If you ever actually read the fine print of a contract or warranty, there’s always some disclaimer that winds up coming back to haunt you. For example, at my job, we purchased a piece of equipment for $20,000 that did of course come with a warranty. It broke down a few months later, and we had to call our usual service company to repair it. The lengthy amount of time it took them to figure out the problem cost us $120 per hour during which they even tried to call the manufacturer who could offer zero help…..shocker. In the end, they traced the issue to a pressure switch that we wound up having to replace. We’ve had to replace this part twice since over the course of a little more than a year. You know what’s coming……the part isn’t covered under the warranty. You know that has to be on purpose. The fine print on paperwork should really be defined as red flags.
Which brings me to relationships, my favorite topic next to the Yankees and baseball. The disclaimers or red flags here are much more subtle and difficult to interpret, but they are there. They come in all shapes and sizes through statements and actions.
You start with the honeymoon period where everything is rosy, and you talk for hours and enjoy every minute with each other. That’s all well and good, but your first red flag is if one or the other takes it TOO fast. For instance, you’ve met someone online which is the norm nowadays. You talk for awhile until you’re comfortable enough to meet. You meet, and you get along extremely well, so you agree to meet again. During the second meeting, one or the other gushes about how you’re the one, or some similar statement. I know someone who traveled long distance, and during the second meeting, he told her he was miserable without her and wanted her to move there. Of course, that made her feel really good, but she was realistic and knew it was too soon. How well can you really know someone after months of online chats and 2 meetings? Not well enough to uproot yourself. That of course is an extreme case, but I’m sure you’ve all had similar situations where you were overwhelmed by someone’s enthusiasm. I’m not saying to show the person the door if they move too fast, but it is a red flag, and you should wonder why. The first assumption is usually desperation which isn’t necessarily fair. The truth is usually that the person has recently ended a relationship which has made them vulnerable and lonely. Remember the question you always ask yourself after a breakup? It’s do I miss the person or the relationship. The answer is almost always the relationship itself. You miss just being with someone, so when someone else comes along, you’re anxious to get the security of a relationship back. So, now not only have you uncovered the red flag of underlying meaning, you’re also alerted to the fact this person is probably not very independent. In addition, they’re not very mature if they can’t recognize their own state of mind, and how it does take time to get to know someone. I will say that I do believe in instant connections. Even though I believe they should be tempered, if it feels right, you should go for it, but proceed with caution because there are beliefs and personality traits that do not surface for months. No person is an open book immediately or after a short time.
Let me sidestep here to the online thing. The person you talk to online is not exactly the person you’re going to meet. People’s inhibitions online are much less existent. It’s much easier to talk to someone on a computer than face to face. The person you talk to online is generally in there somewhere, but it’s going to take longer for them to come out in person, so even more reason to take the time to get to know each other.
Ok, so, you’ve decided to move forward even after being overwhelmed. You continue to get along well, and you buy into them being really into you. You allow yourself to open up more and believe there may be a future with this person. Suddenly, they’re not so available. They become really busy with work and can’t talk to you or see you as much. You ask if maybe this isn’t a good time, but they insist that things will get better soon and ask you to be patient. Danger! The person is likely reassessing their feelings for you, and maybe even seeing someone else. They don’t want to lose you, so they’ve only backed off until they’re ready to make a decision on you. In addition, I see this as game playing which to me is unacceptable. I mean, aren’t we adults? Also, a person who can’t be honest with you is a coward in my book.
Let’s say their schedule frees up, and they have time for you again. That’s great since it means they want to move forward with you and have stopped having doubts. It also means they may have legitimately been busy. If it keeps happening though, I don’t believe the person is on the up and up. If every few months, they’re taking a month off from you, that’s a problem. The bigger problem is if you allow it. A person is going to do whatever you allow them to do. If you’re on and off with someone for a year, and you’re seeing them in your future, you’re likely wrong because they’re not on the same page. There comes a point when you have to draw the line and say, hey, what gives if you think the person is worth it, or have some self respect and say goodbye before you waste any more of your time.
Let’s say their schedule doesn’t free up yet they still continue to dangle a thread. They feed you a line about how special you are, and they want you in their life, but it’s just not the right time. Remember, this is after you’ve already asked them if it’s not the right time. Well, they probably didn’t want you to be the one to end it out of guilt, or they likely have control issues. Thing is, you don’t deserve someone who continues to put you off. You’re obviously not important enough to them, and you should’ve seen the end coming. A friend of mine allowed a man to put her off for months believing he was that busy with work. He kept telling her he still wanted to continue seeing her. Whenever she questioned his commitment to that statement, he blew up at her….another red flag. He would yell about how he had all this pressure on him, and she was adding to it which of course made her feel like crap. She would always wind up apologizing and then explain how she merely wanted him in her life more. Was that so terrible? No, you’d think someone would be flattered. If they’re not, they don’t feel the same way, and they should say so instead of leading you on.
Continuing on with the above scenario that happened to my friend, things did end because she drew the line and said hey, what gives. She got the answer I mentioned previously. She said, sorry, but no go because she didn’t want someone in her life who hadn’t treated her properly. As we all tend to do, she started to think back about the time they spent together. At first, she blamed herself because he must’ve not liked her faults. Then, she became more objective and realized he gave her plenty of warning signs. He was very critical of her. He would say one thing, but do another. He was weird with money. He was hypocritical.
I call this blog item “terms of service” because not only do you not want an inanimate object that doesn’t meet your standards, you don’t want a person either. If their terms of service don’t match yours, and they’re not willing to compromise, it’s never going to work. For your own good, it’s better to recognize that sooner rather than later. My friend’s relationship I talked about was with a man who only wanted her in his life on his terms, refused to meet her halfway, and didn’t even try to understand where she was coming from. It’s a selfish person who acts this way, and there are always signs along the way that’ll point you in that direction. Recognize them, realize there’s generally a reason for them and don’t ignore them. Believe in your own worth.