I received a phone call this week from a friend who was quite upset. She had a few dates with a man that she felt very hopeful and excited about and then all the red flags started showing up. This was a huge disappointment to her. She was beginning to feel as if perhaps this could go somewhere, but when the deal-breaking behavior started showing up, she knew that was her signal.
Although she was sad about things not working out with this man, she could clearly see at that very moment that this was not going to work with him. There was an understanding that this man had a different face but the same negative traits she had previously encountered. It was time to cut her losses and move on.
This very scenario happened to me countless times over and over again until I finally learned a few important ways to get through this with minimal drama.
I would begin to date someone and they had the same red flags, the same issues but a different face. I would get hopeful and excited only to be disappointed when the red flags would pop up. I blamed myself for attracting this kind of man and kept wondering "what's wrong with me" and "why does this keep happening over and over again?"
Obviously this line of thinking would send me down that spiral staircase of angst and frustration. I learned that instead of blaming myself, to look at it as kind of a test. Perhaps the Universe was simply testing me to see if I was truly ready for the kind of relationship I desired. Perhaps I was testing myself or maybe I was not ready and it showed up in the kind of men that appeared in my life. Whatever the answer was, I knew that I had to take some action.
As I started to date someone, I took it slooooooow. I took my time getting to know someone instead of getting caught up in the whirlwind of "newness" and getting emotionally involved too quickly. "Newness" is that fabulous rush that we get when we meet someone new that has that glimmer of hope and excitement behind it. Some people are addicted to the feeling of "newness" and stay in relationships only long enough to get that rush. It is definitely a fun energy to be in, but keep in mind that if your goal is to have a long lasting relationship, the "newness" is temporary.
Taking your time to get to know someone is crucial. This is how you are going to find out if there are any of those red flags. I always used the "3 month rule." It is something I created with my friends to monitor if a relationship was going well. I would watch a man's behavior for the first three months and usually after that something would shift. I cannot tell you why, all I know is that the three month mark was my barometer. After this happening several times, I began to realize that this is the time period that the "newness" begins to wear off and all those lovely issues and red flags begin to arise.
I learned to stay centered for the first three months. I maintained a balance of being in the relationship, yet not throwing myself completely emotionally into it. Even if the man would tell me that he was really into me, I maintained balance. I am not saying that I was aloof, but I played more of the observer role to see how things would unfold. Practicing this kind of balance was tremendously helpful, especially since the red flags would show up and it was much easier for me to let go rather than hang onto a relationship that was not a fit for me.
I also stopped blaming myself if the same man would show up over and over again. I understand that it is frustrating, however continuing to love yourself and working on honoring the part of you that is courageous enough to go out there and date, needs to be nurtured not blamed. Do kind loving things for yourself.
Remember to be kind to yourself no matter what or who shows up. When you begin to date, take your time. Get to really know the person.
Read more from the Stop Dating & Find Love series here.More from Care2:
The Physical Effects of Falling in Love
He Likes Me - Doesn't He?
10 Dating Tips from the Animal World