FACT: Women wear blinkers in relationships.
FACT: The size of a woman’s blinkers increase in direct proportion to the number of red flags a man puts up.
Okay, I’ll admit those facts may not have been scientifically established through stringent double-blind studies. However, I’m sure that you have been the shoulder to cry on for way too many wonderful women after break-ups with men who don’t deserve the time of day from them, let alone their tears. Most likely, at some stage, the woman in tears has been you.
Somewhere between post-breakup night club drinks, marathon coffee sessions, girly movie nights, chats with men about what they do to brush women off, and seeing myself and friends through more break-ups than I care to count, I’ve come up with a common list of relationship red flags that men not-so-subtly wave, but women refuse to heed.
If one or two of the following apply to your situation, keep an open mind to the idea that your beau may not be all that. If he checks three or more boxes, you might like to reconsider whether you want to continue wasting your time with someone who doesn’t pay you the respect you deserve.
The Red Flag List
- acts like a completely different person around his friends
- makes comments along the lines of:
- That looks good on you. It would look even better if you lost a bit of weight
- I don’t know how anyone else ever put up with you
- You drove me to this, I only did it because you <insert action he doesn’t like here>
- I’d be fine if you’d just <insert behaviour or personality trait he wants you to change here>
- Oh, what, so you’re just going to leave me?
- So…you and <insert good platonic male friend’s name here> seem pretty close…what’s the story there?
- I don’t like <insert good platonic male friend’s name here>
- You never REALLY cared about me…
- Advertises himself publicly as single – e.g. Facebook, MySpace, to friends, continues to be a member of dating sites after you start dating, etc.
- Has lots of female friends but no male friends
- Has no friends at all
- Knows your friends, you don’t know his
- Does not make attempts to see you regularly
- Does not call or message you
- Does message you…after 11pm (sorry ladies, you ever fall for that one I’ll personally kick your arse)
- Does not get back to you when you make plans with him, constantly delays plans, or makes lousy excuses
- Does not give you reasonable notice if he wants to catch up with you
- Doesn’t treat you as well as you deserve, yet you find yourself making excuses for his behaviour
- Is reluctant to introduce you to his circle of friends
- Lies to you about where he is or who he is hanging out with – if he has nothing to hide, he has nothing to lie about
- Talks constantly about his ex
- Has more than one phone
All of these things sound like plain old common sense. To anyone who isn’t smitten, they ARE common sense! All of the above behaviours are traits of a person who either: a) does not like you; b) does not respect you; c) sees you as nothing more than something to be used; d) is indifferent towards you or; e) a combination of any or all of the above. It’s amazing how much we tolerate when our judgment is crowded by emotion. The truth is that we believe whatever we want to believe, and do our best to conveniently filter out any evidence to the contrary.
While some men really are jerks, most aren’t actually conspiring to hurt you. Men have insecurities too. They have fears. They have faults. Sometimes they don’t know what they want. Sometimes they think you’re a ‘nice girl’ but not their type – they just don’t know how to say so upfront or don’t want to hurt your feelings. Sometimes they are too insecure or immature to partake in a healthy relationship. Remember, as much as you may care about someone, they are human – just like you. Like you, if they don’t love and respect themselves, they wonder how anyone else could possibly love them. Regardless of the reason, if he is waving the red flags and you don’t heed the warning signs, you’re headed down a potentially painful road.
To quote a close friend of mine, “No man is worth your tears, but the one who is won’t make you cry.”
Think about how your interaction with this person makes you feel. Is it a positive experience filled with happiness, love, trust, affection, and respect? Or is it a negative experience, teeming with uncertainty, abuse, lies, jealousy, or anguish? The level of respect you receive from others mirrors the level of respect you have for yourself. Set the bar of respect you have for yourself high. If your interactions with a certain person are continually below par, there’s a very quick way to change that. Cut your emotional losses and leave.
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