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Red flags - did you see them when you were together?

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dmari posted 6/21/2013 03:55 AM

I was just talking with my cousin about this lovely (being sarcastic) divorce journey. Looking back, I see so much "red flags" but when stbx and I were together, these flags were invisible. Not really but you know what I mean. My cousin and I were pretending to literally look behind us and visualize hundreds and hundreds red flags ... so much that it looked like a forest fire!

I think these flags were never "invisible" but when we were together, I either ignored it, minimized it or kept my fingers crossed that he would change. That's definitely on me. But why didn't I acknowledge the red flags?

Is it just me or have any of you processed something similar? What insight do you now have?

Bravenewgirl posted 6/21/2013 05:05 AM

Oh hella yes! There were hundreds! Our home looked like a Canada Day party from all the red flags.

There was one time he made a debit card purchase at the store next to OWs house at 8 pm on a Friday, and it showed on the bank records. He gave me some cockamamie story about having taken the bus 5 stops past where he was supposed to get off, walked 3 blocks into a residential neighbourhood, bought smokes, and then walked back to the bus stop and took the bus back the other way to go home. All because he felt like "going for a walk". I asked him point blank then if he was cheating, but he stuck to his walk story.

Sheesh, I didn't really believe him, but I didn't pursue it either, because I didn't really want my world blown apart. Denial is powerful.

There was also the fact that he had no confidence, and was an empty vessel that had to be filled with praise and validation every day in order to function. When I got too tired to give it too him, he went and found it somewhere else.
That woman blew so much sunshine up his ass that he needed SPF 50 for his rectum. One of her emails referred to him as her "king".

Now, what NPD asshole could resist that?

[This message edited by Bravenewgirl at 5:07 AM, June 21st (Friday)]

Dreamboat posted 6/21/2013 06:51 AM

I now know that my X is a chameleon, changing to fit whoever he is currently living with. He is a hollow man who fills himself with whoever he is with. So it was hard to see the red flags with him because he hid it so well.

But his family? omg, they live in a sea of red flags. And THOSE I did see. But I did not understand FOO issues back then. My X did not act like them when he was with me so I thought he was ok.

When OW (a family member) entered the picture things got really weird because he was molding himself to be like me at times and to be like her at times. He kinda switched between the 2 when all 3 of us were together. It was weird and I thought I was crazy. I literally thought I was crazy. And that is when his red flags started popping into view. Luckily it only took me 4 months to figure out that something was just not right between X and OW and then dday occurred. But it took me a few years to figure out what was wrong with X and to realize he was not capable of real love and simply exists as a shadow of someone else.

time2grow posted 6/21/2013 07:10 AM

Yep, I had blinders on, I didn't want to see the issues and it didn't work out to well. I've been D for 2 1/2 years now and I can see things from the very start. For being as painful as it all was, I'm thankful for the personal growth I have gained.

debbysbaby posted 6/21/2013 08:03 AM

I ignored so many, I am ashamed of myself. Now I tend to be hyper aware of red flags.

7yrsflushed posted 6/21/2013 08:47 AM

Yes, red flags all over the place that got progressively worse over the years but I ignored them and evidently I had the ability to throughly gaslight myself.

Let's see, the statement about "she thought about stepping out on me", the hotel charge on the credit card that was suppsoedly for her friend, coming home late from the club at 3:00 in the morning when everything closes around 1:30am, calling her asking where she is and she says the movies but I can't hear anything in the background. It was never ending. Seriously Saturday Night Live could make a skit about me and my ability to miss red flags and have material for days.

tesla posted 6/21/2013 08:52 AM

Yes, there were many red flags. If I had been more experienced in dating, I probably would have picked up on them and kicked his crazy ass to the curb a looooong time ago. Alas, I had my own issues and I figured I could love him out of his brokeness.

chikastuff posted 6/21/2013 08:54 AM

I ignored so many, I am ashamed of myself. Now I tend to be hyper aware of red flags.

This. Exactly.

trumanshow posted 6/21/2013 08:55 AM

Nope. None for 25 years

SBB posted 6/21/2013 09:17 AM

Yes. It is one of my greatest regrets. I lied so much to myself that I really am mourning the man I convinced myself I had married.

Truth is I fell in love with the mask. I knew it was a mask, I had seen glimpses of what was under it too many times than I care to count.

One major one was his love of grand gestures - the big romantic display. But there was always with a tax. It got so bad I would start looking for the tax without even enjoying the grand gesture or display.

Another was his intrinsic selfishness in everything that he did. Even the 'selfless' stuff was all to aid him in his martyrdom. He did all of the cooking, all of the shopping. What a great husband.... its hard to complain that such a 'great' husband is incredibly unkind. I don't know which bubble I didn't want to burst more - theirs or mine.

The doozy though and the one that was so familiar to me that it made me feel safe in a toxic way was his penchant for destructive behaviour. Drinking too much, eating too much, working too much, watching TV too much, being a shit husband too much - whatever he did he did too much.

I thought my love and our children's love could fill that black hole inside of him. Sadly all it did was make the hole bigger. The more he was loved the less loveable and worthy of that love he felt.

Turns out he was right. He was less loveable and less worthy of that love than I could ever have imagined. He is right to loathe himself. He is loathsome.

Turns out I am a master rugsweeper too - I always have been. That there was a big revelation. The way I coped with my toxic childhood was to disappear into the wallpaper. I did the same thing in that M.

I'm trying to work through the enormous amount of shame I feel about all of the red flags within myself. I spent most of my energy trying to convince myself that it really wasn't as bad as it felt. But it so was.

sparkysable posted 6/21/2013 09:23 AM

That woman blew so much sunshine up his ass that he needed SPF 50 for his rectum. One of her emails referred to him as her "king".

Now, what NPD asshole could resist that?

RyeBread posted 6/21/2013 09:40 AM

Oh geez, looking back there were some many red flags you'd think I was a member of the Chinese communist party.

I am also ashamed I let those things go. At the time I thought since I was married I needed to be committed no matter what. That I should accept certain things I didn't like because if you love someone you overlook the bad. Boy was I wrong.

I learned that taking care of myself and my boundaries is priority number 1! Won't be making that same mistake again.

Lola2kids posted 6/21/2013 09:40 AM

Oh hell yes.
I was going to quote a bunch of stuff I agree with here but it would just copy the whole thread again.

I saw the red flags. I rugswept. Some I ignored. Some I didn't see until after he moved out.

I still find some now and again.

It's a struggle now to find one real happy memory that isn't tainted in some way. Some vacation that wasn't ruined at least one of the days.

I agree 100% with Strongbutbroken's post.
I suspect you are my twin from Down Under SBB.

(((Hugs to us all)))

Dawn58 posted 6/21/2013 09:49 AM

Great topic.....I had no idea what narcissism was, so I am not sure what red flags I should have looked for?? Can you all share with me what some of those red flags are?

He fell in love very quickly (back in high school), but the when he came back into my life 8 years ago, I ignored that. Just thought it was a continuation of what he felt in High School. I take that should have been a huge warning and sign.

He woo'd me and I fell for it. As the relationship went on, things changed. He started to withdraw more. His temper was an issue with me - would get so angry over the smallest thing. He had total control over the money. He was obsessed with cars, bought several dozen cars over the time we were together, then spent hours and hours on the internet looking for car parts.

He had a lot of stuff - 6 containers of deoderant - he was fastidious in his grooming. Get out of the shower, powder his butt (yes, he did), antiseptic on his private parts, lotion, aftershave lotion, used a electric razor after using a regular razor in the shower, brylcream in his hair, trim the ear hair and nose hair and nails, cream on his feet, antifungal stuff on his toenails. I could take a shower, get dressed and dry my hair in the time it took him to shower and finish grooming!!!

He was so picky about how the house looked, spent hours cleaning the house, treating all the little spots on the carpet, keep things immaculate.

What other people thought of him was so important, putting forth that false self - Mister congeniality, Mister Bank President with the same, old tired stories.

Wearing the designer suits, making sure his appearance was perfect.

AS the relationship went on - constant demands to rub his back, neck, arm and head at night so he could sleep, would even wake me up to rub his back. Driving in the car, constant touch - rubbing his arms and legs.

Could never question him, that was seen as criticism and his rage would flair.

I went back to school a few years ago to pursue my passion. He said that school became my number one priority, not him, so that's why the marriage fell apart. I still hear his words and since that is the only thing that makes sense, a reason for him to have the affair, the joy I felt about pursuing my passion, is gone......He spent 15 to 16 hours a day at work, which is one of the reasons I went back to school. I needed to do something for myself, to fill up my time while he was at work.

He always told me that "this wasn't about me". Any time we argued about something, his come back was that. No matter what it was - never understood that comment.

Towards the end, he turned really nasty. Treated me with contempt. I was so confused. The affair had been going on for 4 months when I found the text messages. He was always out late - Monday through Thursdays he would come home between 9 and 10. Now, I don't know how many of those evenings were spent with her. He traveled for work, again, I don't know if he took her with him.

He started to masturbate quire frequently the last couple of weeks I lived with him (did it while he was lying in bed next to me, as if I wasn't even there), did not understand this sudden resurgence of his libido. He stopped making love to me a while ago. I tried to talk to him about it and as long as I initiated lovemaking, he went along with it. He stopped initiating a couple of years ago. Is that another sign?

I feel like I was such a fool. I was completely deceived and blindsided when I found the string of text messages. I did not look any further on his computer when I found the one string. I found out what I needed to find.

I never want to make the same mistake again. I am so afraid to even think about dating because I do not want another liar or cheater in my life. I will NEVER go through this heartbreak again.....

dmari posted 6/21/2013 10:26 AM

Phew ... I am so glad it's not just me! After reading everyone's post, I realized that we are such an amazing and insightful bunch of people with integrity and the willingness to evolve into even better people even when we are in the middle of a shit storm! Love you all!!

Thank you for the reassurance and sharing your story!

brokenandconfuse posted 6/21/2013 10:40 AM

Yes for me too. I was 18 when I started dating him with no other longterm relationship experience. I blame most of mine on innocence. That is certainly gone now. I will never love or trust someone again like I did him.

Faithful w/Love posted 6/21/2013 10:41 AM

Ton's that our whole house should of been the color Red.
I let everything go, I would confront and get all pissy and then let it go. Dumb of me I know. I just didn't want to believe it all.

I mean I think I had so many STOP signs in my face that I was trying to look for the Green light anywhere I could and follow that. IF I would have not Ran those damn Red light. Geesh! Boy I should be in jail for that.... LOL....

kernel posted 6/21/2013 10:49 AM

In retrospect, there were red flags in the months before Dday, but nothing before that. Really, it seems like he just lost his shit almost over night.

I used to feel really stupid and embarrassed about not seeing what was right in front of my face. My counselor friends reminded me that I trusted my spouse so why would I be looking for red flags? Basically, he used my trust to further cover his cheating. It's all on him, not me. Something to think about.

Vulcanized posted 6/21/2013 10:57 AM

Yup, there were plenty. The vast majority I was too dumb/naive/un-saavy to register what they meant, tho.

There were certain things I felt a general sense of unease or just being off balance, but couldn't figure out why. There was something about him that always bothered me, but it was tenuous enough that I couldn't even articulate, even to myself, what it was.

There were certain events, that, in retrospect, I can not believe how naive I was.

Despite now having a PhD in what the hell red flags are, I am still terrified of dating again.

beforeandafter posted 6/21/2013 11:31 AM

Red flags could have been a field of poppies as far as I could see. As far as her A's went, the flags were almost too numerous to count. Sudden bouts of furious fitness, different grooming of the nether regions, new underwear, lack of interest in sex, constant and compulsive deleting of phone histories. Yah it is safe to say that at some point I stepped over the trust line to doormat.

But really the most important red flag was a revelation for me yesterday. I have recently become friends with someone in the same line of work as STBXW, which was being a nurse's assistant. When my STBXW would deal with post mortem care, she would talk about the mechanical aspects, the evacuation of bodily fluids, rigormortis, and all the ins and outs of preparing the corpse for a funeral home. When I talked to my new friend, it was all about the emotion of it all, the connection that you have with being a dying person's caregiver, and having to say goodbye to them. It was a sad and stark contrast into the mind of what I am convinced has some degree of sociopathy. Even while caring for a child who had passed, my STBXW was cold. I know it sounds weird, but how could you not notice the red flags of being with someone who does not possess authentic human emotions? Somehow I did.

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