ROSIE GREEN – I can recommend a romantic checklist


Styling: Nicola Rose. Make-up: Caroline Barnes at Frank Agency. Hair: Alex Szabo  at Carol Hayes. Jumper, See by Chloe at Fenwick, Jeans, See by  Chloe at Fenwick. Shoes, Jennifer Chamand

Styling: Nicola Rose. Makeup by Caroline Barnes at Frank Agency. Hair: Alex Szabo  at Carol Hayes. Jumper, See by Chloe at Fenwick, Jeans, See by  Chloe at Fenwick. Shoes, Jennifer Chamand

 When I was a smug married I didn’t go in for relationship analysis. I didn’t know my ‘attachment style’ from my ‘intimacy blocks’; my ‘abandonment trauma’ from my ‘trust issues.’ I thought it was all a bit navel-gazing. But there’s nothing like your own marriage blowing up like a North Korean missile to make you re-evaluate.

Divorce made me think about how I had acted in my relationship – and how my behaviour might have contributed to its downfall.

So these days I’m more aware of the things that trigger me and the sometimes irrational responses that result. I understand all the lingo. I can tell the difference between a control freak and a narcissist; a gaslighter and a hedonist. This means that in my new relationship, I’m looking for compatibility, emotional maturity and self-awareness – as opposed to ‘ooh, he looks nice in a T-shirt’.

My divorce made me reflect on how I had acted in my relationship. 

It was in the early stages of my dating journey that I first came across the idea of red and green signs. I was sent the main points by a date via WhatsApp. He then checked off my qualities against a checklist. Luckily, I passed on most fronts (or maybe that’s just what I inferred).

He helped me to understand the concept of getting the partner’s yeses or noes. Some are obvious and don’t require a crash course in psychology to figure out. Personal hygiene is a must. That’s non-negotiable. It was a hard ‘no’ to the guy I met in a London café who hadn’t moved out of the student self-washing-hair phase. Ditto the man who told me that because you’re clean after a shower, you need never wash your towels.

It’s also about knowing yourself and what you can and can’t deal with. I couldn’t date a flouncer or anyone who could keep an argument going for days. I have friends who maintain the silent treatment for a week ‒ then by the end can’t even remember what they’re peeved about.

So, here are the green flags to look for in a potential suitor ‒ and the red to beware:

Green Flags

1Self-responsibility. How willing are you to admit your mistakes? Beware the man who blames everything on someone else: his predilection for five-day benders on his absent father or his lost job on his ‘psychopath’ boss.

2Self-care. We are not asking for Gwyneth Paltrow-style clean food or Daniel Craig levels nattiness. We just want the basic ability to dress and eat.

3Friendships that last a lifetime. Pub or work ones don’t count because they are more about circumstance than choice.

4Empathy. This is crucial.

5Your personal growth is supported. This is a partner who wants you to succeed without being threatened.

6 Honouring boundaries. Emotional, sexual, and physical boundaries. They also understand that stealing expensive moisturisers is a violation of their rights.

Red Flags

1They think that you are perfect. This is thrilling at first but soon becomes like eating a giant bag of Celebrations – delightful, but sick-making.

2They keep you from their friends. This says, ‘I’m keeping my options open.’

3They rush through milestones in relationships. Refer to point 1. I once met a guy on a dating site and he booked me a flight to his villa in Ibiza before I even met him.

4A different approach to money. If they’re a stingy tipper or don’t want to turn on the heating because ‘snow insulates’ – it will soon be discounted soaps for Christmas.

5 They can’t communicate. You can refer to my earlier flouncer comment.

6 They can’t apologise.

One thing I love about my boyfriend is their sleep compatibility. I’m famously an early-peaker – dancing on the tables at eight, unconscious by 11pm. Only last week, he fell asleep at 10pm during a mid-dinner party.

He’s a keeper.