You’re in love but not engaged. The romantic, candle-lit dinner at the most expensive restaurant on your one-year anniversary has you thinking: I’ve found my life partner….if only he was a little more affectionate….if only she could say “no” to her mother. Sound like you? How about these: I know he loves me, but he’s never said it. Or, I’m so proud of her professional accomplishments, but fear that work comes before me.
So many potentially happy and successful relationships eventually crash and burn because the couple ignored nagging concerns in the beginning. I call them red flags: those quirks of a romantic partner that create a sinking feeling in your gut. That sinking feeling is not welcome in the bubble of happiness, hope and dreams you enjoy floating in. You’ve been searching for so long for the right one; you are tired of searching, disappointments, and broken hearts. You’ve begun to wonder if you will be alone forever.
Most of us are skilled at dismissing red flags. It’s not that big a deal. I can cope with it. At least he doesn’t drink/smoke/use pornography. Or this one? Once we are married, things will be different. She’ll want to spend more time with my family. Or this one? I can’t afford to wait any longer – I want to have children! Or this one? You never get everything you want in your partner, so I need to stop being so picky.
Here’s the kicker. None of these red-flags is necessarily a deal-breaker, provided you don’t ignore it. No two humans fit together perfectly. Differences don’t cause relationship failure but ignoring differences that nag at you is a recipe for disaster. Address red-flags before you get married by working with a couples therapist, and immunize your relationship!