It's all going swimmingly. Or is it? When it comes to dating, Victoria Stokes says these are the red flags you need to look out for.
You’ve got your love blinders on again. Yeah, you know the ones, they’re those rose-tinted spectacles everyone’s always banging on about and the lenses are so thick you can hardly see the the massive player vibes he’s throwing off left, right and centre.
Those first date jitters had you blindsided to his bad bits, and as for dates two, three and four? Well, a combo of his charm and a few too many G&Ts left you powerless to pick up on any of his questionable cues.
With the first rush of excitement it’s so easy to sideline that niggling feeling of doubt. We can happily dismiss his undesirables and hurl ourselves headlong into the fresh flush of a new relationship. But hold it right there, ladypal. Got a feeling something just ain’t right? Trust that instinct or yours, and keep your eyes peeled for some of these howlers.
This fella’s not one to leave a paper trail. He’ll reply to your snaps with lightning speed but once you try to move the convo onto Facebook? Radio silence. Claire, 23, has got experience on this one. “We were snapping back and forth all day,” she says of a guy she’d just started seeing. “Our banter was on fire… then – poof! I sent him a message on Facebook and he vanished.” There’s a super obvious reason for this downright dodgy behaviour too says Rena Maycock, co-founder of Irish Matchmaking Service Intro. If he’s only communicating with you via a disappearing medium, Rena reckons he may already have another lady (or two) on the side. Slide on, this one’s a major time waster.
Christian Grey eat your heart out! This guy’s messages are racier than a Mills And Boon novel and your sexual tension is off the charts, but when it comes to chatting about real stuff and putting the world to rights he quickly reverts back to blush-worthy dirty talk and innuendo.
It doesn’t take a degree in psychology to work this one out, confirms Rena. “This guy only has one intention and it’s not falling in love with you,” she asserts. Sadly, sexy chat won’t be enough for you to form a proper connection either. “Attraction is absolutely important, but if you are in this for a relationship then you should be talking about everything and getting to know each other,” she confirms. The advice? If you’re just down for a good time, then by all means, text up a storm, but if it’s something more serious you have in mind, avoid, avoid, avoid.
He thinks he’s God’s gift to women and he’s not afraid to tell you exactly how he feels, positive or otherwise. He’ll happily comment on what you’re wearing, make snidey remarks about your friends or say mean things about his ex. Michelle, 29, has experienced this salty dating tactic firsthand. “He’d do this thing where he’d compliment me but in a backhanded way. Something like ‘You’re pretty… for a curvy girl,” she recalls of a guy she went on a few dates with. “It always made me feel like I had to win his approval.” Don’t sideline this nasty behaviour, says Rena. “It’s a bad sign of what’s to come and implies the guy will be possessive and controlling,” she explains. Her advice? Quite simply, “Run.”
There’s no romantic cuddle time for this fella, you’re lucky to see the back of him as he vanishes out the door in a blur, citing a previously unmentioned family dinner or gym session as his excuse for leaving. Rena confirms our suspicions on this one. “If a guy wants to see you again he will not leave in haste,” she makes clear. Apply the ol’ ‘treat him mean, keep him keen’ mantra with this one – no, we’re not advocating you play games to nab him, just don’t give him exactly what he wants off the bat – whether that’s more sex, intimacy or devotion.
Maeve, 26, knows all about this tricky sitch. “We were great on paper. We liked all the same things and had loads to talk about but there was just something missing,” she says of a guy she recently dated for one month. “I figured that after we’d spent some time together it would all magically fall into place, but it didn’t. In the end he broke up with me because he said there was no chemistry there and as much as it hurt at the time I knew he was right.”
Fortunately, that doesn’t mean you should dump his ass just because there aren’t butterflies from the get go. “If there is even the tiniest hint of a spark then for goodness sake investigate it,” Rena advises. “Go on a second, third and fourth date and chances are by the time you get to date five you will be looking very differently at that person.” If not though? “Respectfully call it a day, make a new friend and agree to set each other up on dates with friends,” Rena counsels. “You can’t force a connection,” she warns. “It’s either there, or it’s not.”
So you bumped uglies and it wasn’t exactly peel-me-off-the-ceiling hot. Practice makes perfect, advises Rena. “You both have your own way of doing things that you’ve fine tuned over a number of years and partners so it’s natural your styles won’t gel immediately,” she explains. “Talk about what you both like and don’t like and you’ll get there in time.”
Finding common ground isn’t as important as people think it is, apparently. “Opposites really do attract and while it can be nice to share interests, it’s not necessary in order to really get on with someone,” says Rena. Basically? It’s chemistry that matters.
We’ve all encountered a stage five clinger, but in some cases, you should totally give that guy a chance. Rena’s advice? “Nice guys are hard to come by so if you meet one that’s extremely attentive, affectionate and plays no games, then for God’s sake don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”
This article first appeared in STELLAR’s April issue. Our May issue is on shelves now!
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