Red flag spotting and Relationship Karma

The real problem is that red flags can turn into devastating disasters when you don’t heed them.

Sometimes we are so intrigued by a relationship that we ignore that nagging feeling that something is off. Usually that feeling is your gut, warning you about a red flag. Here are six serious red flags that you shouldn’t stay in the relationship:

1. He doesn’t see his child. He’s got a million reasons why he “can’t” spend time with his kid: his ex- “poisoned” the child’s mind against him, or the court would only give him “bogus” time. I’m calling his bluff: active dads fight to spend time with their kids. Good dads will not buckle under the pressure and grueling work that having a child requires. If your guy has accepted that he just won’t see his child, ask yourself how much he’ll prioritize a child he has with you. And then run — don’t walk — the other way.

2. He’s hiding assets from his ex-wife. So he hid money during the divorce to keep it out of his ex-wife’s hands – girl you better run!  He blames his behavior on his ex-wife, because she was “so terrible” and “money grubbing,” he had to hide money. He maybe put assets in his sister’s or cousin’s name, or made withdrawals from joint accounts to move cash to another bank (or another country). Odds are strong that he’ll do the same to you. Not running yet? Consider these odds: statistically 65% or more of second marriages fail. And he prioritizes money over honesty and people. And he does not take responsibility for his actions.

3. You were the one he cheated with. The logic follows that if you were the one he cheated with, later you’ll be the one he cheats on. Once a cheater, always a cheater? Maybe not. But I have to tell you that I’ve had more cases of women who told me they “should have known” he would cheat, because they were the affairs that broke up the first marriage! “The signs were there,” said one client, I’ll call her Sasha. “The late-nights at the office and sudden trips canceled or re-routed. Unexplained expenses. This is what he did with me to end his first marriage, now he’s doing it to me!” At the time, Sasha said her affair seemed wildly romantic so she didn’t listen to that nagging feeling – like fate but he was just married to the wrong person. Or maybe he just has huge commitment and honesty problems!

4. She’s never worked. She wears Gucci and carries Prada. Her red-soled (read: $$) high heels accent her legs and those diamonds in her ears. But she’s never paid for anything or worked in any job that might become a professional career. This is a red flag that she’s used to being supported by someone. She isn’t looking to change that equation just because of you. In fact, you may be her next source of support! “But she was a single mom when I met her,” said a client, we’ll call him Pete. When Pete met his wife, she had two kids from two other failed marriages and she was living off child support. Now, faced with a divorce and paying support for his own kid, Pete could see the res flags. “She always said she wanted to work but she’d never look for a job.”

5. She needs constant family input. She’s a family girl and you felt that her constant involvement with family was a good thing. Until you realize that she cannot make a decision without consulting with, and receiving approval of, her family. “I wanted a close-knit family and thought her bond with her mom was a good sign,” said Tom. But after ten years, Tom felt like his wife’s family had driven a wedge between them. When her mother’s approval of Tom soured, the fights in the marriage soared. “The constant need for her mom’s approval has caused so much drama in our marriage,” he said. A caring family is one thing, but there are boundaries. And if she can’t set clear boundaries with her family now, it will only get worse – especially once kids enter the picture.

6. She or he hit you during a fight. Physical violence is never ok in any relationship from any partner. Several of my guy clients have become victims of increasing violence from their wives that started early on with a shove or a slap. Don’t rationalize away violenceagainst your body. That first shove is a red flag. And note that men are not exempt from being victims: one in seven men over the age of 18 has suffered abuse from a spouse or partner. As the violence gets worse it becomes harder to talk about or report. Get out early.

Did you have warning signs you ignored that the relationship was doomed from the start? Discuss in the comments.

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