You know what it’s like to counsel your friends post-breakup, holding your tongue, while they lament how blindsided they were when their significant other did something that caused the demise of the relationship. You’re sympathetic but you noticed a million red flags along the way and can’t even fathom how they didn’t expect it.
But we’ve all been that friend, too. We cruise along obliviously until the moment comes in which we realize exactly how deep the crazy runs in the specimen across the table from us. It can be pretty painful to finally string together all the red flags that we shouldn’t have ignored.
Both genders love to downplay the little bubbles of lunacy that froth from the mouths of the people they are currently trying to civilize into domestic life. Let’s look at some common red flags that are flashing red alert indicators of someone’s character and should not be disregarded.
Ladies: Imagine that your companion is rude to the server, brags a LOT or complains about how expensive the bill is. Don’t be surprised if he continues to act condescending, narcissistic or stingy as your relationship progresses.
Gentleman: Picture yourself on a second date when suddenly she starts dropping her ex’s name. Repeatedly. If you’re attracted to her, you might decide to write off her obvious hang-up with this previous boyfriend. Oh cool, so you get off on being constantly compared to her exes and hanging out with emotional basket-cases?
Even if you try your best to suppress it, your gut always registers a little jolt when you hear or see a relationship red flag, so take it seriously. If you two are arguing every day when you’re still supposed to be in the honeymoon phase, don’t be optimistic that your problems will fade as the relationship gets more serious. If you don’t want to be known as the couple who fights all the time, you should call it quits.
You’ll Thank Yourself Later
Imagine that every verbal or behavioral red flag is as alarming as some unexpected physical attribute, like a giant snake around someone’s neck. It would be completely ignorant not to consider how you felt talking about and in the company of snakes if your date’s neck was constantly wrapped in one. It’s a big deal to start dating him or her, so whatever red flag pops up, think it through before diving in headfirst.
When It Goes Bad, Shut It Down
Heed the early warning signs, connect the dots and remember that you never have to keep dating someone. You always have the option to bail (recommended) when your new love interest last-minute cancels three out of five dates (flaky), makes you feel guilty when you spend time with other friends (controlling), has a shoulder parrot and a pegleg (pirate) or shows up on a magic carpet and sings to you in rhymes (at least Aladdin enthusiast, possibly Aladdin himself).
Good rule to follow: If your eyebrow raises with concern more than once in the first hour of a date, just walk away.