[I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about romanticals anymore, but I discussed it with the queen of Galloblog and she extended her scepter. So I think for at least this one time I can get away with it.]
Okay, kids. What I want to talk about today are “red flags,” or as they say in France, drapeaux de rouge. Red flags are those indicators when you’re dating someone that they might be the cheatin’ kind, afraid of commitment, addicted to drugs, a pathological liar, a wearer of pastel colored shorts— anything indicative you should run for your life.
Red flags are important to talk about, because err’body is going to cause you to throw up a red flag or two, even if they are generally fantasimo. Indeed, people who end up happily married discover things about each other along the way that make them question their character (“you were still dating other people when you met my parents?!)” or sanity (“you face the water when you shower?!”). Despite these unnerving realizations, sometimes the perceived value of the flagged-one is so great that the flagger is still willing to work through their pain and shock. But we all have a red flag threshold that, when exceeded, makes us call the game early and go home.
My threshold used to be too low, (probably) and sensitive to the wrong sort of “problems.” I would be dating someone and think, “Oh Lorttttt, he orders water with lime, because he’s too fancy for a humble lemon? I can’t handle this.”
But in my most recent foray into romanticals, I think I put my threshold too high, for things that were important. I was collecting red flags for this hombre like they were going out of style. None of these red flags indicated he was a psycho or a bad person— he was a good guy, and my decision to date him wasn’t only because he looked like Eric Church when he wore a baseball cap and sunglasses (but for real…). We shared the same faith, had similar political views, liked a lot of the same music, enjoyed eating sushi bowls and fawning over doggos, valued traveling over accumulating stuffz, both intelligent in complementary ways, and were attracted to each other.
BUT!!! If my ex-bf, me, and a rando hobo were asked “Describe your perfect weekend,” I think I’d have more in common with rando hobo.
Gallo’s perfect weekend
- Friday night : game night with a lot of friends*
- Sat morning: wake up early to read or write in a hipster-y coffee shop for a few hours
- Sat afternoon: go on an outdoor adventure (e.g. rock-climbing) with a bunch of ppl I’ve never met*
- Sat evening: meet up with a few close friends to do something artsy or cultured, (e.g. see a play)*
- Sunday morning: meet up with my mentor before church, attend church *
- Sunday afternoon: lunch with my parents*, then go on a long hike*
- Sunday evening: read an interesting book
Gallo’s ex-bf’s perfect weekend
- Friday night: make music in room
- Saturday morning: Perhaps make a breakfast burrito
- Saturday afternoon: gym, sauna, miscellaneous errands
- Saturday evening: sit on back porch and listen to music *
- Sunday morning: Maybe church*
- Sunday afternoon: Nap
- Sunday evening: Professional massage to unwind from the stress of the day
*Activities that I/he would have been happy to do with each other
What jumps out to you? Differences in the love of hanging out in groups? Differences in outdoorsiness? Differences in how much we wanted the other to share in our activities?
HOW ABOUT ALL OF THE COTTON PICKIN’ ABOVE??
Do you see how miserable we would have made each other??
His reaction to my weekend plans: stress and anxiety, feeling smothered.
My reaction to his weekend non-plans: frustration and boredom, feeling abandoned.
Now, there is of course a time and place to work through incompatibilities. But 1-2 months into dating is probably not that time. Once you’ve confirmed the person has similar values and doesn’t seem insane or abusive, they still might be a terrible fit for you.
I know this little piece of advice is probably not earth-shattering to any of you, but I think it’s important because it’s a really big deal — but unlike other “tests” of compatibility, it doesn’t take too much time or emotional depth to figure this out. So if you’re date-smart – unlike your favorite blogger – you can save yourself a lot of time and heartache by asking this simple question — “Can we plan a weekend together without one of us needing to pop a Xanax to make it through?” If not, release them back into the dating wilds.
Life is too short to be tortured by your SO’s SOP!