When a relationship doesn’t work out or ends badly, clients frequently ask me if there was something they should have seen in the beginning. The answer is almost always yes. But they were too caught up in the seduction to notice that it wasn’t a good fit. You have to look for the warning signs are and heed them before you get too involved (or intimate). I consider the obvious ones to be if he or she drinks too much, blatantly lies, is negative or can’t stop talking about his or her ex. But here are some more subtle red flags to look for that can save you a lot of heartache down the road.
- He or she doesn’t respect your boundaries. If you say no and he continues to push to get his way or does it anyway, then he’s not respecting your needs. He’s being manipulative. It might be something as simple as pushing you to answer a question. Or ordering another drink for you when you said no. It’s a sign that he could be controlling and will always need to have his way.
- He or she’s a blamer. They’ll name someone else as the cause for everything that happens to them, or always have an excuse for why it’s not their fault. If he or she blames you for anything that doesn’t go right, no matter how small (even if it is your fault—there is no need to point that out), he or she’s probably the defensive type who can’t take responsibility for their own actions. If the relationship moves forward you will always be the one expected to change or compromise.
- He or she’s narcissistic. He constantly interrupts and doesn’t let you finish your thoughts or sentences. He’s more interested in talking about himself (telling inflated stories starring him) than learning about you and he doesn’t remember important information you share about yourself. He might take the better seat in a restaurant and/or demand specific attention. That’s a good indication that the whole relationship will be all about him.
- He or she’s controlling. He doesn’t ask you but tells you what you’re going to do. Such as if he orders food for you without consulting you on what you’d like. Or in any way corrects you, or tells you how you “need” to look, behave or speak. Confidence is very attractive but it becomes control if you don’t have a choice.
- He or she’s moving too fast. A commitment-phobic will try to pull you into his life quickly because subconsciously he knows he’s not going to keep you around. He’ll invite you to do everything with him until he knows he definitely has you, then he’ll feel smothered and suddenly leave you without warning. Don’t fall for it. Slow the pace of the relationship. No more than two to three dates a week in the beginning.
A person might not wave all his or her red flags on the first, second or even third date. So you have to keep up a vigilant watch. Sex will definitely cloud your judgment. Don’t allow sex to make you stupid.
I wrote this column for LoveEngineer.com