Chapter 1 Flag On the Play: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Mr. Right in a World Full of Mr. Right Nows.
Mr. Hudson River Valley: ‘Separated’ Means Married
The Hudson River separates New York from New Jersey, but they are both still connected to it. For most women there is a “valley” of sadness surrounding being with a married person. Most women don’t want to share a man, they want their own man! But somehow, so many of us get caught up making the excuse, “but he’s separated,” and believing all the stories (read: lies) about how horrible his wife is.
Ladies, trust me, I speak from experience. When a man tells you he is separated, tell him to take a hike off the George Washington Bridge. He is a CODE RED FLAG up until the day he files for divorce (or preferably until the day it’s official because I’ve heard some horror stories about spouses who refuse to let go).
There are obvious reasons why married men, and by definition separated men, are Code Red Flags including being disloyal, liars, selfish–just to name a few. Still yet, many women fall into the trap, some unknowingly, others with full and complete knowledge. This is because Mr. Hudson River Valley has perfected the game. He knows women, what we want to see, what we want to hear. He’s already gotten a woman to choose to be with him until death should they part.
For one who does not respect his wife, marriage, God, or family, it becomes a game to see how many women he can persuade to choose him. The more he gets chosen, the more he proclaims how good of a man he is. But his perception of what it means to be a good man doesn’t fit the definition.
Never confuse a good man with a man who would step out on his wife for a quick thrill with you. And please be sure, 9 times out of 10 that is all you will be to a married man: a temporary fix to fill whichever void he believes his wife is lacking.
After graduating from law school, my sister took me to Jamaica as a graduation gift. While there, I met a man who happened to be from my home state. He told my sister and me about how he was divorced and how his wife took everything. We listened compassionately as he bought us drinks. When he got up to leave, he gave me his contact information.
Although I initially had no intention of calling him, I allowed boredom to overtake my better judgment. Surprisingly, our conversations were great. That is until the day I decided to ask him about his relationship status and he replied, “I’m getting a divorce.” Insert Confused Face Emoticon and scream it out with me ladies: FLAG ON THE PLAY!!!
Not only was this man still married but he was also a liar. Any wise woman would surely cut her losses and chuck up the deuces at that point, right? Instead, I allowed this man to talk me into believing this was okay. He introduced me to his family, gave me the key to his home, asked me to move in, and so on.
I tried to be comfortable with this situation but I couldn’t be. It was like my mind and my feelings were in a constant battle. How could I trust him? He was a married man who had lied to me in the beginning and I had fallen for the bait like a sucker. Our relationship ended in a few short months later and, just as he painted his wife to be such a horrible person, in the end so was I.
I’ve shared my story to let you ladies know that we have all played the fool. Notice I said we have played the fool, not we have been played for a fool. I knew better. My gut told me to not go there. My instincts said not to call. But I didn’t trust myself. And that is the root cause of the heartache associated with failed relationships: our tendency to overlook the red flags or make excuses for them.
Throughout this guide, I will provide you with scenarios based on anonymous submissions from the Code Red Flag Community. The following scenarios are about dealing with Mr. Hudson River Valley. Take a moment to notice the red flags that you may come across in the story and write them in the space provided after the scenarios before reading my response.
This past August, Brenda met a man whom she absolutely fell for. James was handsome, had a great personality, and he was a leader in his community. He told her his current situation: he is married and his wife is pregnant. He also said that he does not think the baby is his. He plans on making his wife get a DNA test once she delivers the baby.
After a few months, Brenda and James decide to move in together, and his wife lives in a different state. He does not want to file for divorce until his wife “messes up again.” James claims his wife has cheated on him in the past, with different guys.
To make Brenda feel better about their “situationship”, James has planned a meeting with his family soon, including his wife, which Brenda expects will be a little weird. Brenda has never been in this situation, but he treats her like she has never been treated before. Sexually, financially, and emotionally, he has done things her ex-husband never did. Brenda feels conflicted and needs advice on what to do, but she is too embarrassed to tell any of her friends about her situation she’s gotten herself into. She’s afraid they will judge her for living with a married man or call her foolish for believing his stories.
Take a moment and write down the red flags you identified in thhe above scenario.
Do not worry if you did not see any red flags or maybe only one or two. As you continue to read and reread this book they will become more evident to you. Here are the red flags I saw:
She did not have the courage to tell the story. You need to find courage to share stories that are embarrassing, or when you believe that you should have known better. This is one of the ways our intuition speaks to us. It makes us feel uncomfortable in situations that aren’t meant for us.
She worried about judgment. Many times you will hear people say that “only God can judge them”. While it may be true that he is the ultimate judge, others can still judge the situations that we place ourselves in. No matter how much we attempt to tell ourselves that the judgment of others does not matter, it still bothers us when we are seen in a less-than-favorable light. We want to believe that we are good people who would not willingly place ourselves in positions that portray us in a manner other than how we see ourselves. When we worry whether our actions or the situation we have placed ourselves in will reflect badly on our character, that’s our instinct recognizing a red flag situation. The solution is to remove yourself from that situation immediately. Bad company corrupts good character. The relationships you enter and remain in are a direct reflection of your character.
She lists surface characteristics like looks while claiming James is a man of character. The reality is she fell for his swag and swag is not character. Men with charisma are not necessarily men with good character. This is not to say that all charismatic men lack good character. But swag or charisma, whichever term you prefer, can also be found in players and pimps. We certainly wouldn’t list a player or a pimp on an Esquire list of Men with Good Character. We must look deeper than the surface level. There must be something that initially attracts us to a man, but that initial attraction should be only the prerequisite to gain your attention. As we get to know a man, we need to watch his actions to discern whether or not his character matches his swag. When you notice him falling short in areas that a person of good moral character would be held to, it is time to throw him back. Flag on the play! He is no catch.
(a) He’s married. (b) He says his wife is pregnant and in the next sentence he claims the child is not his. (c) He claims to be waiting on a DNA test to prove this. (d) Even if the baby is not his, he still wants Brenda to wait on the side until his wife “messes up again.”
I decided to join each of those red flags into one flaming red flag! The fact that he is married ought to be a red flag of its own. When added to reasons he gives to justify his adulterous affair, it becomes a three alarm fire.
This man has abandoned his wife. His pregnant wife. If he claims that the child is not his, then why does he needs a DNA test? The only possible way James could be certain that the child his wife is carrying is not his is (1) if he stopped having sexual relations with her before the child was conceived or (2) he is incapable of having children. If either of those were the case, he would not need a DNA test to prove he is not the father. This was game. Now, is it possible that his wife is indeed a cheater? Yes, anything is possible. But why would Brenda want to involve herself in such a messy situation? James is requesting that she be his mistress, his side-chick, until he decides to divorce the woman he vowed to love until death. Think about that. Flag on the Play. He is no catch.
James speaks badly about his wife to Brenda. You may have heard the saying; those who will talk bad about others to you will also talk bad about you. When a man talks bad about a woman to his new love interest, what do you think his intent is? Nine times out of ten it’s to make the new woman sympathize with him, to make her believe that the woman is to blame for the failure of his prior relationship, or, in this case, his current marriage. No relationship is without its issues; the red flag lies in not taking personal responsibility for his part in the demise. Instead, he plays the victim and plays on the new woman’s nurturing instinct. Some women love to believe that they can fix a man’s broken heart by loving him and showing him how she is different from the woman who caused his pain. Men know this–and players use it to their advantage. If and when your relationship with such a man gets rocky or ends, the same way he spoke badly about that woman he will surely speak about you. Flag on the play. No catch!
Married men who cheat on their wives have a predatory instinct allowing them to scope out vulnerable women to prey on from miles away. Such men often look for someone who is in a weakened state because that person is more likely to accept just about any story they are told. Take note that Brenda feels that he does everything that her ex-husband did not do for her. She is treated like “gold” but there is no ring (actually there is a ring; his wife is wearing it). If James was truly interested in being with Brenda, and cared that much for her, he would divorce his wife. He would have not even approached her for an intimate relationship until the divorce paperwork was filed and he had a legal court document bringing complete closure to his marriage. Brenda probably told him about all of the things that her ex-husband did not do, so he does exactly what she says her ex was lacking to keep her comfortable in this illicit affair.
There are two sides to every story, and the fact that James told her things about his marriage and that she would meet his family soon does not mean that either has or will eventually happen. Regardless, why should she care about meeting the spouse and family when legally the wife still gets everything he has if he were to die. If that child is his, James will discover quickly that it is cheaper to keep his wife and he will likely attempt to make the marriage work for the child.
Amy is madly in love with Brandon, a married man, and has been in a relationship with him for eight years. She knew he was married from the beginning but she felt like there was just something special about him. She says he has treated her like a queen. She never has to ask or want for anything, because he is a great provider. Recently, his wife of 20 years found out about their relationship and threatened divorce. Brandon immediately ended his affair with Amy and is trying to save his marriage. Amy is distraught and depressed. She wonders how Brandon can profess his love for her for almost a decade and drop her so easily like she never meant anything to him.
What red flags did you identify in the above scenario?
Did you spot more red flags with this second scenario? Here are the ones I noticed:
Signing up to be a side chick, mistress, other woman or whatever you want to call it is never wise. Though there are some men who leave their wife and marry their former lover that is the exception, not the rule! Amy thought that her years in would make her an exception. In love there are no guarantees, especially when you’re a willing member of a love triangle.
Amy carried on an illicit love affair with a man who was being deceitful to the woman he vowed to love, honor, and cherish for the rest of his life, but somehow thought the throne belonged to her. She tricked herself into believing she was being treated as a queen when she was nothing more than a paramour. The things he bought her in exchange for her honor were nothing more than frivolous material items he could quickly walk away from, unlike the life he made with his wife.
Amy is confused about what love is. Brandon carrying on an 8 year affair with her is not about love. His cheating on his wife was not love. It was pure unadulterated lust and selfishness. This is the epitome of a man wanting his cake and eating it too. Amy was just as selfish. She attempted to receive blessings and joy from the wife’s pain. Now that it has backfired on her, which eventually happens with such affairs, she feels pain and wants to blame him for lying to her for the last eight years. However, she should not ignore the fact that she was a willing participant in this man’s web of deceit the entire time.
If a man is willing to cheat on his wife for eight years, why would he not cheat on you if he was to be in a relationship with you? Again, it is cheaper to keep his wife. After twenty years of marriage, his wife may be entitled to half of the marital assets and collect an alimony check monthly.
Infidelity affects children, spouses and the mistress in similar ways. The child of an unfaithful spouse will likely have trust issues when it comes to relationships. They may also experience confusion in regards to identifying real love. They likely will question why a person who supposedly loves them and their mother can be so unfaithful and cause so much pain.
The spouse who was cheated on will likely have a hard time maintaining the current marriage or may be reluctant to start over again. The mistress often begins having trust issues and may suffer from guilt when she tries to move on to a healthier relationship with a man of her own.
Too many women believe that they are the ones who will make a cheater change his game. Those women often end up bitter and are unable to trust a good man if and when they meet one. Don’t be that woman. When you meet a married man and he tries to pursue you, cut him short, yell Code Red Flag! FLAG ON THE PLAY! And save yourself from the inevitable heartache.
I hope you have enjoyed this promotional chapter of Flag On the Play.
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