I’ve got a confession.
If you’ve read my last article on finding love at 42, you know that I met my man on Tinder and I’m ridiculously happy.
Welp, here’s the confession: The very day that story went live, I ended things with him. Oh, the irony.
The reasons things didn’t work out were varied, but the piece that was so jarring was — how did I go from being blissfully in love to breaking up in such a short span of time? Was I wrong, had that not been love at all? Was I not trying hard enough? What red flags had I missed in the earliest days of dating him?
Which brings me here. We all have laundry lists when it comes to dating — maybe yours includes things like sense of humor, stable job, taller than you, nice to his mom, etc. But what happens when someone passes your initial list of must-haves and has advanced to relationship status? What are some of the deal-killers within the early stages of a relationship — qualities or issues that go beyond a relatively surface checklist — that we might not be thinking about?
This is a big one. Women get a bad rap for being insecure (“do these jeans make me look fat?”), but men can easily kill the deal here, too, and this is a quality that doesn’t necessarily crop up in the initial stages of dating. Ever been involved with a guy who needs constant validation, practically begging for compliments, even though you pay him plenty of them on the regular? Or who questions every innocuous word? I once responded to a text with “mkay” instead of “okay’” and got a phone call immediately after: “What is MKAY supposed to mean, do you not BELIEVE me?!” His insecurity spilled over into the bedroom, too — I always felt like he was on a mission to get me to orgasm, rather than just enjoying the act, because he wanted to be seen as someone who had sexual game. Listen, we all have things that have us feeling insecure from time to time, but when it becomes pervasive, it’s not cute.
2. Lacking life management skills
Once a person has hit certain age milestones, say 35 or so, we sort of expect them to be able to master basic life management skills. Not to suggest everyone is perfect, and I am no exception — I’m a spender, and I don’t save enough — but, I’m talking basics. Your partner should be able to afford to live on their own, right? Or at least be working toward that. They should have a job that allows them to pay the bills, or makes efforts to lower their bills to meet their income. They should be taking care of themselves physically as best they can.
Call me shallow, call me whatever you want — but it goes back to caveman days. It’s in our DNA as women to want a man who is capable of providing. I’m as independent as they come and don’t need a man to take care of me financially, but having someone who could take care of themselves at minimum is critical to desire and the feeling of security in a relationship, otherwise it starts to feel like your partner is looking to be rescued. And listen, every relationship has its ups and downs, and all of us may need a helping hand from time to time. But when you’re still in the very early phases of relationship, you should be able to stand on your own.
3. A negative world view
During the first few dates, your new love interest was probably really fun, funny, and just a joy to be around. But maybe after awhile, they may let their guard down and you realize that the relatively jovial person you fell for is listening to conservative hate-radio. They’ll come over after a long day of work and complain about things like microaggressions. They’ll do a lot of blaming of others for their current life circumstances. This isn’t the happy-go-lucky person you thought you were dating.
4. Too comfortable, too soon
Uh, just because we’ve said ‘I love you” doesn’t mean I want you belching in my kitchen a month in. Or wearing shirts with stains and holes in them on our date. Here’s the other side of that; he/she takes to your Facebook page and posts an essay about how incredible you are and how lucky he/she is (which gets about a million comments from your friends), when you’ve only been dating a month. Sure, it’s sweet, but it’s too soon! If you haven’t reached the six-month or even year mark yet, you’re still courting.That means taking things slowly, being on your best behavior, go into the bathroom to burp and put effort into spending time together. Getting too comfortable too soon is a turn-off; it doesn’t bode well for long-term relational happiness.
So there you have it, a short list of relationship deal-breakers. Did yours make the list?