I must be colour blind — I keep ignoring red flags

Why oh why do I ignore the early signs? Am I a slow learner or an eternal optimist?

I’m a positive person. An optimist. I choose to see the best in everyone. It’s usually a wonderful trait to have, but when it comes to dating, it does leave me a little vulnerable to ignoring — and even permitting — bad behaviour.

There are many instances during the last four years of my ‘dating career’ where I have ignored my ‘wise self’ — ie my gut, that little voice in my head, that niggling feeling that it just isn’t quite right — and proceeded into a relationship despite very early, very bright, waving in the breeze like an American flag at the end of a Tom Cruise action film, red flags.

Why you may ask? You seem of reasonable intelligence. Well, firstly, thank you for noticing. Secondly, and let’s not beat around the bush here, we all want to be loved. And sometimes we ignore the writing on the wall in exchange for that absolutely euphoric feeling of being wanted. But it’s such short-term gain for eventual long-term pain — much like deepthroating a family pack of Coles doughnuts. Or so I’ve heard…

So in an attempt to learn from my mistakes, I am choosing to share some anecdotes that are wholly humiliating examples of actual (albeit shortened for clarity and wordcount) conversations I have had with previous partners.

They say the first step to fixing something is admitting you have a problem. So I’m here today to say…

“My name is Lauren, and I am colourblind”

Him: I cheated on my wife.

Me: I guess people can change.

Internal voice (screaming): If that’s true, then why did you leave your husband?

Him: *Says he will do the thing. Doesn’t do the thing (eg show up).

Me: I’m sure something just came up. Or he’s sick. Or was hit by a bus. Or kidnapped by a Russian drug syndicate.

Internal voice (screaming): No. People will say a lot of things. But ultimately they will SHOW you who they are with their actions. It’s your job to take notice.

Him: My ex is a crazy bitch.

Me: That’s not a very kind thing to say, but maybe she is genuinely batshit…

Internal voice (screaming): The way someone speaks about their ex-partner/s goes directly to their character. You know this — you’re better than this. How will he speak about you when you write a blog about this breakup?

Him: I don’t want more kids.

Me: I guess I could be one and done.

Internal voice (and ovaries, screaming): ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?

Him: You’re larger than all the women I’ve ever dated.

Me: That’s neat. I’m sure I can convince you that I’m totally smokin’. Hey look, I can crack a walnut between my butt cheeks.

Internal voice (screaming): I can’t even. I want out of this body.

Red flags are your body’s ancient and very accurate way of telling you that something isn’t quite right. It’s not about identifying ‘good guys’ and bad guys’ (or gals), it’s about notifying you when something is not in line with your personal values. Or when you should step away from the doughnuts.

If you really want to find and foster a successful relationship, you must be true to what you want, but equally what you don’t want.

So the next time you see a red flag, follow my fool-proof method: Stop, drop and roll away from the flag. (Also useful if you find yourself in a fire).

I would suggest the haircuts and the Motorhead t-shirt is a bigger red flag than the flaming crutches, but what would I know?

Chronic over-sharer. Graphic language lover. Aspiring coffee addict. Highly functioning single person. Mum. Animal enthusiast. Don’t like much music post 1989.

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