There are five main red flags I like to give women if they’re married and wonder if they have a potentially bigger issue with their partner going on that needs to be addressed, which are the same five red flags I give a woman interested in dating a guy. (If you want the answer to the title, you can skip to number five.)
- Is he obsessed with his car (or something similar)? A young guy who is obsessed with his car will likely always be a little neglectful of his partner as his car is his priority. He’s also likely a show off and/or compensating for some form of inadequacy, which means he’ll be quick to attack and be insulting to scare people he’s mad at into backing away. In a relationship he’s very likely a hot head who will use aggressive anger to try to get his partner to submit to his wants like a bully tries to scare his prey. If he’s an older guy who buys a nice car than that can be a fun toy for him. He should hopefully be able to keep that as something fun to take care of and share with others rather than it becoming an obsession that leads him to neglect his family as he’s likely developed enough good habits to keep him doing his responsibilities around the house.
- Is he a sports junky? A guy who loves sports can be a fun and social person who likes to stay in shape… or he will always put the game before his partner’s needs and have limited time for connecting and doing chores around the house. I have met guys who expected their partners who didn’t like sports to watch a game with them as a way to spend time together, but then they refused to watch something the partners wanted because they didn’t want to; plus, there was another game for him to watch, so he was “busy.”
Whether it’s watching sports or playing them himself, some guys prioritize sports over their own families including their kids. For instance, I’ve met a number of guys who thought it was normal to work the usual full-time hours and then play hockey three nights a week with the odd weekend tournament while their wives took care of the kids. Not only were they gone almost half of their afterhours free time, they also never let their wives have a night out – jerk bag. When you have a family, time is such a rare commodity, family togetherness should be the priority. If a guy isn’t willing to cut back on his sports time, this is a serious red flag. Not only will his wife resent him (making him want to be away more), his kids will start to resent it as well as they won’t feel important, especially if they hear their mom complaining.
- Does he play hours of video games? Video games are time suckers, which mean responsibilities get ignored and unless you’re playing the game with the player, you’re getting ignored. Not only is gaming terrible because it involves sitting for long periods of time, which is very unhealthy physically (writes the guy sitting a computer posting a blog), it’s also a form of arrested development where some guys never really grow up – they just keep playing games. Video gamers often say it’s “socializing,” but it’s limited socializing because you’re not having real conversations; it’s more of a distraction from actual emotional needs, which still lead to bottled up emotions that explode out later at family. It can also encourage communication styles that are very aggressive as video game talk can carry over into real world.
Video game junkies in marriage neglect chores, leave their partner feeling unloved and lonely, and being up late playing games can mean missing work and/or being tired the next day, which leads to them having a short fuse and yelling at the family. Video gaming should be like playing sports; there should be very limited time spent doing it as it should be a treat and not a regular daily routine like you have a piece of cake and not the whole thing. Gaming can be fun, but it can easily become an addiction if not held in check. As a therapist, I’ve seen video game addictions lead to the breakup of marriages as resentment gets built, so it’s not “just a game.”
- Does he have any substance abuse issues? This fourth point seems pretty obvious, but it’s amazing how many times people justify their partner’s reliance on booze and/or cannabis. In the dating world, this becomes a greater challenge for people dating in their forties and above because many men used substances to cope with previous bad relationships/lifestyles, which turned into an addiction they carry with them into the present. Substance abusers, whether alcohol or cannabis, have altered personalities, so even if they seem fun, it’s not really their true self. Not only that, but it’s easy for partners to get resentful of substance abusers because their addictions suck dry available funds. For instance, someone who drinks 1 beer a day for a week at $2 each are spending $14 a week or $728 a year. If they have 2 beers a day at $2 each, that’s $1456. That’s a vacation. And that’s if the drink is only $2. Bottles of wine are way more expensive that that… or should be; I’ve never had wine, but I hear a box of wine is not the same. If partners are spending that much on substances, it’s easy for resentment to start to kick in. Not only money wise, but according to brain scans, after four drinks a week, your brain is damaged. With cannabis, there’s damage with only one use. As one brain doctor claimed, he recommends cannabis to terminal patients because brain functioning is the least of their concerns, but otherwise, he says the effects to the brain are far worse than people realize. If you look up brain scans for users, it’s pretty clear there’s an affect.
- Is he a work out junky? (aka Why you want your man to have a dad bod when he’s a dad) Work out junkies… how do I say this nicely because they can easily beat me up?… typically lack the ability to carry diverse conversations and are completely self absorbed as it’s all about how they look. Most guys want to look good to get a girl, which is healthy and normal. Wanting to impress a girl is a great motivator for guys to strive to be better, but if they’re still obsessed with how they look after getting a good partner and especially after having kids, this is a serious red flag. The obvious question becomes: Who are you trying to impress? Not likely the partner. Not only does obsessive working out suggest they’re selfish, but it also suggests that they are at high risk for cheating because working out obsessively represents shallowness and that they’re in constant need of an ego boost. One of the most potent ego boosts is to pick up a girl, which tends to come easier for guys with great builds because, similarly, the girl going for this kind of a guy is looking for an ego boost herself. Even if he’s not looking for that kind of an ego boost, if a guy in a committed relationship is regularly spending hours at the gym, they’re potentially connecting with other women in general. Add the fact that they’re not at home doing their responsibilities and making their wives feel neglected and hurt, which means resentment will come out when she’s sees him, these guys are at risk of talking to other women to complain about their resentful wives. This emotional connecting point will increase the chance of cheating even with guys not consciously looking for an ego boost by picking a girl up because they just happened to connect with someone who “gets” them. Unfortunately, this girl doesn’t get him; she just affirms his complaints like a normal person does in conversation when someone complains about someone else.
Guys who are obsessed with working out and being big likely have similar issues as the guy obsessed with his car – they’re show offs and/or compensating.
After a guy gets in a relationship you want him to get a little bit of a dad-bod because it means he’s content and not looking to upgrade and/or fool around. He’s also not neglecting his wife and creating the cycle of an angry wife causing the guy to talk to other women as a coping mechanism. That being said, I should be clear, when I say a “little bit of a dad-bod” you want your man to still be healthy; you just don’t want him obsessed with how he looks because that’s a sign something’s not right. This is especially important because a gut puts someone at risk of heart disease (early death is never a good option). I still try to get in four short work outs a week with a couple cardio times and lifting weights while sitting with the family. I could definitely be healthier, but it’s not a huge priority. I need to be healthy enough, so I have more time with my family now with the hope of staying in good enough shape that I can live longer and healthier in the future in order to have more time for them then as well. There needs to be a balance of enough working out and enough family time. That, and normal guys who are married get complacent and lazy (says the guy who is married and battle being complacent and lazy). My sense of fashion today is all about what’s cheap and easy. I didn’t care a lot when I was younger, but I care even less now because I’ve already landed my woman and have no need to impress anyone… just avoid getting in trouble. Now that I’m married, I don’t have to stress about impressing anyone, so I can relax… until my wife gives me another chore.
Bonus: Are his parents scary? If you want to know what someone will act like in a marriage, take a gander at the parents because genetically they’re linked together and genetics have a major effect on looks and personality. There are other factors like environment and friends, but genetics are highly linked. Thus, the question really becomes which parent is the person most likely going to resemble? I find the biggest similarities come out after kids are born because the challenges of parenthood bring out the best and/or worst in people. That being said, I’ve always known I was like my dad, and my dad was like his dad who was a raging alcoholic. Fortunately, neither of us touched alcohol because genetically there’s a high risk for alcoholism, and personally, I’m too busy with busy-oholism to have time for that.
Tip: Typically if one sibling is like one parent, the other sibling is like the other and if there’s a third, they’re likely a mix of both.
This week may you find encouragement in some form even if it’s affirmation that you thought something was off.
Rev. Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, Learning to love dumb people (like me)