They say hindsight is 20/20. I don’t know who “they” are, but I do know it’d be helpful if “they” spoke up before I was in the hindsight space of the timeline, realizing “oh shit, this person is definitely not meant for me—or possibly anyone.” What I’m asking for is help identifying red flags when they are waved the first time.
I tend to try to see the best in people. Which, I realize is a contradiction from my staunch belief that people are the worst. (I’m very confusing, to myself and others.) I want to see the good in people so even when presented with the brightest neon red flag, I may, at times, ignore it for a little while. Eventually, I get to a point where I can no longer ignore said red flag and I get my sneakers on and run as fast as I can.
- She started eating frosting off of other people’s left behind plates. We attended a fancy shmancy fundraiser event. The first sign things weren’t going well was when we discovered we had been seated at different tables and had to move her chair and place setting across the room to the other table. Then things seemed to be back to normal…until dessert. Dessert was cheesecake with a blob of some unidentifiable topping that the majority of attendees left behind. But not my date! She described it as “frosting adjacent” and ate all of hers…and then mine. All that’s fine, but then she began eating the left behind frosting blobs off of strangers’ unguarded plates! She crept around the room like a frosting burglar pit pocketing/plating other guests of their dessert. I drank my wine and tried to pretend I didn’t know her.
- When I was driving her home for the first time she asked me to turn off my headlights as to not alert her parents. We were not in high school. We were both adults. We were both 24 years old—or so I thought. Naturally, my first fear was that she was not 24, like her OKCupid profile claimed her to be and that maybe she had used a fake ID at dinner and the nightclub. I stopped the car at the end of (what turned out to be a mile-long driveway) and demanded an explanation. As it turns out she had moved back in with her parents to save money, but they wouldn’t let her date while she lived under their roof. I turned off my headlights and both our drive and any possible future faded to black.
- She kept mentioning that she was much older than me but wouldn’t tell me her age. After doing some light Facebook stalking, I discovered she was 51 to my 30. She could have been my mom without even being a teen mom. I also discovered she had two kids (close to my age) and possibly a husband or a mean looking ex-husband I didn’t want to face.
- I met her moms on our very first date. If you’re thinking, “Jay, that’s not too bad,” let me continue. By the end of the date we were at her moms’ house in their hot tub. Oh you’re thinking, “Jay, that’s still not that bad?” I’m still not done. Everyone was naked but me. Yep, my date and both her moms were naked in the hot tub with me trying to act like this was totally fine. (We went on to date for 9 more months—the date and I, not her moms and me.)
- She kept mentioning an ex-boyfriend who wanted to get back together with her and had showed up to her house with gifts recently. The morning after our first date I received a strange Facebook message from this ex-boyfriend inviting me to join their polyamorous relationship. I did not.
- After confessing her feelings for me, she repeatedly mentioned she was a lesbian and didn’t usually like men. Turns out that as complicated as sexuality is, when a woman tells you she’s a lesbian, you should listen the first time. Being a lesbian and all, she shockingly did not want to be in a relationship with a man and I was pretty set on being a man so we parted ways.
- She talked about her ex the entire first date. Turns out we were at the restaurant he bartended. She had selected the restaurant. I think they got back together after our date.
- She asked me to drive her home after our second date. She lived 45 minutes away—a fact I did not know until we were in my car and she directed me to the highway. To this day, I still don’t know how she got to our date or how the fact that she did not live in the same town (or remotely close) didn’t come up until that moment.
- She took me to woods 40 minutes away for our first date. And then kept joking about kidnapping me, murdering me, and hiding my body in the woods we were hiking through. Romance is not dead, y’all. But I might be soon.
- She said she hated dogs. We met online and my profile picture was of me and my dog. And besides, what kind of monster doesn’t like dogs. It became apparent it wasn’t going to work out when I showed her pictures of my dog and she did not respond appropriately. Which would have been “aw, your dog is so cute. I love dogs.” Instead she said “is that yours? I don’t really like dogs.” Date over.
- When we first met, she said she wasn’t ready for a relationship. Six months later, we both realized that she wasn’t lying.
Have you ever ignored a red flag? Tell me about it in the comments!
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