How Not To Miss the Red Flags While Dating
“Too many red flags so I had to waive the white one…”
Oh how we love hindsight, that replay of all the missed opportunities to show us what was there all along (sense my sarcasm here)! When it comes to dating there are times when it seems like we are in a repeated cycle of events. Boy meets girl. It’s all good until it’s not. Things crash and burn. Girl is left heartbroken wondering if she’ll ever meet someone again. Girl meets another boy but hasn’t learned the lessons from past experiences….saga continues.
One promise I made after my divorce was that when I finally felt ready to date I would be wise and not get caught up. Then I thought to myself, “but doesn’t every woman declare the same when entering the dating world?” Of course, we all want to do things differently and make better decisions but for some reason when a guy comes along that seems like everything we desire, our logic escapes us. After the damage is done, it’s like we were in a temporary fog, blinded by love or lust disguised as such. This made me start thinking about ways to break the cycle before it evens begins.
I think that the key to catching the red flags is by taking intentional steps in the beginning which to me is the first 90 days or so. This is usually before you are so smitten that nothing even matters (Lauryn Hill voice) and you can exit a situation with less recovery time. So I would say that there IS a way to guard your heart while remaining open to the possibilities. You just have to be willing to do so.
Here are some ways to keep your head in the game:
Prayer– I know this seems like a no-brainer however if we are being honest, there have been times that we’ve skipped this step in dating and later regretted it. Praying before you meet someone is amazing but the prayers shouldn’t stop there. You must keep God involved every step of the way with new bae to get His stamp of approval. Ask Him to reveal everything you need to see and then BELIEVE what He shows you. Involve your wise counsel in this too. We are quick to tell our girlfriends about our newest escapades and give the blow by blow details of how we met this amazing guy. But how many times have you asked your prayer warriors to pray for and with you about the new person in your life? This is the most important step of all and should not be taken lightly. Prayer really aides you in starting things off on a great note which is what we all want.
Proximity– In the beginning it is helpful to maintain healthy boundaries so that you can keep a clear head and activate your intuition. If you are spending every day talking, texting, and seeing someone then you aren’t giving yourself the time to think and really evaluate how you feel. Plus it is never a good idea to begin changing your whole world around, making yourself available at all times. This is the surest way to lose yourself in the other person and this is never healthy no matter what stage of the relationship you are in. Proximity allows you to maintain your sense of individuality and really determine if this person is adding value or just filling a void. Some ways to accomplish this include:
- Maintain your current lifestyle and interests
- Meet out at public places instead of your/his place
- Wait to share intimate details of your life and past
- No sex during this time (if you are not celibate)
Pace– So imagine that you are on a highway driving somewhere you haven’t been before. You are speeding the entire way and end up missing your exit because you sped passed the sign. Now you are lost, turned around, and have to figure out how to get back on track. This is also what happens in dating when moving too fast, you miss all the signs (red flags) and end up confused wondering where you went wrong. That is why it is important to take your time when meeting someone new. There are guys out there that will try to rush you for this very reason, so you are hooked before you realize that they weren’t for you. Pacing yourself and not getting serious right away gives you time to ask the right questions (tactfully), observe patterns of behavior, and gage true compatibility beyond initial attraction.
Pay Attention– None of the other tips I mentioned will really matter if you do not take heed to what you are seeing. Remember in the beginning stages its facts over feelings! You have to remain honest with yourself despite how much you like someone. Don’t be afraid of the truth but instead let it drive your decision making. It may not sound as romantic but falling or as I would suggest growing in love with someone requires your mind just as much as your heart. Dating smart saves you time and trouble causing less emotional damage in the long run. So ladies let’s choose well and love wisely!
Moment of reflection: Have you struggled with noticing red flags while dating? What did you learn from those situations? What will you do differently