You don’t get to be 38 and single without a few good (or not so good) dating stories, am I right? I’ve had my share of Jerry Springer episode moments and it’s just about led me to quitting altogether. But I do happen to have a few friends/family members with excellent spouses and good marriages so all hope is not lost quite yet. After a particularly eye opening experience recently I went for a good hard run and my creative juices got flowing and this little nugget was born.
This is really just a mental checklist as I’m getting to know someone, not an actual conversation specifically, but who knows, maybe one day it will come to that. It might seem blunt, but here’s to keeping it real.
Connection: How did we meet? Mutual friends? Hobbies? Employer?
Red flags include online/dating apps, no mutual friends or hobbies, co-worker status.
Employment: Are you employed? How long have you been employed? Have you ever been terminated? Do you have large gaps in your employment?
Red flags include prolonged lack of employment, termination for cause.
Education: Have you completed a post-high-school program? How long did it take you? Did you attend multiple colleges?
Red flags include failure to complete programs started, mid-program switching.
Family: Living relatives? Parents divorced? Previous marriage? Children? Want to marry and/or have children?
Red flags include weak/non-existent family relationships, divorce for adultery or physical violence, no custody/visitation rights, not keen on marriage.
Friends: Do you have them? Can I meet them? Are they married/single/dating?
Red flags for none, secret, all single.
Spirituality – Were you raised in church? Do you attend church regularly? What type/style/brand?
Red flags for lack of moral compass, acceptance, forgiveness, joy, family values.
Finances – Do you have a plan? An advisor? Have you ever declared bankruptcy? Do you pay taxes? Do you give money to others (charities, not your mooching friends)? Do you talk about money a lot? Do you expect women owe you something because you bought them [fill in the blank]?
Red flags for stability, intelligence, misaligned priorities, chivalry or lack thereof, manipulation, generosity.
Were/are you in the military or law enforcement? For how long? If left, why? Serve overseas? Active combat?
Red flags for oh so many things.
Have you ever been in a fight – knife, gun, hand to hand combat? Have you been wounded or inflicted wounds requiring medical treatment.
Red flags for violence, PTSD, anger management.
Do you own guns? Conceal carry? Hunt? Maintain gun skills regularly?
Red flags for extreme views, mental instability, unsafe practices.
Travel – Do you have a passport? Have you left the country? Other than to tropical islands?
Red flags for lack of cultural perspective/world view.
Sports – Team or individual? Competitive or recreational? Obsessed or easy going? Extreme or mainstream? Financial commitment within your means?
Red flags for egomania, inappropriate spending, adultery, strava obsessing, or cross-fitting (sorry friends, personal preference).
Social habits – Do you drink, frequent bars, use recreational or performance enhancing drugs? Are you a foodie? Do you stay home all the time?
Red flags for alcoholism, drugs (obvi), excessive instagram posts, possible hermit/loner.
Living arrangement – Have you ever owned a home? Do you currently? Is it on wheels/water? Is there a housemate? Pets? Is it clean? Does it smell?
Red flags for commitment, responsibility, independence, hygiene.
Do you have any interesting or unique talents, interests, hobbies?
Extra points for travel, boating, cycling, vegan cooking, foreign languages.
Some of these may seem obvious, some extreme, some not your style. That’s okay. Like I said, it’s born from my experience and my expectations. If you’re reading this and you’ve dated me, don’t try to find yourself in there, or do, personal development is good. Lord knows I need it too! And of course some of my comments are tongue in cheek, no hate mail please.