Dating… so many ways to date and so many of those ways are wrong. You hear about it all the time – the dating app stories, yuck! Although I’m not dating at the moment and probably won’t until 2075 – I do have over 20 years’ experience dating. In the past 5 years I FINALLY learned many lessons, so let me pass them on, ladybug!
Let’s just dive right in… what are red flags anyway?
Red flags are absolutely something you need to pay attention to. You might also call it intuition; a reaction that your body has when something does not feel right. It’s the moment when your body makes you think, “wait is this right? Do I like this? I thought I said I’d never do this”. However, red flags are not just about the vibes you’re getting from him, they’re also about paying attention to the vibes/red flags you’re getting from yourself.
Cindy called my radio show today and the guy that she’s been dating for 6-months won’t get a tattoo removed (can’t afford it/too painful). The tattoo is of his ex’s face and this upset her, she truly wants him to remove it, so she was wondering if this was a red flag. My advice to her was that she isn’t the wife and girlfriends don’t get wife privileges, so he doesn’t have to remove it for her. It’s the same thing I would tell a girl about a boy; “boyfriends don’t get husband privileges”.
Cindy has only been dating her boyfriend for 6-months, he doesn’t have to remove a tattoo for her. She went into this relationship knowing he had a tattoo, and the fact that Cindy can’t handle it is a major red flag for her. If you are going to choose to love someone, it has to be an ‘as is’ love. Not, if you do this, this, and this, then I’ll love you.
Knowing yourself is key and if you know that ‘this thing’ – ‘this tattoo’ – whatever it is, will bug you if it never changes, move on for the both of you. You can’t marry potential and the fact that you’re trippin’ over his tattoo is a ‘red flag’ for him. If you (or him) change one thing for someone you’re dating, you’re setting the standard that you will keep changing to fit the mold of who THEY want YOU to be.
No matter how petty you think it is, THAT is a red flag within yourself telling you, YOU ARE NOT going to be able to handle this for LIFE. Stop lying to yourself.
I have a personal example and I remember saying around August 2018 on air (radio show); that I would never date a man who lived with his parents. My co-host at that time brought up the fact that;
“I was currently dating ‘mystery Lance’ and that he, was at the moment bouncing around in DC because he doesn’t have a place to live. So why did I date him?”
First, pre-mystery Lance, I wrote down (you know I have a list) that if a guy wasn’t stable that I would not give him the time of day. Stable to me meant being able to pay your own rent.
Sidenote: Now my required level of stability has been raised.
I dated mystery Lance because I fell for the story (college sweetheart) and I wanted the fairy-tale. I overlooked the circumstance I didn’t want in a man and actually thought:
“Man it would be petty of me not to date him just because he doesn’t have a place to stay. I mean he did break up with up his girl like 6 months ago. Poor guy. Plus he’s nothing like my ex. He has a job.”
Plus I remember women calling into my show and judging me for saying “I wouldn’t date a man who lived with his parents”. Why is it so bad to want what you are? I don’t live with my parents. Choosing to date him after ignoring the red flags, put me in a position where I was dating a man who was 6 figures in debt, which I only discovered once I started listening to my intuition/red flags. In the end, he left me because ‘I had it too together’.
He was right about me having things together; I was on another level and I should have never given him the time of day. I should have paid attention to my red flags and not judged myself for having a standard. AND IT WAS A LESSON I LEARNED PREVIOUSLY but since ‘mystery Lance’ looked different, I judged myself for thinking it. Currently, I’m in debt because of a red flag I had but ignored. Lesson learned.
One day I’ll tell that debt story and how much he owes me but for now: you can and should have standards for your life and that is not judgmental, it’s wise.
Judgmental is having or displaying an excessively critical point of view and acting on that. You can have the thought (because we all do) but not treat anyone differently because of it. So, dating someone is not under that category. You OWE NO MAN a date because he asked. You owe NO MAN a relationship because he likes you.
The only thing you OWE anyone is kindness. Where in the definition of kindness does it say to date all men who pay you attention? Loving thy neighbor has nothing to do with dating. If you wanna love on folks so much, are you giving back? What are you doing for your community?
I shouldn’t have judged myself for my standards but I did and the only silver lining is that I can now hope to be a light for you, girl.
“If a guy can’t manage his money; it means he can’t take care of himself and if he can’t take care of himself it means he’s not going to be able to take care of you.” – Tracy McMillan (author)
You should have a clear understanding of who YOU are before you find yourself in terrible situations. Figure out your red flags before you date or you will be very unhappy because you listened to your parents, aunts, cousins, friends, MEN, and society say; “girl that is a nice man you better date him” or “girl he’s fine, you better date him”. Better yet, “girl it’s gonna be hard to find what you want, you better date him”. Or even “girl you’re too picky, just find a nice man and date him”. These are all the things that are said to us to make us feel bad about the true and deep desires of our heart. Date yourself first and you will be surprised and love it when you actually know who you are!
So let’s break it down in 3 points:
- Have standards and know they are not judgmental.
- Red flags are also coming from you. Listen to yourself and know what you can and cannot handle.
- Self-awareness is the key to true happiness and your super power!
Ps. I feel like I hear you asking;
‘What is self-awareness?
How do you get self-aware?’
Best way to explain it is to show you how I came to be the woman I am today, firm, very self-aware and on solid ground. You can read about that here and here – plus how I came up with ‘the list’ I tell YOU here girl! It explains my reasons for my top 6 requirements for a partner! If he doesn’t have those 6, I won’t date him. Period.
I also have a (free) workshop starting June 1, that you can sign up for here if you want to understand self-awareness more! xo