement, thrill, validation and the happiness that we’re finally feeling to get taken away.
This is especially true if we were lonely & down on ourselves before meeting Mr. F*cktard.
If you want to have better relationship luck and minimize the pain that you feel in your relationships, the best thing you can do is take off the roses glasses and act upon the red flags that always appear, even in the first few dates.
Red flags always appear in the beginning, even when we are on our best behavior. No matter how hard we try, people can’t help but communicate who they are and what they are about.
So what are red flags and how can you save yourself time by acting quicker and knowing when to make a dignified exit?
Red flags are usually a character trait, habit, or a difference in values that causes a this-is-not-going-to-fly, issue in the present or down the line in the future (even though we resist it and think we can change them or that it will go away).
Red flags should never be ignored but the more and more I look back at my own past, talk to my girlfriends and read your comments, the more I can see that we have become a generation that’s highly competent at being blind to what’s important.
Your gut will ALWAYS notice a red flag and it’s up to you and your level of awareness how much you want to listen to that intuition. Red flags are things that you KNOW you don’t like, don’t agree with and aren’t conducive to the relationship that you ultimately want.
So why the hell do we ignore red flags?
- Our desire for a relationship (and/or attention from the male species), supersedes our logic, vision, decency, humanity and self worth. We’d rather be with somebody in a relationsh*t than be alone, with nothing (because we feel like nothing; we feel worthless). We’d rather be in a relationsh*t with the wrong person than be single and not settle until we find the right person (because that takes self love and validating yourself instead of looking to others to validate you).
- Red flags scratch our “I’m-going-to-be-amazing-enough-for-him-to-want-to-change-and-I’m-going-to-tie-all-of-my-value-to-him-changing-and-giving-me-the-validation-that-I-can’t-give-myself,” itch.
- We’re insecure, have zero boundaries and a serious lack of self esteem.
- We’re ovulating at every turn and are blinded by the once-in-a-lifetime passion, excitement and newness.
- We’re desperate. We slept with him too soon and since we already have, we start to smoke the “justifying-and-excusing” ciggy and refuse to put it down. We justify their red flags and excuses so we can continue sleeping with them and being involved with them, just so we can say that we have a warm body next to us.
As I’ve gotten older, developed boundaries and really, genuinely, started to love myself, I now acknowledge and act upon red flags due to the love and respect that I have for myself.
I don’t question my worth just because a red flag pops up.
So what are some red flags? You know… those pesky
little BIG things that seem like nothing in the moment, but if ignored, will cost you your life; time that you will never get back.
Here are some red flags that you should exit at the mere indication of or at least have the regard for yourself to question them, investigate further (no matter how amazing he is) and make a decision:
- The “value – devalue” cycle. He will seem to value you one minute and devalue you the next. Hot and cold, hot and cold. He proves through his consistent actions, demeanor and words that he is incapable of value, loyalty, respect, honesty and a mutual relationship
- He’s consistently inconsistent.
- Passive Aggressive, Condescending, Angry, Violent, Bully Behavior. If he exhibits any of these traits… baiiiiiii.
- He reminds you of someone in your past that hurt you.
- He’s emotionally unavailable.
- He’s still hung up on his ex.
- He’s got a relationship with a family member that makes your gut go on “this-is-wrong-911” alert. I will write a post on this soon because I have sooooooo much to say on this topic. I’m not alluding to incest. What I am alluding to is that if he has a relationship with someone he’s related to that seems a bit “off,” “too much” or “weird” to you, it probably is. Run. I’m calling you on your phone and there’s an emergency right now. You gotta go, something came up… baiiiiiiiiiii.
- He’s very eye-for-an-eye, Nasty, Jealous. There is a realllllly good kinda nasty and then there’s a really awful kind of nasty. I’m always extra cautious about anyone, not just guys, that feel like they have to tear down other people’s success, gossip and compete.
- Addiction. I dated a guy that was 20+ years older than me (Mr. FT, who I talk about here and a lot on the blog), that had many degrees, spoke many languages, and was very well known. So I never assumed that him having 5 cocktails at dinner every night was an issue because he was so highly functional and successful. Ummm… it was an issue. He was a functional alcoholic. Remember this and never forget it: If you date someone that is addicted to anything, you will ALWAYS, ALWAYS be in a threesome. It will never just be you and him. It doesn’t have to be a substance that they’re addicted to.
- He’s a professional victim. It’s always other people, never him. If it’s always because of someone else… see ya!
- There’s something “off” about the sex. Get the 50 shades out of your mind. If you notice that he has sexual habits or preferences that make you feel uncomfortable, run . There’s a difference between kinky and WTF and only your gut can make that call because we are all unique.
- Intense Childhood Trauma. This is a very sensitive subject. I’m lucky to have lived under extremely strict rules as a kid and I subsequently dodged any kind of traumatic experience or event because my Mother was my shadow and I had no privacy (even then, you never know. Things happen; I consider myself very lucky). However, I have dated men that have had to go through some unimaginable things early in life. While I’m not telling you to write off people who have experienced childhood trauma, I am here to tell you that it is a red flag. These kinds of things have a lifelong impact and if they aren’t properly addressed and processed, it will be impossible to get through to them and have a connected relationship.
Ultimately, you need to decide how much of an impact these red flags have for you and what your deal breakers are. You need to set your own boundaries and decide what’s going to fly and what’s not.
If you’re involved with someone and you’re noticing red flags, talk to them, ask questions and take note of their demeanor, their level of defensiveness and how they respond. No dukes should have to be up.
Listen to your gut. You have the power and you know deep down when you need to be done. Your self esteem will thank you for it 🙂
Thx you for all of your sweet comments.