Danielle Sepulveres
September 28, 2015 8:12 am

That feeling when a crush takes hold of you? There’s little else that can make me feel that giddy. Getting up early in the morning, even as the confirmed night owl that I am, can feel exciting if I know my day includes seeing that person. Annoyances like a delayed train making me late for work or the rainy weather making my hair not cooperate can melt away in the dreamy state in which I have found myself. But you know what else can melt away on occasion? My common sense.

Oh yes. In the midst of imagining first kisses, thinking about what it will feel like to run my fingers through his thick John Stamos-esque hair, and how cute we will look Instagramming pictures in front of my fireplace this fall, I sometimes fail to notice things. Why? Because that’s no fun! And why nitpick on what could be inconsequential when I’m having such overwhelming feelings of attraction? Crushes and infatuation can make your vision hazy and your brain prone to overlook behavior that is trying to send up the red flag of “hold on there, this may not be the right person for you.” So I’m here to explain some of the signs I should have noticed immediately in my dating past if I could have managed to find my way through the dreamy mist of falling in (ill-advised) love.

They keep apologizing for everything

I dated a guy once who it seemed was always begging for forgiveness for one thing or another. And because it was never anything to do with cheating or lying, I usually acquiesced to his pleading for my understanding. Until I realized that in a way he was abiding by the childlike attitude of “act and then ask for forgiveness” rather than risk my disapproval if we discussed things like an adult. The biggest offense was last minute before attending a wedding with me as my date, he had without telling me, decided to go out for a friend’s birthday. His late night partying led to him missing the ceremony and the first part of the reception, leaving me to awkwardly explain his absence to my family. While profusely apologizing later, he sheepishly admitted that he hadn’t told me about going out the night before because he figured I would tell him not to, since we had to get up so early for the wedding. Everything about this kind of behavior screams of a lack of respect for me and our time together. It finally hit me that this was a pattern with him, and he wasn’t someone who deserved my time, attention or my love.

Their actions don’t mirror their words

Compliments from your significant other are great. Declarations of intentions that are romantic, considerate, possibly long term? Even better. But if the person you’re dating isn’t putting these sentiments or plans into motion, it might be time to face the fact that the words are superficial. Going along with the excessive apologizing, if the person you’re dating continually says they’re sorry and they’ll make it up to you, but instead keeps engaging in actions that require further apologies, they’re probably not sorry. Those apologies aren’t heartfelt if there’s no hesitation to repeatedly hurt you, banking on your forgiveness. Saying “I’ll make it up to you” is an empty promise if you’re not seeing any follow up to prove it. Same goes for “I love you” and “you’re the most important person to me.” If you’re hearing that on a regular basis, but haven’t met any of their friends or family or been asked to spend important holidays together, it’s time to question the sincerity of what they’re saying.

You remember every detail concerning them but they’re not as attentive towards you

No one has a perfect memory. We’re all fallible humans, prone to forget things. We leave sunglasses on our heads and walk around for ten minutes desperately searching for them. But if you’re dating someone who cannot seem to retain the slightest bit of information about your likes and dislikes and your overall personal life, they’re not paying attention to you. For a while I dated a guy who constantly insisted he had a terrible memory whenever it annoyed me that he didn’t remember details that I not just mentioned in passing, but emphasized numerous times. I started to think that maybe I just had an incredibly accurate memory in comparison. Until the day we hung out and he said, “your Facebook status was so funny today, but who’s Fran?” I stared at him in shock. Fran is my mother and conservatively speaking I discuss her BY NAME about four times a day. He and I had been dating for three months. That was the nail in the coffin of that relationship.

You find yourself not making plans with others to stay available for their last minute whims

Once I was crushing hard on a guy who seemed to be just as into me. Until we got to the point of making plans to hang out on a more regular basis. If it wasn’t scheduling for that same day or the very next one, he would make vague comments about how he wasn’t sure what he was doing or what might pop up later in the week. Initially he called a lot for a last minute hangout and I assumed it meant he was just fun and spontaneous. But after a couple weeks it occurred to me that it actually meant that he didn’t want to make any future plans because he didn’t want to feel tied down which clearly meant he wasn’t looking for a girlfriend.

And guiltily I noticed that I had been quietly making a point to keep my social calendar mostly clear to accommodate this behavior, since the days I wasn’t free he would whine “oh but I really wanted to see you tonight!” False! If he really wanted to see me, he would have shown enough respect to understand my availability was not as his beck and call, and to put in a little effort towards planning. This showed me it was time to move on past him. And special addendum to this sign is the one we all know, which is when a person is only calling or texting late at night, it’s definitely the mark of someone we should NOT be falling for.

You’ve incorporated them into your daily routine but they have not done the same

My daily routine involves a pretty extensive work day which sometimes leaves very little free time during the week. But when I really care about someone I will forgo some sleep to get together. Most importantly I like a last call of the night. The person I talk to right before bed (unless I’m venting to my mom) tends to be the guy whom I’ve decided is worth it. And I make it clear that this means something. If you’re seeing someone who doesn’t have the slightest inclination to fit communication or time with you into their regular schedule, it’s time to think about whether it’s the right person. For a period of time I dated a guy who was a social media addict and posted every single thing he was doing at all times of the day. Except for when he was with me. As difficult as it was to face, I could see that he didn’t want to be perceived as a guy with a girlfriend by making me the sole person he didn’t incorporate into what was obviously his normal posting behavior. So it became time to swipe left on that relationship.

Everything feels like work

My mother always said to me when I was dating in my twenties, “Don’t fight so hard for something that’s not working!” I’ll admit I was probably addicted to the drama of some push and pull, but she was right. When someone really likes you? It’s as simple as asking them to hang out and them accepting. If they’re busy the day you suggest, they will pick another day. If it’s a hassle every time you try to go grab dinner or they invent imaginary obstacles to prevent you two from seeing each other, think about what this person would be like if a REAL problem arose.

But I’m not trying to take away the delightful feeling of getting to know someone and slipping deeper into that mushy bliss. Enjoy your crushes and feeling starry eyed. Just don’t forget that if he’s the right guy, he will easily see how amazing you are and treat you accordingly.

[Image via Warner Bros.]

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