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Dear Amy: I'm a 50-year-old woman, and I haven't been in a serious relationship in about a decade.

My first two partners (when I was in my 20s and early 30s) were controlling and emotionally abusive.

I know I ignored a lot of obvious red flags at the time (and made excuses for those people).

So, now, if there's even the slightest sign of confusion early on – if he's teasing me (the “just kidding” insult), correcting me (especially if he's wrong), being rude to me or others or talking badly to his ex-boyfriends… -I usually won't see the guy again.

I also disapprove when men are too strong in the beginning.

This means I rarely make it past the second or third appointment.

Am I too careful?

I'm worried I'm getting too thin skin.

-Worried alone

Dear Anxiety: Every trait I mentioned: the “just kidding” insults, the corrections, the rudeness, the profanity, the talking too forcefully – are justified deal breakers, at least from where I sit.

You may improve your reaction to “correction,” but being insulted or corrected by someone who is not only wrong, but also rude, is another matter.

(You can check if you become defensive when others disagree with you.)

But let's say you really are Owns The skin becomes thin.

so what? is this you. Maybe you are very special.

Being cruel to people is not a good thing, but discrimination is a good thing.

When meeting a stranger for a potential relationship, your instincts are all you have.

My main suggestion is that you should work on relaxation. Don't lower your standards, just… relax.

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Many people stutter in their first meetings – they may drink too much, misread the room, or simply feel nervous. Maybe your guard is a little high, and his guard is not high enough. That's why second dates were invented.

Even very special people can learn something new by developing an open attitude, but that doesn't mean you should condone a person's behavior, especially when that behavior is rude or unkind.

The late, dear Maya Angelou gave the world great advice when she said: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.

© 2024 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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