It’s important to be clear on what you are looking for when dating and what you will not accept. Obviously, rude behaviour, chronic lateness, a lack of interest in you, commitments and promises that aren’t kept… these are obvious red flags.
Something else to watch for, which may be less obvious at first, is what we call “top dog, bottom dog.” Have you ever had the experience where you feel diminished by someone else? Do you find yourself not speaking up or finding that the other person takes up so much space that you struggle to be seen or heard? Or have you ever dated someone who defers to you regularly? Do you walk all over him? Maybe you are very successful in many areas of your life and you start, rather unkindly, to see him as a “loser.”
Neither of these situations bodes well for a future together. In my own life I’ve experienced being both top dog and bottom dog with different men I’ve dated. When I feel like the top dog it’s hard for me to respect my date. When I’m bottom dog I lose myself and, frankly, it just takes too much energy to carve out a space for myself.
Ideally, you and your date will be more evenly matched. In some areas you will excel and in other areas he will, but in a more balanced way. If one of you is overwhelmingly top or bottom dog, your likelihood of success is low.
As you get to know someone, keep this concept of top dog/bottom dog in mind and if you find that you aren’t a good match, move on!