User Topic: Red flags - did you see them when you were together?
Member # 37215
Default  Posted: 3:55 AM, June 21st (Friday)

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?

Me (BS): 42 Children: DD 19, DS 15
Settled at mediation
Officially divorced ... SOON!

Posts: 2191 | Registered: Oct 2012
Member # 36267
Default  Posted: 5:05 AM, June 21st (Friday)

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)]

Don't come around here no more
-Tom Petty

Posts: 661 | Registered: Jul 2012 | From: Canada
Member # 10506
Default  Posted: 6:51 AM, June 21st (Friday)

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.

And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off
-- Shake It Out, Florence And The Machine

Posts: 17628 | Registered: Apr 2006 | From: A better place :)
Member # 35983
Default  Posted: 7:10 AM, June 21st (Friday)

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.

Posts: 1721 | Registered: Jun 2012 | From: Missouri
Member # 32962
Default  Posted: 8:03 AM, June 21st (Friday)

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

-betrayed almost my whole almost 15 yr marriage
-divorced since 2004

Posts: 866 | Registered: Aug 2011
Member # 32258
Default  Posted: 8:47 AM, June 21st (Friday)

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.

D-day 5/24/11
BH = Me
2 children
The first true sense of calm I felt in YEARS was when I filed for D...
Divorced 9/2/14 and loving life!

Posts: 1903 | Registered: May 2011 | From: VA
Member # 34697
Default  Posted: 8:52 AM, June 21st (Friday)

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.

"Thou art the son and heir of a mongrel bitch." --King Lear

Posts: 4619 | Registered: Jan 2012 | From: Indiana
Member # 35288
Default  Posted: 8:54 AM, June 21st (Friday)

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

This. Exactly.

Me- 32
Happily engaged and moving on

Posts: 382 | Registered: Apr 2012 | From: New England
Member # 25624
Default  Posted: 8:55 AM, June 21st (Friday)

Nope. None for 25 years

Your ex wanting to be friends is like asking a kidnapper to stay in touch when they let you go.

The type of fierce loyalty that I possess made me incapable of comprehending the level of disloyalty that he possessed

Posts: 1747 | Registered: Sep 2009 | From: Charlotte, NC
Member # 35229
Default  Posted: 9:17 AM, June 21st (Friday)

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.

I may have reached a point where I'd piss on him if he was on fire.... eventually!!

Posts: 5554 | Registered: Apr 2012 | From: Australia
Member # 3703
Default  Posted: 9:23 AM, June 21st (Friday)

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?

D-day OW#1 2/2004; R for 6 years; D-day OW#2 5/2010

Marriages that start this way, stepping over the bodies of loved ones as the giddy couple walks down the aisle, are not likely to last.

Posts: 3341 | Registered: Mar 2004 | From: NY
Member # 37437
Default  Posted: 9:40 AM, June 21st (Friday)

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.

Let him that would move the world first move himself. - Socrates

Posts: 1030 | Registered: Nov 2012 | From: Midwest
Member # 32789
Default  Posted: 9:40 AM, June 21st (Friday)

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)))

BS: (Me) 47
Kids: twins DD(10)
D-Day April 18, 2011
Him:out Sept. 11, 2011
He moved to Europe June 27, 2014.
"They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder but I am growing more and more fond of his absence"

Posts: 1386 | Registered: Jul 2011 | From: Ontario, Canada
Member # 37656
Default  Posted: 9:49 AM, June 21st (Friday)

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.....

I got into the marriage, because I loved him. I got out of the marriage, because I love me.

Posts: 468 | Registered: Nov 2012 | From: Southern California
Member # 37215
Default  Posted: 10:26 AM, June 21st (Friday)

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!

Me (BS): 42 Children: DD 19, DS 15
Settled at mediation
Officially divorced ... SOON!

Posts: 2191 | Registered: Oct 2012
Member # 39381
Default  Posted: 10:40 AM, June 21st (Friday)

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.

2DS, 2DD
BS-Me 32
WH-Him 43
DDay-All 14 years of our relationship. 3PA's, 3 one night stands, and 6 EA's and still counting as we go. Gained enough strength to face it 11/2012

Getting Divorced

Posts: 101 | Registered: May 2013 | From: United States
Faithful w/Love
Member # 33128
Default  Posted: 10:41 AM, June 21st (Friday)

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....

BS(ME)40 WH(HIM)38
DD 19 and DS 15
Separated Aug 2012
Moved back home Oct 31 2013
False R. Still Lying.
Will be divorcing soon!
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have"!

Posts: 2661 | Registered: Aug 2011
Member # 27035
Default  Posted: 10:49 AM, June 21st (Friday)

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.

"On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good."

Posts: 5119 | Registered: Jan 2010 | From: Midwest
Member # 33523
Default  Posted: 10:57 AM, June 21st (Friday)

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.

Me: MH 40s; Him: MH 40s (I had RA)
OW: 30s, moron; one of many
M: 8 yrs
3/13: D'd
Everything is as it should be.

Posts: 747 | Registered: Oct 2011 | From: Vulcania
Member # 37618
Default  Posted: 11:31 AM, June 21st (Friday)

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.

Married 6-10-11
DDay 11-17-2012
DDay #2 6-5-13
Divorced 9-23-13

Posts: 123 | Registered: Nov 2012 | From: Midwest
Member # 38928
Default  Posted: 12:38 PM, June 21st (Friday)

Many red flags, but I so desperately wanted my M to work I stuck my head in the sand. Denial is VERY powerful.

One of the biggest was when I received an anonymous letter at work in the early 2000s. It told me about his A with OW#1. I confronted him, but I had no other proof. He gave me a big cover story that, given the situation, seemed plausible at the time. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and didn't pursue it. Not because I really believed him, but because I did not want our M to be destroyed when we had young children. I know now that the letter was absolutely correct. I still have that letter...

I am totally hyper vigilant now, and will never ignore red flags again for anyone. I am also trying to impress upon my kids that lesson in their own relationships because I don't ever want them to experience what I went through!

BS - Me
XPOS - too many OW/OCs over 20+yrs
Kids - DDs 22,17 -DS20 Deceased
M Dissolved 2013

This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man ~ Shakespeare, Hamlet

Posts: 1089 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Rising out of Hell's ashes!
Member # 36951
Default  Posted: 12:45 PM, June 21st (Friday)

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.


Posts: 155 | Registered: Sep 2012 | From: ideservebetter45
Member # 3703
Default  Posted: 1:37 PM, June 21st (Friday)

didn't we all? Oh I just cringe when I think back.

my XWH is such a snake-charmer, he can make anyone believe anything he says.

D-day OW#1 2/2004; R for 6 years; D-day OW#2 5/2010

Marriages that start this way, stepping over the bodies of loved ones as the giddy couple walks down the aisle, are not likely to last.

Posts: 3341 | Registered: Mar 2004 | From: NY
solus sto
Member # 30989
Default  Posted: 2:16 PM, June 21st (Friday)

Oh, yes. Hindsight is definitely 20/20.

There were red flags, from close to Day One. Most, I genuinely did not see.

However, ignored two. At the time, I was not in a place where I was really able to assimilate what they represented. While I could have foreshortened my marriage---and skipped over a ton of stuff, I suppose---it wasn't the time, for me.

I'd like the time back, now. But I had other things to face first.

BS-me, 52
WH (Trac-fone), 52, PD
2 kids-DD25, DS18
multiple d-days
Alone, most strangely, I live on~Rupert Brooke

Posts: 8677 | Registered: Jan 2011 | From: midwest
Member # 27035
Default  Posted: 6:48 PM, June 22nd (Saturday)

“when you're wearing rose colored glasses you can't see the red flags"

I just wanted to add this. Someone on this board quoted it in the past and I saved it. Unfortunately, not the name of the member who posted it - sorry to whoever it was.

"On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good."

Posts: 5119 | Registered: Jan 2010 | From: Midwest
Member # 29250
Default  Posted: 9:06 PM, June 22nd (Saturday)

There were red flags ALL OVER THE PLACE. The problem was, I was so inexperienced in dating and relationships, I didn't recognize them for what they were. I honestly believed that he was incapable of cheating and doing the things he's done. I don't think naive adequately describes what I was. After a couple of years of counseling I realize how how dysfunctional our "perfect" relationship was and how many red flags I didn't recognize. I should have never married my first love.

“People who cheat feel that life is for the taking, and that everyone deserves happiness no matter what the cost. I must remember these tricks if I ever have my soul surgically removed."
Me: BS 42. Him: WH 41 2 Kids 6&9
Married 14 yrs Together 21

Posts: 1575 | Registered: Aug 2010
Member # 19772
Default  Posted: 2:28 AM, June 23rd (Sunday)

I feel dumb - no, I saw nothing while we were together. I thought we were in the parent rut with one partner working really hard.

It wasn't until an incident that I confronted XH and truly, when I asked if there was someone else - I didn't expect the 'yes' that I got.

Looking back now I see 'stuff'. I don't think I was blind as much as he was trying it all on (AP relationship vs. our relationship). She didn't live anywhere near us, so he didn't come home late or disappear, kwim?

Once it was out, he just rolled with it all and I had to as well. I personally feel like from D-day to filing for D was really quick (like 3 months).

It's all 'good' now I guess. I survived.

Posts: 14350 | Registered: Jun 2008
Topic Posts: 27