Dating down is a pretty subjective concept, one size most definitely does not fit all. This is not an exact science, but if you’re willing to listen, there are signs that it’s time to raise your standards.
1. The “Wow-Factor” Sign
When people house hunt they often talk about “wow-factor.” These features may be a beautiful granite inlay, a fabulous teak deck, a walk-in closet that would make J-Lo jealous. Those features are attractive, but usually not integral to the structure of the house, unlike say the plumbing. The same is true of dating. Flashy features can draw you in to splurge on a model with serious internal flaws.
Imagine your human without one of those impressive, superficial features, the charm, the style, the status, the Maserati. What’s left? Do you still enjoy them? Or are their character flaws a little harder to handle without the “wow-factor”?
2. The Entitlement Sign
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Notice how your date treats people. Especially people they don’t have to be nice to, entitlement is not cute.
I remember briefly dating a guy who’s condescending tone to servers made me cringe. It left me feeling embarrassed, but it was subtle, and then he would leave them a huge tip. I rationalized it because he treated me well and we had a lot of fun. That is until I mentioned it to one of my friends who instantly replied: “Sounds like an entitled a—hole.” And that ladies and gentlemen was all I needed. She’s right, I realized, “That totally sounds like an entitled a—hole. And I do not want to date that.”
3. The Secret Sign
Your friends and family have been dying to meet the new person you’re dating, but somehow you keep making sure it doesn’t work out. Sure there are the typical nerves of introducing a human you’re dating to your family, co-workers and friends. But, if you catch yourself actively avoiding mingling your date into the mix, this is a moment to dig in and ask yourself why.
Is it that you are so into this person that you just really want everyone to love them as much as you do? Or, is it because there is something off and unconsciously you don’t want to have it confirmed by your peeps? Why are you keeping them a secret?
4. The Inner Circle Sign
Ah, the inner circle. If you were the Sun, these people would be Mercury. They orbit you as close as they can without melting. These people may or may not be members of your family, but they know you well and have your best interests at heart. If this select, elite group of your inner circle are not fans of the human you are dating, proceed with caution. It may not be an absolute red flag, but it is a definite yellow or orange. They may not know him/her like you do, but they get to see a side of them you are unable to from your little rose-colored infatuation glasses.
5. The Gut Sign
Your gut is talking to you, and not just about the Italian food you ate last night. I’m talking about your spidey sense, your intuition. So often we know when something is not right, we just ignore the blinking red lights of our internal security system.
If you are questioning whether you are dating down and it doesn’t have to do with something superficial, odds are you probably already know the answer. Follow the little clues and let your heart lead you to what it already knows. The Gut Sign is almost never wrong.