Ok, first off, if you haven’t joined my live, weekly girl chat, “Confessions Over Tea”, you are missing out! It takes place every Wednesday at 8pm CST on Instagram (@theartofsingle for those who aren’t following).
So, last week’s discussion was on “Red Flags”, and I really felt it was important to do an accompanying blog post for those who weren’t in attendance.
Red flags in my opinion are obvious signs about a person, flat out telling us who they are, and to Run. Like. Hell. But oftentimes, we choose to excuse or ignore these signs because:
- We like them.
- Want to be with them.
- They are paying attention to us.
- Providing a service or doing something for us at a time when we want/need it most.
For many of us, we recognize red flags by constantly questioning motives and characteristics. Finding ourselves justifying or excusing behaviors/patterns. And finally, getting that gut feeling telling us that something in the milk ain’t clean.
Signs of red flags can include, but are not limited to:
- Avoiding the DTR (Define The Relationship) conversation
- No follow through/Broken promises
- Can only see them on their terms, when they are available/Lacks flexibility
- Constant disappearances
- Says all the right things
- Quick to jump the gun/Clingy
- Rarely invites you into their world
- Disrespects boundaries
- Bashes all past relationships
- Never holds themselves accountable
- Always on their phone
While sitting back one day reassessing my dating history, I learned that yes, I have entertained some really crappy men. And I know you’re either going to think that I’m a complete idiot, or that the guys I’ve dealt with were some pretty slick individuals, but the reality is, I overlooked and ignored every single red flag listed above, for the exact reasons I stated at the beginning of this post.
Can we just take a minute to thank God for reflection, wisdom, growth, and maturity!
During my reassessment of dating and red flags, three guys from my past stood out. Each one showed me early on who they were, but I was blinded due to naivete’ and complete disregard for my gut feelings.
Allow me to introduce you to Edward, Cortez, and Eric:
Edward (you can read the full blog post about him here.):
Edward disappeared.. A LOT. We would be in an amazing space, and out of nowhere he would vanish, leaving me to question if I had done something wrong. Of course I would interrogate him about where he had been when he would resurface, with his typical response being, “I was falling for you too fast, and got scared.” Also, I was never invited to his home because “his mother was sick and lived with him”.
For the most part, when we did spend time together, it was usually either late at night when he was getting off or early evening when picking me up from work. And yes, he occasionally invited me to hang out with him and his friends, but was always shifting from side to side, as if he was afraid someone would recognize him.
Edward was quick to tell me he loved me. Expressed how he wanted to marry me. And would tease, saying that when (not if) we get married, I’ll never have to change my initials, because both our last names started with the same letter. I was smitten.
And it wasn’t until I did some late night lurking on Instagram, that I found out Edward was married.
Cortez was a pathological liar, and to this day I still don’t know the true tea about him. He was slightly arrogant, never prioritized me (even though he felt that we were going to get married), and treated me like afterthought.
When he did make plans to do something with me, he typically stood me up. When I called him on it, it was always my fault. He never accepted full responsibility for his actions, and on those rare occasions where we did spend time together, he was always on his phone.
Why I entertained him for as long as I did? We were in a CommunicationSHIP (you can read about those here). And I was caught up in all the wonderful things he was saying to me.
It wasn’t until he disrespected a huge boundary of mine that I had, had it with him. I cut him off and walked away. Yet, he still calls and texts trying to get things to go back to the way they were.
Eric was such a narcissist, and our interactions were extremely limited. The only time we talked was early in the morning, on the way to, during, and from work. We never talked in the evening, and the thought of us seeing one another during the weekend was absolutely out of the question. Even though he knew that, that was the best time for me. And when we did go out, it was strictly limited to lunch dates, happy hours, and after-work functions with his colleagues.
One day when he called, I heard not only a child in the background, but the sound of a woman’s voice. The phone then went dead, and I never heard from him again.
Eric, was married.
Because I had terrible dating dating habits, when coming across red flags, I would either let things slide until it blew up or ghosted (two equally horrible choices). I didn’t have the best boundaries and I settled a lot, so the thought of calling someone out was practically unheard of.
It wasn’t until after dealing with Cortez that I learned the best thing to do when encountering a individual’s red flags, is to simply call them on it immediately. Calling that person out lets them know that you are not falling for whatever game they might be playing, and stops things from getting out of hand. It also saves you the time, energy, and heartbreak of having to find things out the hard way.
Also, after calling them out, it’s probably best to block and delete the number, as well as the text thread, and call log. This cuts off all communication, further protecting you from ever hearing from them again.
As someone once told me, “Pay attention to the signs. For they reveal what you might be overlooking.” Red flags are always present, and oftentimes show up within the first few interactions with a person. So before you get “Caught up in the rapture of love” (in my Anita Baker voice), see them for who they truly are, and honor your spirit when it tells you Run. Like. Hell.
Because after all, Beloved, you’re far too precious to be trying to analyze people and decipher their motives.