Posts Tagged ‘relationship red flags’

This is the second installment in what is quickly becoming the “What I Should Have Said” series. So, here goes!

In Spring of 2013, while I was still living in New York, I met a woman at the dance at the LGBTQ Center I volunteered at. Her name was Kat (yes, this time using a real name, because it’s so common and she’ll never, ever read this). She was very nice at the dance, but I’d quickly learn otherwise.

The first red flag was that she cancelled our very first date and instead invited me to meet her family at some kind of BBQ celebration. It was at that point in time that I was subjected to her narcissistic mother, her 100+ year old grandmother, and her grandmother’s caretaker. Now, keep in mind that I had never hung out with this woman other than at the dance, and very briefly at a tavern with a friend of hers across the street from my apartment. The fact that she basically didn’t give me a choice as to whether or not to meet her family on the first real date or not was red flag number one. Red flag number two was that when I got there, I realized that she literally lived in her mother’s dining room at the age of 29.

Now, I am a very independent woman. I was really struggling financially at this point in time, but I still stood on my own two feet. However, I know that it is sometimes hard to make it on your own, so I try not to judge. I proceeded to develop a relationship with this woman. To that end, my worst fears came to fruition.

It turned out that Kat was completely under her mother’s thumb. She had to be home when her mother said, and things on that front really came to a head when she texted me one night in a panic because her mother was flipping out, saying Kat spent too much time with me. I essentially texted back that I didn’t know how to deal with that, but it felt like I was dating a high schooler. Kat came over, and tried to smooth it over, then went back home. The situation was recurring– her mother demanding time, my having to spend time with them all the time, even though we had JUST started dating. I should never have even met these people at this point, much less been required to spend time with them.

Kat was also very controlling, with a serious anger issue. I never knew which version of her I was going to get. She flew off the handle at the smallest things,and actually had the attitude that it was the duty of people around her not to piss her off, rather than her job to handle her anger. In the end, I gave some lame, “it’s not you, it’s me,” excuse to get out of what was quickly becoming a very scary relationship.

Just a few nutty things she did are as follows:

  • When I moved into a new apartment, she took my bed off its beautiful mahogany frame, and arranged things to her liking
  • When she came to get me from volunteering at the Center, she met a buddy she didn’t like. She screamed at me that I should have warned her that he was there. In a public place.
  • She would tell me we were doing things, rather than ask
  • She would show up at my apartment unannounced, and take over my evenings
  • She said it was my job to make her laugh when she was in a bad mood and that I, quote, “failed the test”
  • She smoked marijuana in my apartment, even though I don’t smoke it and don’t want it in my space.
  • The real doozy was when I finally dumped her. She literally held my freedom hostage, and insisted on one last in person meeting, in an effort to impose her will on me one last time.
  • She tried to force me into having “break up sex”

You get the picture. She was not independent, she was controlling, and she had a serious anger management issue that she refused to do anything about. So, without further ado, this is what I should have said to Kat, but didn’t:

Dear Kat,

We’ve had some good times these last few months. However, I have come to the conclusion that we have some serious compatibility issues. You have very serious anger and control issues, and your attitude that it is the job of others to pacify you rather than your job to do something about the problem is unacceptable to me. I cannot be in a relationship with someone who is so completely controlling. Further, I view your demands for a final meeting as nothing more than a last ditch effort to impose your will on me one last time.

The entire time we have been together, you have not respected me, my space, or my time. You simply want what you want, my feelings be damned. Further,the break up sex stuff? Sorry, but that really is gross, creepy, and downright pathetic. Why would you want to have sex with someone who clearly wants nothing to do with you? It really makes no sense.

The last reason I cannot be with you is likely the least important (though all of the reasons are important). I get that your mother is helping you out, but you are in no way independent. At all. Dating you has been like dating a high schooler. Perhaps it’s your lack of dating experience, but we were together less than three months. You don’t meet the family that soon, much less on a first date, and you sure as hell shouldn’t be obligated to feel close to those people/spend time with them. I didn’t even know YOU when we went to that BBQ. I’m thinking you just don’t know much about dating. Well, I do, and that was downright weird. Grow  up and become your own woman. You’re 29, not 19.

I guess the real turning point was when you went away with your mom for a few days. I felt relieved that you were gone. I didn’t miss you at all. I was relishing in just having a few days when I didn’t have to cater to you, your whims, or your moods. I had just a few days where I had my life back. No one should ever feel that way about a significant other. I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now, but the point of this letter is to break up with you. I’m not trying to hurt you, or be harsh, but you have a penchant for not listening, and for doing what you want to do and thinking what you’re going to think, regardless of how others feel, so I believe the harsh, no nonsense tone is necessary here.

At any rate, I hope you have a nice life. Work on your anger/control issues. I truly hope you find someone who can deal with your issues, or, even better, you deal with them before getting into anymore romantic partnerships.

Good Luck,

Shannon

Anyway, once again, writing this is cathartic. It’s for me. It’s for the purpose of learning to set boundaries, of learning to be honest, to say what I mean and what I feel in these situations. Stay tuned for the next installment!

Hello, Queermos! Hope you’re all doing well. I know I’ve been out of pocket for a bit, but that’s because I also write for a living, and I’ve been really busy there lately. Thanks to that fact, and, well, just having a life, posts here will definitely be sporadic. That’s okay, though, as this blog is mostly for me to have a place to share my feelings about things for which there seem to be no spaces to share them about. Anyway, today, to discuss an aspect of non- monogamy that can cause things to blow up if not done right: Situational Non-Monogamy vs. Oriented Non-Monogamy.

So What Is Situational  Non-Monogamy Anyway?

Situationally non-monogamous people generally wouldn’t be non-monogamous if there weren’t some situation in their primary relationship that caused one or both partners to be unfulfilled. Now, personally, as someone who is naturally oriented toward non-monogamy, this is a red flag when hooking up with a playmate I plan to see more than once. That doesn’t mean I write her off immediately, but it does mean that I proceed with extreme caution.

Generally, these people are breaking the number one rule of successful non-monogamy, which is using non-monogamy as a way of saving a relationship on the rocks. Generally, the partner who is not fulfilling her partner/wife is only going along with it because she knows that she will find herself in divorce court if she didn’t. This often leads to feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, and general all around hurt. This is healthy for no one involved. Couple this with the fact that the lack of experience means that many rookie mistakes (more on those in another post) are made, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Now, are there people who are not naturally oriented to be non-monogamous who simply live the non mono/poly lifestyle just for the sake of it? ?Yes. There certainly are, and these people are the exceptions to the aforementioned general problems that tend to crop up in situationally non monogamous relationships. So, they don’t constitute red flags. The usual situationally non-monogamous folks, though- definitely proceed with extreme caution, and bail if you are not comfortable with their ability to do this successfully, lest it blow up in your face.

What Is Oriented Non-Monogamy?

Those of us who are oriented to be non-monogamous are naturally that way. We seek out primary partners who want the same thing- an open relationship, or a non-hierarchial polyamorous situation. Non-monogamy is as much a natural orientation for us as is being gay, straight, or bisexual. We find the idea of monogamy stifling, and may even be tempted to cheat. The idea of being inm any sort of monogamous union is a deal breaker.

To that end, we are simply much better at being non-monogamouos than those who are simply situationally so. We go the extra mile to find out what it actually means to practice non-monogamy. We go into it armed with the information we need to be successful. We understand that things like making assumptions about the boundaries of any of the other people involved are a recipe for disaster, and we have communication down to a T. We know better than to use opening things up as a way to save a marriage or relationship. In other words, being naturally wired to be this way, most of us make sure we know what we are doing before taking the plunge, and we know better than to try to use opening things up as a way to force-fix a problem or problems in a rocky relationship. We understand a fundamental rule that most situationally non-monogamous people don’t: That relationships should be opened when things are most solid, not the other way around.

All in all, that is a very general explanation between the two types of non-monogamous people. Hopefully, it helps people to understand why someone who is oriented to be non-monogamous might be wary of being an “other” to a situationally non-monogamous person.