In Lalalaletmeexplain's hit column, readers ask for her expert advice on their own love, sex and relationship problems.
With over 200k Instagram followers, Lala is the anonymous voice helping womankind through every bump in the road. An established sex, dating and relationship educator, she’s had her fair share of relationship drama and shares her wisdom on social media to a loyal army of followers. Every week thousands turn to her to answer their questions (no matter how embarrassing), and her funny, frank approach to love and relationships has made her the ultimate feel-good guru.
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I am 32 with no kids, happily single and dating with a view to meeting someone, but also happy to have some fun on the journey.
I’ve been on two dates with a guy who I really fancy and have a lot of sexual chemistry with, even though our lives are very different and we have little in common. I’d like to keep seeing him, but I’m a bit concerned about whether a couple of things he has said are red flags or not and whether I should run now or wait to confirm.
On our first date he made a comment along the lines of “You think I’m nice now, wait until you catch me when I’m in one of my bipolar moods”. When I explored that statement, he denied saying it.
Later in the date, I asked him about his three year old daughter and how often he sees her. He was quite vague and said: “Another conversation for another day.” I didn’t push it, but I felt like it was weird that he wasn’t enthusiastically talking about her.
I don’t think that I would pursue a relationship with him, but we do have amazing sexual chemistry and I’d like to have some regular fun with him. Could I be in danger by ignoring those red flags, and are they really red flags or am I being dramatic?
A red flag is a clear warning of danger that you need to run from. A pink flag is a potential warning sign that you need to take note of. In isolation, I think both these matters you describe could be pink flags, but together they may add up to a red. I think we should unpick each statement.
"You think I’m nice now, wait until you catch me when I’m in one of my bipolar moods" – I don’t know if he has genuinely been diagnosed with bipolar and I also don’t know whether he means he becomes even nicer when he’s experiencing mania and highs, or whether he means he’s not at all nice when he’s experiencing the lows. If he hasn’t been diagnosed with bipolar then the statement seems ominous, and even if he has then is this a warning or was it a joke?
It’s hard to establish whether this is a big flag based on the sentence alone as context is important, so, what swings this for me is that he also denied saying it, which feels very gaslighty. But was it intentional gaslighting? Or was he denying having said it because he felt a bit silly for saying it and suddenly realised it wasn’t a very funny joke? It’s very hard to know without an explanation from him.
"Another conversation for another day" – Asking how often someone has contact with their child should be a fairly straightforward question. When dates ask me this question, providing basic information about how much childfree time I have is no big deal. The fact it's a big deal enough for him to not want to talk about it makes me think things might be complicated. And if they are complicated – why?
It’s a potentially HUGE red flag if he doesn’t see his child or if he’s not allowed to. But also, nuance exists, and without knowing his backstory you can’t make a fully informed judgement. If he does tell you at a later date that he’s been banned from seeing his child but he’s totally innocent, I would ask to see evidence to corroborate his account. I wouldn’t take anyone’s word for that. I do think it’s potentially fishy, although it might just be complicated and emotional for him to talk about, or he might keep hook ups and child talk separate?
Does he have a dark side, and has that dark side put barriers in his relationship with his child? Or did he make one silly joke, does he happen to not like talking about his kid to women he’s only seeing casually, and is there nothing sinister going on at all? That’s really the crux of this and annoyingly, without firm evidence, the only thing you can do is wait to find out, which is potentially dodgy.
Now, if you were saying that this man was absolutely amazing in every way, and you really enjoyed him and saw potential for a relationship with him then it would probably be a good idea to ask him to expand on those things. But you said that your lives are very different, and you have very little in common and your attraction is based on lust. You could argue two things here: one is that it’s not worth risking the red flags for a s**g; the other is that if it’s just a s**g and you do it all safely and don’t show him where you live and don’t get connected to his life, then the risks might not impact on you. But then if those small indicators do turn out to be pointing to violence or abusive behaviour then what’s the point in taking even a small chance?
I realise that I’ve spent this whole column saying ‘Well, it could be this, BUT it could also be this’ and I’m aware that may have left you feeling more confused… sorry about that. I just don’t think it’s right for me to state anything in absolute terms because none of us know what is really going on except for him. So, the only way for you to make the decision about whether to continue to have fun with him is to combine the flags you’ve got with following your gut and see where that leads you. Your instinct is powerful, and you should trust it. That doesn’t mean we always make the right decisions, but it’s worth listening to your gut. However, I reckon it must already be telling you to run – you wouldn’t have written in if it wasn’t.
If you do decide to risk your life for d**k (I’m not judging, I understand, but also make sure you’re not ovulating when you decide) then be cautious, take things slowly, consider any more pink flags as a massive red. Read my book – chapter 8 ‘Dating Dangers’ for red flags and ways to keep yourself safe on dates. Whatever you do, be careful. Personally, I don’t think it’s worth the risk.
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