Is Your Anxiety Keeping You Single?
You’ve met an interesting guy online. You’ve emailed back and forth a few times, your first phone call went pretty well, and you’re looking forward to your first date in a week. Now it’s a few days before the date, and you haven’t heard from him since that initial phone call. You start thinking, “Why haven’t I heard from him? Maybe he’s not that into me. Maybe he changed his mind. Should I text or email to make sure we’re still meeting? Maybe I should call.” Your anxiety is building. You have been stood up before. You’ve been disappointed by other men. You’re not going to let this guy treat you poorly! So, you send him an email, “Are we still on for Monday?” When you don’t hear back (in five minutes), you email again, “Haven’t heard from you in a while, just checking in. Please let me know if we’re still meeting.” You’re still trying to be an easy breezy calm woman. Half-hour later, you’re freaking out. You email again, “Online dating is so crazy. There are moments that you feel that a person may be so right and then…poof! You disappeared.” An hour later, you’re fuming. Still no reply. “I have tried to confirm our plans and have not gotten a reply. I am totally surprised, particularly because we had such a great first conversation. I was wrong about you. Please lose my number.” Oh no! You’ve overreacted just a tad. This is scary behavior, but it’s more common that you’d imagine. Is your anxiety keeping you single?
Is your anxiety keeping you single?
The above email exchange may seem extreme to you. It did to me, too, as they were actual emails I received from a guy I met online. To maintain my privacy, we had been using my Google Voice number for texting and calling. On Thursday night, he texted me about something very emotional he was experiencing, and it made me uncomfortable. I don’t believe you should share anything very personal with someone you’ve never met. In a text later that evening, I expressed empathy, but kept the conversation to a minimum. He was suffering and I didn’t want to be mean and blow him off, but I also didn’t feel I should be the one having this conversation with him. Where were his friends?
The next day, I got that whole string of anxious and eventually angry emails that I shared above. For some reason he wasn’t getting my texts, and I understood why he’d be upset about not hearing from me. But he did overreact. I got one more email, this time on the online dating site. He apologized for the rude texts and asked if we were still on for the next day. I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and meet him as planned. Yes, there were a few red flags, but we did have a really nice first phone call, he was nice looking and we shared common interests. So, why not meet? At the very least, I knew it would make for a great story.
The date started out pleasant enough. He was good looking and looked just like his photos. Two points! He was smart and interesting. He was kind enough to travel an hour to see me. But it became obvious pretty early on that this was going to be our last date. Here’s why:
Red flag #1: Words and actions don’t match
He told me that after a near-death medical scare, he doesn’t sweat the small stuff anymore. Really? What about the angry emails he’d sent, and how he jumped to a negative conclusion instead of asking a question like, “Are you getting my texts?” He admitted that he’d overreacted, apologized, and said he’d had a very stressful week. Stress is an excuse, but I believe there’s no excuse for bad behavior. I can only imagine what this guy’s like in traffic. I wouldn’t want to be driving anywhere near him.
Red flag #2: False intimacy
I brought up that I was concerned when he shared intimate information with me, a woman he hadn’t yet met. I said it made me uncomfortable. I told him that when I first started dating after my divorce, I had a tendency to project a lot of hope onto future dates. I’d fall in love with a profile, someone who not yet a person to me. I would share my deepest feelings and thoughts before we had our first date. I learned from my mistakes and now keep first conversations to a minimum. This guy was sharing way too much before he knew me. He apologized and said he was inappropriate. Apology accepted. Inappropriate behavior duly noted.
Red flag #3: Political venom
When he launched into a political discussion spewing hatred for Obama, that was the final straw. We were getting ready to leave when he pulled out a newspaper and showed me an article about that Obama” that he “knew I’d appreciate”. Um. Not so much. I don’t engage in conversations where people defame the character of others, be it a political figure, a celebrity, or an acquaintance. This type of conversation makes my stomach hurt. I don’t know Obama personally, and everything we do know about him is based on what is reported in the news. I didn’t feel comfortable hearing him talk about Obama the narcissist or that anyone who voted for him is a jerk. Political venom is a huge turnoff for me. My significant other and I don’t necessarily have to both vote for the same president. We do, however, have to respect one another. What really irked me was that his blood was boiling as he passionately bashed the president, but when I asked whether he did anything about it, such as write to the White House or congress, sign a petition, or get involved in a political organization, his answer was an emphatic “NO”. Buddy, put your money where you mouth is. If you are that passionate, I believe you should take action.
It’s important to identify red flags early in a relationship. They usually show up in first phone calls and email exchanges, as they did with this man. I did give him the benefit of the doubt because he was not receiving my texts. But I did sense his true character very early on. Identifying those red flags right at the onset will save you from heartache and pain. Listen for the character flaws. Pay attention to your intuition, and go in with your eyes wide open.
What are some red flags you’ve identified early on in a relationship/dating? Please share your thoughts below.
In conclusion, I wanted to share a fantastic quote that I read today on the Better After 50 Facebook page:
– Wayne Dyer
Take the high road in dating and relationships. Your best relationship will come when you’re patient, manage your anxiety, and don’t overreact to every little thing he says or does (or doesn’t say or do).