Tuesday, August 14, 2012

"The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags: relationship warning signs you totally spotted...but chose to ignore" by Natasha Burton, Julie Fishman, and Meagan McCrary

Red Flag (noun): 1. a sign of danger. 2 The points in time when you notice something is a tad off with the guy you're dating, but decide to let it go because you really like him, you're tired of being single, you really really want to get laid, whatever. When things start going downhill, you look back on that seemingly insignificant moment you dismissed and think: That's when I should have known.

You've done it before. Saw something wrong with him - whether it was suspect grooming habits or ridiculously childish behavior - but let it slide. It's not the big of a deal. Except it totally was. You wanted to fall in love, but ended up going insane. You swore you'd never do it again. But did. Don't beat yourself up. In the search for love, we've all either blatantly ignored or completely missed red flags. Instead, smarten up. It's time to figure out what you missed and learn how to avoid similar flagtastic fiascos in the future. If you raise your red-flag awareness now, you'll be able to greenlight a real relationship down the road.

Again, another fun find at work! This book reminded me a bit of "He's Just Not That Into You" but from the girlfriend perspective, which means this book is a lot more honest and much less "you're so fab, and you know you deserve more". Don't get me wrong; I loved Greg Behrendt's book (and totally wish I'd had it when I had really needed it, as I was happily married when it came out), but his book had a lot of "you go girl!" attitude in it. Looking back, I felt like he was trying to warn while giving a pep talk. Red Flags is much more "holy crap, girl! What the f*ck are you thinking!" - the sort of things you'd expect your girlfriends to tell you when you're out dissing on your boyfriend and his foibles.

The flags are pretty much all here, everything from him being childish (ie, loving his farts, belching, not being able to mention lady parts without bursting into fits of giggles) to the narcissist who just loves himself. I loved the sections about how he and his family interact because that dynamic really can tell you a lot. Also watch out for guys who obviously see you as more of a friend, will not admit you're the girlfriend, and make it perfectly clear that they're not looking to be committed long-term or be married (I was "involved" with a guy that hit almost every red flag in this section, which of course, makes me wonder about my own sanity at the time).

What's great about this book is that it's not just a man-bashing, run-while-you-can book, which it totally could have turned into. The authors are always quick to point out that a red flag doesn't necessarily mean it's time to cut and run; it just means that you need to stop and think long and hard about the fact that this flag exists. Is it something that you can talk to him about, perhaps something he isn't aware of? Is he receptive to your observations? If so, then great - you two can work on this issue and come out a stronger, happier couple. If the guy looks at you like you just grew a second head, you need to watch out. And if he turns it all around on you, especially if he becomes abusive in any way, then yes - RUN. Some things just cannot be overcome and it's better to get out while it's still possible.

Overall, I would say this is excellent little advice book. And don't be fooled by the rather-young ages of the authors; these red flags can happen to us at any age. Men can and do behave badly well into adulthood - just look at the classic "mid-life crisis" type of guy!

No comments: