Many women ignore red flags when first dating someone. Don't let yourself become one of them.
After a series of bad apples, women often come to us and say, “I just don’t know what’s going on, I attract all of the wrong guys. There must be something wrong with me!”
Then she’ll stare hopeless and befuddled into the room, convinced that her love life is forever doomed due to the latest jerk that stomped on her heart.
The women who think this are onto something- no, there is nothing wrong with them, but there is something they are doing that makes them feel as if the bad guys are attracted to them- and that’s hanging onto the bad ones for too long. And frequently, it’s just long enough for those men to do some significant damage to a woman’s self-esteem, and maybe even create a few rifts in her heart.
It is also true that many of us women are attracted to charismatic men- however as a fabulous article in Cosmo recently pointed out “Charisma does not equal character.” While charisma might initially draw us in, character is what makes a relationship last. And once it’s clear that a man lacks integrity, its time to give him the boot- and this is often what women fail at doing.
It is virtually impossible to know someone’s true character right away. Many people put on fronts when they first meet someone that don’t actually accurately represent who they are. The only way to get to know who someone truly is by observing them continuously in different environments.
It is completely natural to date lots of people on our way to finding “true love.” And it is by dating the wrong guys that women are able to learn about themselves, and to learn what they need in a long term partner. However- casually dating is one thing- getting emotionally involved with someone who has “I’m going to hurt you” written all over them like graffiti- is another. Only a very special few men will deserve your love and affection- and they should have to earn it.
Yet many women sport rose colored glasses in the dating world, ignoring warning signs like an alcoholic does alcohol.
Why is that? Not because she is stupid or because there is something wrong with her, but because it is natural to want companionship- and yet difficult to find a compatible companion.
So we women are “eager beavers” in a way, picturing that story book ending as soon as we feel chemistry with someone, and letting that fake happy ending dictate our behavior- rather than our heads. And the smartest cookies of them all can’t seem to fathom why they let emotion get the best of them, but it’s part of human nature.
But remember, the longer you stay with a loser, the higher the likelihood that you will be irreparably damaged, and the lower the likelihood you will find someone who can actually make you happy- because you’re too busy pining away- or more than likely, bitching, about the loser.
Particularly for the idealistic of us, wanting- and often, waiting, for a guy to be better than he is- is also natural. We have a general belief that people are good- and so we dismiss bad behavior as attributable to situation, rather than to character.
And sometimes it is situation-driven. But often times, it’s not.
Here’s how to tell.
Character: A teacher yells at his student one day, and calls him a piece of dirt. The next day he apologizes. However the next day, it happens again with a different student. And then over and over again, for months and months. This type of repeat behavior cannot be attributed to mere circumstance. So keep your eye out for repetition- once, understandable, twice, excusable, three times, he is out like teevo sandals.
Situational: A typically sweet teacher yells at a student one day- we find out later the teacher’s mother died. Does that mean the teacher is a rude and insensitive person because she acted that way ? No- because it was completely out of the ordinary. It is part of the small primal piece of her crying in anguish that all of us possess.
It is when a teacher yells at a student every day that we start to smell a rat. It is quite possible that the teacher may allude to situational circumstances every single time, but when that behavior becomes the rule and not the exception, that we can ascertain that the teacher’s behavior has to do with his innate character.
Also beware of guys who are simply undateable, regardless. These guys exhibit any of the following characteristics: Rude, insensitive, chauvinistic, demeaning, impatient, mean, nasty, closed- off, judgmental, racist, defensive, untrustworthy.
These are all qualities that even if they don’t led to disaster upfront, will eventually send the relationship down the drain- and leave you feeling as though you were the one at fault.
And so the idealistic of us need to be able to recognize when to pull the plug on a new guy or gal. We need to not make excuses for the new guy in our life when he forgets to call- three times. When he makes a racist joke- twice. When he demeans or degrades us over and over again. When we feel strongly for someone it is sometimes easy to miss those red flags- but should those exist, you could be doomed.
Other warning signs:
Pay attention to the stories he tells about his life- did he cheat on his ex, and that’s why they broke up? Chances are same will happen to you. Does he have a child floating around out of wedlock that he never sees? Chances are this will happen if he has a child with you as well. Does he have massive credit card debt he can’t overcome? You’re footin the bill, missy. This also shows that not only can he not take care of himself and his responsibilities, he will certainly not be able to take care of someone else.
By listening to what he talks about with your head in full evaluation mode, you will be able to get a sense of who he is- and also whether or not he will be compatible with you.
Does he talk about how his shirts need to be folded just right, yet you haven’t used an iron since an interview two years ago?
Does he talk about how he’s so over the going out scene…and you are still loving drunkenly roaming around the meatpacking district at 4 am?
Does he complain about how he hasn’t been to the last seven family holidays- including his sister’s wedding- due to work?
You better be ready to take the backseat to his career also.
An important thing to pay attention to as well is whether a guy is able to take responsibility for any of the bad things that have happened to him in the past. Being able to accept responsibility is a sign of maturity, putting the blame on someone else all the time is child’s play.
Here’s the thing: everyone has issues. But there are some issues with which can be dealt, and some which are better left far away from you and your life.
It’s ok to try to make things work- but it’s not ok to try to make things work over and over and over again- because some things are just never going to change.
Don’t go for the one you have to change; go for the guy you like just as he is.