Do you feel like you’re always in the wrong relationship or that great relationships somehow crumble to the ground after a few months? Does it start wonderful, but then over time you begin to notice the ever-growing gap between your two “tectonic plates” known as common ground? Does it feel like this event takes place in all the relationships you’ve had?
Not that this is through any intentional fault of your own, but somehow you’ve created an actual fault line even the Richter scale is starting to read. Okay, enough earthquake references, I think you get where I’m going: you’ve had some naturally disastrous relationships, and it’s because you’re ignoring the warning signs. When we have natural disasters, we send out warnings to alert the areas that might be affected. In relationships, these are known as red flags, and they are being sent out, but you just don’t know how to read the signs.
What Are Red Flags and Why Should We Pay Attention to Them?
Red flags are warning signs that show up in the early stages of dating; the problem is we are having so much fun due to infatuation over this new person that we tend to look past these alerts. It's imperative to pay attention to these red flags because they're the only indication you have to tell yourself that this is probably not the right person for you. No matter how exciting the first few interactions have gone with this new guy, if there are red flags, he is not for you, and that’s okay.
Discerning red flags takes a lot of honesty on your part. You have to be honest with yourself to know what is for you and what is not for you.
This should not come to you as a depressing bit of news, but rather a liberating statement you take on as your new mantra while learning how to discern red flags. My favorite version of the phrase is “Not for me!”. It should be a freeing practice because now you know you’re not going to spend four or five additional months of your time trying to figure this guy out, or trying to understand where it all went wrong. You’ll become savvier when dating because now you’re dating for you and not dating for someone else. Discerning red flags takes a lot of honesty on your part. You have to be honest with yourself to know what is for you and what is not for you.
I developed this mantra to make it simple for myself when dating. If there was a red flag, I needed to be honest with myself and say, “Okay he’s a nice guy, but I don’t agree with the way he lives his life. At his core values, we don’t match up, thus not for me.” By being honest with ourselves about what we find important in life, we can be honest about who we want to bring into our life.
By being honest with ourselves about what we find important in life, we can be honest about who we want to bring into our life.
If you see some real mismatching things, such as values, morals, and their priorities, then even if he is a “nice” guy, he's not for you. It's that simple. The point where it can get hard is if you’ve already made the relationship into something it’s not, with artificial emotional ties, such as being physically intimate with the guy. For more information on that topic read “Hook-up Culture is Making Us Miserable.” Learn how to say, “NO” ladies, to your immediate need of wanting to be with someone, and say yes to your future of finding the right mate for you. You want to be able to say, “Yes for me, 100%!”.
How To Assess Red Flags
Red flags are serious. They are not things on that checklist you made in your second-period high school class which contain such elements as “must be six foot four, wear nice shoes, and have a straight nose.” They also aren’t things you’ve listed on your Facebook top ten lists such as “must be a die-hard Game of Thrones fan.” Red flags are when his values and moral compass don't align with yours. Don’t think someone will become a different person in their heart, because they won’t.
Red flags are when his values and moral compass do not align with yours.
This means you must have a conversation with the person you’re dating on what matters to you the most and not just watch some Netflix while you chill. Also, please stop allowing that to constitute as a date because it's not - you deserve to be courted. Knowing where your moral compass points takes some serious introspection into your values. What is at your core? If you start to define those things for yourself, you’ll know better what is for you and therefore know precisely what is not for you.
Listen and Watch for the Red Flags
Listen and watch, it’s that easy. Listen to what he says and take it at face value. You're not dating the next Shakespeare speaking in iambic pentameter; there isn’t much to decipher with what he says. If he tells you he doesn't want kids, even though that’s unfortunate news in general, it’s also great news because you just found out he’s not for you. That's how easy the process can be. The earlier you have these conversations, the more time you will gain to find the right person for you.
Watch for his actions. All guys need guy time, just as girls need girl time, but within reason. If he tends to pick spending time with his friends more or doing the things he wants to do more than including you in his life, then he’s showing you that having a romantic relationship is not a priority at this time. He only wants you when it’s convenient for him, and since when did you become a convenience store? You’re not a 7/11, so close up shop, because you just found out he’s not for you.
He only wants you when it’s convenient for him, and since when did you become a convenience store? You’re not a 7/11, so close up shop, because you just found out he’s not for you.
This again is terrific news because you’ve just freed up more time to find the right guy who is for you. These are all indications that more serious red flags exist at his core; it’s up to you to have the conversations to bring them out. Initiating these conversations during the dating process shows maturity on your end and that you respect not only your time, but also his. It shows that you care about yourself and your emotional well-being by opening up about what’s most important to you. It takes guts to do and takes a lot of being honest with yourself, which is a great habit to exercise.
Knowing When To Break Up
When we date, we’re not dating to waste our time. We’re dating to find someone we match with well and eventually want to make an official commitment to and marry. Life is so much easier when you match with someone on a deeper level, on what exists at the foundation of both your souls. That means you’ve got to have some real conversations with the person you’re dating, see what lives within them, and listen to what they say. Hear it at face value. Get to know them by going out or making plans and watch how he treats you over the initial dating process.
Don’t get profoundly and emotionally involved with someone you don’t know, meaning know more than just his name, his astrology sign, and where he likes to get coffee. Find out who he is and what is important to him by listening to what he tells you. Then find out if this is the right time for him to be in a relationship by seeing if what he says is followed by the appropriate actions. If not, he’s not for you and a break up now will be easier than one in two years.
This should be exciting, ladies, because you’re taking charge in the dating process. These are your dates, so be honest and present. Don’t float along during the dates, hoping this will be the right guy, but instead honestly ask him questions to see if he is the right guy. Enjoy this new ownership over your dating life and have fun, because the more freely you can say “not for me,” the closer you get to saying, “Yes for me, 100%!”