My boyfriend and I have been together for six months and while he has many good qualities I am afraid I have been noticing his bad ones lately: several of which have raised some red flags. And while individually each of these is not a deal-breaker, I am starting to wonder how many red flags are too many? On the minor side, he was fired from his job, our food tastes are different, his relationship with his parents is not good, he is overweight, and my best friend does not believe in our relationship. On a more serious note, we are very different people — he being more sensitive and open, and me being more private, independent and thick-skinned.
The relationship started and moved very quickly from the beginning and he is completely head over heels in love with me, and although I do love him, I’m afraid I don’t love him the same way. When things are good they are really good – he is incredibly kind, supportive, loving, sensitive to my needs and engaging to be around. Unfortunately, sometimes I just don’t want to be around him. Sometimes I am extremely bothered by his weight and appearance, and I am afraid that it has made me reluctant to introduce him to friends — I am afraid they will judge me or think I’m desperate. I think If he was better looking, I would be happier in the relationship. Is that incredibly shallow?
I have also been struggling with accepting how I actually feel in a relationship with how I think I am “supposed” to feel in a relationship. I am not the type of girl who enjoys copious amounts of PDA and needs to be in contact every day. I miss him when we are apart but not in excessive amounts; But by the same token, I also didn’t get homesick at camp or when I went away to college. So, I’m having a difficult time deciding if this is my personality or a sign that we should not be together. I recently told a friend without thinking “I would be okay with being married at this age but I haven’t found the right guy.” Is that another red flag? — Indecisive
It sounds like you’re confused about the meaning of “red flag.” A red flag is not simply an example of innocuous personal differences (i.e. “our food tastes are different”) or perceived aesthetic flaws (i.e. “he’s overweight”), but an alert that the person you’re with may not be the person you thought he was or may have underlying issues that make him a less than an ideal romantic partner (i.e. “He keeps his dead girlfriend’s panties in his dresser drawer” or “He calls me “Mommy” every time we get intimate”). What you’re describing are reasons — and not very good ones, if you ask me — that you aren’t as into your boyfriend as he’s into you. But the bottom line is you don’t need reasons to not be into someone. Sometimes the spark just isn’t there. The chemistry falls flat. And it’s really unfair to blame that lack of chemistry on some flaw you think your boyfriend has, especially when among these possible flaws you list are his sensitivity and openness. No, those aren’t red flags at all. For a lot of women, those would be welcome characteristics they’d be happy to find in someone, overweight or not.
It seems like what you’re really struggling with is trusting your own opinion, and that, more than you not being into a guy who seems really sweet, is what I find saddest about your situation. It doesn’t matter if you’re not typically an effusive or emotive person. When you really click with someone, you’re going to feel it. You’re going to be proud to introduce him to your friends, not ashamed. You’re not going to be second-guessing why you’re with him, but day-dreaming about your future together. And when you think of marriage one day, it will be with a picture of him by your side, not some mysterious “other” you have yet to meet.
Trust your instinct here, and if you’re not feeling it, MOA. It sounds like this guy has plenty of great qualities that will make a lucky lady very happy, but clearly that lady isn’t you, so let him go so he’s free to find someone who will love him the way you don’t. And trust that when the right guy comes along, the last thing you’ll worry about if how hot your friends think he is. At least, I sure hope that’s the case. If not, it sounds like you’ve got a red flag of your own you should probably work on a bit.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected].