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Thread: Red Flags? Pay Attention!

  1. #1
    Member Coonsy's Avatar
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    Red Flags? Pay Attention!

    As much a note to myself as it is to anyone else out there.

    This last boyfriend was a rather, um, interesting relationship. Early on there were red flags, but I kept making excuses for his behavior and fell into a FOG (Fear, Obligation, Guilt) and kept giving in to the behavior, and setting myself (and perhaps 'us') up for failure.

    Our personalities were polar opposites, and because of that, I kept "blaming" our differences and conflicts on that, giving in to his emotional manipulation, and feeling guilty because he would spend money on me that I couldn't return the favor on (I never once ASKED him to spend any money on me, but if he wanted to do something - like go out to eat at a nicer restaurant - I'd offer a cheaper option, but he'd insist on the more expensive one and pick up the tab). Because I couldn't return the financial favors, I laid my own guilt trip on myself, putting up with behaviors I should never have allowed.

    Some of the red flags I saw, even noted them at the time, but chose to ignore included:
    • His willingness to spend money, but very little time on me
    • Complaining about how much he had to work, yet throwing money around like it was water when we were together
    • I was always the last priority on his time - "work" ALWAYS came first
    • Too much "interest" in what I was doing every minute of every day
    • Always down playing my job/career/skills compared to his (his work being so much more important and "difficult" than mine)
    • Controlling of my responses to him - if I wasn't fast enough, accusing me of lying about what I was doing
    • His "efforts" were always more valuable than my "efforts" and I could never match the "effort" he was putting into things (according to him)
    • Throwing a fit when I was with my friends that I wasn't paying him enough "attention" (all via text mind you)
    • Threatening to end the relationship over things like me misspelling things in texts
    • When I would stand up to him, he'd just ignore me. Literally, never a response
    • Constantly, but very subtly, putting me down. Him and his opinion were ALWAYS superior
    • Regularly putting me on the defensive (ie: on a Friday night I was tired and heading to bed early - which I was, but I could also tell he was starting to drink and knew he'd start getting belligerent - so he accused me of lying about what I was doing. This happened semi-regularly even though I never ONCE lied about my activities).



    Some of these really came to light the longer we were dating, but as I started to stand up to him, he started to get distant and more accusatory, down to the behaviors near the end of the above list.

    Now mind you, all of this was interspersed with some high-highs, where he would be very supportive of me "oh, I WANT to help you with your XXX, please come to me, I want to be a part of what you're doing" - and I would, and he'd help - and then it would get thrown back in my face a couple weeks later when his "effort" to respond to my texts was so much work, but it "isn't any work for you, you just sit at desk all day with your phone right there."

    I can't lie, obviously there were good things. We had some great trips together. When we were actually together, the conversations flowed great. Sex was pretty good. At first he seemed SO into me, and he would get so exciting talking about a potential future - which, for someone like me who doesn't date just for the sake of it (if I choose to date someone, I'm considering them as a potential long term partner), it seemed amazing.

    After a bad injury the previous year, I also had a strong desire/need to have someone in my life who could just "be there" and he said all the right things to make me believe that's what he wanted to.

    Unfortunately, my own straight forwardness was part of my downfall. I was dumb enough to believe he meant exactly what he said - which maybe he did in that moment of time, but everything he said was also dished out with so many layers I don't know if I could ever peel them all back.

    Things ended in flames over Christmas when he lost his over things that, in reality, had almost nothing to do with me or my actions, but his projections of things. I tried to be nice and supportive, I got ghosted. I'm not one to crawl around begging after someone who's made it clear they don't want me around, however, so that is the last communication I have had with him.

    A couple weeks out, and I'm finally starting to feel relief, and even some happiness creeping back in. At first it was gut wrenching - he had made himself a part of my entire day from waking until bed, even if it was all just over text. The loss of what I had *hoped* we could be was also gut wrenching.

    I played my part, all relationships are a two way street. I could have stood up to him in the first month or two and established healthy boundaries, and maybe that would have changed things (or at the very least they wouldn't have drug on like they did). I kept giving in, and kept making excuses. I also jumped all in after he came across that way, but then I started to expect that out of him (I didn't give him space after that, either).

    Lessons learned - if I had heeded the red flags (I can clearly remember noting them, and then making some random excuse while shaking my head not only at the behavior but also to my reaction to it!) I could have saved myself a lot of pain.

    The good thing is, while it was technically nearly 6 months of dating, we actually only had a handful of "dates" together (LDR), and our lives never really got too co-mingled. Biggest issue is I KNOW I will see him again. We run in the same circles, but, I'm hopeful by the time this season's events get going that we can at least be civil. I know I can, not sure how he would be....

  2. #2
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    He broke up with you about 3 weeks ago as I see it by simply ghosting you. I can understand why you're so bitter towards him.

    Hopefully now that you've gotten the vent out of your system you can start to focus on things other than him.

    It's good to process things but it's even better to get him out of your head, there's only so much usable space in there!

  3. #3
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    Someone who threatens breaking up over anything, ugh, I had an ex like that. Never again.

  4. #4
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    You need to be single for a long while, I would also suggest counseling to understand why you even got involved with this guy.

    This has nothing to do with boundaries, but your picker. On top of it, you only saw him a few times. Find someone local.

    Deal with your self esteem issues.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    It's great you identified these red flags for yourself. You need to block and delete him and all his people from all your social media and messaging apps.

    Another huge red flag to avoid in the future is this:
    Originally Posted by Coonsy
    nearly 6 months of dating, we actually only had a handful of "dates" together LDR

  7. #6
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing your experience and I'm so glad that you can look back and see the red flags and what you ignored, what excuses you made for inexcusable behavior. It's a lesson for the future for sure.

    About only advice is that try to wrap your mind around the idea that it wasn't about boundaries, it was that you should have dumped him when those red flags started coming out, especially the put downs. This is the real hard work of not repeating your mistakes - fine tuning your senses so you can walk away faster and having that knowledge and courage to do so no matter what sweet gestures are being used to confuse you. Right now, it sounds a bit like if he hadn't ghosted you, you'd still be with him and putting up with growing emotional abuse and control. It also sounds like you were really really vulnerable to a predator like that. I'm so glad it's over......and at the same time hope that you have blocked him because unfortunately, these types tend to come back for round two.

  8. #7
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    Excellent.

    Everyone screws up. Few have the courage and ability to take ownership and do something about it.

    Attraction clouds our judgement. Red flags look like amber flags, or are ignored entirely. We rationalize and are overly optimistic. In short, attraction can make us do stupid things. The amount of stupidity is directly proportional to the amount of attraction. Sometimes walking away isn't as easy as people suggest. It is a requirement of growth however.

    You'll be fine. Take a break, and come out of your corner swinging(figuratively, not literally).

  9. #8
    Member Coonsy's Avatar
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    It was an interesting pairing, and his methods of dealing with things he didn't like (throwing fits and getting angry) pressed my weak buttons (I'm always the "calm" one who deflates situations - which is a form of conflict avoidance with the wrong situations/people) and the pairing wasn't working out - at all. But the highs were equally intense, which threw me off my usual way of looking at things.

    Knowing what I do about personalities, emotional blackmail, etc, it was something that was destined to go up in flames, but I had hoped for something more.

    I was single for over 2 years before dating him - it wasn't a matter of being desperate or lacking self esteem, it was intense attraction combined with a weak spot in myself that was his strong suit (he reacts the same in other areas of his life, throwing child-like temper tantrums when he's not getting his way - thing is, for most people, they only see it rarely - since I was "close" I got the brunt of it).

    There has been zero contact, and I'm fully moving on, just more aware of my own weaknesses and how they can be exploited. Most men don't have the personality that he does, so it was honestly the first time I've experienced that with anyone I was dating. Something for me to be more aware of and take better evaluation of in the future if such a situation presents itself again.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member figureitout23's Avatar
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    This sounds like a ton of excuses laced with anger and blame. If you refuse to look within youíre destined to repeat the same mistakes, how could you not? Youíre blaming your insistence to date him on him, so if nothing is your fault what lessons are you truly learning?!look itís not pretty to say but the odds of desperation leading you to ignore all these red flags you are now pointing out to us is pretty high.

    He has a laundry list of things that make him a monster but YOU chose him.

    Focus on fixing that.

    Donít worry about telling a cautionary tale while you canít see past your anger. Many already advise people to pay attention to red flags because we had to learn the hard way. Unfortunately you did too, itís ok youíre gonna be ok, allow yourself to work through it.

  11. #10
    Silver Member thisisrichey's Avatar
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    I"ll address specifically whether these items are "red flags" or not:

    His willingness to spend money, but very little time on me
    the only red flag here is "spend very little time on you." It would be wrong of you and selfish to EXPECT anybody to spend their money on you and not themselves. its THEIR money.

    Complaining about how much he had to work, yet throwing money around like it was water when we were together
    Not a red flag. These are neither related (complaining about work vs throwing money around). It is not a red flag to complain about work. It is not a red flag to throw around money (unless doing so irresponsibly while ALSO not being able to afford what you're throwing around).

    I was always the last priority on his time - "work" ALWAYS came first
    it is a red flag if you are always the last priority. but it is not a red flat to make career a high priority. after all we all need a livelihood and income.

    Too much "interest" in what I was doing every minute of every day
    micro-managing is a red flag.

    Always down playing my job/career/skills compared to his (his work being so much more important and "difficult" than mine)
    talking down to anybody is a red flag.

    Controlling of my responses to him - if I wasn't fast enough, accusing me of lying about what I was doing
    controlling behavior is a red flag

    His "efforts" were always more valuable than my "efforts" and I could never match the "effort" he was putting into things (according to him)
    narcicissm is a red flag

    Throwing a fit when I was with my friends that I wasn't paying him enough "attention" (all via text mind you)
    unhealthy jealousy and selfishness is a red flag

    Threatening to end the relationship over things like me misspelling things in texts
    ultimatums are a red flag

    When I would stand up to him, he'd just ignore me. Literally, never a response
    this in and of itself is not a red flag. it depends on the reasons why and how they handle the aftermath of the discussion. a non-response to process and respond in a more constructive way later, for instance, is an example where this is NOT a red flag but a healthy practice.

    Constantly, but very subtly, putting me down. Him and his opinion were ALWAYS superior
    yes we've covered this already. de-valuing and talking down to anybody is a red flag.

    Regularly putting me on the defensive (ie: on a Friday night I was tired and heading to bed early - which I was, but I could also tell he was starting to drink and knew he'd start getting belligerent - so he accused me of lying about what I was doing. This happened semi-regularly even though I never ONCE lied about my activities).
    loose accusations or always nit-picking the behavior of another person is a form of control. this is a red flag

    He sounds like a bad apple that you must leave asap.
    but it doesn't mean every single thing he does in and of itself is a red flag. some of these things you mentioned healthy people do it too. so it's very important to be precise as to what is an actual red flag (aka a reliable indicator of a bad person) and what is not.

  12. 01-12-2019, 01:39 AM
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