Don’t Mind the Red Flags… They’re Just Decoration

This story takes place during one crazy summer...

I had been seeing someone for awhile. Someone who already had a someone. In fact, her situation couldn't have been more fucked up (from my perspective of her as a prospective new girlfriend). A child with shared custody, living with her boyfriend, multiple cats, poor taste in music, and an odd tendency to correct everything you say. It was like a tick. Neural damage perhaps. Dropped as a baby. Insecurity.

When we met, she assured me she was on the outs with her current fella. I had no intention of getting involved anyway because I'm not interested in being part of some sordid love triangle. I especially didn't want to be the other man. Actually, there's really no good position to be in in this scenario. I've worn all three pairs of shoes - they all are very uncomfortable to walk in.

I have a propensity to do the right thing, so this sort of thing doesn't sit well with me. In fact, the only one of these positions I've been in more than once is the one where I'm the idiot getting cheated on. Cheating on someone else is something I did when I was very young - I was never able to keep it a secret either. I had to tell the other person. I think it was a way for me to end things. Being the other man makes me feel like a horrible person too, but there's a level of detachment that comes with it to help with the guilt. It's still a shitty feeling.

The only thing that made this acceptable to me was that she was approaching me. She found me. She instigated every meeting. She rationalized it for me whenever I questioned it... perhaps she was just rationalizing it for herself.

It started out as mutual attraction and quickly moved to flirtation and stolen taboo kisses which turned to hot passionate sex. An affair. It was actually a dirty kind of lustful sinning fun on a different level from standard acceptable unencumbered sex.

The feeling is probably similar to the one that Charlie Sheen gets when he fucks hookers. I mean, the man is motherfucking Charlie Sheen - he doesn't need to fuck hookers - he can have anyone he wants. It's the dirty secret part he likes.

Our affair went on and off and on for awhile. She promised to leave him. She started looking for another place to live. She would talk about fights they would have and how she can't take it anymore... then she would talk about how she can't really afford to leave. Along with our dirty sex came a bit of soap opera drama that kept it interesting when we weren't engaged in intercourse.

After awhile, it was clear she wasn't ready to leave this other man... neither financially nor emotionally. I mean, they had trips planned. Trips. Plus, she liked the house they lived in. It had a pool and a yard and was close to where she worked. I had a pool and a yard as well, but we couldn't just have her move in with me straight out of leaving another man. First of all, he would murder us both. Second, how could I ever trust her? She's a proven adulteress.

We said a few tearful final goodbyes in between caving in to our desires and fucking ourselves raw and practically cannibalizing each other. It was hot. Finally, we got the chance to spend an entire day together - to play house. Her boyfriend was visiting relatives in another State, and she had the house to herself. It's not cheating if they are in a different zip code, right?

It started out okay, but soon turned into bickering and aggravation. Couldn't agree on where to eat. Couldn't agree on what movie to watch. Couldn't agree on much of anything except that we were fighting a lot.

We nitpicked at each others flaws which glared at us through our sunglasses in the light of day. We had previously only seen each other in the middle of the night in the safety and shroud of darkness. What's there to argue about when you're laying in bed naked with the lights out?

At the end of our long day and night, we parted ways sweetly but impatiently. We had minimal contact over the next few days. We both kept ourselves busy with our lives. Then we decided to see each other again, but neither of us put in enough effort to make it actually happen.

She called me up and told me she didn't think she would ever be able to live with me. Not that this was totally our plan, but it was something that had never left the table as a possibility if we were able to free her from her current shackles and if we could somehow erase fear and doubt about each other given what we had been doing with each other behind everyone's backs.

She said she didn't think we would work as a couple. She said she saw too many red flags with me. She knew she couldn't deal with it in the long run. Red flags? Was she serious? She's an adulteress cheater who found me and sought me out... that's a huge fucking red flag that I had been ignoring this entire time. The irony of it all, and the nerve of her to call me out on my red flags. One of which was that I was acting annoyed at her constantly correcting everything I said. Another was that I corrected her on something in front of one of my friends which embarrassed her. And yet another was that I leave my socks on the floor.

I'm sorry, but men leave their socks on the floor. It's a fact of life. Fucking deal with it.

Our love was not meant to be in the end. We both moved on and said our bittersweet goodbyes. We resented each other just a little bit. I don't know what ever became of her relationship with that guy. I don't know if she ever told him or what. I never got beat up or stabbed, so perhaps not. Maybe she's forgotten about it by now.

This is what I think about when someone says they see red flags with me. Well, holy shit... red flags, eh? Better not try to get involved with me then. It could end up with us breaking up at some point. We wouldn't want that.

As a serial monogamist and as the child of parents who divorced after 30 years of marriage, I don't know that I believe in relationships that last forever. In fact, I'm sure none of them do. All relationships end at some point - either they break it off or someone dies or circumstances beyond their control part them... they make movies about it all the time.

Even though nothing lasts forever, that doesn't mean you shouldn't try it out. I mean, roller coaster rides are intense fun for a few minutes and then the cars come to a stop and you're back to where you started out and you have to go back to the end of the line again. People take drugs for a temporary high knowing full well that the feeling will soon end and leave them worse off. In this way, people can be like drugs.

People who say they see red flags are just making excuses. The reality is that they just don't want to bother. You've killed whatever buzz was there before to the point that they can easily just walk away from you. It's a meaningless statement. I see red flags in everything - big huge warning labels on everything fun. The best food is the worst for you. The funnest rides are the most dangerous. The best sex is the wrong kind. Red flags to me just indicate something is going to be more interesting. I'm gonna start seeking out red flags. Fuck it.

All of my favorite and most memorable relationships were with people who I knew were completely wrong for me from the beginning. One of the last girls I dated was perfect. Gorgeous, tall, smart, sweet, funny and with zero baggage. She was also fucking BOOOOOORRRRIINNNNGGGG. When she dumped me, I was relieved. In fact, if the relationship had gone on any longer, I would've cheated on her and told her about it just to get out of it with no chance of getting back into it (I'm exaggerating - I'm not a cheater).

We're all flawed human beings. We all do horrible shit. If you are perfect, then you're boring. If you don't have a few red flags waving over your head, then you're doing it wrong. And fuck everyone who dumped me over some red flags. You're not perfect enough to judge me in that way... glass houses and stone throwing and all of that. When you point out flaws in other people, you're really pointing them out in yourself... pointing a finger means there are 3 pointing back at you and all of that.

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