Friday, November 30, 2012

Red Flag #3: Profile Problems

Online dating isn't something I'm shy to admit, ashamed of trying or particularly proud of either.  I've tried several sites and methods of meeting guys online.  Let's face it, meeting people isn't easy and trying something else to meet nice guys... well, sure!! Not to mention that I got sucked into the idea I would be able to sift through all the yuck because I assumed that people paying to be part of certain dating sites would list truthful information like I was.  Hm... well, smack me and call me an idiot!  That's just not the way it works.  Whether people paid for membership or not, it didn't seem to matter, people put what they wanted on their sites.

My red flag for this post is all about profiles and the "truth" that is listed there.  Once I dated a man who had one birthdate listed on his online dating profile, a different one on his Skype account and yet another one on his social media site.  Hm.... and he couldn't understand why this raised a red flag for me and caused me to question his honesty.

So while I think that online dating is a great way to go, just be careful out there friends.  Don't worry about asking lots of questions and seeing if what they said online is true.  Don't be a psycho detective but treat a first date like a first date and don't think you know anything about a person just because you've chatted online or seen their profile.  And if their profile doesn't add up, pay attention to the red flag and walk away.  Honesty is what you want and deserve!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Red Flag #2: Man-caving

Hi there readers!  It's time for this week's installment of our series on relationship red flags.  If I sound all chipper, it's because I got my hair done yesterday and that's always a bit of a boost.  I'm a simple girl, I know! ;)

Okay, this week I want to talk about a bit of a sensitive subject to me: man-caving.  First off, let me explain what man-caving is:  it's when your man retreats to a space by himself for whatever length of time.  This isn't inherently a bad thing.  In fact, it's a good thing for both parties in a relationship to have spaces of their own.  Just like it's important for both parties to have their own hobbies independent of each other and their own group of friends who aren't completely intertwined.  So, men, don't get your boxer-briefs in a knot, having a man-cave is a great thing!

When man-caving becomes a problem is when it becomes a frequently occurring event without informing the other party.  Let me give you a personal example from a past relationship of mine:

In one of my more serious relationships, I dated a man who had some issues in his past.  They weren't bad things at all, just the baggage of life lived and he was working through those on his own.  Sure, we'd talk about things and I felt like I was never in the dark about his previous relationships or issues.  I felt like he was very honest with me in that respect and I respected him a great deal for it.  It was very "adult:" the types of conversations we had and I felt completely secure and comfortable.

We got to one particular point in our relationship (it was quite early on but things had been intense from day one and serious from about day three it seemed) though that rocked me pretty hard.  I remember us having one of our "adult" conversations and myself thinking things were fine.  Then I didn't hear from him the next day (which was unusual because I normally got text messages or emails at the beginning and end of every day saying good morning or good night and telling me about his day), or the next. I chalked it up to a busy work week for him and shrugged it off, until it went on for nearly 2 weeks.  He didn't answer my calls, texts or emails.  Then one day he called out of the blue (my heart was at the point of breaking and I had basically tossed in the towel) and apologised, stating that he had been man-caving after our last conversation.  He said that something in that conversation struck a chord with him and he needed to ruminate on it for a time.  I nearly lost my mind and then calmed myself down and said that it was okay but just to let me know because I went through a lot of emotions and fear in those 2 weeks.  He apologised again and we spent a lovely weekend in a lovely bubble of cuddles. Until it happened again and again over the course of two years.

It's a red flag, friends, when the person you are with holds back emotions that pertain to YOUR relationship and disappears off the radar for undetermined amounts of time without warning to think about things.

Relationships need trust and honesty, but they also need communication that is open and honest.  If you need time to yourself to think about things, tell your partner, let them know that you are struggling with something and that you need to think things over.  One of my friends (hope she won't be mad at me for sharing this) did just that with a pretty serious decision with her partner.  She is a grounded person who likes to think things through and pray them through to be sure.  So in her situation (see how vague I'm being?!), instead of hopping up and down and leaping forward, she stood still and told her partner that she needed time to think about their relationship.  She gave a specific amount of time, asked her friends and family to respect the solitude and she prayed and thought about what should happen.  Her partner knew where she was, what she was doing and about how long they'd have to wait to discuss the issue again.  The partner then also had time to collect their thoughts about it.  It was like a gift to them both and that's a beautiful thing.  My friend communicated her need to woman-cave, said how long she thought she'd need and was open and honest about it with her partner.  I didn't know it then, but she set the example for what man or woman-caving should look like.  If your partner disappears for a length of time to think about things but doesn't alert you or include you somehow, it's a red flag that you should discuss.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Relationship Red Flags #1: Kids

Here we go, faithful readers... the first in our series about relationship red flags.  Let me re-iterate that these come from my personal experiences and aren't meant as an attack on my exes or to make judgement about people's choices.  Instead, they are things I wish I'd paid closer attention to in my previous relationships so I would have known when to get out.
For exes that might read this and know the situations pertains to our past, please forgive me and know that I'm not posting specifics that would "out" you to anyone unless they know that this is you... and that would come from your own telling, not mine. I bear no ill will towards these guys... they had their reasons and I can respect that.  However, I should have removed myself from the relationship when this red flag flew.

Okay... with the little disclaimer out of the way, here we go on this week's entry into red flags.

I love kids, I'm a teacher for crying out loud.  I've spent the last 15 years of my life dedicated to teaching and loving children so that they can make positive changes in the world.  I've done 7 years of education that centres around kids and anyone who knows me can't deny how passionate I am about kids and how much I love them.  With that said, I'm not much of a baby person and am not entirely sold on birthing my own children, ever.  But dating guys with kids is not an issue for me.  I have no problem being in that situation because I do love kids and I want to have them in my life in some capacity or other.  So with that said, when I start seeing a guy and he let's me know he has kids, I do my best to put his mind at ease and embrace the fact (truth is, it's the best situation for me... kids without giving birth!!).
However, there have been 3 specific dating incidents where kids were either not mentioned at all or I was not mentioned at all to the kids. Let's explore that:

1. I was just beginning a bizarre kind of long distance thing with one man and he failed to mention that he had children.  Things in the "reationship" fell apart for other reasons but we were able to maintain a friendship out of it all.  Flash forward to the present when (and this is several years later) I find out for the first time that he has children.  Imagine my surprise... it wasn't part of our this-is-everything-about-me conversations.  Being who I am, I questioned him and he said that he was scared to mention it because he thought it would drive a potential girlfriend away.  Fair enough, but what really drives us away is lies.  Men/Women... if you have kids, be PROUD!  Own up, tell the prospective daters... it doesn't mean they have to meet them tomorrow or be part of their lives while you figure out where things are, but it just let's that other person know that you have priorities that are more than a job etc.  So it's a red flag when a guy doesn't tell you he has kids at all.

2. The second situation was much simpler.  The man was honest and up front even before our first date that he had children and he talked about them all the time.  Perhaps the fact that after date one we never really had traditional dates etc is why he felt that besides filling me with tales of his glorious off-spring and seeking advice even, he never had the need to introduce me.  Granted things were still in a semi-causal state and I can't be too upset but I felt like it was a red flag because they were part of our every conversation but I know I wasn't part of his with them in any way.

3. This situation was much more complicated.  In this situation, I knew very early on that there were children in his life and I respected that.  I respected that I wouldn't meet them right away because we had talked about it and how he felt the need to protect them from growing attached to someone who may or may not be in his life for the long term.  I thought at the time how wise it was of him to think of his kids that way... but when the relationship became very serious, I expected to be gradually introduced and was not.  He even left the room when his kids called so I couldn't hear the conversations and so they wouldn't hear me at his house.  I had patience, gave way to his wishes because I was in love and had a hope for the future... I had verbal confirmation that this relationship was going to be for longer than a minute and not much less than forever.  So when I found out that after a long term his kids still knew nothing about me, or that they had been told that we were just friends, all my alarm bells went off.  Did I pay attention?  Nope.  But it was a huge red flag that a hugely important part of my partners life was off-limits to me.  I should have heeded the alarms and high-tailed it out of there but I didn't.  So if your partner keeps an important part of their life secret from you or you a secret to that part of their life, HUGE RED FLAG.... RUN!  I know he had his reasons and I'm sure he had doubts he wasn't willing to fully pay attention to at the time but it still wasn't right.

All in all, if the person you date denies their children or, after your relationship takes a serious turn, denies you to their children... GET OUT OF THERE!  If there is no honesty with something as important as the lives of precious little (or even teen/big) people, there certainly are other, "lesser" areas that they are also being dishonest about and there goes the trust.  If you don't have trust and honesty, what do you really have?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A New Series...

Well, as I was laying in bed the other night, my brain started spinning and wondering about things.  No, not my typical pity party of why I am single (I'm kinda done with that aspect of life... not worried about being single or not single).  No, I started thinking about past relationships and some of the red flags that I couldn't see in the moment but in my heart, I knew they were red flags.
Then I got to thinking about this blog and how powerful it is to write it and know that people are reading it.  I got to thinking that perhaps my writing about my relationship red flags might help to open another woman's eyes instead of her being stuck somewhere she doesn't belong and hurting deeper than she needs to.  Yup, that's right... you read correctly... I'm saving men and women around the world from relationship sadness.  Ha!  Just kidding, but I do love to share and hope that it impacts another in a positive way.
So I thought I would write a series of entries about some of the relationship red flags that I see now.  Hopefully I will write one entry per red flag, but I can't make promises. ;)

Here is a list of what I'm hoping to cover in the coming weeks:

1. If he doesn't tell you he has kids, or tell his kids about you... That's a red flag.

2. If he has a habit of man-caving for weeks at a time... That's a red flag.

3. If he has different birthdays on every online profile... That's a red flag. (yes, readers... I've dated some shady, shady fellas)

4. If he can't have a conversation on the phone in the same room as you... That's a red flag.

5. If he is only happy with the outfits he picks out for you... That's a red flag.

6. If he makes you doubt ANY of your qualities... That's a red flag.

7. If he's constantly unsure of defining your relationship (even 2 years down the road)... That's a red flag.

8.  If he attempts to control how you deal with your emotions in any way... That's a red flag.

9. If he asks you to marry him but then explains how it's not a real proposal yet... um... That's a RED flag.

10.  If strangers see sadness in your eyes when you are meant to be in love... That's a red flag.

Now, if some of these seem familiar to you, I'm sorry for you.  These are things that have happened to me over the course of the past 10 years of failed relationships.  I'm not bitter about them, I'm not sad about them, they just are what they are and it's time to share them... hopefully it helps someone and it will help me to release them from my brain.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Dry Spells... Delight in Life

It's been a really long time since I posted to this site... I haven't had a lot to say about being single lately. Don't get excited, it's not because Mr. Right finally showed up... it's just been a time of quiet reflection and moving to a new place.
Those of you who know me personally (which is pretty much all of my readers), know that I've left the lovely country of Turkey and am now soaking up the sun of Singapore.  It's a great, metropolitan city with people from all over the world living and working.  There is a lot on offer here in regards to life but as I am finding out, little in regards to dating and finding a partner.
I've just been here for 3 months and I've already taken to terming it the  dry spell of my dating life.  There are plenty of attractive men, but there are also a plethora of gorgeous, thin women to catch the eyes of the men.  While I don't diminish my own adorableness, it's just not the right fit for the men of Singapore.  I've also really had a change of heart and M.O. when it comes to my single life, but more about that later... Truth is, I just haven't seen a lot of men that have caused me to look twice and those I have seen have either been married or with a woman when I saw them... so I have a feeling that SG will be a place for me to really focus on me and get my life together (not a bad thing... but makes SG just another stopping point instead of a home... but things could change, I'm open to it).
Now, about that change of heart.  Since leaving Turkey and moving to Singapore, I've had less of a desire to date just to date.  Previously, I felt like the right way, the best way to find Mr. Right was to date lots of different guys and figure it out.  But lately, I just feel like it isn't worth the time and heart wasted (on failed relationships) to date around.  I'm just not interested.  I've had an offer or two, but wasn't feeling it so I just ignored it.  I used to feel stressed about life passing me by and now I don't.  Have I given up wanting to find my life partner, no... just the opposite, I feel more ready than ever to have that life, but I just don't think me running around chasing men is going to invite the RIGHT kind of man in my life.  Instead, I want to have fun with my friends, do a great job at my career and build myself into the woman that I want and have Mr. Right want to chase after me.

So there you go... the latest in the life of the Chronically Single... finally delighting in life and really and truly not concerned about being single... it's a GREAT place to be.