Red flags on your Valentine date | Inquirer Opinion

Red flags on your Valentine date

/ 05:28 AM February 12, 2018

The world will be teeming with red hearts, red flowers, red balloons, and red anything on Valentine’s Day, two days from now. Restaurants will be crowded with sweethearts engrossed in romantic conversations all night, while motels will be packed with lovers engaged in amorous acts till the wee hours of the morning.

Many of these Valentine pairings will end up in marriage. But if we go by statistical trends, a sizeable number of these marriages will end up in divorce, or, in the Philippines, marriage annulment.

To increase one’s chance of finding a life partner who will be faithful to his or her marital vows — the part that says “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part” — one has to check if the aspiring spouse is not tainted with any of the personality disorders which are considered red flags.

Most of these red flags were pointed out to me by my friend, Cleve de la Calzada, a pastor of the Victory Christian Fellowship church in Ortigas. Pastor Cleve refuses to solemnize a marriage if he sees glaring red flags of a doomed union, such as clear signs of emotional or physical abuse.


Here are some of the red flags to watch out for when choosing a spouse:

A partner who never says “sorry” even when he or she has done something wrong. The inability to apologize reveals a feeling of absolute superiority. The marriage will result in one spouse lording it over the other with an attitude of unyielding dominance. The harsh inequality will result in a life of unhappiness for the suffering spouse.

A partner who displays cruelty to animals. It is said that those who commit acts of violence against animals will similarly commit acts of physical abuse against fellow human beings.

A partner who exhibits patterns of physical or emotional/verbal abuse toward you or others. Most women enter into relationships with their eyes open, and they see the flaws. But what’s disastrous is their thinking that they can change their partner’s flaws. They forget the adage that what you see is what you get. If he is abusive before the marriage, he will continue to be abusive after the marriage.


A partner who can’t hold a job. This is a typical sign that your partner is irresponsible, lacks drive, is incapable of perseverance, and is bereft of passion. One writer describes this as “another sign of a lack of commitment, discipline and ambition.”

A partner who is addicted to drugs, alcohol or gambling. One psychologist describes someone who has any of these addictions as a “dangerous” person who has a “pathological and personality disorder.” Avoid him or her at all cost.


A partner who displays a controlling or smothering behavior. This type of a partner wants to isolate you and control your social interaction. He or she is prone to extreme fits of jealousy.

Pastor Cleve mentions these other red flags: does not get along with his or her family, and has no close friends of the same gender; is prone to extreme emotional outbursts or mood swings; is selfish or self-absorbed; exhibits dishonesty and unfaithfulness; does not treat you with respect; has a series of failed relationships; and is angry at his or her parents.

The internet features interesting articles that mention these additional red flags: disrespect toward waiters and workers in the service industry; words that do not match actions; talks about him/herself more than he/she inquires about you; you cry more than you laugh with him or her; drives an expensive car, but rents an apartment; wears more than one ring per hand, more than one bracelet per wrist, and more than one necklace per neck; and is afflicted by the “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome” — that is, switches personas by being cheerful in front of other people, but suddenly turns gloomy when left with you.

On Valentine’s Day, if you see your date exhibiting any of the red flags, run away from the restaurant or bolt out of the motel as fast as you can. Consider it your great escape from an impending life of suffering and misery.

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TAGS: Flea Market of Ideas, Joel Ruiz Butuyan, Valentine's Day

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