As we swapped stories, too often this was a conclusion we came down to. A guy called a girl fat. Another said he was too good for the girl he was dating. All obvious red flags, and all of them ignored. Women wishing it was a small drawback and not an indication of something bigger. No, not the guy who said all of these offensive things or treated a woman disrespectfully. They blamed themselves—for choosing him, not ending it sooner, for texting him back when they should have remained silent, the list goes on.
Wanting to find a life partner, spouse, or someone whose shoulder to lean your head upon are a nearly universal desire. Yet this desire can cloud our judgment and lead to poor choices. It can even feel like too much work starting over with someone new. Below is a list of commonly encountered red flags that might want to make women think twice before pursuing or continuing such a romantic relationship.
While this article is written within a heterosexist frame, many of these same concerns can apply to same sex relationships as well. Relationships are a two-sided affair. Both sides have to invest. Does he ask you to plan all the dates? The investment factor seamlessly leads to an even more important type of initiative. However, this can also vary. On average however, dating in the later 20s to early 30s tends to make it somewhat more socially acceptable to ask these more serious questions earlier on.
Furthermore, listen to your intuition. The guy who fights for you and the relationship? Apologies can be a tricky thing. At their most basic level, they involve setting your ego aside. The truth is a simple apology is easy. That was not my intention. But will he let it? In the dance of dating, the process of getting to know someone occurs over time. However, in this day and age of technological connectivity it can be easy to get to know a person at turbo speed.
These things occur over time. Not over quantity of messages or contact. Is he willing to truly open himself up and share his life story? Or does his story eventually end up being deflected back to you? Does he avoid talking about family, friends and the things that describe his background?
To make a relationship work, you need a sense of the areas for growth. Both of you will have them. Coming to a common understanding of what makes you both tick or what went terribly in a previous relationship can help strengthen the current one. Of course the point is not to gossip about exes or fixate on past relationships.
But having a sense of the road one came from can make the one ahead far less bumpy. Different people will have a different comfort level with opening up or need more time. This is perfectly reasonable. But you can also tell when one is avoiding these topics altogether. While there is a natural rhyme and rhythm to when one meets friends, family and others in the course of a relationship, there can also be a level of exclusivity that can feel stifling or unbalanced.
No relationship can thrive in a vacuum. No one is there to witness it when your boyfriend is putting you down, treating you poorly, or being disrespectful. In your eyes, he is flawless. Which is why you need someone to help check your vision.
Whether it is a friend, a sibling , or other acquaintance, it can be helpful to include a larger community in your relationship for the purposes of safety and balance. In some collectivistic cultures, families can be at the forefront of relationships—so much so that they interfere with the natural progression. Or they provide so many opinions that it starts to get confusing who to listen to while you are sorting out your own feelings. As such, it might be helpful to limit your advisors to a couple close friends or family members.
There is no need to poll the entire audience. But getting another pair of eyes on your relationship and its health can help. After all, when disagreements eventually do come up, it can often be others who help you talk through it, apologize and make up. They can encourage you to see if you are being unreasonable, and at what point it can be helpful to walk away. Finally, have you ever met his friends or any one who he considers an acquaintance?
The adage that we are the company we keep often rings true. As such, getting a sense of a guy's social circle is collateral infomation. Maybe they are phenomenal people, or maybe they sit around and insult people.
You don't know until you meet them. Furthermore, if you are constantly kept behind closed doors, it can be another indicator of a guy's lack of seriously considering you as a partner. Do you really want to be some sort of secret girlfriend or the girl that a guy actually wants to be affiliated with? Sure, you're no Prada bag to be shown around, but you also deserve to have a guy who is proud to hold your hand. Communication is one of the keys to any successful relationship. But what happens when there is a communication breakdown?
Relationship longevity is not measured by when things are going well, but rather when the strife enters. Does he give you the silent treatment instead of trying to talk through it? At some point, your partner could be entering bully territory or be manipulative in the manner in which he communicates. There can be something attractive about the bad boy. The guy who is a bit aloof, the one who is not waiting on hands and knees for you.
But over time these guys can become more of a hazard than a heartthrob. Although you may have been initially attracted to his hyper-masculine take charge ways, you start to notice that in doing so he is bulldozing over others. He may be neglecting the feelings of others to assert his own agenda. So pretty soon he is always right and you are always wrong. Actually, the rules are arbitrary. For better or worse most women are socialized to be good listeners.
Additionally, we are often the mediators and conflict resolution specialists in disputes among family and friends. However, to be able to do this we must have access to the whole story and concrete facts.
This is much more difficult if the story is constantly changing. In the context of a romantic relationship if the target is constantly moving, it is a futile endeavor. But his parents support it. So he might also be into it. But he also might not be. But on second thought if children are involved then it is a necessity. Difficulty with basic algebra much? Laughter is one of the best parts of any relationship. Connecting on a light-hearted level, being silly and having truly heartfelt laughter is a path to forging shared interests and affection.
Witty humor, often associated with a higher intellectual punch factor, can be a favored form of laughter for some. However, what happens when that same humor starts to translate into slight insults and hints? And later, the joke can turn out to be on you.
Further, many use humor to communicate an unsavory message that they wouldn't otherwise share. Even though he might constantly brush something off as a joke, listen for patterns.
Sometimes there is something more there. The ability for both partners to identify areas for growth is important. One might learn to not let the dishes pile up, while the other learns that the other needs time and space when coming home immediately after work.
Changing the little things can do a lot for a relationship. Does he want a princess with done up nails, perfect hair, a classy wardrobe, and who is softly spoken, obedient, and affectionate on his terms? Maybe you like tattered jeans, streaked hair, the chipped nails of a woman who can get her hands dirty and speak her mind even if her volume is bit louder than she sometimes intends it.
The right guy will love you just the way you are. There is certainly an appeal to a man who is composed and self-assured. But the ability to let loose and try out things where you might look completely ridiculous can be integral to showing vulnerability.