I finally saw Perks of a Wallflower, and the best line in the movie by far is “we accept the love we think we deserve.”  So true, and yet based on what I have seen around here, let me just say this– many need to raise their standards.  I am amazed at some of the crap that people will put up with when dating– and if you think things will get better later, you are in for some major disappointment.

I realize that in this “Hookup Culture,” lust takes over well before love, and we all know that lust is going to cloud our judgment, but as best you can try to be on high alert for those red flags.   Here are some of my favorites, which should be the kiss of death as soon as you see them:

1.  Do the words match the actions?  In other words, does this person follow through with what they say they are going to do.  If someone says, “I’ll call you tomorrow” do they actually do it?  If not, say sionara baby, because dating is a trust-building exercise, and if you can’t build trust early on, there is simply no future.

2. Do you respect this person’s judgment?  When you hear their stories about the past, are you laughing with them or at them?  If you are laughing at their stupidity, you need to stop and ask yourself, will this still be funny when their stupidity starts to impact my life?  Trust me, I’ve had many guys make me laugh in the beginning, and I got sucked into their entertainment value, but eventually I lost all respect, and once that is gone, there is no turning back.

3. What can you glean from their past relationships?  If they are unable to maintain long-term, healthy relationships of any kind, this is a huge indicator of major problems.  It should raise concerns if someone has few friends, and rarely any dating back for 10-20 years because managing long-term relationships is a skill, and not one that everyone can possess.

4. What do you have in common?  Now I get it, no one wants to date a carbon copy of themselves, but someone who is your polar opposite is also not a good candidate for a long-term relationship.  You have to share not just some common interests to enjoy the present, but also have similar dreams and aspirations for the future, otherwise you are eventually going to grow apart, that is just the harsh truth.

5. How strong is your urge to tweak things?  I often find myself thinking, if I could just change this one thing, or heck let’s be real my list probably includes 7-10 things… and then I have to stop myself.  People rarely change, unless they want to and are willing to put in the hard work to create new habits.  You either have to accept the package exactly the way it is presented, or get out.

My belief about falling in love is that is does very much feel like a freefall, and when it is right, that other person should feel like your parachute.  We all deserve a reliable parachute that will keep us from being harmed.  I have yet to find such a person, but I have not lost hope and you should not either.  Hold out for the one you deserve!
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.