Thought Catalog
January 4, 2014

5 Red Flags To Avoid If You Want A Solid Relationship

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For a lot of us, a new year is a new shot to try to get it right, romantically speaking. I, personally, am a big fan of love—who isn’t?—and I adore it when my friends are happy and bore captivate me with their adorability. Love is a wonderful thing; who doesn’t want that rush?

Unfortunately, the road to that wonderful feeling is paved with many heartbreaking lessons. And lucky for all of you playing along at home, I’ve experienced oh so many of them and am here to share! Thus, my guide to the top 5 red flags you need to avoid if you want to spend 2014 snuggling up to your honey, instead of being the drunk girl/guy at bar, weeping into your double gin-and-tonic-and-self-pity, and horny. So not a hot look.

1. People who can’t call you to ask you out or even, just to say “’sup?”

Listen, I’m self-employed, I work constantly, and yet, guess what? When there’s a nice young man who intrigues my free-spirited vagina, somehow, amazingly, I manage to find the time to call him. I manage to schedule some time in my day to say Hello, young man, letting him know that I’m thinking about him. (Naked.) And that I value him. (Naked.) It’s that simple. So a person who can only text you, but somehow hasn’t figured out that whoa, cell phones also make calls besides texting and tweeting and playing Robot Unicorn Attack…?! This person doesn’t value you. If he/she did, they’d want to hear your voice. People are sensual beings, people are lonely beings: people need to connect. Someone who starts things off withholding that connection? *eye roll* Some of you are thinking, “Hey, what if he’s bad at communicating?” Ya think? If things start out like this, you think it’s going to end up with your father walking you down the aisle, as the boyfriend texts his vows? You want a relationship with someone who is interested in being with you, and hearing what you have to say, right? Next!

2. If they show up for the first date and are a mess, drunk, or otherwise distracted.

In many ways, your first date is comparable to a job interview: you both should be trying to make a positive impression and figure out a little bit more about each other. (I said “both,” and if there’s more than two of you involved, you need to call me and invite me over. I’ll bring my own popcorn. Don’t worry about me.) Therefore, Sunshine, if the person can’t get their life together to impress you for the first date, what does that tell you, both about their priorities and what their life is like? Right about now you should suddenly be remembering that very important thing you have to do, far far away from this person. Because if you stay, it’s only going to get worse and take you down with it. Your time is too valuable for people lost in their own lives.

3. People who talk angrily about their exes from the get-go.

If a guy is, for example, calling his ex-wife or girlfriend a “bitch,” and talking smack about her, what do you think he’s, eventually, going to say about you? People divorce/break-up for a reason, that’s not the point. But, making a relationship work is damn hard. Therefore, you want a man or woman who speaks respectfully, or at least civilly, about their former partners. You want a partner who is an adult, and who understands how difficult it is to maintain a relationship, and is going to do his/her best. Someone who is putting all of their venom, and blame, onto a former lover is demonstrating exactly what you can look forward to. Bitch, run!

4. People who tell you, “I’m seeing somebody but…”

But what, asshole? I’m sorry, I stopped listening at “I’m seeing someone,” and not only did I stop listening, I signaled the waiter for the check and gave it to you and left. I’m home now in bed, watching Netflix, with a mug of wine. If you want a relationship, call me crazy, but it’s probably safe to say the odds will be more in your favor if you start things off with someone who is completely available, not someone whom you think you can “fix” or “save.” Unless you’re a certain Jewish carpenter, you cannot “fix” or “save” anyone else. In reality, all you’re doing is wasting your own time. All you’re doing is reinforcing the part of you that was conditioned to hate yourself; the part that has decided you’re not worthy of a loving, committed relationship. That part, by the way, is a liar. You can’t save these people because they do not want to be saved. They want to be miserable and they want you to be miserable as well. To them, you’re just part of the collateral damage that was their “childhood.” Save yourself, and your time, and allow yourself to meet someone who wants to create something real with you, not just use you to justify their rage.

5. People who don’t believe in their ability to be loved.

Late last year, talking to a female friend I adore, she mentioned a boy she was interested in, saying that she had about a “two week window” to hook up with him before he moved on to his next girlfriend. Excuse me? Awesome sexual foibles aside, YOU ARE NOT ANYONE’S FILLER! You cannot seriously expect to construct a loving, committed relationship if you see yourself as the human version of appetizer. You are not there to help someone distract herself on the F train home, or in between commercials. Respect yourself so that you can allow yourself to meet men and women who respect you and who value you and who make room for you in their lives! Does that mean that people whom you like will turn out not to like you and you’ll spend time alone? Sure, but you know what’s MUCH worse? Being alone in a relationship. So much worse to chase men and women who don’t see you as worth their time or heart. YOU DESERVE BETTER! So before you rush after the next person who gives you even glancing attention, there’s a much more important stranger you should try to become friendly with: yourself. You want to be with people who consider it a privilege to be with you! They’re out there. But first you have to consider it a joy to be with yourself.

If you think I’m expecting everyone to be on their best behavior for a first date, you’re missing the point, since frankly, that sounds boring. I’m just asking you to be honest with yourself as to what your heart really needs, so you can stop making excuses for the assholes of the world who have no regard for you. Your mom and I both know that you deserve so much more than that. Learn your lessons in order to profit from them and create the life you deserve. TC mark

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