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Red flags & Dealbreakers  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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Can I just say I LOVE the two other threads (things you need to know) going right now and so I thought I'd start my own about something I'm ruminating on.

We all have things that are dealbreakers for us, or red flags. When someone you are considering dating does something dealbreaker-ish or red flaggish... but it could also be just kind of a mistake, do you continue to treat it as a dealbreaker?

...Because it isn't just what they DID, but that they are the type of person that thought it was ok to do it in the first place?

Here's my context (although I think this applies to a lot of other stuff)

I've recently been talking quite a bit online with a man who seems to be very compatible and likeminded with me. However, he is a little "too" flirty. I've told him a few times that I don't really feel sexual attraction for someone unless I get to know them really well first (with the idea that we'd get to know each other and see what happens) and he'd at first say "oh yeah I totally get that, I'll back off on the flirting" and then before I know it, he's edging into sexual territory again. This happened several times, and then yesterday I took some time and discussed with him in detail how I really am uninterested in that sort of thing since I barely know him but then not 15 minutes later he started in on it again. I thought maybe before he didn't quite understand what I meant, but I know at that point yesterday I had made it fully clear.

That's a red flag for me. Because boundaries, right? Boundaries weren't my strong suit in my marriage so I am extra vigilant about them now. However, I think he has a good heart and I'm positive if he knew he was red flagging me, he'd understand the seriousness and stop.

HOWEVER:

I feel like - doesn't the very fact that he did that, make it a legitimate red flag regardless if he would be sorry and not do it again?

So while I could probably tell him "look you keep going into a sexual direction and it's red flagging me and you  need to stop" and I'm almost positive he would completely stop. BUT - that doesn't change the fact that he's a person who thought it would be ok to push in that way to begin with. And in this situation I don't feel like I could trust him to overstep boundaries in other ways. Does that make sense?

I guess I'm posting this to see if I'm unusual or weird for thinking this way. Some people might consider it "unforgiving" (and FYI I've already decided that it's enough of a red flag for me to not go further in this particular instance).

 
pollinator
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I would agree about that being a red flag.  Especially since you mentioned that you spoke to him about this and he started it back up after only 15 minutes!

My concern would be of him not listening to how you feel when things are still new in your relationship and/or ignoring what you tell him directly is a problem. Also consider if he is too flirty with other people if this is a habitual part of his personality.

I hope it works out for you whether with him or someone else. It is a tough decision.
 
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It would probably be a red flag for me as soon as he did it, never mind warning him.  In fact exactly that - was messaging online to a bloke and after half a dozen or so messages over a few days I said something about a bad day at work and he replied (amidst other mundane stuff) "sounds like you need a massage with warm oils... mmm..."  just someone who's thinking and saying things like that so soon, I think we're not on the same wavelength.  There were a few other things as well so it was no great loss though.  Maybe if otherwise he'd seemed great, I wouldn't have minded.  The fact that you're feeling uneasy about it - trust your instinct.
 
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Bethany Dutch wrote:

I've recently been talking quite a bit online with a man who seems to be very compatible and likeminded with me. However, he is a little "too" flirty. I've told him a few times that I don't really feel sexual attraction for someone unless I get to know them really well first (with the idea that we'd get to know each other and see what happens) and he'd at first say "oh yeah I totally get that, I'll back off on the flirting" and then before I know it, he's edging into sexual territory again. This happened several times, and then yesterday I took some time and discussed with him in detail how I really am uninterested in that sort of thing since I barely know him but then not 15 minutes later he started in on it again. I thought maybe before he didn't quite understand what I meant, but I know at that point yesterday I had made it fully clear.



Could just be who he is. I must admit, I'm in the gutter like 90% of the time. It's not even something I'm super conscience of. It's just how I talk.

I'm a chick, btw. If that changes the perspective. Makes my husband roll his eyes all the time the way I can turn anything sexual.
 
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I think you're totally reasonable to think that's a red flag, him either not caring that you've set a boundary or lacking the self-control to respect it. I'd have to say my biggest regret in like... all my past relationships is ignoring my gut when something bothers me. My gut has always been right, my desire to give people the benefit of the doubt has never been, well, beneficial. Sure, guys can be impulsive hornballs when excited about a new relationship, and maybe act out of character. But their behavior is usually at its BEST at the start of a relationship, when a guy's most eager to impress. If his behavior is problematic now, don't expect it to improve.
 
Bethany Dutch
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Sarah Koster wrote:I think you're totally reasonable to think that's a red flag, him either not caring that you've set a boundary or lacking the self-control to respect it. I'd have to say my biggest regret in like... all my past relationships is ignoring my gut when something bothers me. My gut has always been right, my desire to give people the benefit of the doubt has never been, well, beneficial. Sure, guys can be impulsive hornballs when excited about a new relationship, and maybe act out of character. But their behavior is usually at its BEST at the start of a relationship, when a guy's most eager to impress. If his behavior is problematic now, don't expect it to improve.



That's exactly what I'm thinking too. One of the biggest things for me, as my experience in life goes on, is understanding that a man with a good heart or a good person doesn't necessarily make a good partner/boyfriend/husband (or whatever). If he's already pushing my boundaries NOW and not respecting/listening (and truly HEARING and believing) my "no" that doesn't bode well for the future.

It reminds me of my ex husband - he did some really shitty things to me and I called him out on it when I told him I wanted a divorce and he said it was mistakes and he wanted me to forgive him but the truth is, some of those were BIG things and the very fact that he was the type of person that thought those things were ok to do in the first place was what I was pushing back against. Because, oh maybe I could get it through his skull to not do it for that specific "thing" but who knows what other boundaries he'd just trample all over, right?

 
pollinator
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There's an old saying that seems relevant here.

Fool me once it's your fault.
Fool me twice it's my fault.

Trust your instinct.
 
Sarah Koster
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Exactly, if he doesn't respect your boundaries in one category, he's not likely to respect them in any other categories either.
I totally understand the experience of guy saying "it was a mistake, I'll never do it again!" (He knew it was wrong in the first place, didn't stop himself then. He might play nice for a little while, but his old behavior will resume when he's too tired or too comfortable to keep up the act.)
Kind of an extreme example but my ex actually begged me not to leave him after punching me saying "How can you throw away we have over one LITTLE mistake?" and the next breath was threatening to kill me. Not trying to shock anybody but just the example of, people who violate boundaries really might not understand how their actions affect others/have a distorted perception of their own behavior. Guys who respect boundaries don't end up committing assault. They don't make other people uncomfortable by forcing their own will on others, and they don't interfere with the rationality and decision-making process of their partner. I don't think it's healthy to insist on a kind of interaction that makes the other person feel uncomfortable.
 
Mike Barkley
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It seems I should clarify what I meant. Dump the guy the first time he doesn't listen to your request/needs.
 
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It sounds to me like he's male and he's accustomed to moving things along much faster. If he's only talking, I would go with it and see if he's got any weird inclinations. You might start off with your so pretty and he might end with let's get all three of your sisters involved. Of course, I've said stuff like that just for fun, to see what the reaction is. But if he's got something really weird going on, it won't be something that he's able to hold in.

I have talked to a few women who went in that direction very early, and it usually turns out that they are very needy. Or they are just plain weird. One told me that she wanted me to punch her and call her a slut. That little relationship ended 30 seconds later.

I'm pretty sure that keeping them at arms length for a long time, would limit the pool, to guys who don't have much sex drive. So you need to decide if this is something you want to accomplish. Eventually, many perfectly suitable suitors, will give up. There's a lot of women out there.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I think over the top flattery should be a red flag. If you are 60 and he thinks you're 50, take the compliment. But if he says that you look 30 or 35, take an honest look in the mirror and you should be able to tell if he's full of shit.

A 60-something year old woman told a group of us at the coffee shop that man had mistaken her for 35. I said, I can understand that with so many people not wearing good sunglasses, cataracts are bound to happen. Boom! She knew that story didn't sound true, but she repeated it anyway. Sometimes people will tell you that they were stopped on the way into the night club and asked for ID. If they are 30 years past that requirement, it means the bouncer was hoping to get a tip.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I've heard women get quite upset over probing questions. They figure he is asking too much. But if a guy isn't much interested, he won't ask those questions, he will probably just answer those that you ask, in a manner that will show him in a good light. He made completely forget that the same sorts of questions could be asked of you, because he's busy talking about himself.

So, while these probing questions may be more time-consuming to answer, chances are that you are talking the time to reply to someone who actually cares about those answers.
.............
Be very wary if you are involved in an online chat, and it takes an inordinate amount of time for him to reply to a simple question. It's not because he doesn't know the answer. It's because he's involved in five other chats simultaneously, and he's bouncing from one to another to another. I've had that happen myself. When a woman who is doing that, comes back to me, I asked where did I tell you I went last Tuesday? Tell me now not in 5 minutes. If she has no clue, I take that to mean that she has to reread, to make sure she's not confusing one person with another. Apparently this happens to women much more often than it happens to men.

 
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So the first red flag is that the guy is that the guy potentially wants to engage in sexual conversation with you before you have really got to know each other.  If you have a problem with that sort of advancement early on, then that's a red flag for you.  It's possible that this is his culture, and maybe that's O.K., since culture is maleable and is created by mutual ideas of what is right and wrong.  But when he says, "...I totally get that." and then, he clearly doesn't?-That's a serious red flag.  A mistake is fine, potentially, if the boundary is not known.  A boundary, though, has been set.  He might not have known the territory before, but you made him aware of it, and he stepped over it---Again.  This is a problem.  If someone says (in whatever words): "I'm sorry, I won't do it again."  What are they saying to you when they do do it again?? And again!  They're saying:  "I can't be trusted to respect your boundaries."  That's going to be a trait you don't want.  You were right to drop him.  Don't compromise your feelings on that.    
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Hi Bethany:

It reminds me of my ex husband - he did some really shitty things to me and I called him out on it when I told him I wanted a divorce and he said it was mistakes and he wanted me to forgive him but the truth is, some of those were BIG things and the very fact that he was the type of person that thought those things were ok to do in the first place was what I was pushing back against.  

 Mistakes can be forgiven.  They should never be forgotten, however.  Repeating the same mistakes cannot be forgiven.  Also: If a person thinks that something is OK and that something offends you, that's pretty seriously fucked up as far as having a serious long term relationship goes.  Your X was bound to trample your boundaries until you didn't even know what they were. You did do the right thing by getting out of that marriage, sister.  All the strength to you in your search.
 
Bethany Dutch
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Roberto pokachinni wrote: If a person thinks that something is OK and that something offends you, that's pretty seriously fucked up as far as having a serious long term relationship goes.  



THis is exactly it! It's more like... I don't want to BE WITH the kind of person who would do that. I dunno, let's say, someone who thinks it's ok to pull the wings off flies. He might be willing to stop doing it if I ask, but at the same time, do I really want to be with the kind of person who is OK with doing something like that in the first place?

Where this guy that I'm chatting with, like I said above I am entirely confident that if I had told him "if you don't stop trying to take things sexual I am going to consider you un-dateable" (in nicer words of course) he would probably stop BUT the root cause is him not respecting boundaries and that... THAT is the problem that would still be there.

Kinda like in my ex's case... he was a musician and constantly prioritized his music over family. People always told me "Why don't you just tell him he has to stop?" I refused to do that because it wasn't the music itself that was the problem, but the underlying fact that he was the type of man that could justify in his head that it was ok to neglect his family in favor of his hobbies and one way or another, I didn't want to be with someone like that.
 
Bethany Dutch
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Dale Hodgins wrote:It sounds to me like he's male and he's accustomed to moving things along much faster. If he's only talking, I would go with it and see if he's got any weird inclinations. You might start off with your so pretty and he might end with let's get all three of your sisters involved. Of course, I've said stuff like that just for fun, to see what the reaction is. But if he's got something really weird going on, it won't be something that he's able to hold in.

I have talked to a few women who went in that direction very early, and it usually turns out that they are very needy. Or they are just plain weird. One told me that she wanted me to punch her and call her a slut. That little relationship ended 30 seconds later.

I'm pretty sure that keeping them at arms length for a long time, would limit the pool, to guys who don't have much sex drive. So you need to decide if this is something you want to accomplish. Eventually, many perfectly suitable suitors, will give up. There's a lot of women out there.



Perhaps it would limit the pool, but I don't think it would. I don't mind talking, and I love in-depth conversations about interesting topics but I do not want sexual topics of conversation to come up when I barely know someone. I know that it's a common "guy" thing but I also know there are plenty of guys out there who either feel the same way or have the maturity to understand and 100% respect that boundary. And when it comes down to it, in truth I'm pretty happy being single. I'd much, MUCH rather stay single forever than compromise.

If it makes better sense, I'm the type of person who literally cannot feel any sexual desire for someone if I don't know them. For me, sexual attraction always comes out of a true friendship first. So it feels uncomfortable and weird for me to have some guy trying to be all seduce-y if I don't know him. Kinda like, if you have any female friends that you literally have ZERO sexual attraction to, and they suddenly start whispering in your ear about their kissing technique. It would be annoying, not sexy.
 
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Lots of good stuff in this thread.  

Agree with the others (and you), Bethany.  The first time he pushed it would be a flag (probably more yellow than red because I can't blame a guy for wanting to be up front about his attraction for you and maybe he was checking "how do you like me now?").  The time after you were clear about it though is a deal breaker.  As others have said (and one of my brothers explained to me once), how he is in the beginning is him on his "impressing you" behavior.  I could never relax into a relationship with someone who was always trying to push my boundaries and renegotiate my non-negotiables.

Along those lines - I know when I was young there were times when I really liked someone and then after I would get to know someone better and didn't like them so much, I kept waiting for them to get "nice" again.  But the reality is that that person you're seeing after awhile is them.  That's who they always were (or who they are now) and they're not changing back because you wish they would.  

Someone's actions and their words need to be in alignment.  They shouldn't just say they love you but also show you they love you.  If they say they respect you but show that they don't, believe that.  It doesn't matter what they say if they don't act in sync with that.  

If someone says they're an ass or not good for you or "you only like me because you don't know me that well," believe them and let it/them go.  They know themselves better than you ever will.  Also, if they are an ass to others but not you because they're in love with you, it will be your turn when they're no longer in love with you or are upset with you.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Someone's actions and their words need to be in alignment.  They shouldn't just say they love you but also show you they love you.  If they say they respect you but show that they don't, believe that.  It doesn't matter what they say if they don't act in sync with that.  

 I've heard it said before, somewhere, that Love is an Action.  It is a verb.  It needs to be demonstrated by doing things.  It is not a noun that can be isolated as a thing that is abstract.  One can not simply say, "I love you."  That's not enough.  It is empty of reality.  If that person has his or her hand on your shoulder or is looking meaningfully into your eyes (not in a goo goo romantic way, but in a way that shows that they are truly tender in their affection), or they have done something that demonstrates their true devotion to you, then that is very different than just the words.  Talk is cheap.  Action is where the rubber meets the road, and real progress can be made with a long-term relationship.
 
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IMO men that insist on talking about it when the woman obviously isn't into that sort of discussion, well those guys probably get off on the discussion more than the act itself, kwim? Or they are clueless when it comes to seduction and do not understand what women like.

From my experience smooth men, those that understand women and more importantly know how to please women, do NOT insist on discussing sexual matters when the woman obviously isn't into that. In short -- the guy is telegraphing that he probably isn't any good in bed.

IMO if someone is saying something to you that you do not like and you tell them and they KEEP doing it well...it is only going to go downhill from there.
 
pollinator
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As I read this thread, the larger issue has nothing to do with the flirting and sexy talk.  It's about respect.  You made a straightforward request, and he hasn't respected it.  Yes, that's a red flag -- step away from that relationship.  Or run away.  OK, run as fast as you can.

You were created to be cherished.  If someone already belittles your simple, straightforward request at this point, do you expect that they will respect future requests that you would make if you continued to move forward together?  He's already answered that question.  No, he won't.  He doesn't seem inclined to cherish you.  Kick him to the curb.

Long term success in a relationship does not mean that the partners will agree on everything.  In fact, they will disagree just about every day.  But they respect and cherish one another.  

You are correct to label this a deal-breaker.
 
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