Eight Red Flags to Spot When You’re Dating



Debbie in a policeman's hat

Look! I’m the Dating Police

I’m an ex-online dating addict.  For a while, I was terribly social until I discovered binge-watching.  Here are seven red flags that cropped up when I was dating.  Sometimes, it took me weeks to figure out what the problem was.  But when he says these things, beware!

1.  Premature Commitment.  He says, “I see you in my spare room writing” or “I see you planning ny garden with me.” The problem: He barely knows you; he’s fantasizing you into the person he wants you to be.  Advice: Don’t agree to be exclusive prematurely or to act more interested  than you feel comfortable with. You don’t really know this person. They don’t know the real you,  just the lovely, fantasy woman they envision bringing light to their spare room.

2.  Discomfort over Widowhood.  He says:,”I’m worried that because you were widowed, you’re not really over your husband.” The problem:  This is presumptuous, implying we’re not ready to move on because we didn’t voluntarily end our marriages.  Each widow is different. Plus, if we’re dating, we’ve decided we’re ready. Advice: Reassure him once or twice that you are, indeed, ready to move on. If he persists with this concern, he’s probably insecure regardless of your widowhood.

3.  Lot’s of Dating Stories.  He says :”‘You must have some crazy dating stories.”  The Problem:  What he means, is that he has crazy dating stories he needs to share to reassure himself that he’s normal.   If you share too many stories, it looks like you’ve been “on the market” a long time. After awhile online, I started to feel like a cut-rate flounder.  Also, retelling old stories stops the conversation from moving on to what you both want now.  Advice:  Tell one story, listen to one of his.  Change the topic.

4.  He Falls out of Love.  He says, ” I fell out of love with my wife.  I deserve more.”  The problem:  If he’s been on his own for years and hasn’t been with anyone for a long period time, he may be incapable of sustaining love.  Also, didn’t his wife deserve more?  Marriages have their ups and downs, and I’m wary of someone who gives up because he “falls out of love.”  Advice: Gently ask questions to figure out more of his relationship history.

5.  Amazing Ex-girlfriend Dumped Him. He says,” My ex-girlfriend was gorgeous, but she left me.”  Or some other variant of things didn’t work out with the woman he was crazy about. The Problem:  He’s not over her, even if he thinks he is.  When I first started dating,  I went out with a smart Alec Baldwin lookalike who went on ad nauseam about his stunning, blonde, breast-enhanced ex.  It was torture.  Advice: Run.

6. Asks You to Pay Up. He says:  “Isn’t it your turn to get the check” or “Let’s split this.”  The problem:  It’s perfectly reasonable to share the costs of dating.  But, when he picks someplace pricey, then suggests splitting the tab, he’s being inconsiderate.  Similarly, when he asks you out,  but asks you to pay, it might mean he’s really cheap.  He should say ahead of time that he wants to split things.  You can too.

Advice: If you’re surprised by splitting or getting the tab, ask ahead the next time so you know what you’re paying for.  Plus, expecting you to pay for a place you didn’t choose (unless you already know you split everything), especially if it’s someplace expensive, indicates that he’s thoughtless in other areas as well. I speak from experience on this.

7.  Critical. He says,”I don’t think you’ll ever move, or change or buy the right brand of oatmeal.”  The problem:  I dated some guys who were critical when I didn’t know them well.  But, I hadn’t asked their opinions.  I was fine. They just wanted someone different.  This was their problem, not mine.  Advice: Call him on  it. Ask why he’s critiquing you.  If he persists after he knows you don’t like it, understand he won’t stop. That’s who he is.

8.  It’s All About Him. He says: “When I heard about your health problem or read about your husband’s death, it upset me.  I needed time to recover.”  The problem:  Everything is about how it affects HIM. Even if its something where he should be concerned for YOU.  Advice:  This fellow lacks empathy and he has no stamina for the vicissitudes of life.  Again, he’s not going to change. I dated one of these. Everything upset him and he needed ever so much coddling. Run.

Do any of these sound familiar? Let me know if there’s any flags I’ve missed.  Binge-watching is probably looking pretty good right now!  (more…)