R & R: Rationalizing Red-flags

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No one can predict the future. What we can do, however, is identify certain factors which may be a risk to our future. Subconsciously, we already perform this action, however, we could all use a bit of exercise in this area. At first glance, we notice little characteristics about each other which tend to point in the direction of incompatibility but due to our own selfishness and/or arrogance, we ignore these characteristics.

These observations are called Red-flags, also known as deal breakers. As the color red symbolizes, these flags suggest that you stop in your tracks. As a result of ignoring these Red-flags, we become involved in some of the most unhealthiest relationships possible and inevitably, only have ourselves to blame.

Below, in no particular order, are 15 of the most common "rationalized" Red-flags and the effects in which they may have on our relationships. Provided below as well, are resolutions which can hopefully assist us with avoiding these unhealthy situations before they arise.

Bringing up their Ex (still in love)

Ask yourself, have you ever met someone and during all of your conversations, you notice that they constantly mention their Ex? This is commonly an overlooked detail, however, it's most definitely a cause for concern. Logically, if an individual is on one's mind, its for a reason. If every raindrop, car driving by and article of clothing seem to remind them of their Ex, they're likely still in love or not entirely over them. Of course, while getting to know someone, at one point or another, past relationships will be touched upon briefly; however, when one continues to refer to their failed relationship, there may lie an issue.

Why it's a Red-flag: As you become more deeply involved with this person, emotions will naturally develop. In all likeliness, the time will come when you discover that they've either maintained inappropriate interactions with their Ex (behind your back), cheated with them or inevitably, are leaving you for them. Of course, it could all be nothing but, the fact that their Ex is so freshly on their mind usually means they weren't ready to move on, which is unfair to you both.

Resolution: Communicate. Simply ask the person if they're still in love with their Ex. If honest, their answer should help determine your next course of action. What's important is that once they answer "yes" you're responsible enough to walk away and/or maintain a distance. Actions in conjunction with words are most accurate so evaluate both. Their response, hopefully, will be congruent with their actions. If not, follow your instincts.

"Love at first sight" (falling too quick)

Love at first sight. Honestly, if one truly knows and comprehends the definition of love, they'd know love at first sight is a myth. Lust at first sight is most common, but not true love. Usually, what we mistake as love at first sight is actually a cross between infatuation, obsession or strong "chemistry". Sometimes when we get to know someone, the other person falls hard, deep and fast. They quickly become convinced that fate has put you two in each other's lives and that the rest is preordained. Cute, but alarming.

Why it's a Red-flag: The quicker you rush into something is usually how quick you'll rush right back out. Love and emotions take time to develop. When that time frame is accelerated and they believe they've "accomplished" love in merely a few days or a week, in all likelihood, nothing transpired but an exchange of words. This act is called infatuation. Some people are infatuated with the act of falling in love and become mesmerized by you and may not even know why.

Resolution: Be VERY direct and honest. This person's attraction could possibly evolve into something strong enough to cause them to spy, stalk or even cause you physical harm. Obsession could result as well therefore the very first thing to do is to establish your position on everything and ensure that they understand so you aren't leading them on. Even after accomplishing this, monitor the situation with tact, some individuals have a difficulty accepting "no" as an answer.

Scheduled phone conversations (only talks while away from home)

This is tricky, clever and mischievous all in one. Many never even realize this is an issue until its quite too late. Usually, when we meet someone, we never think to question their daily routine. Honestly, in the beginning, it's none of our business. However one must remember that the circumstances surrounding your initial interactions will hold value in the future. When you only have contact with this individual while they're on the way home, just leaving home or while they're everywhere else but home, you'll have to read between the lines.

Why it's a Red-flag: This person likely lives with someone of the opposite sex. An Ex or current lover. Sure, it's possible that they live with someone else, whom they'd also like to keep you a secret from, but you have to ask yourself, why? And if so, why aren't they open enough to disclose that information to you rather than slip into the shadows?

Resolution: Investigate. No, this doesn't mean snoop, spy or stalk. It simply means ask questions; most importantly, ask the right questions. Most believe that asking too many questions may make you appear "nosey" or insecure however it's always best to speak your mind rather than live your remaining moments in a relationship always wondering. Note, speaking your mind is NOT interrogating. If you're accused of interrogating, they're likely becoming defensive and believe, it's for a reason. Once you ask questions, of course, there's always the possibility that they'll lie but, you have an intuition for a reason. If you're already questioning their honesty and their behaviors are suspicious, it's smart to tread softly or simply walk away. Early on, it's always easier to detach yourself from a situation before it even develops.

It's all about ME (one sided conversations)

Communication is pretty simple. At one point or another, however, we come across that one individual who forgets that two people are involved in a conversation. Most notably, all you'll hear from them are first person statements such as "I did", "I like", "I don't" or "me and...". Every attempt to chime in a word results with them deflecting the attention right back to them.

Why it's a Red-flag: This individual only discusses themselves; what they've done, what they like and what they don't like. Sure, they're informative but a conversation involves talking AND listening. So does getting to know one another. This individual is likely arrogant, stubborn, inconsiderate or self absorbed. If they're not considerate enough to show interest in listening to you and getting to know you as much as they are with discussing themselves, what makes you believe they'll be considerate in a relationship?

Resolution: As soon as they pause to catch their breath, kindly excuse yourself and classify this situation as a loss. Texting may be the safest form of communication since they obviously won't allow you a moment to speak so eventually, send a respectful text informing them that it just isn't going to work out.

Can I have some...$$$ (asks for money)

Times are hard. The economy is recovering so yes, money is tight everywhere. However, while seeking a mate, finances should not be a factor...at least not while getting to know each other. If you just met, there's absolutely no reason why they should be asking you for money. This is a cause for alarm; one eye brow raised and eyes wide open.

Why it's a Red-flag: For men, you have to ask yourselves a few things. Why is she so comfortable asking for money so soon? Is this the dynamic she expects in a relationship? Is this the "norm" for her? How is she managing her finances? All of these concerns should and must be addressed before taking another step further. For women, you only have to ask yourself one question: What's the best way to cut communication off from someone immediately? There's absolutely no need to know any more about the situation if a man is asking you for money and you just met.

Resolution: For men, if you're a traditionalist, regardless of the answers to the questions above, the mere fact that she expects you to GIVE her money right away is enough to cease and desist. Finances shouldn't be discussed until you two are either living together or engaged. For women, if a man asks for money, especially right away, the resolution is easy: delete their number and their memory.

Street Pharmacist (Drug dealer and/or user)

Sometimes, the most obvious things are the things we're most naive about. Understandably, money can and will likely get tight at times, however, illegal activity is never the wisest course of action. Actually, it's counterproductive with solving money issues when the action(s) could possibly create more. This being said, participating in selling drugs is maybe one of the worst "habits" a mate could have. In addition, a mate who is a drug user is probably the icing on the cake. Sure, his lifestyle and resources are attractive and even enduring, but one must ask, is it worth the risk?

Why it's a Red-flag: Selling drugs is an activity which presents a substantial amount of risk. The individual will likely end up in jail or quite possibly dead. In addition, your life could also be at risk. Whether your freedom or your well being, dating a drug dealer is one of the most riskiest decisions one can make. Dating someone who is a drug user has just as much risk, if not more, being that their behaviors and actions will likely endanger your physical, emotional and mental well being. These risks increase if/once a child becomes involved. Last I remember, two parents were the best option when raising a child. Pretty difficult to accomplish this when one (or both) of the parents are either in prison or dead, or both.

Resolution: Although this individual may seem attractive, enticing and desirable, one must be rational. What type of future can be created with this person? What type of financial security will you really have? With hopes of creating a family, what type of role model will this be? Discontinuing contact altogether is best. Let's be honest, do you really want to be questioned by the police about being an accomplice to this person?

Pessimism (negativity)

If not now, at some time in our lives, we've all encountered that one individual who locates the negative in every situation, literally. If it's sunny outside, they'll remind you that it'll rain tomorrow. If you win the lottery they'll remind you that your check will be taxed for a lump sum. If you get a promotion, they'll remind you how the company is horrible. Some individuals are just incapable of allowing a positive moment to occur.

Why it's a Red-flag: With so much going on in the our lives today, pessimism needs not be one of them. This doesn't imply that we should be so naive to ignore reality altogether, but, we can and should enjoy the positive moments while we have them. When selecting a mate, you should thrive on having someone who completes you and puts a smile on your face, not someone who believes that every smile will be matched with a cry.

Resolution: As with all adults, you can't change this person. Only they can and that's only if and when they choose to do so. Sure, you can point out a few of these traits to them, however, it's inevitably up to them to adjust their perspectives. All in all, it isn't your responsibility to guide them. Best practice, surround yourself with positive people who are on a positive path, not negative people with no path at all.

"White lies"

"There's nothing wrong with a little white lie every now and then"
-Unknown

No one knows who originated the above phrase however, it's completely false (argumentatively). In fact, one must ask, what EXACTLY is a "white lie"? Lies are lies no matter the color. Big, small or medium, all lies are the same: deceitful. Unfortunately, there are some people who believe small lies are completely acceptable...until someone happens to lie to them.

Why it's a Red-flag: If this person has no hesitation to lie to you about something as small as the color of the shirt they're wearing, what's to stop them from lying to you about something that truly holds weight? In short, if they can lie about something meaningless that holds no consequence, why would you expect them to be honest about something that will definitely have a consequence?

Resolution: Trust should be established from the first day. Some people believe that trust is earned over time. Some people believe that trust is given from the first day and is upheld until you break it. Which ever your preference, once you realize this person is not trustworthy, from that moment on, everything that happens is your fault. Walking away is easiest in the beginning so you may as well exercise those legs.

Sex as a weapon (Men only)

Currently, some women have come to believe that sex is a weapon. They believe that because they have that six letter word between their legs (vagina) that they dominate the field of life and dictate the dynamics between man and woman. Here lies the issue. But, it isn't entirely their fault, men, have influenced this belief over time.

Why it's a Red-flag: Sex, first of all, is an activity. An activity in which two consenting adults agree to partake in. When one chooses to use sex as collateral to get their way it creates an issue. Many women believe that if they're having sex with you, you're now responsible for upholding their frivolous lifestyle and tending to their every want and need up to, and especially including, finances. For traditionalist men, this is far from our beliefs. There's a fine line between caring for a woman's well being and sponsoring her.

Resolution: First, a few men have to immediately put a stop to enabling this type of behavior. Whenever a man propositions a woman for sex and she replies "Are you gonna take care of what I need?" and you reply "Yeah Ma, I got you", you're influencing this type of behavior thus demonstrating to the woman that one good deed obligates another. Sex is a mutual activity; it isn't one sided. Second, (for all the traditionalist men) if a woman of this nature approaches, it's extremely important to identify her perspective on things in the beginning. If she believes that this is the foundation of a relationship, cease and desist. No right or wrong, just agree to disagree and move on with your life, you WILL live to regret it otherwise. Sex should be a fun and safe leisure activity, not a bargaining chip.

How they treat their Mom (Ladies only)

Women, by definition, are indescribable. No matter your position on the subject, Man is nothing without Woman. This being said, how one treats their Mother is quite the concern.

Why it's a Red-flag: How a son treats his Mother will dictate not only how he will treat his woman but also how he will raise your son to treat YOU. Let's be honest, if you're over the age of 30, a relationship is the vessel taken to transition you two into something more so presumably, a family is somewhere in your long term goal. If he has a complete disregard for his Mother and/or openly disrespects her to her face or simply to you, he'll have no problem raising his son to do the same. More so, he may have a lack of respect for the female gender entirely which may open doors for physical and emotional abuse. Yes ladies, this all can be rooted back to his relationship with his Mother.

Resolution: Proceed with caution, if at all. There's nothing wrong with asking why his relationship is so damaged with his Mother. Anticipate some apprehension if you approach the subject even. However, if she cared for and protected him until he was of age to do so himself, he owes her his respect without question. This is a value in which he must be responsible enough to imprint on his son. In some cases, his Mother could have been to blame for the tension between them. In rare situations, his Mother may have been absent all of his life but if so, you'll have to ask yourself if you really want to carry on these issues from a mate (believe me, there will be issues). Friends is probably the best option here.

Jealously

Jealously is one of the most common issues between man and woman, friend and friend, mother and daughter, etc. In regards to men and women, jealously usually signals insecurity or simply a lack of trust. This is not only problematic in general, but even more so in the early stages of the interaction.

Why it's a Red-flag: Early on, there should be no reason to be jealous. All in all, you've just met therefore nothing has developed amongst you two to indicate a reason, rationale or justification for such a feeling. If someone is jealous right away, it's likely due to insecurity or trust issues. Neither of which you should be the Doctor of.

Resolution: At times, misunderstandings occur. Sometimes one could ask a simple question but we're so quick to label them as jealous. So, this is where you have to be intelligent enough to know the difference. If after attending a movie you call your new friend and they ask "Did you go alone?", no need for concern. However, if they not only ask if you went alone but probe you for more details (i.e. who'd you go with; was it a male or female; who is he to you), then attention is needed here. This form of questioning, while many may argue is simply a means of getting to know one another, is quite interrogative and inappropriate. Whether insecurity or trust, if you've not given them a reason to doubt your word or demeanor in general, their lack of confidence and/or trust issues lie within them and it isn't your responsibility to resolve them. This is what's defined as "baggage".

Needy (attention)

In every relationship, attention is required. Rather it's a man or a woman requiring it, every relationship needs a certain amount. However, there are some who require not only some of your attention, but ALL of it. Priorities must definitely be set in every situation but attention should be given within reason and rationality.

Why it's a Red Flag: When someone is overly needy, they often lack a bit of logic. They'll convince themselves that they should come before you, your family, your children and in a few extreme cases, even before your health. Example, after attending a funeral, you'll see about 15 missed calls, 7 voicemails and 22 text messages. The same happens after you come from having a medical procedure done. What happens if this is overlooked is that the relationship suffocates. Just as humans need oxygen, a relationship needs air to breathe as well. Even married couples have time away from their mates, as does this apply for a relationship.

Resolution: Communicating from day one is always best. Establishing your expectations individually as well as establishing what you will and will not tolerate. Chances are, if this person believes their behavior and logic are sound, they'll likely only adapt to the expectations you gave rather than have changed their individual beliefs. In short, they'll only act the part but underneath they'll have an entirely different perspective. This will likely cause friction later so if they believe their behavior to be right, agree to disagree and keep moving. Better safe than sorry.

Irresponsibility

Early on, it can be a bit difficult to determine whether or not someone is irresponsible. But if you can observe the little things, such as how they don't call when they say they will, how they'll make plans but are a no show or how they'll simply say they'll do something and fail to, this will likely give you some insight on their reliability.

Why it's a Red Flag: Well, you have to view things logically. If someone can't do something as simple as keep the plans that you two have made, chances are they won't be too reliable within the relationship in regards to major things. A phone call is a phone call and plans are plans but one's word is what holds the most value. Big or small, you have to be able to rely on what one says and does if they're ever to become your partner in life. Consistency is most relevant.

Resolution: Take note. Sometimes, things happen beyond our control however, if one simply has disregarded you with no justification as to why, nor any remorse, this is likely a demonstration of their character entirely. Most commonly justified as a victim of circumstance, this person likely goes with the flow of things and sees events occurring on their time, rather than yours, or most notably, rather than the both of yours.

Getting involved while in a relationship

For most, getting involved with people in relationships and/or marriages is a wonderful arrangement. Not time consuming, low maintenance, and straight to the point. This is feasible up until the point that one attempts to build a "relationship" around these circumstances. As foolish as it sounds, it happens.

Why it's a Red Flag: Obviously, if you're involved with someone who was so easily willing to cheat on their mate for/with you, they have no remorse for disloyalty and deceit. As much as you may convince yourself that the circumstances causing them to cheat were individual, in time, the suspicions will creep up behind you. Inevitably, history can, and most definitely will, repeat itself.

Resolution: If deciding to get involved with someone in a relationship/marriage, keep the arrangement emotion-free. The moment they step outside that relationship/marriage should confirm that no relationship will ever develop between you two. Justifying their actions only prolongs the inevitability of how/when they'll repeat their actions, on you.

Mama's boy (Ladies only)

Of course, a woman wants a man that respects his Mother. However, a woman absolutely does NOT want a man who is attached at the hip TO his Mother.

Why it's a Red Flag: Ladies understand, when a man is a "Mama's boy", he will never place you first. His Mother will always be the first, last and only woman who matters in his life. This is completely unacceptable. He'll be so open as to discuss his sexual ventures (with you) to his Mother. If she doesn't like you, he won't like you. If she says to leave you, he'll leave you. She will be his one and only Queen, you'll be a close 2nd (if she approves).

Resolution: Discontinue. Simple. He's a grown man and will only change if/when he's ready. Your efforts will prove futile, mediocre and pointless. No need to waste one moment of your time. Many women believe they can "change" him or due to their own ego, will be self-encouraged to battle for the throne against his Mother. You will lose. Always. In addition, it isn't your battle to fight. A Mother can't teach a boy to be a man so a "girlfriend" most definitely can't either.

Consensus

Obviously, these are but a few of the characteristics one may stumble upon during the early stages of getting know one other. As common as they are, however, it's also common that we've all had our moment(s) of overlooking or simply being in a state of denial about some of these Red-flags. Truth is, sometimes, when someone is trying to tell you something, they're trying to TELL you something. People show us who they are all the time, but at times we foolishly accept every little thing because we can't always see past what we want. As a result, we enter dead end relationships and years later, have wasted so much time and effort of which we can't get back. The Red-flags were always present. It's no wonder why it didn't work out.

Al Steven Harrison Jr.

Read more posts by this author.

Mount Prospect, IL

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