If you are a loyal member of Mingle2.com, then you are probably a romantic, hoping to find Mr. or Ms. Right. The dating game is one filled with hope that the next dating connection will be lasting and meaningful. But, in the words of The Bard, “Love is blind, and lovers cannot see”. Although you want to be open to the new possibilities of romance when you go on that first date be watchful that your optimism doesn’t overshadow your judgment. Don’t ignore the obvious warning signs that there’s a bumpy road ahead.
- May I take your baggage? – When you engage in a conversation with your new date, what’s the primary topic of conversation? Does he or she complain about work, parents, life in general, or, worst of all, the “ex”? If the topics of conversation drift toward the negative, you may be with a person who is unhappy in life and may not be ready to move beyond his or her own problems. And if he or she talks incessantly about what he or she did with the last husband/boyfriend or wife/girlfriend, chances are they aren’t ready to move on, so you should take the initiative and move on instead.
- All work and no play – Is your date obsessed with work? If he or she puts career above all else, chances are your romance will take a back seat. If you are dating a workaholic, you need to be prepared to get stood up for last-minute work commitments or meetings or other tasks ahead of your romance. Be sure that’s what you want and your ego is ready to handle it.
- Who do they hang with? You can tell a lot about people from their friends. Learn more about your date’s friends and whom they choose to spend time with. If they have a great group of friends whom you think you would like, then you may compatible. If you discover she spends her weekends with a motorcycle gang, you might want to think twice before your next date.
- Keeping up with the Joneses – Money pressures are one of the biggest deal-breakers in a marriage, let alone a relationship. Better to check your money compatibility up front. Is your date a high-roller and can you afford such a lifestyle, without complaining about it? Or is your date a cheapskate who takes you out to McDonald’s for dinner when you were hoping for something more? Assess your financial compatibility to make sure that you’re not expecting too much, or too little. A good barometer is to let your date pick the next restaurant or venue, or see if you can comfortably find a way to share the expenses on the date. If there is a large gap in your incomes, make allowances so each of you can pick up part of the date based on your ability to pay. But however you approach it, get the spending issue out on the table early and make sure it won’t cause problems later.
- Basic values – It’s important that you and your date share the same values, and you can learn a lot by simple observation. Watch how your date treats waiters or waitresses; do they treat them kindly or with disrespect? Does your date drop hints about ethnic stereotypes, make homophobic comments, or talk about other people in a way that makes you uncomfortable? As a barometer, ask yourself if you would be ashamed to introduce your date to your peers, your boss, or your mother.
- The Stalker – Beware of unwarranted jealousy and possessiveness. If your date starts questioning your every move, where you are, who you are with, etc., then they are jealous by nature. If they constantly text and call you beyond the point of flirting to where it’s annoying, you may be dating a stalker. Be certain of your personal boundaries in the relationship, set them early on, and make sure your date doesn’t violate them.
- Sex, drugs, and rock and roll – These are murky waters that you have to navigate on your own, following your own gut instinct and moral code. If your date gets drunk the first or second time out, maybe they are nervous. If they get drunk almost every time you go out, maybe they have a problem. Use the same common sense when it comes to drug use (occasional versus habitual) or even sex. Remember that love is blind, and the sex drive makes you dumb as well. Try to slow down, above all be safe, and bear in mind that while the sex may be fantastic, for your partner it may be about the sex and not about you. Check your monogamy meter and make sure you know what you’re getting into.
These are just a few of the red flags that daters have encountered. You probably have a list of your own. Whatever you do, trust your basic instincts and listen to your head as well as your heart. Chances are that the little voice in the back of your head is giving your good advice.