No one wants to be in a bad relationship. But sometimes we don’t realize it until it’s too late. Our personalities clash, philosophies differ, values change and interests are no longer compatible. Other times we find we’ve invested too much of ourselves into the relationship with a partner who just doesn’t care or perhaps has no motivation to move ahead and invest in sharing a loving future with us.
This is especially dangerous for divorced moms. We have an extra responsibility, not only to ourselves, but also to the children we love. We want to protect them from bringing dangerous or in other ways unsuitable men into their lives. And we want to role model healthy relationships for them, showing them that women and men can live together in harmony when we make wise relationship choices.
Be especially cautious about patterns in your own partner choices. If you keep picking the same “types” again and again, that’s a warning sign. It may be wise to see a counselor or relationship coach to get new insights about your past behavior and ways to discover new options for a brighter future ahead.
Here are ten crucial red flag signs to be aware of so you don’t stay in a toxic relationship or get caught making the same mistakes over and over again in a new relationship.
- He comes on too strong too soon: He says “you’re the one” and pressures you into relationship commitment before you’re comfortable. This dynamic can easily “suck you in” causing you to ignore the dangers of this hyper-charismatic personality.
- He’s excessively possessive: He calls constantly or visits unexpectedly. It may seem attractive, at first, but a healthy relationship allows you to have your own life, interests, and outside friends without feeling guilty or intimidated.
- He interrogates you: He wants to know who you talk to, where you go, how much money you spend, etc. Again, this jealous nature is not only unfair, but it is controlling.
- He always blames others for his problems or things that go wrong. He won’t take responsibility for his own actions and find fault with everybody else, especially you!
- He’s too hypersensitive or easily insulted. If you have to walk on “egg shells” because you are fearful or uncomfortable speaking your mind, your relationship is one-sided.
- He’s cruel to animals: Or he makes demands on children beyond their ability. A person who is not empathetic to the pain or suffering they are inflicting on others can be emotionally and physically dangerous.
- He’s consistently critical: He’s also degrading, nasty, argumentative or moody. Emotional abusive people instill fear, insecurity and doubt in the person receiving the abuse and can destroy his partner’s self-esteem.
- He has a history of past physical battering. A batterer usually will not change unless they’ve had some professional intervention. Steer clear.
- He makes you feel unsafe: He’s intimidating or threatens you with his behavior or language.
- He uses “playful” force during sex. If there is no regard for your comfort or concerns, this guy only cares about himself and his own needs.
A good relationship feels safe, supportive, nurturing and respectful, especially if you’re a divorced mom. If your inner antenna questions your partner’s sincerity, don’t ignore those warnings. Women are often blinded by passion, chemistry, and charisma. While those are all wonderful qualities, don’t discount the other times when you find yourself questioning whether this guy is good for you. The healthiest intimate relationships are based on mutual love and respect. You and your partner need to be sharing, growing, compromising and working together so the relationship keeps blossoming. If not, know when to call it quits!
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Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a Divorce and Relationship Coach and founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network for parents. She is also the co-author of 99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 & Yes, 60! and True Love At Last for Women Over 40: Answers You Need for the Relationship You Want! Her free ebook on Smart Dating Advice for Women Over 40: Answers to Your Most-Asked Questions is available at www.womendatingafter40.com.