Jorge's relationship advice is based on experience and observation. Let his trial and error be your success (hopefully).
Red Flags That You Missed
Do you ever wish that you could go back in time and warn yourself about a relationship that went horribly wrong? Most of us probably have these secret fantasies where we meet our past selves and knock some sense into them, telling them about all the red flags that they missed.
You don’t have to have a time machine to warn yourself, though. Instead of meeting with your past self, you can spare your future self some trouble by watching out for signs that you shouldn’t get into a relationship in the first place.
When you’re blinded by love, you may be completely taken by surprise when your lover mistreats you or betrays you. Many times your friends were totally aware of where the relationship was headed, but you refused to listen to them. This is why it’s up to you to keep an eye out and watch yourself before you’re tempted to ignore any of the following signs:
- You have nothing in common
- You're choosing the relationship out of desperation
- Your prospective lover has a history of petty crime
- He is involved in something illegal
- He regularly swindles others for a living
- His family hates you
- Your family and friends hate him
- He can never admit his own faults
- He can't see the world from anyone's perspective but his own
#1: You Have Nothing in Common
This may seem like an obvious one, but you would be surprised how many people ignore it. Yes, “opposites attract” and you don’t want someone who is exactly like you or things could get boring, but being with someone whose desires contradict yours left and right can get old really fast.
It’s one thing if your personalities are simply different or your hobbies aren’t the same, but if your entire world views or goals in life are opposed, the relationship is bound to meet a rocky fate—unless you want to make endless compromises where neither of you get what you want.
Now, what you want out of life can change a lot as you get older, so while you may have had a lot in common when you first got together, you can grow apart from each other. Unfortunately, there’s no real way to prevent this, but if you can see ahead of time that you’re obviously going in different directions, it’s best to steer clear from a long-term relationship.
#2: You’re Choosing the Relationship Out of Desperation
Be honest with yourself. Do you really want a relationship or do you just not want to be alone? When you choose to get into a relationship to fill some void in your life, chances are you’re not going to be as picky as you might otherwise be. Choosing a partner carefully is integral to having a good relationship, so make sure that you’re never approaching your love life from this mindset.
#3: Your Prospective Lover Has a History of Petty Crime
Where the last two red flags were more about you, this one is all about your partner and his history. I’ve seen friends of mine get involved with people who have a history of stealing, lying, or cheating people out of money, and then they act shocked when they eventually become victims of this same behavior.
If your lover has a history of even minor crime, tread lightly and try to feel him out to see if he has changed. If he didn’t undergo a massive shift in personality and rather simply changed his ways because he got tired of getting caught, then you probably will want to stay away from him. If he’s still engaging in this type of behavior, that’s even worse. People who are constantly committing petty crimes have poor impulse control and don’t value their future.
#4: He is Involved in Something Illegal
A romantic partner is someone that you spend a lot of time with, and more often than not, you will pick up the habits of the people that you surround yourself with. If your lover is a criminal, then that might seem exciting at first, but you will probably find yourself dragged into his web eventually. You might one day end up having problems with the law yourself, and you’ll wonder how your life became this way.
Rarely do people wake up one morning and say, “Oh, I think I’ll get arrested today.” It’s a slow process of being shaped by the environment. Make sure that you have an environment that will help you lead the productive life that you want, not one that will constantly get you in trouble.
In addition, if your lover commits crimes against other people and has no respect for their rights, then he probably has no respect for yours, either.
#5: He Regularly Swindles Others For a Living
There are still many ways that a person can live a less-than-wholesome life and still be doing this completely legally. One of these ways is to run a business with shady practices or to try to sell people things that harm them. Is your prospective partner knowingly doing this?
He may be the kind of person who doesn’t really care about the consequences of his actions and is only looking to extract what he can from society. This might not seem like it affects you at first, but people’s habits don’t exist in a vacuum. If you think that in the end your partner will treat you any better than he does general society, you are wrong.
#6: His Family Hates You
If you’re interested in anything long-term or a relationship that is actually meaningful, then being shunned by his family will be a constant battle. Sometimes parents are really picky with who their children date and criticize them if they aren’t the vision of perfection that they had imagined.
Your partner should have the balls to stand up to their criticisms, and if he doesn’t and just laughs along or acts like too much of a coward to defend what he likes about you, then dump him. Life is too short for this kind of drama.
#7: Your Family and Friends Hate Him
Many times when our family or friends disagree with a romance, we can ironically be fueled even more to pursue the wrong person. We see ourselves as Romeo and Juliet, heroically denying our fathers and refusing our names in order to be together.
Now, sometimes your family and friends will hate your partner for a stupid reason, and you would be justified in ignoring their opinions. For example, they might be racist towards your partner or they might be dismissive of him because he comes from a humble background. If it’s not a biased reaction like that, though, stop for a moment and really think about what your family and friends have to say. They have an outside perspective on the relationship, so they may be seeing things that you don’t. Ask them for their honest opinions.
#8: He Can Never Admit His Own Faults
Most people have egos, so it’s not too uncommon for people to have a hard time admitting that they’re wrong. It’s not a matter of whether he’s humble or not, or whether he’s willing to grovel for forgiveness—the question is whether he can genuinely see when he’s made mistakes and that he tries to fix them.
The key to improving ourselves and growing more mature over time is to be able to see our own flaws. We can’t change or grow when we’re always making excuses for why we’re right and everyone else is wrong. If he constantly plays the victim and blames everyone for his problems, then he’s probably too immature to be in a serious relationship.
#9: He Can’t See the World From Anyone’s Perspective But His Own
Finally, you’re going to have a lot of problems in a relationship if your partner can’t at least imagine life from your perspective. If he is so self-absorbed that he seems incapable of empathy or of at least considering what others may be going through, then you’ll more than likely end up hurt.
Watch out for callousness in him that is disguised as other things. Does he yell at the waiter in a restaurant? Does he complain that homeless people need to get a job? Does he manipulate people for his own ends, even if they’re friends and family?
If he shows any of these red flags, you’re better off running in the other direction.
Saving Yourself the Trouble
Now, you can’t dodge every loser in existence, but you can do yourself a favor and increase your chances of finding someone worthwhile if you look out for these signs. Just keep alert, don’t get desperate, and take things slow when you’re first getting to know someone.
(By the way, though this article discusses red flags women should look out for in potential boyfriends, it works for men who are looking for girlfriends [or boyfriends—I don’t judge], too. All of the signs apply to each gender just the same.)
© 2017 Jorge Vamos