In their book “Boundaries In Dating” Cloud and Townsend talk about Red Lights and Yellow Lights and why we need to be aware of these when we are dating.
All of us have imperfections – things that we need to work on and so will our dates – these are “yellow lights” and will include things like – being messy or being late or perhaps being a bit moody. We will never find anyone who is totally sorted.
These are things in relationships (any relationships) we will come across and have to deal with. If you are with a healthy mate and you confront them and talk about their lateness or messiness or whatever – they should recognize or own what you say or at least begin to look at it.
However, there are other imperfections that are not minor but major and these are “Red Lights”. When you see a red light in your partner – you need to stop and seriously consider whether the relationship is worth carrying on with.
Red Lights mean danger and are major character flaws and include cheating, controlling behaviour, addictive problems – drink or drugs, possessiveness, jealousy, negating any damage they are doing to you or others. These all mean STOP!
If you see any of these start to emerge in your date then (if you really really want to continue with the relationship)
1. Confront them
2. Watch their response – do they own it
3. See if there is any change or search for change – e.g counselling, joining AA
4. Only begin to restore relationship when you see problem fading
You need to walk away from this relationship if you don’t see any of the above happening.
Learn the difference between human imperfections we all have and damaging character problems you should not tolerate in a dating relationship.
Keep Your New Partner Close – But Keep Your Friends Closer
If you are dating don’t even attempt to start dating when you have no friends around you! For example if you have just moved into a new town or started a course at a new college. Always date when you are in a community and have established some of your own personal life and contacts. Dating without a support system leaves you extremely vulnerable.
Once you have started a relationship it is always wise to introduce your new partner to your friends. Also, you need to meet his or her friends – if he or she has no friends that is not a good sign – they could become very dependent on you.
• Be open to everything your friends have to say even if you don’t like it
• Keep in close touch with all your friends when you are dating
• Don’t be swept out of your own life, hobbies and interests by your new date
• If you don’t introduce your date to your friends – ask yourself why
Going out in a group of friends before you make any commitments is a good plan as there is less pressure and it is good to see if you can fit into each other’s lives. There has to be some differences but if you are close to your friends and your new date doesn’t like them – that is going to be a big area of conflict. You need to think carefully before proceeding further. If you sense your relationship is in trouble don’t keep it to yourself – get support.