I reconnected with an old family friend a few months back. I was recently in town and he suggested we meet for dinner. The day prior to meeting up, he stopped by to say hey and confirm the plans (i.e. visual vetting). Five minutes before picking me up for the date, he texted “I’m bringing a 3rd person. Like to roll with multiple dates.” WTF! He showed up with an ex girlfriend of his who proceeded to ask me all kinds of personal questions over diner, like she was checking out her competition. She shouldn’t have worried because I was totally creeped out by the bizarre experience and he couldn’t have paid me to go out with him again.
On the second date, a guy asked if he “could keep me,” which was creepy but didn’t deter me from continuing to see him. Eventually we started a serious relationship and I moved in with him. While living together, he thought it was funny to sit on my face and fart, showing his maturity level was equal to that of a fifth grader. He was a huge slob so I was always cleaning up his mess. On one of these cleaning ventures I found pictures and letters from every single ex he’d ever had. When I confronted him, he said I shouldn’t have been looking at his stuff, despite the fact that it was laying all the hell over the place. Other occasions of note included him throwing an hour-long fit because I wouldn’t let him see his Christmas gifts pre-holiday and him pushing me over a bed as a joke right after I’d gotten back surgery.
Over time, we started having sex less and less and arguing more and more. We stopped living together but continued dating. No longer sharing a place, he decided he didn’t have to answer my calls and would make up lame excuses for not picking up his cell. Then came the kicker: I noticed that he was hiding his face during sex so that he wouldn’t have to look at me and that his sheets were always covered in dry semen, which I later found out was because he had a serious porn addiction. I broke up with him but he continued to call me long after the fact.
I met met this guy doing volunteer art work with kids. On our second date he told me he had fantasies of killing his mother and started blubbering. He then told me that when he smoked pot he would see Jesus in his living room and they would chat. I escaped like my ass was on fire and the rest of me was catching.
I met a 35-year-old guy named Keith on an online dating site. We both lived in Birmingham and met up for a date. Keith had only been in the city a few months and told me his girlfriend threw him out of his previous home because he didn’t have a job, despite him telling her that the economy was so bad that he couldn’t find anything. He said she was verbally abusive, had no friends and everyone hated her (BRF #1). Keith also revealed that the only other serious girlfriend he’d had was on and off for several years because they both kept cheating on each other, until she had a kid with another guy and then died from a drug overdose a few years ago (BRF #2).
Despite this info, I kept dating him. He was good to me and great with my daughter. Plus, everyone in my circle liked him. After several weeks he decided to tell me that he had a teenage son with a girl from high school who he’d slept with behind his buddy’s—and her then boyfriend’s—back. He said he hadn’t seen or spoken to his kid in about ten years (BRF #3). As he was telling me this he started crying because he felt like a deadbeat dad who treated my daughter better than his own son. Turns out, his previous girlfriend who’d thrown him out after two years of living together never even knew the son existed (BRF #4). But he said he wanted to make a change and settle down in order to be a good dad to both of our kids. I continued to see him.
During the course of our six month relationship, Keith constantly talked about every girlfriend, hook up, crush, etc. he’d had in the past despite my pointing out that guys who do this are either 1) hung up on the past or 2) have overly inflated egos (BRF #5). Around the time he started obsessing over past love, our sex life dipped. He was always “too tired” or had whiskey dick because he couldn’t stay sober for more than ten minutes and was wasted every night (BRF #6 and #7). He said he didn’t care if he got off when we had sex because he got off plenty masturbating to porn. But he couldn’t get off with an actual person? (BRF #8).
After five months, I finally decided to move on. He emailed me constantly, saying he’d do better and finally start acting like a man because he wanted to marry me and help me raise my child. We met and he convinced me that he was ready to change. I took him back and we started talking about our wedding and future together. His family and friends were ecstatic, but mine were less than thrilled at this point (BRF #9). He got a raise and said he was going to begin saving up for an engagement ring. Three days later, he EMAILED me to break things off and said he couldn’t deal with the fact that I have a child. What the hell? Guys like this should come with warning labels. Lesson(s) learned.
When I was going through a bad divorce, I met a Vietnam Special Forces vet (in hindsight, a red flag) at a church singles event. He was totally into the Single Parents Hiking Club, Single Parents Babysitting Network and every other Single Parents group they offered. He was also in the Church Counselor Training Program. He appeared to know all the moms very well and they seemed to get angry when I talked with him (BRF #2). I asked him about the vibes. He said they were all just jealous because they wanted to pursue a romantic relationship with him in the past and he hadn’t been interested (BRF #3).
We began talking a few times a day, but every time we made plans he’d cancel last minute to either counsel someone from church or deal with the son he had partial custody of (BRF #4). I figured he was just an overburdened single dad and did my best to adapt to his changes and cancellations. Many times he’d bring his son without alerting me beforehand and the kid would smirk and purposely call me other single-church-moms’ names (BRF #5).
When there weren’t any counseling calls, strange interruptions or interference from his son, the only thing he wanted to do was talk about sex, sex and more sex, explaining that he understood women so well from all the counseling he was doing (BRF #6). A few months into the relationship he asked me to marry him and then repeated the request several times (BRF #7).
Long story short: I found out that when he had to leave to “counsel” or deal with his son, he was actually having sex with all the other single moms, who each thought they were the only one he was dating. When I broke up with him, he started calling me 6-8 times a day, warning me about everything he’d learned in the Special Forces then hanging up. He eventually found enough time to get away from his “clients” to travel across town, bang on my door and leave notes demanding that I call him. The best part was that the angry notes said I had to call because “he cared about me and could help me,” presumably through more “counseling.”
I reconnected with a summer fling after many years. The third time we spoke—a nine hour telephone marathon—he told me that he loved me (red flag #1). Though we lived 2,000 miles apart, it had been a really long time since I had been out in the dating world and it was just what I wanted to hear. During the next several weeks, he planned a visit to come see me and we talked about the future together. Everything was going well, though I noticed that he would often text instead of calling, even if I asked him to please call (red flag #2).
He disappeared just over a month before he was supposed to visit (#3). Eventually, he texted me, saying he was “frightened” (#4). This is a 52-year-old man, mind you. I sent him a birthday card (crazy, I know) and the first text I got from him in weeks was “I love you.” (#5) He called me a couple days later and went right back to making future plans.
When a few weeks after that he went missing again (#6), I moved on. Six months after I’d written him off, he called me totally wasted, screaming like a mad man (#7). I realized that the times he wouldn’t call me were the times he was too drunk to sound sober. It became clear that he had a serious alcohol problem (#8) that a long-distance, on-and-off girlfriend he hadn’t even seen in years, certainly couldn’t help him solve. Looking back, I can’t believe the dozens of raised red flags that I made up excuses for.
I was set up by work friends with one of their friends who was moving to our state from the Midwest. My (now) ex was very open, and right away explained to me that he had experienced some very “quirky” things in his life. Red Flag #1: He showed up at my apartment one night with a laundry basket full of possessions, saying he couldn’t stay with “them” any more. Of course, I let him stay at my place (now I wish I hadn’t). Time passed, we got engaged and married. We bought a house and renovated it. Things were actually pretty good. That was until his drinking took over. If being somewhat tipsy was good, stone cold drunk was better. When we went out, he started staying later than me or going to friends’ houses after the bar and staying over. He worked from home (in sales) and didn’t have to go to the office except for meetings, etc. so I never knew if he was working, sleeping, drinking or whatever.
After a short separation and a bit of a rocky road – he bought a new truck and didn’t tell me, then I found out he had a separate bank account and took our tax return (a few minor details) – we decided to try again and thought a fresh start in a new city would be good for us. Since he could transfer within his job, we put our house on the market, flew across the country and placed a deposit down on a town-home rental. I gave notice to my job of over ten years and was setting up interviews for my next trip to the new state.
A month of so later, I woke up one morning to find a mutual (guy) friend and my ex-husband passed out on the basement bar. There was nothing funny going on, but there was also no liquor left in the house. I kicked the friend out, spoke with my ex and went to work. When I came home he was gone: cell phone on the counter, clothes missing, photos and personal stuff gone. In the basement, it looked like a fistfight had taken place with furniture toppled and caution tape across several pieces of large furniture.
Three weeks later, after a missing person’s report had been filed with the police and many panic attacks, tears, frustrated calls to friends and family, he turned up … on the opposite coast. He called to tell me that he had a drug habit and was an alcoholic. He’d been doing drugs and drinking almost our whole marriage. Some nights, he would come home with me, wait until I fell asleep and then go back out. The things you learn that people won’t tell you until it’s too late!
Thank God I hadn’t moved across country with him, leaving my friends and family and possibly being stranded with no money or job. I did sell the house, after I hired a lawyer to obtain power of attorney as he wouldn’t return to sign the paperwork, and, surprise, surprise, found several items a.k.a. drug paraphernalia in closing up the house.