Red isn’t a color that’s easy to miss. It commands attention and is typically used to alert people to stop. We stop when we see red lights, red stop signs, and attention alerts with huge red exclamation points. For some reason when it comes to red flags and relationships, the correlation between red and stop suddenly becomes foreign concepts to a lot of women. A lot of times it’s because we don’t see them, other times it’s because we do and ignore them. Obviously both genders have issues identifying red flags when it comes to their relationships. For some reason however, it appears that the ratio of women not only missing, but completely dismissing red flags is horrifyingly disproportionate to men. I believe that the reason for the imbalance is because many women feel like they have a lot more to lose while waiting for Mr. Right, than men do while searching for a wife.
Something happens when single men and women hit their late 20’s and early 30’s. The tables turn. Suddenly a large number of single women, who once had the world placed at their feet along with a line of guys wrapped around the corner just patiently waiting their turn to waist our time, become anxious and dare I say, frantic to settle down. More unfortunately, this seems to be the time when a lot of single men officially find their “swag”. They’ve been climbing the corporate ladder for most of their 20’s and now finally have the means to become pickier with the women they date. This along with the realization that a lot of single women at this age are either searching, waiting, or desperate for a man who will offer the possibility of marriage and children, gives a lot of men the false sense that they are the gender higher in demand.
The outcome of this shift leaves so many women settling for much less than what they want and deserve out of fear of not getting the happily ever after Walt Disney promised to us when we were five. When we allow the clock to be the motivator in our love life, it gives the devil full permission to pull the veil over our eyes and miss all of the red flags our mothers, grandmothers, aunties, women’s youth ministry groups, and just about every Lifetime movie warned us about. The good news is that experience is the best teacher, and although I’m constantly learning, that learning has helped me identify at least four “types” you should stay clear of.
The Arrogant Introvert: There are many women who may feel like an introvert is their ideal. He’s a great listener, very observant and prefers not to speak unless necessary. Well, before you rejoice and make plans that seclude both of you in a quiet cottage somewhere in the south, remember that being an introvert is not his only trait. There are other characteristics to consider that might bring your joyful noise to a screeching halt. The guy I’m talking about is the shyest one in his group of friends. While they seem to be whistling at every girl that walks by, he is the quiet conversation starter. Although soft spoken, there’s a loud confidence that permeates from him you’ve never seen before. He’s always well maintained and put together. He walks like he’s never and WILL never humiliate himself by accidentally tripping over someone else’s foot or book bag in the cafeteria, which immediately makes your clumsy and uncoordinated self feel less than adequate. He speaks softly, but with purpose because he knows everyone is interested in what he has to say. He smells like a mix of masculine exotic oils, and subtle hints of musky amber, leather, broken promises, disappointments and despair. He is extremely picky with the girls he selects because whoever he chooses has to match his status or upgrade him in some shallow way. The problem with men like this is that their mix of arrogance and shyness can have a negative impact on your communication in the relationship. Being shy may already be one battle, but adding entitlement to the equation can leave you feeling like you’re the guy and he’s the girl. Suddenly you’re the one waiting around for a text/phone call. You’re the one rearranging your schedule to fit his. You’re the one waiting for him to claim you and make things official. You become the “waiter” and once that foundation is set, it leads the way for mistreatment, disrespect, and in worst cases lying and cheating to occur. Men are not stupid. They know when a girl is really into them and although they might very well be into you, if he is immature, senses your insecurities, and his intentions are selfish, he will try to find a way to have his cake and eat it too, because your actions have shown him that you’re not going anywhere.
The Infatuated Politician: Politicians are highly intelligent individuals and very articulate. They are gifted with tact and words and generally use both to get what they want. Granted the recent decision our country made to put Donald Trump in office challenges everything we believed a Politician to be, but the other 44 presidents have proven that idea to be mostly true. This is the guy that will make you feel like you’ve known him forever. He will make you feel like you are the girl he has been waiting for his entire life. Conversations with these types of guys generally start with him saying something like, “he’s had a huge crush since he first laid eyes on you in high school/college”, or that he just was mesmerized by you instantly in some other setting. They are infatuated with you and are brilliant in communicating how they feel in a way that never sends your flags up because you feel like you “know them”. The problem with these types of guys is that they are so infatuated with the idea of you, that subconsciously you are not even a human being. So when you become one by way of mistake or natural human error, they will not hesitate to whine about your shortcomings or even just disappear because you have now disappointed him by not being the idea he made up in his head. It’s tempting to think that fate brought the two of you together since he’s been supposedly nursing this cute little crush on you since high school, but pay attention to what this guy is saying on your first date. When he’s ranting on about how much he likes you ask some questions. Challenge his statements (ever so politely of course) when he says things like… “You were always the girl I wanted”, “I can’t believe that you and I are actually dating” and “You can tell me anything and I will never judge you”. It’s flattering yes, but politicians use things like flattery, praise, and promises as their tools to make you feel like you can trust them even if they don’t know they’re doing it. My father once told me, anything that starts off at the top has nowhere to go but down.
Mr. Up & Down: There really isn’t much to say here except for run. Now, when I say run, I don’t mean a light and steady-paced jog. I’m talking a full out sprint. I’m saying get out like Usain Bolt. Like you are in a foot race with one other person and you both spotted the only 8 oz bottle of water in the middle of a desert. No one wants to live life with someone who is always hot and cold. Even science tells us that the very mixture of hot and cold air can create a deadly, hostile and disastrous tornado. This is the guy that’s very unstable with his emotions. One week he’s obsessed with you, the next week he wants to break up. He probably fell in love with you at first sight, told you, and then encouraged you to believe that very same thing. Don’t even hang around long enough to see if this one works out. If you do, you’ll find yourself mourning a relationship that you were in all by yourself.
Lovelorn: I once dated a guy who told me very early that he has a tendency to like and want women who don’t want him. Well that’s a real bummer! What if I like you? What if I see potential and want to build? This is a tough one because you are getting the admiration that you want, but only because you’re pretending like you don’t want them. You’re not able to truly be carefree in your expressions. They only want you when you’re not paying attention to them, not texting back, or unavailable to hangout. I’m not saying that I don’t like to be chased. I’m a woman, of course I do! But damn, can a girl express herself without being afraid a guy will suddenly lose interest because she sent the first text? When it turns into a situation where you’ve been talking for several months, and you sporadically slide your guard down an inch or two to show some affection and interest, only to discover that he instantly becomes super comfortable. Next he tells you he doesn’t feel the need to impress you anymore because you have the decency to pay attention to him. Lovelorn will keep you noticing a pattern of pull and push that is senseless, exhausting, and elementary.
We women are so much more than Fallopian tubes and supportive wives. We are providers, leaders, goal-setters, achievers, ambitious, and extremely powerful human beings. Why do you think God made us? Because he knew that men could not succeed in life without everything we have to offer. So, although priorities may change between genders at certain ages in our lives, that does not mean in that you should settle. You are the jewel, the crown, the gift, and ultimate reward that men should cherish. Don’t allow the times you forgot your own worth to interfere with what you deserve and want for yourself.
Get better. Date better. Perceive better, pray harder, and notice when a flag is dropped on the play.
Jewel Jones has contributed to Spilled Milk Before. Check out her last blog, Single Ladies Edition. You can follow her on Instagram @jalexes
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