A wise person in my life said to me “always trust your gut,” because I have a tendency not to do this and to ignore flaming red flags personally and professionally. She also said “Stef, how it starts is how it will wind up.”

She was referring to the end of my last relationship with that comment where I turned a blind eye to the fact that he told me and others repeatedly that he did not want more children. It made me question moving forward with us but he later assured me that he was open to it and that he did in fact want a family with me. But I should have known better. He was doing it just for me and saying what I wanted to hear in order to stay together. We are nearly 10 years apart and polar opposites. He already had three children. He wound up leaving me for one of our mutual “friends” who is much older than me and cannot have kids – pretty harsh but such is life.

Not trusting my gut happens professionally too. I should have never taken a job offer from a company where I would have a nearly two hour commute each way giving me little time with my family or dog each day.

There were other red flags such as a resentful long-term employee who wasn’t happy I was hired and was defensive and aggressive from day one. There was also the concerning fact that I had no job description when I started and management kept saying “we will figure out what each of you do when you arrive” – a huge red flag. Again, I didn’t listen to my gut but thankfully that situation worked itself out.

The moral of these stories I’m sharing with you is to really listen to all signs (both good and bad) in order to protect yourself. Red flags and gut feelings are your body and mind trying to warn you. Your internal barometer never lies. I knew my ex was not a long-term prospect and that he had a wandering eye, nor was this job, but my ego and feelings kept me attached.

This photo was taken when I was on vacation with the ex and right after I had learned something that should have made me run screaming for the hills. I look happy here but I was so upset and confused – I ultimately stayed with him but I shouldn’t have – I ignored a huge red flag because I was in love and I wanted it to work with him.

Both of these situations were great learning experiences but both a waste of time and effort. I hope these stories help you learn too and to trust your gut more.