Online dating is an arena where we sharpen our instincts. Because we’re meeting strangers, we’re on our guard, and of course, we’re more attuned to potential “red flags” – indicators now of potential upcoming dangers. But how do we know which of these red flags are nothing, and which will turn out to be important determiners of how a future relationship would fare? How do you tell the nothings from the somethings? Here’s what I’ve found.
Some of our triggers for red flags are based on our experiences in past relationships. They could be reasonable ones, such as a man who badmouths his family meaning he probably has intimacy issues – or they could be unreasonable, such as a certain brand of cologne meaning he’s certain to be a cheater. Inevitably, things about our new dates will remind us of our exes. Keeping a cool head in response to these triggers will help us make better choices when they do come up. Just because Jim likes the same microbrew that Sam drank, he won’t necessarily give your family the impression Sam did when he threw up on your eight-year-old niece at your cousin’s wedding. On the other hand, if Jim starts proposing to the jukebox after a few drinks at the bowling alley… I wouldn’t be asking him to the next family bar mitzvah.
Dating Red Flags
Some of our triggers for red flags are more based in instinct, and these are the ones we really need to heed. If something about my date bothers me and I can’t be sure why, I listen to that little voice. More often than not, I’ve noticed something subconsciously that I can’t quite put into complete thoughts – but that is important for me to know. These kinds of red flags are the ones I use a three strikes rule with. Three of them, and no matter how much I may like someone or how harmless she may seem, she’s just riled my instincts too much for me to continue a relationship with her. I know that from now on, I’ll spend more time wondering about her true motivations than about what she’s wearing underneath that dress.
My intuition has rarely steered me wrong while dating. Some of my more disastrous mistakes have come from directly ignoring that intuition, even. And when it comes to red flags, pretending I don’t see them has never worked out well. By now, I’ve learned that I’m quite capable of outsmarting myself by just not thinking too hard, and I think it’s possible that maybe we all are. What are your red flags, and how often do they change your actions with the people you meet?
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