I have learned a hard lesson on my first serious dating attempt in Mexico. And although I have proven that my gut feeling still works and I got out in time, I do feel a bit ashamed about ignoring Red Flags and most off all my intuition and gut feeling just a little too long.
One would think that at my age the tricks of the dating trade are mastered. But I am only human and when those butterflies start fluttering they mess up the gut feeling vibes.
And I am a person that wants to believe every person is good and deserves a few chances. That is part of who I am and I am kind of proud that I kept that character trade alive over all the scars my heart suffered in my lifetime.
So let’s refresh our memories, shall we?
What is the difference between Intuition and Gut Feeling?
When our intuition speaks, or you have that gut feeling, that is a moment where you sense something is off. Now you can act on that feeling in different ways
You can adjust your boundaries and move on with your date or relationship, and accept that something is off.
You can become all paranoid and start a witch-hunt and smoke out the wrongs.
You can calmly see where things are going and check if there is a consistency in the feeling you get.
Sometimes our own past experiences can make us misjudge what we think to read in another person’s behaviours.
When your gut feeling acts up there is a sense of knowing something is wrong. And it will not go away, it will act up every time, and stronger, when the same thing happens.
Your Intuition will strengthen your gut feeling, your intuition will just know. it comes whit a sense of doubtless peace, that you know for sure, without any proof that a person is not honest or something is really wrong.
F.e. When a person is lying to you for example, because of the choice of words, the behaviour, even if you have no solid proof, sometimes you just know.
Other than the anxiety feeling of past experiences making you all wind up about something that you think might be happening.
Trust me, you will know the difference. If you feel confused, just find a quiet place become retrospective, and listen to your inner person what’s really happening in your mind, and heart.
Be aware that ignoring a gut feeling and red flags can actually make you physically sick.
F.e. I once dated a narcissist. he was bad, he broke me into 1000 pieces and left me with a huge need to rebuild myself in a total burnout.
The last time I dated a guy that was sending out weird signals and I kind of refused to listen to my gut, I got sick every time he came around. My body was just giving off signals that if I would stay with him, I might end up in the same miserable state I once was.
What is a Red Flag?
A Red Flag in any kind of relationships (family, work, friends or romantic) is a certain habit, behaviour or value that makes your gut feeling act up.
And your gut feeling acts up because it senses it might become a problem later on or is already a problem that you need to look into because it might not fit into your lifestyle or contradicts your integrity.
We women, especially those among us that have a will to please, can ignore Red Flags a long time. It is those moments where you keep making up excuses for the other person, in your head or towards others.
If you happen to do that, well, look again: That is a Red Flag!
It is that moment where you think: maybe if I …..add any adjustment in YOUR behaviour here………. things might be easier, better, improve….whatever…..
If you think that, well, think again: That it Red Flag!
How to decipher Red Flags when you are dating?
We all know how exciting it is to be dating, waiting for him to call, preparing for date nights, and the expectations rise. When we fall in love our feelings can soar and daydreams happen and we all want it so badly to be a success.
Most of us present our best selves. Especially men are very gifted in doing that. None of them smokes or drinks a lot, they all love romantic stuff and they are great in bed. Or so they tell us. And we humbly present the good sides of us.
The combination of all this, the way your date presents himself to you and your rising expectations, makes you put on pink glasses and when looking at red with pink glasses the colour kind of fades.
The signs when something is wrong will be there but they are subtle. It is only after the first few dates that we start to see the person behind the presentation.
I always think it is a shame we have to put in so much effort, time and hope before we realize we are dating a knight on a rocking horse instead of one on a stallion.
At any moment when you start to see Red Flags, you should act upon them, they are the best gift you can get in a relationship, do not ignore them. They help you figure out whether or not your date is trustworthy and has a great personality and emotional maturity.
If not, you kinda miss the point of no return and may go in way too deep to get out without damage to your self-esteem or worse.
Do a Quick Scan in the early dating stages
The early dating stages are the best time to ask a lot of questions and get to know a person that well that you know if you guys are a match or can work things out. Here is how to do a quick scan that will help you figure out of you are on the same page for the major aspects of your personal life and relationship wishes.
1. Check his values and integrity and match them with yours
Dating a person it is like a job interview, you have to ask questions, create situations and moments to be sure you are on the same page when it comes to relationship ethics and your own integrity.
It is the core values that count:
borders in a relationship,
the ability and willingness to communicate,
future expectations, hopes and dreams
are the foundation for a good relationship, these should be shared ideas and qualities.
When your future partner is not respecting any of those core values you have for a relationship, even when it comes to how you treat other people or making jokes, you should reconsider dating that person.
Are his values on love, relationships and monogamy, respect and integrity the same as yours?
2. Check how he behaves in daily live
If your date has a long list of short term relationships, do not expect them to keep you for a long time. It will be a relationship where you will never feel safe. Your date probably has intimacy problems or is emotionally unavailable.
If your date talks bad about exes, family members or treats people badly in some way, he is no good. He will one day treat you bad also.
I once saw my Mexican date bullying a man in a supermarket line that only pointed out to him there was a line, nothing else, he scared the hell out of me with his behaviour. And all I could think of was that he told me so often: I will never hit you……why did he say that? seeing his behaviour toward that man, I knew…..I knew (intuition) one day he would hit me simply because he will lose his temper with me over something little like he did in that supermarket.
I was on my way out already by then, it just added up to the Red Flags and the knowledge I had to break up with him.
If your date has a long list of female girlfriends and exes he can’t say goodbye to and has no problem of seeking validation from them when he feels low, you have a serious problem.
When you are invited in his Facebook and the last GF is still very present in the photos and posts, he does not respect you and has not ended his past relationship properly. Make sure you talk to him about that. So he starts respecting you. Or better, leave him.
Does he treat you the way you want to be treated and does he treat others the way you treat them? And if corrected or confronted, is he able/capable of change or adjusting.
3. Check the unspoken
A good presentation only goes so far. There comes a day patterns emerge. When you get to know each other better over time, you will see more things you frown upon.
It should become clear in the first few weeks, no need to drag it on for months to “make sure”. You will see consistency in words and actions or not. And if you think there is consistency maybe you notice other things.
My Mexican date did everything by the book, he seemed too good to be true. Now that was a Red Flag of its own size. He was too good to be true. I caught him not only on bullying the man in the supermarket I also caught him lying multiple times about major issues. One of them him being in a relationship with at least one other woman. And when I gave him a chance to come clean he preferred to keep lying.
Until it blew up in his face and I left him.
You have to be able to see patterns and read between the lines
Does he always talk about himself
Does he need a lot of attention
Is he interested in you in a persistent way and does he remember important moments in your life and supports you in it
Does he make you uncomfortable in any way
Do you feel manipulated
Do you feel safe
Can you be your 100% true self with him even in your unicorn pyjama and fluffy socks and your weekly green face mask?
Do you share the same humour, can you laugh at his jokes or do they make you feel uncomfortable
Do you feel respected
Does he show a longing for you that makes you feel sexy in a good way
Is he defensive
Can he communicate when you guys disagree
Are his future plans realistic
Is he moving too fast
Is he rewriting things that happened so you doubt yourself every time (Gaslighting)
does he have an addiction, to anything, addictions don’t always have to be substances it can also be an addiction to buying things and spending money or watching YouTube or making selfies
Is he consistent or always contradicting himself, I know my Last date did not like cheese, yet he ate a lot of cheese, a lot! And there was always an excuse why when I confronted him with his dislike.
Is he jealous of you and or your success? Can he rejoice with you when you are doing great and he is not doing so well?
Is he empathic or does he lack the ability to be there for you when you need him
Does he give you what you need relationship-wise and commitment wise
All these things will start to show after you guys have been dating a few times. And when you are lucky, like me it will show up very early on so you do not waste too much time with a guy that does not deserve you or can make your life a living hell.
How to prevent past mistakes from happening again?
Being out of a very short relationship, just a few weeks, I have a fresh picture of my lessons learned and the moments I neglected myself over him. So for me now the best thing to do is journaling. Writing down my lessons learned and prepare for a new date and possible relationship.
With everything fresh in memory I made a list of what I am looking for in a man and in a relationship. Over the years and with age that list has changed, and I realized I needed to update it.
I advise you to do the same thing. And be honest with yourself. Take out that list from time to time or after every date and check the boxes. It will help you keep your head free from the clutter of the emotions that are going on. It will keep your heart save and it will make you decide whether or not this guy is dating material for you. Maybe he will make a great partner, but for someone else and not for you. In that case, it is time to end things and move on with your life.
Update your list and learn from the experiences and move forward. Trust me, your prince on his stallion is out there somewhere.
Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites
Currently, she lives in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.