I love this Maya Angelou quote because it speaks to such a common problem for women. Far too many women have a hard time seeing what’s right in front of them. They seem to want to assume the best in people, even when the people themselves tell them not to. I work with women all the time who come into my office and tell me about a guy they’re dating and how great he is. When I ask more questions, it’s often clear that he’s really not this great guy. In fact, it’s also pretty clear that even the guy himself wouldn’t say he was. Of course there are always exceptions, however, guys will often tell or show women their “issues” almost immediately.
Below are several examples of men showing or sharing their issues and the subsequent surprise by the women when these issues turn into problems later on:
• Sam told Sarah that he had little time to date due to a heavy workload and his kids. Six months later, Sarah is upset that Sam is always working.
• Fred told Sally on their first date that she had better never come between him and his friends, as his last girlfriend had. Eight months later, Sally was beside herself that Fred was going out every weekend with his friends and not coming home until 3 a.m. most weekend nights.
• Kevin informed Mary before they even went on their first date that he likes to drink and have a good time. On their second date Kevin got drunk and couldn’t drive them home. Two years later, Mary’s making plans to leave Kevin due to his drinking problem.
Women, you have to wake up and dare to see what’s right in front of you. If there’s a problem when you are dating, that problem is only going to get bigger as the relationship becomes more serious. Men often will show you their issues almost from the start. Keep your eyes open, listen carefully and don’t ignore the reality, thinking you will change him. The reality is:
• If he drinks a lot when you are dating…he will likely develop a drinking problem down the road.
• If he had an affair prior to your relationship…he will likely have one in your relationship.
• If he snaps and gets short with you or others…he likely has issues with anger.
• If he tells “harmless” lies to you and his friends…he is likely to tell bigger lies later on.
• If he’s had multiple jobs and is unemployed…employment is likely to be an ongoing issue in his life.
I could go on and on about worrisome behaviors that women should watch out for, but no list is going to protect women from getting burned if they keep their eyes closed. Women, you have to be courageous enough to see what’s right in front of you. You have to be daring enough to actually listen to what the men are telling you. And you have to be strong enough to have your back and walk away early when you see a big issue right in front of you that the other person is not willing to work on or change. Don’t assume you will change him. Don’t assume that he will fall so in love with you that he will do anything for you. Assume instead that whatever is the issue in front of you now is going to grow bigger tomorrow. Do not sacrifice your best interest for a hope of things to come. They seldom come.
Challenge: Dare to see the red flags. Dare to hear a man’s message. And dare to walk away early before you have the 2.5 kids, white picket fence and a family in turmoil.