The Red Flags I Chose to Ignore: Numero Uno

27 May

I began this blog as a way of dealing with the constant anxiety I was feeling as my relationship with the ex was heading towards marriage.  I thought the anxiety had to do with me – that there was something wrong with me, that I could not “adjust” to a new phase in my life because I was somehow “flawed”.  (It did not help that the X was constantly implying that as well, as opposed to taking any responsibility for his more often than not strange, disturbing, and destabilizing behaviors).

I realize now that the anxiety, actually the constant dread that I had been feeling in the pit of my stomach pretty much from the moment I met the X was my body’s way of saying to me – “Look!  Look!  Listen to me!  You KNOW that this person is seriously disturbed. RUN RUN RUN away as fast as you can, NOW!!!!!”

But he was saying the right things, and presented so well…

Actually no.  The flags were there from date one.  Frankly, I was just tired of dating and desperate to be in a relationship.  I was 36, had been single for most of my adult life (what I like to call a “serial single-person” as opposed to “serial-monogamist”) and wanted a partner, dammit!  And babies, maybe in a year or two.  And some love to come my way for a change.  I wanted someone to pick ME!!!!!

Red Flag # 1 – The Beginning

The first email I received from the X actually did not sit all that well with me.  He made a joke in it that was, in my opinion, not funny and kind of in poor taste.  Also, according to his profile, he was a bit younger than me ( he stated on his profile that he was 34….and I was not into the younger guy thing, even by a couple of years…)   Also, he did not list “long-term relationship” as an interest – rather it was short-term dating, activity partners and casual sex.   I, on the other hand, had short-term dating and long-term dating as my interests.

But by then in my online adventures and dating life, I was so frazzled by my lack of  success that I had started to  question “Maybe I am being too picky?  Too judgmental?  Not giving people a chance?”  I replied to his email, and he replied right away on IM (something I was never into before) and before I knew it, I was intrigued.  And felt pretty good about the fact that I was being “open”.  Only in retrospect do I now see that it was more like “open to madness.”

So…the joke.  It went something along the lines of “A person of Asian and white descent is a Twinkie…what do you call a person that is Mexican & African American?”  or something like that.   Mind you, according to his profile he self-identified as Latin/Hispanic & Black/African-American.  I found it oddly offensive, and it just did not sit well with me – the whole Twinkie thing.  I thought it was a strange way to reach out to a person you do not know.  But, I pushed all my misgivings deep deep down, and forged ahead, against my values.

I responded with “I do not know, Black Beans?  Cute?”  He responded with a “ha” and then made some comment about my background.  I cannot remember too much about those early emails that transpired after that.  But I do clearly remember feeling discomfort in that initial interaction, and like I was in territory that did not feel “right”.  But I kept telling myself  “oh, you are just being too rigid, loosen up.”  So, I engaged.

Plus, I did find something endearing about his photos and his quirky profile.  For example, instead of writing an essay in the ‘about me’ section, he drew a train and wine bottle using lines and hyphens and other punctuation marks.  Now I see how manipulative, smart, and sneaky that was – no info, no need to reveal, lots of room for the other person to place her projections & hopes.

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