names have been omitted or changed in this post
Wearing new pajamas, my daughter covered her eyes and squealed with irritation at the tv screen. She then grabbed the plush blanket nearby and hid her face behind it.
"EWWWWW! Make it stop! WHY do they always have to kiss? I mean, that is SO GROSS! If I get married… which I'm NOT!" She expressed, "But IF I do… I'm doing a high five. Or a fist bump!" She announced with firm animation nestled between me and my mother on the large taupe couch. It was the week of Thanksgiving and we were watching a Hallmark movie… popcorn and m&m's were in a bowl passed between us and the den was dark minus the light flashing on the flatscreen. My mother laughed and threw me an amused look at which I giggled and smiled.
"Oh for goodness sakes… a fist bump huh? I don't see any guy going for that!" I smirked.
"Mommy… " She told me and turned to face me "You know how when you and Daddy were getting a divorce? And I wanted you to find someone? You know, someone who has a girl?" She asked.
I nodded "Yeah, I remember… what about it?"
"Well… I've decided I don't want you to. I mean… Daddy, he messed up right… and then he messed up again by marrying Georgina. And I like our group we have here… you, me and maw maw… so I'm thinking you should just stay single. I mean… why mess with a good thing? We have our trio. We don't need anybody else. It's perfect." She informed me.
I smiled at her cuteness "Really? You think so, huh?"
She nodded, patted my arm and spoke "Yes, I do. See, everyone you date wants to marry you. And that's where the problem is. They are going to mess up our circle of three." She informed me.
I laughed appreciatively. Kids were hilarious. "Well, your aunt Danielle says the same thing." I told her and my mother, referring to my sister. "She says that I'm crazy to get married again. She says I escaped once and to stay single."
My mother spoke up "I have to agree with her. Unless you can find a Hallmark movie guy forget it."
So often who we date starts out like a Hallmark movie guy… and for men like a Hallmark movie gal. But then a little ways down the road instead of the sweet, endearing person we fell for our dating experience turns into more like a film gone bad… with all kinds of unforeseen situations arising and negative character revealed. It's then that we stand there wondering what the heck just happened and realize that yes indeed it's time to move on.
It seems when you're dating someone plenty of situations arise for you to take a moment and re-assess how you feel about this person you're seeing… how compatible you are or aren't, what you like about them, what you don't and what you are beginning to see as red flags.
My therapist once told me
that red flags are usually made
known to us within the first
three months of dating someone.
*** If we pay attention ***
I'm finding that to be true. And definitely by the fifth month. Most people during this time frame no matter how great are usually on their best behavior… understandably we do all want to put our best foot forward yet in that it's essential we are ourselves. And when we are ourselves sometimes things happen (in a good way)… namely the person were seeing doesn't believe we are a match or perhaps we realize they aren't a good match for us. Regardless, whatever the case may be… it's always best to be yourself because not only will it enable you to weed out who you're seeing faster but you also won't lose yourself in the process.
5 Warning Signs:
1. Says: "Look Pretty"
He tells you: "Your job is to look pretty." You immediately have the new song "Sit Still, Look Pretty" by Daya skim through your mind and your gut intuition tells you you're dealing with a real misogynistic you-know-what. When you call him on his sexist comment he shakes his head and replies: "Well, hun… it's my job to pay for stuff. It's your job to look pretty." Even if this comes from a mindset of him just wanting to take care of you… it's irksome. A man can tell you he wants to be a gentleman, take the lead and pay for stuff (or alternatively most of it with you occasionally offering & paying) without telling you you're merely there to look good and insinuate good for nothing else but that. Take your pretty self home and tell him so long.
2. Not Respectful
He (or she) paws at you the entire evening sitting on the couch watching tv… with your mother. When you continue to pull away and give him the death glare he just chuckles at you with amusement and continues… afterward your mother expresses her discomfort and you vocalize yours. The next day you confront him on his awkward behavior and he spins it to be your issue… at which you harshly retort: "So this is how it's gonna be? REALLY? You're making this MY problem?!" Suddenly he sees he's about to be ejected and sent on his way so he immediately backs up and promises to not do it again… but it's too late. Unbeknownst to him he's on slippery ground and the dating relationship is being reassessed more closely. After being subjected to narcissistic abuse either during childhood or during the course of a marriage or even both… once you escape that… your tolerance level for any bs may be at almost zero.
3. Can't Take The Heat
He decides it would be fun to answer a questionnaire of questions to get to know each other better. Okay, you agree. One of your questions is to use three positive words to describe yourself. You list them "Kind, loyal, smart ass." He sits back and stares at you with amusement yet on some level you detect exasperation "Really? Smart ass? How is that a positive trait?" He asks you. You shrug and reply: "If you're a smart ass you're probably sarcastic which means you're humorous. Seems pretty straightforward to me. That's positive!" You respond. He narrows his eyebrows and doesn't seem to find your answer humorous… you don't care but you certainly take note of his reaction as he replies with irritation: "You aren't taking this seriously and I see how you play." Sometimes just seeing if someone can roll with the punches or not reveals a lot about them… if you can't take the heat get outta the kitchen.
4. Time Hog
He or she expects to take up all your time. Suddenly your house is a mess, your projects are on the back burner and your "me time" is non-existent or slowly dwindling down to almost nil. If someone is taking up all your time or pushing for more of your time than what you wish to give away then they are time greedy. It's important to hold firm on boundaries. So you set boundaries and run your errands in the morning before seeing him (or her) later that day… only to be told "Well, we could have done them together; I want to be with you!" I don't know about you… but nothing makes me run faster and shut down a relationship quicker than feeling like I have zero space... they must be related to those folks that breathe down your neck in the check out lane at Target. You warily glance at them wondering if they plan on going home with you. Red Flag: If you find yourself telling him or her you're working late just so you can carve out some me time, if you find yourself not seeing your friends like you were previously, if you find yourself never feeling rested because you're on the go all the time now… it's time to cut the cord… he (or she) is a time hog. Claim your life back and send he or she packing.
5. Lock Down - Incoming
He or she is already talking rings… it's one thing to think "This **MIGHT** be the one" … it's no doubt when we go into dating someone new we are excited at the possibilities… it's all fresh, exciting and dopamine is in over drive… yes, we may certainly think this person is or could be "the one"… yet we must stay grounded and remember that dating is the tool we use to get to know someone and even if we fall for them hard it takes time (several seasons) to determine whether this is someone we could actually marry. This is a long process and not one to take lightly. So if someone, man or woman suddenly begins bringing up rings and marriage after just a short time of dating… take note because I swear there are sirens going off somewhere. Granted, there ARE rare occasions where some folks JUST KNOW and go ahead and get engaged and they are truly good matches and make for wonderful marriages.
Disclaimer: I've never actually met these folks but I've heard they exist.
Supposedly the wooly mammoth is returning as well.
But for the majority of us out there today it's just not that instantaneous, lucky, realistic, etc. If someone begins talking rings and marriage early on… be very cautious… because they may be wanting to rush you so as to lock you down before you notice red flags. By then it will be too late. And annulment/divorce will be your only option to escape.