As a relationship columnist and blogger, sometimes it’s a little embarrassing to admit all of my stories when it comes to dating the wrong guys. While I have dozens (okay, maybe hundreds) of stories, what it really boils down to is ignoring red flags, especially before things get serious.
It’s something that I’ve really been working on, especially in this last year that I’ve been single. If you’re in the same boat as I am, maybe my list of red flags will help you out. If you have any others that I’ve missed, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or Tweet me @OrangeJulius7
RED FLAGS: WHEN YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER…
- Expects you to do everything
- Cannot apologize
- Doesn’t introduce you to friends, family
- Is not good at communicating
- Talks down to you
- Has a mean sense of humor
- Wants to change you
- Mentions sex early in the relationship
- Doesn’t make you feel special
- Gushes about someone else
- Is secretive with his phone
- Doesn’t fight fair
- Is lazy in bed
- Is a stage-5 clinger
- Is never around when you really need them
- Doesn’t share personal details
- Uses texting as a main source of communication
- Needs to go out every single weekend
- Still talks to The Ex
- Does drugs
- Never has any money
- Can’t remember conversations you’ve shared
- Changes his/her story
In previous relationships, when one (or several) of red flags would appear, I didn’t think of them as detrimental. I figured, “Oh, boys will be boys,” or that eventually, things would change. But, they didn’t and then I was left feeling like a fool.
In my last relationship, it got on my nerves how much my then-boyfriend was on his phone. He would text during dinner dates and movies. When I asked him what that was about, or who he was texting, he would always say it was work. He also always had his phone with him (even in the bathroom) and had a password on it (he told me it was so his coworkers wouldn’t mess with it). But when I found out he was cheating on me the whole relationship, I wished I would have pressed further and connected the dots sooner.
Of course, every relationship is different, so the red flags might not match my list. In general, I think following your gut is the key to finding any red flags.
Pictures like this could probably be my “Pic of the Week” nearly every seven days. I absolutely love (LOVE) bargain shopping, but I particularly love hunting for beauty products at stores like Dollar Tree and Big Lots.
Part of this is out of necessity. I just cannot afford, or justify, spending $20-$50 on a single beauty product. I won’t even spend more than a few dollars on nail polish.
Some of the fun in my beauty bargain adventures is, of course, saving massive amounts of money, while still looking just as pretty as the girls slapping down major credit cards. But the other part of my high is that because the products are so cheap, I’m more likely to try different things.
Neon green nail art pen? Yep, $1.
In the picture, you’ll see my latest grab bag, with products all from Dollar Tree. I got fake nails (with glitter cheetah print on them), nail glue, three bottles of polish, a base coat, a top coat, and various nail glitter (which I have already used).
I switch up my nail color (and have recently been adding nail art and 3D elements) at least once a week, sometimes twice, so arguing with me about the lifetime of my cheap polish isn’t necessary.
When I get products from Big Lots, chances are, the brands are still decent, such as Cover Girl, Revlon, and Neutrogena. The Dollar Tree brands might be sub-par, but when it comes to glitter and eye shadow, I’m not concerned about it.
Take into consideration, my curious cat, who just a few weeks ago, knocked one of my eyeshadow palettes (I love these) off my bathroom counter. At first, I was upset, because I loved the colors, and they were all broken and smudged together, but then I remembered that I got it from Big Lots, and it was only $2.
My friend Ashley joined me on my latest adventure, and we bonded over our bargain finds—I think both of us left the store feeling like we stole something. If you’re someone who only goes for the high-end stuff, I’d dare you to give something less-expensive a chance. I think you’d be surprised to find that the stuff inside is just the same.
About a week later, Jay and I had plans to attend a birthday outing on a party bus with a group of my friends. As I was getting ready, he sent me a text message saying I had actually already met this girl he’d “gone out with” as she was in my office one day.
Let me think. Not to be a total bitch, but yes, I saw someone in my office who said she knew me because she saw one of my blogging presentations. Cool, I told her. I had no clue what her name was, nor did I recall seeing her in the audience because there was 100 people there and it was a year beforehand, nor did she say, HEY, I’M FUCKING YOUR FRIEND JAY.
But, maybe I’m just an idiot and/or Jay’s girlfriend should get off my status.
Before he (secretly) started seeing someone, he was planning on staying at my apartment that night, instead of driving home, across town. But after I told him I was over the funny shit, he said he wasn’t going to drink much so that he could drive himself home.
We met up to get on the party bus, me wearing my awesome sequined shorts (get the scoop here), and we make it through one bar before Jay starts giving me the talk about how much he “loves” me and always wants me in his life in some form or fashion.
Then, he kissed me. And again. And a lot. This was on January 18, but whose keeping track, anyway? Girlfriend who? What? I don’t know.
We get to the 4th bar on the party bus, Lock and Key, where he was apparently with his secret girlfriend the night before. There, he tells me how great and awesome I am.
“You keep saying I’m awesome,” I said. “But not awesome enough for YOU.”
I got on the bus, and that was that. We ended up at my favorite guilty pleasure, The Cadillac, where I made a fool of myself attempting to do the Cupid Shuffle.
We stumbled off the bus near my apartment, and he came upstairs to sleep over.
When I awoke the next morning to go to brunch, there he was, under the covers, his shoulders bare. I was still completely dressed.
I woke him up, recapped the night, we laughed, he still failed to mention any girlfriend, and so I kissed him goodbye and headed to brunch.
Maybe he really wasn’t dating anyone, I thought.
I told a fellow blogger at brunch about the situation. She told me it was shady and that I needed to stand my ground. Hmm…
During the next few weeks, I started seeing photos of him and girlfriend (or at least I assumed) on Facebook, but whenever I would ask him what he was up to, he would cooly not mention girlfriend.
I decided to just lay low. Our friendship was doomed. But despite being upset, I had already agreed that I would be a guest on Jay’s video podcast to talk about Valentine’s Day survival tips for singletons.
So, I put on my happy face, chugged a glass of wine, and the show started recording. During the live show, Jay’s cohost mentioned Jay’s girlfriend and how much sex they were going to have on February 14.
Smile. Smile. Smile, I told myself. My teeth clenched. Before the show started, he had told me not to mention us hooking up.
I kept quiet and kept my cool, but girlfriend was angry—or that is what I gathered from the amount of text messages blowing up Jay’s phone. I could also see the texts popping up on the iPad screen from which we were recording.
After lots and lots of typing on Jay’s part, I saw it:
“Baby, you’re fine. I love you.”
They were already saying “I love you”? We had messed around just a few weeks prior. I am no mathematician, but that usually doesn’t happen in two weeks.
I hadn’t been placed in any type of friend zone. I had been played like a fucking fool. My mind took me back to that night downtown, when he cheated on his last girlfriend.
I finished my wine and said I needed to leave, dialing my friend’s number as soon as his front door shut.
I needed answers, so I went to a mutual friend and asked him for the scoop. We compared calendars, and his jaw dropped when I pointed to the dates we’d been together. He confirmed there was overlap. I knew I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was.
This was someone I thought was my friend.
I waited weeks to say anything to Jay, because I knew what would happen when I did. He would try to save face, say that everything I was upset over was untrue, and that I was simply jealous of girlfriend.
That’s exactly what happened, only Jay added insult to injury when he said, “I’m sorry you disagree.”
Well, you know what? I’m sorry that I don’t accept backhanded apologies. I’m sorry that I deserve friends who don’t lie to me. I am sorry that you should have done the correct thing, and introduced me to your girlfriend, because that is what people do when they fall in love.
I’m sorry that you feel like you need two chicks at once. I’m sorry you took advantage of me. I’m sorry that I fell for you. And I’m sorry that I’m not sorry for not giving a bucket of fucks any longer.
My heart is on the mend, but I’m glad that this isn’t an issue I have to deal with any longer. Sometimes, things really are what they seem. The thing is, we often don’t want to admit what’s true, especially if that means a friend is actually okay with hurting your heart.
I admit we knew we’d get in trouble. That part’s true. We knew people would be worried, and we still ran away, anyway. But something also happened, which we didn’t do on purpose. When we first met each other, something happened to us.
—Sam, Moonrise Kingdom
I am so, so happy to finally (I’ve kept quiet for a week) announce my collaboration with Dig Magazine, Baton Rouge’s alt-weekly.
While I have written articles for Dig before, my new project is dear to my heart, as I’ll be writing a fresh column each week, based on my adventures in dating—very similar to what I share with you here.
Even though this blog has been around since 2010, I am honored that my favorite city publication is printing my opinions, and sharing my blog with everyone in its (30,000) circulation.
So, if you’re new here because you saw the column (also called The Bitter Lemon)—which debuted today—in Dig Magazine, a big, fat, HOWDY! I am thrilled beyond belief to share my world with you, even though it’s not always pretty.
I hope you’ll join me on another journey of mine, with Dig. Comment, Tweet me, let’s chat! I’d love to hear from you.
I also want to mention that my friend, and f*cking awesome poet, Leslie D. Rose, is the one who took my headshot for the column. If you ever need photographs taken, give her a shout!
Thank you, once again, for reading my words. I look forward to writing for Y’ALL—new and old.
To be honest, I didn’t give a flying flip about Phillip Phillips before I saw him live as John Mayer’s opening act for the Born and Raised tour (which I saw three times).
Before I saw him the first time in July, my mom was the one swooning,”Aw, I wish I was going to the concert!” she told me. “If you see Phillip Phillips, tell him I voted for him on American Idol!”
Well, I didn’t get the chance to tell him. Instead, I got drunk and had way too much fun dancing to his Dave-Matthews-esque voice sing, “Get Up, Get Down.”
For Christmas, my mom and I bought each other his album, The World From the Side of the Moon, and it’s pretty much on repeat in my Jeep. I’m obsessed.
As with most of my musician crushes, this is not one based on looks alone. Let’s face facts, Mr. Phillips looks kind of like a dork, and his name is pretty stupid.
When my friend Kelly and I saw Mayer and Phillips in New Orleans in January, we got to talking about his peculiar name.
“Do you think that’s really his name?” she asked me.
I said what I say in every time of uncertainty.
“Let’s Google it.”
We were instantly educated—yep, that’s his real name, and actually, he’s a “Jr.,” so there’s more than one dude with that name running around.
So, his name is uncool, and the fact that his last name is the same as mine might mean we are related on some level, which is scary, but let’s not go there.
Phillip is from Georgia, which means he’s got a sexy southern accent. What’s even hotter? He’s like 23 years old, and is already beating me in the success bracket—drool worthy in my book.
So, there you have it. Another celeb crush for the books. And just to bring it on home, I took a video of him singing Michael Jackson’s, “Thriller,” at The New Orleans Area. Enjoy!
“Tell me a story long and true, We aren’t what we say, We are what we do, Just pieces of a puzzle to find where we stand just confused, So you are the moon that pulls me through the night.”—Phillip Phillips, Tell Me A Story