Why Do We Ignore Red Flags In Relationships?I hit my dating rock bottom and learn about my rose coloured glasses.

I will never forget it. I was living with my girlfriend of about a year at the time. Our relationship was not perfect, but convinced it was worth continuing. In one humiliating instant, she punched me in the arm. In that moment, it was as if all of the years of dating, all my mistakes, all my lovers’ mistakes, all the pain of every fight, every breakup, every dysfunctional day with every woman I ever cared about came straight up against the realization that I had enough. My dating history flashed before my eyes and I couldn’t help but wonder, “20 years of dating, and this is where I am?” I was at my dating rock bottom. In that instant, I made a promise to myself: No more unhealthy relationships. There had to be a better way.

Over the weeks that followed, after moving out and moving on, one thought replayed in my mind: what did I miss? I wondered how I dated Ex for so long and completely missed the aggression red flag. Another thought prickled at the back of my mind: or had I?

Red flags are the bits of awareness we get that tell us something is wrong in the relationship. When it comes to dating, what is the antidote for wearing rose colored glasses? Why do we ignore red flags?

Here are 3 big reasons why I ignored the red flags in my toxic relationship.

1. I saw things for how I wanted them to be and ignored everything else.

The truth is the aggression was there very early on, like when she stormed off and didn’t speak to me for days. More importantly, compatibility-wise, I need to be with someone who uses words to communicate. Aggression, punishing behaviors, and emotional shut down are extreme communication fails in my book. I realized that when it comes to dating, I tended to see people for who I wanted them to be. One way we can do that is to make excuses and believe their words over behaviors. When I finally got real with myself, it came down to one thing – the trade off for the illusion of a stable relationship outweighed my desire to see the real person.

2. I moved too fast.

Some human biology experts explain our tendency to attach quickly as a result of the chemicals that are released during sex that behave in the body like an addictive drug. While that may be true, I realized that there is one reason why I have moved too fast in relationships: I like being in them. So things like no sex until the third date or no moving in together until you’ve dated a year just brought up a rebelliousness in me. And like any good rebel, I did just the opposite, had sex on the first date, moved in very quickly, sometimes without ever talking about what it would be like. Ha! I sure showed them. The problem with fast is that it creates a false sense of urgency that is exciting but not based on reality and in the end is not sustainable. We’re practically married by the time something comes up that we can no longer ignore.

3. I lost my swagger.

My life was in a major transition when I started dating Ex. I wasn’t feeling particularly at the top of my game. After a very stressful year, I was exhausted and low. To borrow an Usher lyric: But that bad news, that I can’t get my swagger back. While this dip in swagger is normal in the ebb and flow of life, it does not provide a nutrient-rich breeding ground for love relationships. It’s no wonder I ignored red flags – I wouldn’t’ t have known what to do with them anyway. Looking back, I realize now that I couldn’t stop that difficult period of my life from happening. But I learned that those moments are not the time for me to get into relationships.

These days, I accept that I have a tendency to wear rose-colored glasses, a desire to connect, and am not always at the top of my game. My goal now is to notice red flags sooner. After all, isn’t all we can ever do is to be a little bit better today than yesterday?