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Originally Posted by Gekko
I think there is another category of Red Flags that I might refer to as Passive Red Flags or Background Red Flags, which refers to someone's life history and what they have been subjected to. Childhood abuse, lots of divorce throughout the family, toxic family or serious family issues, severe issues in prior MR or R, etc - these are things that would be Red Flags for me even though they are in the background and may not have yet appeared to have manifested behaviorally, at least not to me and not yet. The concern of course is that such serious background issues will eventually manifest in certain behavior that could be a real problem for a R.
It's now my opinion these "background red flags" are often grossly underestimated. Drug abuse and violent temper are more obvious, whereas the background can be more easily glossed over. I dismissed my ExW's family history - her parents' 3 marriages each, her mom's affair/D of her dad, and her cutting her dad out of her life for years because 1) she promised she didn't want to be her mom, and 2) I was in love. Looking back her family background and their history of this behavior should've been a much bigger red flag for me, and I firmly believe they manifested for her whether it was she hit the age of her mom when her mom did this or the stress of the young kids/infant. I spoke to my sister's friend about his very similar sitch - his then W even jumped out of the car at a stop sign on the way to MC - he told me "the biggest mistake you made was marrying someone whose parents had been divorced multiple times". I believe that's true, and now believe the "background red flags" should be taken much more seriously than most do.


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Gekko and BL42..

Some food for thought, it clearly comes down to that nature vs nurture argument to a point,... I feel that I saw some RF's early on but was convinced they were dealt with as he was in IC, he had completely overhauled his life, friendships and work were fantastic. His parents have the marriage most people dream of and only his eldest brother had divorced and remarried. However, it appears that he has followed his brothers footsteps almost exactly. We only found out over time that he was actually in a EA ( she was o/seas so it couldnt have been PA) with his current wife while married to his first.

So my concern is now less about my H, and more about my kids. They will now be children of divorce... how would one mitigate or lessen the impact on their future relationships? I know its not such a stigma or issue these days but I do worry. Working in education I see the impacts on teenagers and its pretty clear when home life isnt doing well how that manifests in them.

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Ok so I was going to quietly ignore this and move on but I can't.

I'll give you that if someone isn't on the same page as you on beliefs, values, future planning, that that is a red flag. However if some one sees the world a little differently. Has a different lifestyle or interests that's not a red flag. That's you being nitpicky. Ask CW what it's like trying to force dating when you have rigid check boxes. Humans aren't a check list and women aren't there to make sure you're fulfilled in every way. Partners are an accessory to a full life, not way to complete a version of yourself you'd like people to see. People are nuanced, and complicated, and flawed. I'll even give you some obvious not so obvious, obvious red flags like any one that calls themselves a nomad, says they dislike children, has no contact with their family, has been divorced more than once, flits from job to job etc. But this passive red flag/background red flag stuff is absolutely ridiculous and you guys sound like you're sitting on your supposed moral and family background superiority thrones deigning your presence and willingness to date on poor unfortunate souls like me should we pass your sniff test.

A person isn't their parents. A person isn't their past. And I'm sorry if your ex-spouses were but did you ever take the time to consider that maybe they just didn't put in the work to overcome that? Or that they never had the emotional maturity or introspection to recognize the unhealthy or full on toxic behavior of their parents? Are you guys psychologists? Or psychic? Do you really have the ability to predict possible behaviors based on a person's history? This big blanket generalization that a person is likely not a suitable mate because they could possible have some issues given their history is histrionic.

Maybe I'm projecting here a little bit, because I have a very messy family history and past, but honestly I don't think I'm taking this as personally as I could. Choosing out of the gate to build a bias on a person's history without a thorough assessment of who they are as a person is a really gross dating habit. Not a safety measure in dating. Like let's be real, as much as we work on ourselves and do what we can to be the people we want to be which in turn makes us desirable mates do you really truly think you would survive the same kind of scrutiny if it was reversed? Are you such a unicorn of a human being that there is no baggage or bad habits or FOO stuff or past relationship quirks that you aren't dragging along with you?

Dating in your mid to late 30s, 40s, and 50s is already hard. Pickings are already slim. People are already out there with huge chips on their shoulders and some serious damage and glaringly obvious red flags. Are you really in a position to filter the already dwindling options you have based on your assumptions that things could go wrong because your ex's were damaged and didn't put in the work? You do realize that makes you the red flag bearer? Is it possible maybe you need to do some work on how you perceive dating and relationships if this is a common practice? Maybe you aren't healed enough to date.

I'd also like to mention that when you saw red flags in the beginning of the relationship and you called them out you likely had the expectation of change. One of the biggest issues I see with LBHs on here is they don't come to the same realizations that LBWs have to face over and over and over again. Those realizations being, you can't fall in love with a person's potential if they show you who they are you need to meet them where they're at, and you can't change someone, they can only change themselves.

If your potential mate is cutting and cruel sometimes or let's say a big flirt, you lay your boundary and then what? They stop for a minute because they don't want to lose you and they revert. That's the typical response. Sometime just sometimes you lay your boundary and they take an assessment of what's there and they realize they would rather stop something toxic than lose you. But even then it doesn't mean they wake up one day and all the things that bothered you are full stop gone. It's a process, it takes time. They may go back to that crappy habit or habits. Maybe in times of stress. Maybe because they've been getting lazy with the work or the focus. Maybe because of other underlying issues in the relationship. They may catch themselves. Sometimes you may have to call them out. The thing is though if they are always working on it, and they are doing so because they know it harms the relationship that is literally the best you can ask for. If you don't think that's good enough, that expectation is on you. People don't change because you want them to. People don't change because you need them too. People don't change to suit you or your needs. People change because they want to. Every single one of us needs to ask ourselves how much of our MR failing was ignoring red flags and how much of it was us willing our spouse to change into the person we wanted them to be but they didn't?

I'm not trying to be cruel. And I know this came out harsh, but I have friends out there trying to post divorce date and it's a sh!tshow. And when I see stuff like this it just makes it so clear why. Working on your self doesn't stop at D. And it shouldn't.


***Michka I'm going to address your children of divorce question on your thread.

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Originally Posted by wayfarer
A person isn't their parents. A person isn't their past. And I'm sorry if your ex-spouses were but did you ever take the time to consider that maybe they just didn't put in the work to overcome that? Or that they never had the emotional maturity or introspection to recognize the unhealthy or full on toxic behavior of their parents? Are you guys psychologists? Or psychic? Do you really have the ability to predict possible behaviors based on a person's history? This big blanket generalization that a person is likely not a suitable mate because they could possible have some issues given their history is histrionic.

My personal experience on this, is that if you had a screwed up past, then a lot of women carry this around with them.

My WW came from a messed up family and turned into the exact thing she despised and said she would never become.

I've probably had 30 dates in the past 2.5 years, and family history and upbringing is a big one for me.

Upbringing and what parents defined as normality has a big impact on what the person you are dating defies as normality. Values and what people see as the norm is defined from a young age..

And my personal experience is that the ones with a poor past carry that around with them or never really understand what a loving healthy enviroment looks like - as they have not experienced it.

You are on the money when you say they didnt put the work in to overcome these issues - but here lies the problem - To these people, this was the normality... Most will never see that there is an issue, as its all they know. Ive met ladies who have moved a man in after 4 weeks to play happy families - for it to crash down 3 weeks later. The poor childrens heads must be spinning - But thats what their parents did and they see nothing wrong with it - to them, its the "norm"...


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Mr. Brightside

In my personal experience people can smell that trauma on you. And there's a very specific type of person who wants to save you, fix you, help you, give you a family or a relationship like you've never had. People like that are a problem of their own.

I had a horrible childhood. I was abused in every way imaginable. I carried that into my 1st MR. And I can say with absolutely certainty in my 1st MR I chose him because his demons were attractive because I was broken. He really like the idea of me being the broken one. And that colored everything that happened after. Hence, no more MR.

My past doesn't define who I am as a wife or mother. My past doesn't define who I am as a friend. It has influenced all of those things. And I've definitely made mistakes and some repeated mistakes because of it. My past, while it did give me some toxic behaviors that I had to work hard to get past, it also gave me deep compassion, it gave me empathy, it gave me true joy because I know how dark it can be, it gave me patience, it gave me perseverance, it gave me coping skills, it gave me introspection, it gave me strength. I'm not the only one.

Yes there is a potential for a person to not realize toxic behavior isn't normal. But there is equally the potential that a person has fought a hard to not only work through that trauma but to put in the work to change their own toxic behavior they picked up from that environment. The only way to suss that out is to actually spend time getting to know them and not immediately writing them off.

I can't stop anyone on here from holding someone's past against them. If that works for you so be it. But I stand by putting the onus of a less than pretty past on a person you don't know well instead of the ex who didn't put in the work is YOUR baggage. That is no fault of some woman you just met no matter how crappy her parents may have been. Just like it wasn't her fault her parents were like that. Your exes failed you, or your picker failed you. Either way holding that against potential mates is on you. Not them. Not their up bringing. Not their past relationships.

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Originally Posted by wayfarer
My past doesn't define who I am as a wife or mother. My past doesn't define who I am as a friend. It has influenced all of those things. And I've definitely made mistakes and some repeated mistakes because of it. My past, while it did give me some toxic behaviors that I had to work hard to get past, it also gave me deep compassion, it gave me empathy, it gave me true joy because I know how dark it can be, it gave me patience, it gave me perseverance, it gave me coping skills, it gave me introspection, it gave me strength. I'm not the only one..

Wayfarer, i respect the fact that you recognise this and have done the hard work.

Unfortunetly, a lot of people don't do the hard work, and don't see themselves as the problem - often blaming or holding resentment to the parents / person who made their childhood traumatising.

I didnt tar all women with that brush - but i would say a lot of people prefer to blame others or not ackowledge issues, as its easier than facing their own demons.


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Weighing in. I had a pretty idyllic childhood. My parents weren't perfect, but I think they were solid. They were not helicopter parents, and they certainly weren't "my kid is always right and everyone else (including teachers, other parents, etc) are always wrong!" parents. They gave us freedom but held us responsible for our mistakes. And I feel we were brought up with a good sense of morality, ethics and what it means to be a good person.

My W's childhood was not idyllic. For the first 12 years of her life her dad abused her mom. Her mom finally had the courage to get out of the abusive marriage. And her mom did a good job of raising my W. My wife too was brought up with a good sense of morality, ethics and what it means to be a good person. BUT, she has hang ups. Related to her dad, the way he was an absent father, then tried to buy her love and affection. He would berate her verbally when he felt slighted, and then shower her with cash and gifts to be a "good" dad.

My W has hang-ups from all of that, no doubt. But her good sense of morals, ethics and being a good person far out weighs those hang-ups. Do people have hang-ups from childhood? Sure. Can they overcome them? Absolutely.

So I think both sides make valid arguments. The key is that a bad childhood is no excuse not to be the best you can be. Lot of resources and ways to get over a poor upbringing!

Last edited by SteveLW; 08/31/21 06:27 PM.

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wayfarer,

I'm going to respond to your comments, but want to be mindful of your feelings and stress I don't mean this to be a personal attack on anyone...

Originally Posted by wayfarer
However if some one sees the world a little differently. Has a different lifestyle or interests that's not a red flag. That's you being nitpicky. Ask CW what it's like trying to force dating when you have rigid check boxes. Humans aren't a check list and women aren't there to make sure you're fulfilled in every way. Partners are an accessory to a full life, not way to complete a version of yourself you'd like people to see.
I completely agree. It's impossible to ever have 100% perfect checklist of a person - being in a relationship and marriage means merging two lives into one and clearly compromise. You're never going to find someone with exactly the same opinions, hobbies, interests...etc., and quite frankly that may become boring over time. The red flags are the bigger issues that may cause a meaningful risk to the relationship in the future.

Originally Posted by wayfarer
But this passive red flag/background red flag stuff is absolutely ridiculous and you guys sound like you're sitting on your supposed moral and family background superiority thrones deigning your presence and willingness to date on poor unfortunate souls like me should we pass your sniff test.
Respectfully, I disagree. A person's background and upbringing is most certainly a legitimate consideration when dating and potentially selecting a lifelong partner. Everyone on the board can reach their own conclusions on it and act accordingly in their post-D dating life, but it's an area I wish I'd given more weight to before marrying ExW and I plan to factor in going forward.

Originally Posted by wayfarer
A person isn't their parents. A person isn't their past.
True. However, a person's parents and past have a significant influence and often times more than they admit or even more than they realize. The problem is sometimes its modeled subconsciously and manifests itself despite a person's best intentions. MrBrside's ExW and my ExW are examples - they both recognized their parents' behaviors and swore up and down pre-marriage they never wanted to be them, but when the rubber hit the road and things got tough reverted back to the actions which had been modeled during their formative years. I suspect there are many more of the same examples on this board (though can't list them off-hand).

Originally Posted by wayfarer
And I'm sorry if your ex-spouses were but did you ever take the time to consider that maybe they just didn't put in the work to overcome that? Or that they never had the emotional maturity or introspection to recognize the unhealthy or full on toxic behavior of their parents?
Yes, I've spent a good part of the last year and a half pondering it. My ExW had been on ADs and IC since teenage years and promised me she never wanted to do what her mom did, so I had thought she did put in the work - but again reverted back to what she was modeled.

Originally Posted by wayfarer
Are you guys psychologists? Or psychic? Do you really have the ability to predict possible behaviors based on a person's history? This big blanket generalization that a person is likely not a suitable mate because they could possible have some issues given their history is histrionic.
No, I'm not a psychologist and of course am not psychic. Certainly there are case in which people overcome an instable upbringing and have successful marriages as well as people who have a stable upbringing and family structure yet end up divorced, but it's a fact that people who come from divorced households are statistically more likely to become divorced themselves than people whose parents are still married. Clearly there's some impact.

Originally Posted by wayfarer
Maybe I'm projecting here a little bit, because I have a very messy family history and past, but honestly I don't think I'm taking this as personally as I could.
It feels to me you are projecting a bit. I certainly wasn't meant as a personal attack. I'm sorry if my comments upset you.

Originally Posted by wayfarer
Are you such a unicorn of a human being that there is no baggage or bad habits or FOO stuff or past relationship quirks that you aren't dragging along with you?
I am not perfect, and certainly have my baggage and bad habits to address.

Originally Posted by wayfarer
Dating in your mid to late 30s, 40s, and 50s is already hard. Pickings are already slim. People are already out there with huge chips on their shoulders and some serious damage and glaringly obvious red flags. Are you really in a position to filter the already dwindling options you have based on your assumptions that things could go wrong because your ex's were damaged and didn't put in the work?
Maybe I'm hurt/biased/overly cautious, but I'm happy enough with myself and my life that I'd rather not marry ever again then go through another divorce.

Originally Posted by wayfarer
Is it possible maybe you need to do some work on how you perceive dating and relationships if this is a common practice? Maybe you aren't healed enough to date.
Quite possible. Still have anger at times over the D, and have improvements to make. It's been 1.5yr since BD and I consciously waited until after the D was finalized, but perhaps another 6 months or a year would be better.

Originally Posted by wayfarer
One of the biggest issues I see with LBHs on here is they don't come to the same realizations that LBWs have to face over and over and over again. Those realizations being, you can't fall in love with a person's potential if they show you who they are you need to meet them where they're at, and you can't change someone, they can only change themselves.
Interesting. Why do you think that's different between LBHs and LBWs?

Originally Posted by wayfarer
Working on your self doesn't stop at D. And it shouldn't.
Agreed!

Originally Posted by MrBrside
My WW came from a messed up family and turned into the exact thing she despised and said she would never become.
Same. I've thought back about my conversations with ExW specifically on this topic many times over the last year and a half. Even referenced it in our BD conversation. Didn't matter in the end.

Originally Posted by MrBrside
I've probably had 30 dates in the past 2.5 years, and family history and upbringing is a big one for me.
It's going to be for me going forward as well. Others here can come to their own conclusions and act accordingly.

Originally Posted by MrBrside
Upbringing and what parents defined as normality has a big impact on what the person you are dating defies as normality. Values and what people see as the norm is defined from a young age..

And my personal experience is that the ones with a poor past carry that around with them or never really understand what a loving healthy enviroment looks like - as they have not experienced it.

You are on the money when you say they didnt put the work in to overcome these issues - but here lies the problem - To these people, this was the normality... Most will never see that there is an issue, as its all they know.
I agree with this strongly.

Originally Posted by wayfarer
I had a horrible childhood. I was abused in every way imaginable. I carried that into my 1st MR. And I can say with absolutely certainty in my 1st MR I chose him because his demons were attractive because I was broken. He really like the idea of me being the broken one. And that colored everything that happened after. Hence, no more MR.
I'm sorry you had such a horrible childhood. No one deserves to be abused. That sounds terrible. So glad you were able to recognize how it impacted your 1st MR, and work through your past to improve your future.

Originally Posted by wayfarer
I can't stop anyone on here from holding someone's past against them. If that works for you so be it. But I stand by putting the onus of a less than pretty past on a person you don't know well instead of the ex who didn't put in the work is YOUR baggage. That is no fault of some woman you just met no matter how crappy her parents may have been. Just like it wasn't her fault her parents were like that. Your exes failed you, or your picker failed you. Either way holding that against potential mates is on you. Not them. Not their up bringing. Not their past relationships.
I may be biased/jaded due to my sitch, but do believe it's an important consideration, if nothing else more due diligence that a person has put in the work.

Last edited by BL42; 08/31/21 07:53 PM.

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Originally Posted by BL42
But it's a fact that people who come from divorced households are statistically more likely to become divorced themselves than people whose parents are still married. Clearly there's some impact.
And teen pregnancy begets teen pregnancy. And abuse begets abuse. And abandonment beget abandonment. But you're buying into the illusion that all stable families are built upon the bricks of other stable families. Just because something is statistically more likely doesn't mean those statics are clean and unskewed nor do those statistics take in to account other correlations or causalities. Teen preganacy being one everyone thought was because of modeled behavior of parents and peers. When those were the lowest on the list of causalities but highest on the correlation.

A lot of people on this site still hold dear to 1 out of 2 marriages in the US end in divorce. However that hasn't been true since the early 90s. The true statistic is 1 out of 3.5. We can use numbers to justify rationalize or anything else. But causation and correlation are messy things with the human variable. Your kids are now children of divorce. Are they doomed to divorce as well? You had great parents and Steve, and Gekko and Mr. Brightside did too. Yet you guys are just as divorced as your spouses are. (Minus Steve who was nearly D'd, twice)

Originally Posted by BL42
It feels to me you are projecting a bit. I certainly wasn't meant as a personal attack. I'm sorry if my comments upset you.
I admitted I may be projecting. But I'm not in the dating pool. So my projection only goes so far. And I was/am not upset. I'm annoyed. I see the guys my friends are trying to date and I see you guys are here willingly admitting this stuff and all I can think is how do I help there be less men who have chips on their shoulders or copious amounts of baggage in dating pools. This is it. This is the best I can do. Try to give you guys some female perspective. And maybe just some perspective in general.

Originally Posted by BL42
Maybe I'm hurt/biased/overly cautious, but I'm happy enough with myself and my life that I'd rather not marry ever again then go through another divorce.
To quote the great DnJ be better not bitter. Try to take a 30,000 ft view of yourself before putting yourself in the dating pool. Does any one deserve to date a person who is still in pain, biased and overly cautious. Is that fair to a woman who's ready to open up her heart? (<- That isn't just for BL btw)

Originally Posted by BL42
Originally Posted by wayfarer
One of the biggest issues I see with LBHs on here is they don't come to the same realizations that LBWs have to face over and over and over again. Those realizations being, you can't fall in love with a person's potential if they show you who they are you need to meet them where they're at, and you can't change someone, they can only change themselves.
Interesting. Why do you think that's different between LBHs and LBWs?
Well if you want to open this can of worms. Women are socially conditioned to be caregivers and to cater to the needs of others before their own. As we enter the dating pool in our 20s those of us who haven't worked through that social conditioning watch our friends date guy after guy thinking she can fix him. We fall for guys who have potential because we're babies we all have potential. We fall for guys who are great except..., because we're babies and there's plenty of time for him to grow up. And it isn't just men we do this in. We stick out immature friends, toxic friendships and try to maintain toxic familial relationships because that's what were supposed to do. And this continues for some time and for those with co-dependent behaviors this drags on for ages.

For the bulk of women by our 30s, when most of us are dealing with a narrowed dating pool and a whole lot of us have already been divorced once we start entering the period in our lives where we're bombarded with the message that we can't change men. A handful of us who went through marriage counseling start parsing out the info that you have to meet a person where they are at. You have to love person as they are not their potential. And that you have every right to walk away from any relationship that doesn't serve you because it's not your job to fix any one. We get beat with this in our heads in our 30s and 40s regardless of marital status. It's the one sided solution to dating and marriage problems. In dating is means keep 'er moving until someone isn't just potential. In marriage it buys time before things implode. If you get really lucky your spouse catches on and then catches up.

This constantly being beat over the head with don't fall in love with potential over and over is because the men are from Mars, women are from Venus crap that has infiltrated couples counseling for 2 decades perpetuates the idea that women are the ones in the relationship demanding change and having expectations, while men just want quiet and to eat sandwiches. We are the ones who want change so it's our job to deal with it. So by the time any of us get to this point in our mid to late 30s, 40s, 50s we've heard it a million times. However for guys like you who's wives are the ones who either won't grow, have regressed or have gone off the rails this is the first time you start hearing this stuff, and it's hard pill to swallow. It's forces you to realize your expectations were just as much of a problem as your spouses crappy behavior. For a lot of guys marriage counseling and places like this are the first time they are hearing and understanding the passive ways they were a detriment to their marriage and themselves. What's even harder is accepting that when you have a spouse who is actively creating detriments to the marriage, and your children and your self esteem you're mistakes feel like a pittance in comparison. However, once you start trying to date again they will come into full view. And that's an even more bitter pill to swallow, how can you possibly be the problem? How can some of the things your crazy ex said be true when 99% of the sh!t that came out of her mouth was lies? LBWs don't have that kind of blockade. We're told its our fault and responsibility from the get go even before there are problems thanks to social conditioning. (obviously this isn't an absolutely give the wives you're dealing with, but you get the point)

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Mr. Brightside, you in particular aren't painting with a broad brush, but there are some pretty large brush strokes being made based on what's here. That's what I was pointing to.

As I said you're all welcome to filter as you choose when you date. My point is, there are a lot of people like me with beyond messed up childhoods who are incredibly good people and wonderful partners and parents. And the only way to figure that out is to get to know someone. How you guys think you're going to measure that out of the gate is what I genuinely don't understand. And in any iteration that I can fathom it makes absolutely no sense.

I don't dump my childhood on people I just meet. My current husband didn't even really get the full scope of my childhood until the day my mother died in 2018 and my stepfather went on a narcissistic tirade because I wasn't sympathetic enough to him. We had been together 5 years. We were already married. Why? Because even though that time in my life shaped me it wasn't who I was as a 35 year old woman. Because most people even with semi-traumatic childhoods can't really grasp in a full scope how bad it was until they can see something like that. In my personal experience the only people, and that includes my family members like my grandparents (my mother's parents) and my mother's siblings, who truly understand what I went through are people who lived a chaotic childhood like mine or people who witnessed my life with my stepfather first hand.

Most people I know would never in a million years dump that kind of heavy on a person they just met. And if they do it's either because they aren't like me and they have some serious unaddressed behavioral or mental health issues, and have an over sharing problem, which is an obvious red flag not a background one. OR you coaxed it out of them. And if that's the case then what are you going to once you do, ghost them? Because that's essentially what's being said here.

My point is you're making a lot of assumptions based on your personal experiences with your exes. Even them, I would bed dollars to doughnuts you never really knew or understood the chaos fully. You have no way of actually figuring out if a person is damaged by their past without digging in to their past. So what's the plan then? You're going to take the time to get someone to tell you some dark sh!t but because you've decided to never participate in a relationship with some one like that ever again because it could potentially be hard for you? So you're going to rip open a wound and then dip?

Honestly if you guys said my ex wife had blue eyes and I'm never dating a blue eyed girl ever again. Or my exW was called Jennifer I'm never dating a Jennifer ever again. That's basically what this sounds like to me, but worse, because a person has to open up to you for you for you to make a superficial judgement.

I'm not saying you can't do that. I understand that urge and desire. What I'm saying is you have to understand that behavior, that's not on blue eyed women or Jennifers or people with traumatic childhoods. That's on you. That's your hang up. That's your problem. That's your baggage. If you want to filter in such a way go ahead, but don't frame it like people with crappy childhoods are the ones with the baggage and that's what you're avoiding when you aren't even getting to know them well enough to determine if it's actual baggage. Make your choices. They're yours. But own them. The onus is on you. Take responsibility for the choices you're making and don't put a person in the position of opening up to you just for you to dump your baggage on them and run. No one deserves that.

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Moderated by  Cadet, job, Virginia 

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