This anecdote dates back to July of 2017, when I first decided to give post-Narcissistic-relationship dating a shot.
I quickly decided dating was a miserable endeavor and I’d be far better served by devoting energy to self-improvement and healing.
I was only a month into no contact with the Narcissist and I really wasn’t ready to start dating. After one or two dates and only a few interactions with men I called it quits until joining Tinder a couple weeks ago.
However, the brief effort did show me that my radar had improved dramatically since before meeting the Narcissist.
One of the benefits of having been through the pain and turmoil of the past few years is having experienced a launchpad for personal growth. I trust my instincts far more than I ever used to. My self-esteem is far stronger than it used to be.
Thus, when I met Albert on eHarmony, it didn’t take long for me to realize something was quite off.
Yellow flag #1: Extreme interest, bordering on panic, about my physical activity.
He was very concerned about my lack of involvement in organized sports. “How do you stay fit???”
Asking me about my interests (“What kind of activities do you enjoy?”) would have made sense given the context of the conversation. “How do you stay fit???” with the intensity with which it was delivered made me feel he was looking for arm candy, not a real person or partnership.
Yellow flag #2: Openly boasting about an overly packed schedule.
He then proceeded to boast about how much time he spent participating in his physical activity of choice (tennis). He’s in several leagues and has matches almost every weeknight and all day on weekends.
RED FLAG: Lashes out when questioned or challenged.
My Old Self would have excused “Well that’s a big leap.” In fact, a close friend encouraged me to do so. New Self recognized it as a lash-out.
He didn’t write again after that. In the context of the conversation and how his other responses had been, I could tell “that’s a big leap” was how he snaps at someone.
Despite what my friend advised about Albert’s response being reasonable and excusable, my gut instinct said otherwise. I listened.
Behind the mask #1: Expectation of Immediacy.
New Self only needs one red flag for me to be ready to leave someone in my past.
I lost interest in Albert immediately after he snapped at me. He messaged me a couple times the next morning, but the tone was odd and my spidey senses advised me to not respond.
It was a Saturday and I was at an event I had been looking forward to for weeks. New Self recognizes Albert did not deserve to be prioritized. I have more going on in my life than text messages with someone I just met, which is exactly how it should be when first meeting someone.
Within a few hours of not hearing from me, he started to panic, and he lashed out some more. There were a few messages along the lines of, “Well I guess you’re just done with me since you haven’t responded,” even though it hadn’t been very long since he last heard from me.
Old Self would have hated that she had caused someone to have yucky feelings. She would have raced to soothe his wounded emotions. New Self realizes it isn’t her responsibility and she has every right to a life of her own.
Behind the mask #2: Overt Aggression and Anger.
Oh, Albert. You poor sap. You were 45 years old. I was 40 at the time. You want to target 30-year-olds because you think they’re more likely to put up with you being an asshole? Okay then. You have fun with that.
And really, you were that upset and emotionally invested over someone you had casually texted with for a couple days? My, my. Someone has some attachment issues they might need to work through.
I never responded. Why bother?
I didn’t cry over this guy. Conversely, I felt gratified. I trusted my gut, even when told not to do so, and didn’t repeat mistakes of the past.
As a result, I saw the person behind the mask far faster than I would have otherwise.
Why this is on my mind today
I received an interesting email from eHarmony this morning.