When I am forced to make tough decisions in life, a pros and cons list always proves beneficial. If the pros dramatically outweigh the cons, the decision is a no-brainer. I tell all singles before they venture out into the wonderful (sometimes scary) world of dating, make a “red flag list,” some may call it a deal-breaker list. When you are on a date and one of those red flags starting whipping in the breeze, immediately flag the play and see it for what it is.
Why should you take red flags so seriously? It’s simple. If you acknowledge the signs that you and a potential partner are not compatible you will not waste so much of your time, effort, and emotional investment with no return. Well, I will side-step the word “wasted” because I believe everything that happens in life, whether positive or negative, is a lesson learned. However, emotional investments are delicate creatures and should not be wasted. Some people sincerely invest so much emotionally in relationships that when the relationship is over, mental and emotional scars are all that remain. It can take months, sometimes even years, to become emotionally able to truly give themselves to another person again. Some individuals jump back into dating way too soon, on the heels of a previous, heavily emotional relationship. They do not give themselves time to heal, but that is another topic for a later date.
Look back on any of your previous relationships and analyze the entire connection. I want you to ask yourself, “What went wrong?”. You may find what actually broke the connection was a red flag that you ignored early on in the dating stage.
After you have established that you are emotionally ready to start dating again and all the baggage from previous relationships have been relinquished, take the time to make your own “red flag list.” On this list, freely expound on each and every thing that you know (for 100% fact) you cannot and will not deal with in a potential, future partner. Try to avoid listing insignificant things, as this should not read like a grocery list. It should simply highlight only those major things that you will not tolerate in your future mate.
Now the fun part! After constructing your list, hold yourself accountable, making sure you only date in regards to your “red flag list.” (Warning, if you have a red flag list and you follow it religiously, you may find yourself a bit lonely at times. But, the great part is that you will not be investing time and emotions in unworthy prospects.)
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