When a single woman tells me that she has spotted a red flag and therefore decided not to continue dating someone, most of the time the red flag she thinks she spotted is nothing to be worried about. Of course you want to minimize your risk of heartbreak, but avoiding these five “red flags” is just keeping you lonely longer and causing you to overlook some potentially great guys.
Red Flag: He sent multiple emails in response to my online dating profile. That means he’s desperate, right?
Why You Can Ignore It: He’s actually doing what comes naturally to men, which is pursuing the woman he wants. He’s being persistent about it, which might just mean that he’s very interested. Why rule out someone just because he thinks you’re worth extra effort? It’s flattering. Enjoy it.
Red Flag: He likes watching sports and I don’t. I don’t want to be a football widow.
Why You Can Ignore It: You play roller derby, watch Hope Springs or do scrap-booking while he’s watching the big game. Better yet, you can spend time with your girlfriends, which is essential for most women’s sense of well-being. No matter who you marry and how many common interests you have, you will still want time to yourself, and so will he. The only vital common interests you need in common are each other.
Red Flag: All he’s interested in is sex, but I want a relationship.
Why You Can Ignore It: Of course he’s interested in sex—that’s a big part of a romantic relationship and what motivates men to pursue women to begin with. It’s up to you to be the gate-keeper and slow things down if they’re moving too fast. But instead of finding fault with him expressing his interests, take his advances for what they are—evidence that he’s passionate and attracted to you. You may have to lay down the law more than once, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be willing to wait until the time is right for both of you.
Red Flag: He’s too old/too young/too short/too tall
Why You Can Ignore It: A friend recently told me that she was only interested in younger, taller men. Then she sent me a video of Eckhart Tolle and Cesar Chavez with a note saying she would marry either one of them. When I pointed out that Eckhart was much older and Cesar shorter than anyone she’d told me she would date she explained that they were “different.” Well, sure—they’re celebrities. But the point is that there are men in the world who don’t meet her criteria but would delight her. Don’t let your checklist stand between you and the man who’s right for you.
Red Flag: He just went through a break-up/divorce.
Why You Can Ignore It: If you’re worried he’s on a rebound, you could be right. But who says he won’t rebound from a previous relationship and spend the rest of his life with you? You can’t know the future, but you can assess how you feel and what you want in the present. If he’s charming and devoted, blowing him off before he can blow you off is just acting on your fear that you’ll get hurt. Instead of worrying about what might happen in the future, try to have a relationship in the only moment you can: The present one.