Have you ever missed a red flag in a new relationship? Gotten emotionally connected and everything seems great? Given your heart away and then all of a sudden. BAM. Out of nowhere, you see issues surface that you never saw coming.
I have a theory for why we often miss the red flags. It’s called RUSH. Romance Undermines Suspicious Hunches.
The rush of a new romance can cloud our focus and make us ignore all reason. Emotional energy is blazing and suddenly, we develop a romantic astigmatism that blurs all the warning signs.
The truth is that we all have blind spots when it comes to romance—things others see but we are oblivious to. You wouldn’t change lanes while driving a vehicle without checking your rear view mirror and looking over your shoulder. Why? Because some things hide in the blind spot. It’s the same with relationships.
Jessica hated that Tyler didn’t return her texts and often asked to reschedule plans at the last minute. He’s busy, she told herself. Ambitious. Tied up with work.
A more realistic translation is that the relationship was not a priority to Tyler. She was more into him than he was into her. That’s what she found out later. Three months into the relationship when she was looking at Pintrest wedding boards, Tyler announced he had taken a job offer in another state. Gone like the wind.
We often don’t notice red flags until much later, after our heart has made an emotional connection. By then, in order to reconcile our feelings with reality, we compromise, minimize and tell ourselves lies.
Lies like, “I’m being too judgmental, too picky and too cautious.
Here’s where I’ll say it again. Don’t RUSH. Don’t let Romance Undermine Suspicious Hunches. Take it slow, trust your gut and let the Holy Spirit lead.
Stop, Look and Listen
Some of the best dating advice I’ve ever heard came from a kindergarten teacher. Before crossing the street she told her students, “Stop, look and listen.” Likewise, before you cross the road into a new relationship, stop, look and listen. Watch for the red flags. But more importantly, watch for the yellow flags.
Yellow flags always come first. Before a traffic light turns red, yellow warns drivers to slow down. But honestly, what do most of us do when we see a yellow light? We stomp on the gas pedal and gun it! And that’s where we get into trouble with relationships. We ignore the yellow flags and hurry past the place where we should exercise caution. Instead of slowing down we accelerate, full speed ahead with heart-pumping excitement, causing us to miss the more subtle warning signs.
When you’re approaching a romantic intersection where two hearts may collide, proceed with caution. Character issues take time to show up because your new guy is trying to make a good impression. It’s like when company is coming over and you only have a five-minute notice. You cram all your junk in the hall closet and hope the door stays shut. The stage between the first date and the do-you-want-to-be-exclusive stage is like the hall closet. Everything is tucked in and well hidden.
How do you know when it’s safe to proceed?
Stop: Wait until the relationship starts to get that comfortable feeling. It’s not until your guy relaxes a bit and starts to put his guard down that his true nature will begin to surface. If you take it slow, you won’t be caught off guard by the red flags because you’ve already been evaluating the yellow flags.
Look: Here are a few examples of yellow flags to observe.
- Criticism: Take notice if your guy is overly critical of others. Someday he may be critical of you. What you really want to watch out for is the depth of criticism because a critical attitude can indicate a deeper root of judgment and condemnation.
- Impatience: Take notice if your guy is impatient. Impatience can indicate a demanding nature.
- Smothering: Take notice if your guy wants to take things fast, occupy all your time, or gets upset when you wants to see your friends or family. At first, these traits may seem chivalrous, but these yellow flags could indicate a man who is possessive, jealous and controlling.
Listen: Not all yellow flags are reason to call it quits, but they do need to be closely considered. Trust your intuition and pray. Don’t get emotionally invested in a relationship until you’ve had a chance to see your guy’s real character and, most importantly, you’ve received a green light from God.
If you slow down when it comes to matters of the heart, you’ll be able to see the warning signs before your heart has a chance to deceive you. That way you’ll still be able to call it quits before your emotions convince you otherwise.
Christy Johnson is the author of Love Junkies, 7 Steps for Breaking the Toxic Relationship Cycle. As a national speaker, certified life coach and soul-health advocate, Christy is bold and transparent about imparting hope to women and leading them on a journey of self-discovery to break the toxic love rut. Her captivating testimony about how Christ redeemed her addiction to love and helped her forgive the offender who was responsible for the death of her youngest son will inspire you. She is The Life of a Single Mom Ministries’ Featured Expert on forgiveness and drama-free living. For more information and a free ebook, How to Live Soul Healthy in a Toxic World, visit christyjohnson.org.
The Life of a Single Mom is a national, faith-based, nonprofit that exists to see that no single mom walks alone. To date, we have worked with more than 1,500 churches & community groups to start or improve a single mom’s support group in cities throughout the U.S. and beyond. We have a large array of books, curriculum, training materials, and online instructional videos to support ministry leaders who lead single moms. Our single mom programs focus on empowering single moms to grow spiritually, emotionally, financially, and parentally through a number of projects including: Single Mom University, Single Moms Across America, the National TLSM Single Moms Conference, and a variety of programs throughout the U.S. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com