It’s literally no secret that dating right now can get pretty miserable. In an era of immediate swipe decisions, getting to know someone on a real level can seem downright impossible. As someone with little to know experience in the matter, I do however have a number of girlfriends who are living through the dating experience and have some tips to share. [note: this title says boyfriend but can be applied to any partner situation]
You can always count on me to have an unsolicited opinion on things I have no experience in. So here are some red flags to watch out for when you’re in the dating rat race.
They’re Moving Too Fast
While we love the look of a romcom style glance across the crowded bar and 24 hours of moonlight walks accompanied by picnics in the park – you want someone who’s going to move at a comfortable pace.
I don’t believe that they need to wait 3 days before calling (or texting is it?) but if they are planning 5 dates in 5 days, maybe pump the breaks.
Women have the tendency to go all in and isolate themselves from friends or family when a new romantic interest enters the picture, try to avoid being “that girl” and schedule dates a few days apart so that you can get excited about the next time you’ll see each other.
They’re Not Making The Effort
Alternatively, if you feel like you’re the one begging for a date – it’s probably not the move. Suggesting, planning, and even paying for a date is totally okay (it’s 2021, we’re here for it!) but if he’s cancelling on you, rescheduling, or it feels like pulling teeth to get him to show up, it’s time you redirect your effort to someone who will appreciate it. We don’t have time for flakes.
They’re Gaslighting You
Gaslighting may be a new term, but it’s not a new concept. Back in my day we used to call it being manipulative. It’s the act of deliberately messing with someone’s head to alter what they believe to be true.
For example: you find yourself apologizing without knowing what you did wrong or your feelings are dismissed as being “too sensitive” or “you’re being crazy”.
They’re Not Independent
In this decade, we’re not here to play mom. We need a man (or partner) that knows how to cook, clean, and be a basic functioning adult. An attractive partner needs to earn a living for themselves, be goal oriented, and want a true partner not a mom or a maid. The minute he compares you to his mom, run for the door!
Turns out, there’s a science to the madness. The Gottman Institute, which is one of the most well researched programs for relationships, has some pointers on what can be indicators of relationship disasters. Dr. John Gottman dubbed “The Four Horsemen,” which is a play on the mythical four horsemen of the apocalypse coming to signal the end of times.
The Four Horsemen are:
- Criticism – Describing character flaws within your partner
- Defensiveness – Not taking responsibility for your part
- Contempt – Belittling and taking a superior position
- Stonewalling – Shutting out your partner/ shutting down
Ultimately, all successful relationships take a different approach and no two relationships will look the same. As long as love, respect, and trust are at the core – you may be just fine.
Couples take time to find their rhythm, especially when it comes to communication and conflict style. Don’t be afraid to communicate what’s important to you and empower your partner to do the same.
We’ve all built independent styles of communication and conflict resolution from what we’ve seen in our families, friends, and previous relationships. Those traits may not be *the best* so be open to where you can improve. We won’t know unless someone tells us right? (In a constructive manner of course). For more on how to fight better, make sure you check out this post.
The honeymoon period should be just that – a fun time where you are getting to know each other. Relationships take work, but they shouldn’t feel like work – at least not the majority of the time. Remember our post on the 80/20 rule??
What’s not negotiable is when you feel unsafe or that you can’t trust your partner with your thoughts, feelings, or self. That’s a huge red flag to get out immediately. Women are intuitive, I truly believe that. Trust your gut.
When all else fails remember this, if it matters to you – you’ll make it happen, if not, you’ll make an excuse.