When you’ve been divorced twice, as I have, you start asking yourself questions:
Could I be the problem, not the women I’ve married?
Are women running from me, not just the relationship?
Am I fatally flawed when it comes to marriage?
I can’t answer those questions, but I wonder. In fact, I’ve been wondering more since I saw a book called Beware the Red Flag Man: What Mothers Wish Their Daughters Could Know.
We all know to watch for red flags in a relationship. But what if a person themselves is a big red flag? And what if that describes me? (And perhaps you.)
I wanted to read Beware the Red Flag Man to see if it hit home. I hoped it didn’t.
“Learning all about the Red Flag Man will give you knowledge to make wiser choices,” writes the author, Jana Cole Bertrand.
She divides the book into three parts:
- How Will You Know Him When You Meet Him?
- How Are You Affected When You Are With Him?
- What Do You Do For Yourself?
The first part is the most significant. Bertrand gives 10 characteristics of the Red Flag Man. For instance, he lies, seeks control, demands attention, commits adultery, and inflicts physical or verbal abuse, she says.
It’s tempting to say I’m not guilty of any of the above. But am I? Maybe I should look closer.
What about lying? Well, maybe I did bend the truth at times or spin it to my benefit when I was married.
“Lying gets only easier with time and turns into a negative lifelong habit, especially with Red Flag Men,” Bertrand writes.
Let’s move down her list. I never considered myself controlling in my marriages. Was I?
“Do you notice that you are never consulted on any decisions no matter how insignificant?” the author asks women. “Is your opinion made to look useless or invalid?”
Next on her list: demanding attention. Surely I’m innocent here. I consider myself low key and willing to take a back seat. Am I?
“A Red Flag Man not only insists on being number one, but also has a need for admiration,” Bertrand writes. “He loudly dominates conversations, often exaggerating points in his favor.”
Beware the Red Flag Man made me think. Obviously, I have flaws and share responsibility for my two failed marriages.
I think it’s beneficial to conduct a personal inventory of my character while I’m single. I doubt I’ll marry again, but I might surprise myself and walk the aisle.
If I do, I don’t want my flaws to wreck the marriage.
Be honest with yourself. You’re not perfect. Your ex-wife likely had some valid reasons for wanting to split. Work on your issues that could drive women away.