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Boundary Issues Red Flags

Hobbyist posted 5/18/2019 21:28 PM

Just curious - I'm in the post-breakup analysis phase, and I'm wondering what boundary issue red flags people have seen? Interesting stories welcome!

Phoenix1 posted 5/19/2019 01:42 AM

I guess my biggest one is just watching whether actions match words.

With my SO I truly just sat back and listened to what he said and compared to what he did. It was all in sync, and that was important to me. I was married to "Prince Charming" in words. He could say words that would charm the panties off of anyone he put his sights on. Even his actions, such as the typical "how does he treat wait staff," was non-problematic. He charmed everyone. It was how he acted "behind the scenes " that I learned to watch. Little things. Little expressions that truly spoke volumes. That's where I found my red flags with Xhole, and that's what I watched with SO. It was night/day difference once I knew what to watch for.

But then, not everyone is a raging psychopath like Xhole, so maybe my training ground was a little extreme compared to most. Still good lessons to learn!

Hobbyist posted 5/20/2019 13:08 PM

Mine is looking at boundary issues in most-recent XGF, she's not wayward to me, but has cheated in the past. She had an inability to say no, and an inability to say what she needs - she just danced around things, hoping whoever was on the other side would read her mind.

I remember listening to her describe interactions with her ex to me, and I'd always wonder, "how did your response really voice how you felt?", and she'd always complain about them not understanding or responding how she wanted them to. She'd be overly nice in the interaction, then voice how annoyed she was privately. It took me several weeks to realize I WAS NOW ON THE RECEIVING SIDE OF THIS after we broke up. She couldn't just say what she was thinking, she'd be overly nice to me, then finally I realized, "ohhhh she actually hates me, but because she's being nice, I keep talking to her". It's a painful realization, but helpful I suppose.

The lesson I learned was to pay close attention to how someone talks about or interacts with their exes. If all their exes are crazy, odds are you'll be filed away with them at some point. I just can't believe it took me this long to figure that out.

And her inability to say no - she always said yes to everything, then would make up excuses later if she couldn't or didn't want to do something. She'd never just be honest up front and say "no, I can't do that".

HalfTime2017 posted 5/20/2019 14:33 PM

As a BS, obviously we look at things a bit differently when it comes to our old ex, and new exes.

I agree with Hobby, in that if your new crush is always trashing their exes, you will soon find yourself on that list. Thats a Narc, and probably best to heed the advice.

On my own experience, I've dealt with a new gal who was just way to close to her ex. It wasn't to my taste, again as a BS we try to stay far away from our WWs that have cheated and betrayed us, but there is also something awkward about those that stay too close. I walked away from that one, it was early, so no biggie, but that is one thing I'm not willing to put up with. That is a redflag for me.

The other is just what Phoenix said, Words vs Action. Actions speak louder than words. I am def. watching a lot closer.

Charity411 posted 5/20/2019 16:38 PM

I agree with the others about watching how they talk about their exes, or how often. I ended a relationship with a really nice guy over that. He couldn't talk about anything else. And at times it felt like he was using his venting about her as a blueprint for how he expected me to behave in our relationship.

An example is, he particularly had a need to be super dad to his daughter as a means of competition with his ex wife. I totally got that his kid came first, as did my daughter to me. But there were times when I felt like I was in a competition, and that he needed to prove he was a better father to his kid than I was a mother to mine. And it always referred back to what a lousy mom his ex wife was. There was literally nothing he would refuse his daughter, no matter what the cost. I would be criticized for not being the same with my daughter. I couldn't afford it, and even if I could I would have drawn the line.

I blundered through a few relationships thinking I had to fit their mold, and be what they wanted me to be. I learned. If you find yourself reacting uncomfortably to something they are suggesting you do, or expecting from you, pay attention to how you feel. Don't try to dismiss it as maybe you're overthinking things. That's what gets us into trouble. When we do that we slowly compromise our own expectations.

I recently realized I've come a long way in that regard. Super dad started contacting me a few months ago. We met for lunch a few times. I insisted on going dutch. He's a nice guy and it was nice to have male conversation. It took about three lunches to figure out nothing was different. His daughter was just 20 years older with a kid of her own. And he still never says no to her about anything. He pays her mortgage, babysits her daughter most of the week, mows her grass, and buys her cars. Good for him if that's what he wants to do. Just don't expect everyone to do that for their kids. Some of us have the sense to know it's not the healthiest thing on the planet. So I just stopped meeting him for lunch because I don't want to spend my free time defending my parenting skills. I'm lonely but not that lonely.

Hobbyist posted 5/20/2019 20:03 PM

if your new crush is always trashing their exes, you will soon find yourself on that list. Thats a Narc
I learned this lesson the VERY HARD way. I still have trouble with how she views me now, and that I missed the signs that were so clear in hindsight. Her ex is a narc, and though I don't think she's full-on narc, a lot of bad habits seemed to have rubbed off on her.

Dating is funnnn!

Furious1 posted 5/21/2019 10:17 AM

One of the earliest red flags was the warning from my co-workers when they found out that I was planning on going out on a date with XWH. My co-workers told me that XWH was trouble and to stay away from him.

Looking back, XWH was very elusive about what he was doing and who he was spending time with whenever we weren't around each other. My red flag should have been that he really did not want to share his life with me. What little I did find out, other people would tell me in passing or I had to pry just to find that out. Since I worked a lot and was a single mother at the time, I shrugged it off and trusted him to tell me what he wanted me to know whenever he was ready for me to know it. But that never happened and he went to great lengths to keep me isolated so that I could not meet any of his friends outside of my sister and one of his roommates. But even back then, there was a total double standard on this because he expected to know where I was and who I was with, but hid it behind a veil of concern for my well-being.

Red flag that XWH started taking up more and more of my spare time when I wasn't at work. Anytime I wanted to hang out with any of my friends, he wanted to come along or he would suddenly have something really cool that he wanted me to go do with him. That was not a coincidence as he sought to strain my friendships and isolate me from any sources of support or to isolate me from any version of events that wasn't his own crazy making mind games. But it was so subtle that I totally missed it until he became my only friend and only person to hang out with.

The biggest red flag that I blew right past was how XWH trash talked his exes. If I had listened carefully, I would have realized that he was telling me many of his abusive expectations and double standards as I was getting to know him while also testing me on whether or not I would call him out for how full of shit he was. XWH blamed all of his financial problems on his ex-wife and his former roommate. There was a tiny element of truth in his claims, but not enough to explain away the extreme financial jam he was in.

XWH also talked at great length about the tiny infractions that his exes committed that (according to him) gave him legitimate grounds to cheat on them, stay out all night, steal something from them, etc. All of these infractions centered around his exes hanging out with other people and not allowing him to keep them isolated. With his first girlfriend, he bragged about throwing her out as punishment for hanging out with a co-worker and not coming straight home after she got off of work. She had to move in with the co-worker because she had nowhere else to go.

With his ex-wife, he bragged about cheating on her as punishment because she chose to hang out with her classmates (she was still in high school when they married). With his ex-girlfriend before me, he punished her by cheating on her with her frienemy in retaliation for him not being invited to her birthday party. The list of stories goes on and on, but the underlying message was that he expected total devotion from his partners and any failure to revolve your world around what he wanted and to be at his beckon call at all times resulted in him punishing them.

So now, I pay a lot of attention to anyone who blames someone else for how they conduct themselves or that brags about getting even with anyone for anything or even about any hint of an expectation that others have to do what they want. I will pay attention to those red flags now.

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