Dating Red Flags


When a couple first falls in love, they are convinced that their mate is perfectly flawless. They have no blemishes, no faults, and are perfect through and through. However, it doesn’t take very long before the sparkle starts to lose its shine and the true nature begins to surface. Often, in retrospect, it becomes easy to recognize that the flaws were there all along, but were simply ignored.

Expecting that your partner will be perfect is irrational. Everyone has problems and there are no perfect people. The question isn’t really what will you do if your partner has flaws, but are the flaws significant enough to put such a tremendous strain on your relationship that you would rather not be involved anymore.

It takes a lot of soul searching and sometimes brute honesty to look at the person you are falling in love with and determine whether or not their flaws are something that you can commit to. Yes, I said, “Commit to.” When you make a commitment to someone, you are committing to him or her in good times and bad times. You are committing to accept them when they are in great moods, full of fun, hopelessly romantic, and bounding with laughter as well as when they are in the lowest points of their lives. This is why it is imperative that you keep your eyes open in the early stages of your relationship and determine if you can commit to your partner despite early warnings and red flags.

Red flags are signals that something is wrong. Everyone has something wrong in their life at one point or another, and every relationship has red flags or warning signals. The best method you can take is not to try to cover up the red flags or deny their existence, but to look at them and make a truthful assessment over whether or not you can commit to your partner should those red flags rear their ugly heads one day in full bloom.

Possessiveness, untruthfulness, lying, mistrust, laziness, inability to hold a job, and irresponsibility are all red flags that are often overlooked during the early stages of a relationship. Likewise, complaining, nitpicking, whining, clinging to parents, inability to make decisions, and lack of self-esteem are all signs that there may be trouble ahead during stressful situations. Couples that recognize red flags during the early stages of their relationship and work on them together have the best chances of succeeding during the high pressured stressful times that every relationship is bound to experience at some point.

Some red flags should never be ignored or overlooked, and should be addressed immediately. Violence, uncontrolled anger and rage, drinking and drug abuse, gambling, or infidelities during the early stages of a relationship are signs that a relationship is headed for serious trouble. Anyone experiencing these signs in their relationship would do wise to reevaluate their role in the relationship and may find that ending the relationship is the best course of action. By assessing the seriousness of red flags and determining whether or not you can work through them, you can avoid prolonging a relationship and end it before the problems become severe.

Dating is expensive. It’s not just the money – it’s the time spent grooming and the investment of all that emotional energy in hoping he’s great and wondering what will happen. And there’s the opportunity cost! Time spent with one guy is time you can’t spend with someone better!

No, your time, money, and beauty products are too valuable to waste on a guy not worth the nail polish you removed in order to match your fingers to your toes.

It’s crucial to develop a sensitive radar that can detect the subtle red flag moments that tell you, “This guy is not worth shaving my legs for.” There are some of the obvious things – he lives with his parents when he’s over the age of 30, his socks don’t match, he talks about his ex all the time, he’s had no relationships that lasted longer than a year, he’s totally self-absorbed, etc etc. But there are some subtler cues I’ve learned to recognize over my years of dating fiascos that I will share with you. I hope my bad dates will help you avoid some of your own:

Dating Red Flag10. When you’re on a date, he talks trash about an ex. It doesn’t matter how much of a bitch she was – good men accept at least some responsibility for every break up and they speak respectfully about other people, no matter what. (Incidentally, check yourself for this one.)

Dating Red Flag 9. He talks trash about his mom. A guy who doesn’t have some respect for his mom, even if she left him on a doorstep, won’t really respect for you. Bad date!

Dating Red Flag 8. He moves in for the kiss way too soon. If he can’t tell that you’re not interested in all that yet, he will never be able to tell what you’re interested in.

Dating Red Flag 7. He never moves in for the kiss. If you’re ready, willing, and able, and he isn’t reading the signals, he’ll never be able to read the signals.

Dating Red Flag 6. His place is a mess the first time you come over. You’d clean up your place before he came over – you’d at least stuff all that random crap in the closet and jimmy the door shut. If he couldn’t put in the effort to clean up a little, what effort will he ever put in?

Dating Red Flag 5. He can’t cook. It’s a well known fact that men who cook are better in bed – they’re more sensual, more responsive, more attentive, and know how to do one thing with their hands while they do something else with their mouths.

Dating Red Flag 4. He has a habit or a personal style – for example, answering the question, “How was your day?” with a blow-by-blow description of everything he did every hour from the moment he woke up until the moment you asked him how his day was – and you catch yourself thinking, “But that can change.” No it can’t. It won’t change on it’s own, he can’t change it, it won’t change. People don’t change, they just learn to deal with the problems they have.

Dating Red Flag 3. He has no kids, no pets, no fish, not even any plants. If the only thing that lives in his place other than him is the mold in the back of his fridge, he’s a non-starter. A guy who can’t even commit to keeping a spider plant alive does not have what it takes to keep a relationship alive.

Dating Red Flag 2. He’s over 40 and he’s never been in a committed relationship. If he hasn’t done it by then, he never will. He’s had about 20 years to meet the right girl; by now, it’s not the girls. It’s him. It doesn’t matter how great you are, he’ll never commit because he just doesn’t know how. So why should you?

Dating Red Flag 1. He’s talking about a past relationship and you catch yourself thinking, “As long as he doesn’t do it me…” He will do it to you. No matter how crazy he says the other girl was, no matter how much better you are being a loving, accepting girlfriend. He will. Can you cope with that? If not, ditch him now.

Good men are out there, ladies. I firmly believe that. Don’t let the nonsense of the unfit stand between you and a man who can stand on his own two feet, keep a plant alive, clean his apartment, and kiss you right when you want to be kissed!

by Emily Adams

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