So last time, I wrote about how women oftentimes believe that we can change people, when the truth of the matter is that all we can ever really do is encourage change. It is totally up to the other person to actually make the changes.
This leads me to the subject of red flags. Our belief that we can change people sometimes leads us to ignore what should be viewed as red flags in the relationship.
But when is something a red flag and when is it just a nuisance that might want to consider getting over?
I wish I could tell you, but there is no list of red flags anywhere.
Yeah, there are things that we should always view as the dangers that they are:
- Violence of any sort
- Lack of demonstration of love or caring
There are probably a few more but those are the biggies. If any of these show up in your relationship, it’s time to take some serious action.
What about other things? Things like…
- Lack of ambition
- Disinterest in sharing the responsibility of the relationship equally
- Staying out late
- Never wanting to go out
The answer is that, well, it depends.
There are a couple things to consider when trying to figure out if it’s a real red flag or it’s a nuisance.
First, how frequent is it? Is it
Shorter term behaviors are more tolerable than longer term, as are things that only come up occasionally. Maybe she’s messy because her life is super busy right now and house cleaning just isn’t on top of the list, but will be when things calm down (assuming they’ll calm down). Maybe she only has a glass of wine on the weekends.
Be careful here though. Sometimes things that are promised to be short-term end up being more long-term. So things that may have just been bothersome early in a relationship can enter red flag territory if they don’t improve.
Second, how much does it bother you?
This is probably the most important thing. One person’s flea is another person’s tarantula. What is a mere annoyance for you might be a dealbreaker for someone else.
This one also requires that you are honest with yourself about whether and how much something bothers you.
I will readily admit that I don’t always trust my feelings. I sometimes feel like maybe I’m overblowing something, or that I shouldn’t feel a certain way. But I still have those feelings.
Be honest with yourself about those feelings (and with her, but let’s start with you). Don’t try to convince yourself that you can live with it if you know that you can’t.
If you’d rather she not smoke at all, and it really bothers you, don’t talk yourself out of that feeling. If it bothers you, it bothers you. If you can’t live with it, you can’t live with it. Be ok with that.
Lack of ambition – you want her to always be wanting more, to never be satisfied, but she’s happy with who and what she is right now and has no desire to change that. If that bothers you, it bothers you. Own it. It’s ok.
That’s when something goes from nuisance to red flag.
“But don’t I sound picky when I’m bothered by certain things?” Eh. Maybe. But that’s a discussion for another time – maybe next week 😉
What are some things that are red flags for you?