14 Red Flags to Look Out for in a Relationship

by Brett & Kate McKay on January 31, 2013 · 277 comments

in Dating, Relationships & Family

redflags

You’ve probably had a friend who started dating a woman that really made you scratch your head. She was flaky, possessive, and high-drama. Everyone could see that the gal was toxic and really bringing your buddy down…everyone, that is, except your buddy.

You tell yourself, “That would never happen to me.”

But then it does.

What gives? How do people end up in unhealthy relationships despite warning signs that their partner was bad news to begin with?

Answer: we’re blinded by love.

Seriously.

Using MRI machines, researchers at the University College London found that “feelings of love lead to a suppression of activity in the areas of the brain controlling critical thought. It seems that once we get close to a person, the brain decides the need to assess their character and personality is reduced.”

Not only does romantic love suppress our critical thinking, but feel-good chemicals and hormones like oxytocin and dopamine cloud our judgment even more. Love truly gives us a drug-like “high,” and it feels so good that we simply ignore the red flags waving right before us. If by chance you do take notice of a gal’s negative behavior or attitude, you’re likely to minimize it, writing it off as a cute quirk, or telling yourself, “Oh, it’s not that bad. Besides, maybe I can be the guy to help her improve.”

Don’t fool yourself.  You can’t force your partner to change; the change has to come from within. Also, problems that you notice at the beginning of a relationship tend to amplify themselves as the relationship deepens. Or as marriage expert Dr. John Van Epp says in his book, How to Avoid Falling in Love With a Jerk, “The good doesn’t always last, and the bad usually gets worse.”

“Well,” you say, “I’m a manly man, dammit. I don’t let my emotions get the best of me in a relationship. I always think rationally.”

Hold on there, chief. Some research actually indicates that men, particularly men in their mid-twenties, “typically fall in love faster than women and are the first to take the lead in saying words of love in the initial stages of the relationship.” Women, on the other hand, are generally more apprehensive in the beginning stages of a relationship. In other words, just because you’re a dude, doesn’t mean you’re not susceptible to love blindness.

Knowing that your judgment is clouded, it’s important to enter any serious relationship with both your head and your heart. You need be able to distance yourself from the powerful emotions you’re likely feeling in a new relationship so that you can notice any red flags that might indicate that you’re destined for a relationship from hell. This is doubly important if you’re considering marriage.

But what sort of red flags should you be on the lookout for? While every man has his own personal relationship red flags or deal breakers, psychologists and marriage experts have found there are a few general red flags you should be aware of. Most of these are patterns of behavior in your partner that will likely (not definitely) result in a troubled relationship down the road.

Because people are usually on their best behavior at the beginning of a relationship, some of these red flags won’t appear for awhile. According to Dr. Van Epp, it’s usually around the three-month mark that deep-seated patterns start to manifest themselves. This delay is why he and other relationship experts recommend that you take romantic relationships nice and slow.

Below are some of the common red flags that researchers and therapists recommend you look for in a relationship.

1. She’s a self-proclaimed “Drama Queen.” Beware of women who not only proclaim themselves to be Drama Queens, but also revel in the role. Drama Queens often swing from one emotional extreme to another; when life seems a little boring or flat, they’ll go out of their way to stir up a controversy. They’re often impulsive and demand to be the center of attention all the time. What’s interesting is that Drama Queendom isn’t just a character defect, it could actually be a psychological disorder called “histrionic personality disorder.” Who knew?

Drama Queens can be very alluring and attractive in the beginning of the relationship because of their seemingly outgoing and often seductive personalities. But the shtick gets old after a while and constant drama in a long-term relationship just makes people miserable.

2. You can’t stand any of her friends. You don’t need to be “besties” with her friends, but if the thought of spending an hour with one of them makes you want to jump in front of speeding traffic, then you might have reason to be concerned about your relationship with your gal. There’s wisdom in the old adage, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Your significant other likely has a lot in common with her friends — similar interests, temperaments, and beliefs. Because you’re not in love with her friends, you’re more likely to notice their annoyingly grating behaviors and attitudes. But because you’re infatuated with your gal, you’re likely ignoring or overlooking these same behaviors and attitudes coming from her.

Thus, if you can’t stand being around her friends now, there’s a chance you’ll feel the same way about your partner later. Don’t be surprised if your girlfriend is just like her annoying friend after the “Fog of Love” dissipates.

3. She says ALL her exes are jerks. There’s a possibility that every man she’s ever dated was indeed a jerk. If that’s the case, what does that say about her judgment, and what is it about her personality that draws her to losers? And that also means you’re probably a jerk too, as people tend to follow the same scripts and patterns across relationships.

The more likely scenario is that some — but not all — of her exes were jerks and she’s downplaying her role in the relationships going sour. This scenario is just as troublesome – as it shows a lack of self-awareness and an unwillingness to take responsibility. We all know folks who got fired from a job, received a bad grade, or got dumped because their boss was jealous, their professor was out to get them, and their girlfriend was nuts. It’s never their fault. Avoid relationships with this type of person like the plague.

4. She’s a flake. We all know that trust is an important aspect of a strong, healthy relationship, and it’s hard to trust someone who flakes out on you all the time. Watch to see if your gal follows through on her commitments in all aspects of her life. If she’s a flake with her employer, friends, and family, chances are she’s going to be a flake with you.

5. She treats waiters like crap. You can glean important information about a person from the way they treat strangers, especially those in a “server” role like a waiter, barista, or bank clerk. Psychologists have found that the way an individual treats strangers is often an indication of that person’s empathy, social conscience, and maturity of moral thinking — the same attributes that marriage and relationship researchers have found to be essential for healthy relationships.

6. She expects to be treated like a princess. When one person comes into a relationship with a sense of entitlement and expectation that his or her needs should always come before the other person’s, resentment, contempt, and anger are usually the results. Be on the lookout for subtle and overt clues that your partner has the “princess” mentality. (Hint: She has the word “Princess” stitched on the butt of her sweatpants.)

7. You argue all. the. time. There’s nothing wrong with conflict in a relationship. It’s completely normal, and in fact healthy at times. But if all you do is argue, then there’s a problem. Researchers have found that for a relationship to be happy, the ratio of positive to negative interactions needs to be 5:1. If your ratio is inverted, you’re going to be miserable. And don’t try to convince yourself that once you get more serious, things will get better. The first couple years are the honeymoon period! If things are already bad in the early stages of a relationship, you’re in big trouble.

8. She gets angry or guilts you when you want to spend time with your friends. We’ve talked a lot on the site about how important it is for men to spend time with their man friends — iron sharpens iron and all that. Unfortunately, some women don’t understand this and bust their boyfriend’s balls any time they want to go spend time with their buds – or they insist on always coming along to your formerly all-guy outings. A good woman will actually encourage you to spend time with the guys, understanding that it’s good for your overall well-being, which is ultimately good for your relationship too.

9. She never apologizes or takes responsibility for bad behavior. Psychologists call the ability to recognize and take responsibility for bad behavior conscientiousness, and it’s an important attribute in maintaining a healthy relationship.

“What you want to see is a partner who quickly admits to wrong because the feelings of guilt register without much defensiveness or denial. Long arguments where you have to convince your partner that he or she was wrong or should feel guilty are a definite reason to worry,” says Van Epp.

10. She has a bad relationship with her family. As the relationship gets more serious, you’ll likely meet her parents and family. Watch how she interacts with them. Her comfort level with her family will often lead to her putting down her guard and showing her true colors. Patterns or scripts that your partner uses in one set of relationships will most likely be introduced into your relationship (Van Epp). If she gets along great with her family, great! You’ll likely experience the same in your relationship. However, if she’s cold and distant with her family, tread carefully. You might experience the same kind of hostility later.

Of course, there are cases where the apple truly does fall far from the tree. If her family is nuts or abusive, her distance is understandable and likely a good thing.

11. She’s not flexible. Marriage and relationship experts have found that flexibility — the ability to go with the flow and adapt to changing circumstances — is an important attribute for relationship success. If your girlfriend is never willing to compromise or gets frazzled when plans change or things aren’t exactly the way she wants them, there could be problems with your relationship down the line.

How do you know if your gal is the roll-with-the-punches type? Go on vacation together – ideally to a third-world country where things will invariably not go as planned. Or, just as good, take her camping. She refuses to go camping – even once? That’s a big red flag in itself – at least in my book.

12. You don’t share any core values or life goals. It doesn’t matter how much you love each other, if you and your gal aren’t on the same page when it comes to things like values or life goals, things are going to be rocky. Research backs this up — couples who share many of the same values and life goals are happier and have stronger relationships than couples who don’t.

13. She’s violent. Did you know that women are at least as likely, sometimes even more likely, than men to initiate domestic violence? Sure, her punches may not hurt you, but if your girlfriend gets violent when you argue, that should be a bright red flag that you need to end the relationship. There’s some underlying emotional issues there, and if she did it before, she’ll likely do it again. Don’t shrug it off – slapping can escalate into the use of weapons.

14. She’s stingy with the appreciation. Feelings of appreciation keep a relationship strong and running smoothly. One of the things I love about Kate is no matter how many times I’ve done a run-of-the-mill chore or how small a favor, she always remembers to take notice and share her appreciation. If your girlfriend rarely notices and thanks you for the nice things you do, such stinginess will eventually run your ship of love onto the rocks.

What do you think are red flags in a relationship? Share with us in the comments!

{ 277 comments… read them below or add one }

201 david May 13, 2013 at 2:18 am

people are people, what may seem to be are flag my not. be it truly depends on you and your partner, yes some times it is best to watch how you say things, let face it words if not said right can be taking way out of perspective. and some people are sensitive then others. but it does not mean they are a wuss. it just means they are deep person and have a good understanding of their emotions.

202 Drew May 15, 2013 at 1:11 pm

If she neglects her pet – get out.

I had great sexual chemistry and a genuine friendship with a girl I just broke up with, but I had to end it because she would leave her dog at home from 9 AM to late at night. It was infrequent, but even once every 6 weeks is wrong. This is just sick. She did not understand this was neglect. To top it off, she was out getting drunk while neglecting the dog. Double Whammy. Adios girl. You’re not having my babies!

203 Sergio May 16, 2013 at 7:47 pm

I think maybe another red flag, is that She wants to hang out & party with her friends very often. I’m laid back, so in a past relationship this didn’t bother me. I would want to go out, usually spontaneously or only planned a few days before, but she’d already have plans with her friends many times. No biggie, until it turned out she was cheating on me. Only caught her kissing one other dude, but I’m pretty sure she may have been getting around lol.

204 tino May 19, 2013 at 12:32 am

I’ve been in a co dependent relationship for 20 yrs. I just want out. There’s so much things wrong with it I dont know where to begin. I also have 8 children to this woman. It’s because of them why I still stay with her. My heart is broken every other day because of the bad behaviour she displays as a so called caring mother. Swearing at the children and calling them and me f……. idiots… is ruining our family. She has got me on DV notice yet she instigates/provokes me till I cant stand it no more and retaliate, and yes I do regret hitting her the times I have. She has also hit me on a number of occasions. I live in fear of losing my kids which is why I’m still in the relationship. I’m also a lonely person who never ventures outside the family unit so physical intimacy with her is very powerful she often uses to her advantage. I feel so weak not being able to stand on my own 2 feet and walk away. I love my children with all my heart and I’m a practical man so I not only tell them I love them. I show them. Whether its taking them on outings in the weekends or attending their performances at school I try my very best to accomodate their needs.My forgiveness with regards to the other half of my childrens life has fast depleted from existence and I’m now looking in other fields for greener pastures. I’m too scared to tell her how I really feel. I love my kids too much to see them suffer, but not to do anything is just as worse. I’m so frustrated I cant think clearly at times and end up crying spontaneously during the day. Can someone help me?

205 kee kee May 22, 2013 at 1:07 am

Re: Tino
First off, imy heart goes out to u cause no-one deserves to be treated the way your wife treats u & the kids… 9 times outta 10, w/ u being so miserable, trust that ur kids are too! I think u shud go behind the wife’s back & go talk w/ a counselor,lawyer & also child services seeking advise on taking custody of ur kids…file for divorce once u get that going. Depending on how u feel thekids will react & their ages, maybe talk to them & ask how they’d feel to live w/ u & also divorcing their mom. I think u shud start keeping journal dates & times of anything that u feel is wrong for court when it comes. I wish u the best, hope this mite help. If u stay n it I’m afraid once kids r older it mite back fire & they resent u for not getting them out! This will show them u r willing to do whatever & fight 4 them! Gud luck & may god bless ur household…also PRAY about it :-)

206 wiser and happier May 23, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Wow, I could have used this advice really well when I entered my first serious relationship. It’s been over for a few years now and I’ve been in a very different, committed, happy relationship for the past couple years, but there are still things that I kick myself for about my ex.
I wish I had had these spelled out to me then – I would have gotten out of that relationship a lot sooner and dodged a bullet! She treated waitstaff terribly! She was often rude or cold at best – I always try to be grateful and polite, so I’d be saying, “Thank you,” while she gave them the icy eyeball.
I admit to having making mistakes in the relationship, but she was the sort to put the blame anywhere but on herself, even though some fault lay with her too. And she had SUCH princess attitude – totally unwilling to compromise. At the end of the day, we did have core value differences, but she never wanted to admit to them… she’d say she wanted the same things as me and then act like she didn’t – which was true.
I think if I had known these “things to watch out for” sooner I might have had a lot more fun and a lot more friends in my first couple years at college.

207 Sam May 25, 2013 at 10:57 am

i was in a relationship with my
partner for 2 years the red flag was
always up but i was blinded by love i used to come home from work
tired sit down and catch up with the telly
she was very violent at every chance she
had she started arguing over little things
and she hit me a lot am talking slapping
punching kicking her family was very violent but i thought she was not like them but she was worse one time i had a coffee
mug smashed on my head all sorts..!!
funny thing is she left me after 2 years
of our relationship..!! and told her family
i was the violent one and i hit her just to cover up her story and i was too ashamed to admit to anybody not even
my close friends that she hit me a lot..!!

i was blinded by love after all her violent
behaviour when she left she still messaged me being all sweet n nice saying am sorry for the break up and i
fell for it so many times but she never changed once we got back together
she started where she left off..!!

now i have changed my number and slowly am trying to move forward with my life but i still have feelings for her
which i hope will die out in time..!!
thank you for reading i had to let it out..!!

208 Drood May 26, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Hmmm…let’s see…4, 5, 7, 9, 10, and 14. Why couldn’t I have read this 20 years ago?

209 Craig May 27, 2013 at 11:03 pm

^Tino 204^

That’s really terrible man. My parents didn’t have this bad of a relationship but there were clearly problems and manipulation happening. I am fortunate that I saw them get separated when each kid finally graduated high school (I am the youngest). Both of my parents are better people, both of them are happier, and I’m a better person because I got a chance to see the functional and dysfunctional things about both of my parents when they got into relationships afterwards. If I didn’t get that chance I wouldn’t have nearly as clear of an idea of what I’m looking for in a partner.

Look at it this way. What is better in your mind; Staying together in a dysfunctional marriage and the children seeing the mistreatment of both of their parents OR getting a divorce and your children having an opportunity to see at least one functional relationship?

210 Chaos May 30, 2013 at 1:11 pm

It’s very sad and ironic how as human beings designed with 2 sexes can’t tolerate each other in this day and age due to societies’ short comings. One individual’s experience is completely augmented by the political, social interpersonal and environmental factors that inevitably influence us every day at the subconscious level. Everyone was born with a “clean slate” during birth, yet down the road have completely warped relationship experiences due to social structures of greed, power, hate, and pride…what on earth happened to fostering the honorable and goodness in mankind when we’re born? Yet we as individuals are constantly programmed at birth in order to be easily manipulated and controlled down the road, what a “brave new world” we live in…

211 Seth May 31, 2013 at 2:23 pm

It’s unfortunate to read all the comments about domestic violence and spousal abuse that seem to be out there but it’s A LOT more common than it seems. Violence by women against men is rarely discussed and rarely reported. According to the Domestic Violence Resource Center, 1 in 6 men have been or are being abused and only 1 in 10 abused men ever report it to anyone. If any of you guys who need help read this, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233. You also find support groups: Safe4all.org and BatteredMen.com. If you need help, please get it now. That’s the responsible thing to do.

212 Dino June 8, 2013 at 2:50 pm

In my opinion, nobody is perfect. Ill bet my life that every single women possesses at least a little of at least one of these red flags. Same applies for men too. If it is not on here, then there are other so-called “red flags”. It’s just a matter of how much or how long you can tolerate it. Another thing to add as well, I consider myself a perfectionist and I admit that can be a personality flaw so any one that thinks you can find a girl / guy without any flaws is delusional. Now don’t get me wrong, this list is a good list and I wouldn’t want to be with someone that has two of these (I’ll let one pass!), but in general, unless you can find your exact opposite sexed clone, you are going to have to compromise and give and take in any relationship. Feeling has to be mutual, remember that!

213 Kevin June 25, 2013 at 8:09 am

My girlfriend turns here phone off when she is with me but turns it on when she goes to the bathroom, she calls and checks for text. I know cause she will say here dad called or brother left a text. Is she hiding?

214 Brian June 25, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Kevin…….If the phone is off, and she takes it into the bathroom with her, something is going on for sure. I used to do that when I was dating a couple different women and didn’t want to get or send text messages at a bad time. Now that I’m with one woman, I leave my phone laying around. If an ex calls, I tell her it’s an ex. Generally she’s cool about it (cooler than I would be), if she’s ever not ok with it…..see ya. She does the same. Sometimes it’s hard to accept some dude from a year ago calling her, or for her to accept an ex calling me, but you have to be realistic. But if she’s not willing to leave that thing laying around, she’s hiding some stuff.

215 Sandy June 28, 2013 at 9:06 pm

This is an awesome list. My dad always says he was pretty oblivious about girls when he was my age (early 20s). Considering, girls get berated with the warning signs about guys all the time (to the point of causing us to be too paranoid sometimes), it’s cool that there’s some guidance for guys.

Hey Kevin, you have an instinct about it. Follow it. You already know something fishy is going on. I don’t know any girl who only turns on her phone when she’s alone.

216 Gnat June 30, 2013 at 5:27 am

Hey Kevin,

Just a thought, whilst it’s totally possible your GF is cheating on you it is also possible that she turns it off around you out of politeness, so as not to interrupt your time together. People have a lot of different ways of using mobile phones I’ve noticed and a lot of different ideas about when/ how they should/ shouldn’t be used.

217 Lorraine July 1, 2013 at 1:25 am

Hi I’m female. I’ve read all the red flags. But there are still a few missing. I can admit that some of thing things said there can be what I show. But I’m trying to change those things. My friends are 95% guys and find it much better being around guys as they are not quick to judge. Plus I share quite some common interest with guys. Anyway to get to my point. Another obvious red flag is that your gal checks your phone ( you’ll notice or feel that when you exit the room and come back, something’s a miss with how your phone was placed). She stalks your facebook or twitter or what ever else social networks you have. She has no respect for your friends and whatever you do. She picks and choose who are the friends that she is comfortable with you around. She starts adding all the friends that you frequently communicate with to keep track on you. And she is never comfortable that you are around or communicating with other gals. I know guys will be guys especially with their guy friends, like checking out chicks that walk by. So instead of getting mad at your partner, join them. The guy is still by your side right?

218 Gregory July 2, 2013 at 5:25 am

My ex wife did most of these things, but I didn´t really notice until it was too late, though now I wish I had latched onto how she related to her family, who she tended to treat like shit. I noticed that at an early stage, but thought that her family were just a bunch of crazies, though later I came to realize that perhaps she was the craziest of them all.

219 Beth July 2, 2013 at 11:26 am

This is a great article. I must say that I’m a little disappointed with the unforgiving nature of some of the comments. Everyone makes mistakes and we should look closely for signs of maturity and self-improvement, as a few have mentioned.

Example from my experience: in high school I was emotionally abused by my boyfriend, which left my self esteem very damaged. When the relationship finally ended, I was left as a single mother in my early 20s. Being so emotionally scarred, I ended up in several other bad relationships before getting help. When I met my husband, I was a single mother of 2. If he had taken some of this advice, we wouldn’t be celebrating our 7th anniversary (after dating for 2 years). He is a man in the true since of the word.

A side note about a girl having male friends. I agree that in most instances it’s a bad thing. For me, I had many of my female friends betray me and sleep with my BFs, so I don’t typically hang out with other women. I generally find their obsession with shopping, makeup, and gossip to be extremely annoying. I’ve got better things to do. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing.

220 Jessica July 6, 2013 at 9:08 am

Crap…I’m one of those red flags… (That we argue all the time.) I don’t honestly mean to start anything but I’ve been with my boyfriend almost two years and the relationship has always been clear about how I want to wait until marriage before losing my virginity and he agreed to it. But after pressuring me once and my refusal to give in he cheated on me which was devastating and damaged my confidence in myself and my faith in him. Ever since then it’s been argument after argument. Sure we make up in the end and find a solution but the fire still eventually returns as we both go at it. I want him to have guy friends and would encourage him to socialize more but he doesn’t hang out with men he only hangs out with women and claims they’re just friends. Normally I wouldn’t care but after he cheated on me I’m paranoid as hell that he’ll do something again especially since he’s a “nice guy” nerdy type who gives into temptation very easily and has had a long history of different sexual partners. This article is enlightening but it also worries me. I’m afraid to break up with this man because he’s my first boyfriend and seems really sincere in his promises but his history and our past experiences make it hard to be happy around one another majority of the time.

221 Brenda July 7, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Jessica,
You deserve to be with a wonderful man who respects you, and your decision to save yourself for marriage. This guy obviously doesn’t realize what a gem you are. And, as you say that he has a long history of partners….guess what, it’s not likely he’s going to change. Breaking up might be hard, but a lot of things in life are hard…. Truly, there are wonderful men in the world. If you don’t mind a word of advice from a stranger–don’t make yourself unavailable to the good men by continuing to date a weak/immoral one! Ask for God’s help in finding a great husband!

222 Slevin July 9, 2013 at 5:39 pm

I think after a period of time you find yourself having the same argument over and over. Not actually about the same topic, but the same pattern to the argument. The relationship I was in there was always something wrong but it was like doing dental work on a shark to get to the heart of the matter. Even if It was something simple it was a long drawn out affair to get it out into the open.

223 cory July 16, 2013 at 11:10 pm

im about to enter this relationship with a girl whom I met through a close mate of mine, shes coming across quite nicely, lots and lots in common and a strong connection towards her, somebody please tell me – what if this girl refuses to tell you where she works, asks lots of off-beat questions about drugs (“do you smoke crack?” – I thought was really weird yet thought it was her off-beat personality) are these both red flags and should I go ahead with her?

224 JJ July 23, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Good article. My ex of about 7 months ago whom I had a pretty serious relationship with clearly had the attributes mentioned in #2,3,5,9, and 12. Of those, the ones that bothered me the most were her friends and the life goals. I don’t regret the whole relationship whatsoever, since I see it as a part of my life where I managed to learn a lot about people. More of a learning curve, but yeah most of these points mentioned can make any relationship hell at times.

225 Crystal August 2, 2013 at 12:19 am

Good points for men but I don’t agree with camping scenario. I don’t do camping and I am very flexible. I use to travel for a living, so I would remove that scenario if a women doesn’t like camping she is not flexible or not a good women. There are things men don’t like to do like hold a womens purse and that doesn’t mean he is not a good man. Just saying

226 Josh August 2, 2013 at 10:22 pm

I a figured it up my girlfriend has 5 of those traits and those have always been things that bothered me about her I have just told my self she would get better in time and out of the year we have dated she has changed but very little. I like her and we have fun together but i have noticed my self lately not doing things or saying things so she doesn’t blow up and i find my self doing more things to make her happy with out a lot of return from her.
she is from India and I’m from Texas so I have always just said it is a culture difference but I don’t know what to do or where to go from here..

227 Dan August 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm

A definite red flag is one I experienced myself. If she tells her life stories over and over, but doesn’t want to hear yours, part ways with her. We are the sum of our experiences and if someone doesn’t care to hear what made you who you are, they don’t care about you.

228 Alpo August 13, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Being able to look at oneself and recognize poor behavior is not easy. Making amends for harm done is even more difficult. If your partner’s behavior is causing you emotional “grief “, you may have to point it out. If your partner is still unwilling to ” look in the mirror ” you probably won’t feel too important. I’ve added that to my red flag list. It can save a lot of time and misery!

229 Chris August 14, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Cory get out now!! If she won’t tell you where she works, it’s HIGHLY likely that she is a stripper or an escort/prostitute. Especially if she’s asking you strange questions about doing drugs. Get a way from her my friend. You absolutely CANNOT trust someone who is not honest and up front with you.

230 A August 22, 2013 at 8:43 pm

Hi men out there, Here is a scenario that’s left me confused and weary. A man I met 3 years ago, briefly, contacted me via email and then started texting me. He was pursuing very diligently and I eventually agreed to a Skype call (we live in different countries). To cut to the middle, 3 months later, many skypes, emails, songs, photos, calls and so on later he had convinced me to go the wedding of his sister with him in Mexico, and then on a short vacation with him after. His family adored me, I danced with his father, we shared spirits. His aunts and sisters and uncles and cousins all loved me and I them. He also worked hard to create beautiful experiences for us, from catamaran trips to moonlight dinners, dancing. Everything. Plus we were compatible in all ways, physically, spiritual, intellectually and so on. His words, ‘we are good match’, ‘you are like my best friend now’ ‘I can tell you everything’ ‘ I value your opinion on my designs’ and on an on. We were good together. Really happy. Everyone could see that on both sides. To cut to the very end, 7 months later, I am sorting through the pieces. He broke it off with me as I was returning to my country, saying he was sorry but he wasn’t ready, he needed to take care of things in himself, he wanted to be friends. I am an amazing woman who deserves to be happy have an amazing man, and so on. (We are both in our 40′s). He still lives in the wealthy home of his parents I found out when I was visiting, and has never lived alone. At times I thought he might even be gay. When I started to talk about being more serious given our ages and his enthusiasm – it seemed we were falling in love – he disappeared. Completely. No calls. No emails. Nothing. The opposite of the beginning. And he turned into an asshole. Treating me suddenly like I was a one night affair. That kind of disrespect. Any insights from men that will make be able to understand what happened? Confused in Canada.

231 Anon ( u never knows who is watching haha ) August 28, 2013 at 5:52 pm

This is scary, i see my girlfriend in all of the 10 points.
I know what to do now, but it’s easier said than done.
Wish me luck!

232 D September 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Oh man! I am totally that girl with all the dude friends!
I have a few (very few) girl friends and they are way more like guys than like girls. (my interests have always been more pool/football/camping than makeup/talking about your period/vintage fashion. I have also slept with a few of these friends (it’s a small town!). Mostly guys I’ve known since I was 7 and either dated or hooked up with in high school or college. A month or two of sex, for me, doesn’t negate 20 years of friendship.
I have never done anything remotely close to cheating on anyone ever. Any of these dudes would probably smack me on the mouth if I even joked about cheating on my husband with them. They would lose their golf/drinking buddy!
So…maybe not ALWAYS a red flag. I think it’s more of a red flag if she has a legion of fanboys around that just want to bang her. If her dude friends are genuine friends that take the time to get to know you, like you, tell you stories about her, then they might not just be weirdos who want to f*** your girlfriend. Get to know them, if they resist, then run!

233 Marko September 3, 2013 at 3:52 pm

I can tell you about my ex drama queen. Every day, yes EVERY day, there is some huge problem that she needs to solve and she needs my assistance, it was mostly in form of advice, but after a while, no matter how much you like the girl it starts to get old. Is it possible that all that bad stuff happens to her!? Every freakin day there is something wrong, she argued with her dad, her nephew is sick, she is not feeling good, somebody is bothering over the phone, some things were missing from hers appartment. In 99% of the times this things weren’t related to me (i wasn’t the one who caused problem), and honestly at first it felt good. I was helping my significant other to solve problems, only to find out that every day there is new, impossible to solve problem that needs her attention and if possible my advice. She was sad, depressed, angry every day for different reason, ok i tought it’s just rough period in her life, but that wen’t on for like a year and a half. And God forbid if I make mistake, on top of all her’s problems my mess is all she needs. So she overreacted to every mistake I made. Ok, to be honest I did know to make big sh*t from time to time, but most of the time i was good guy. If you encounter something like this, RUN, RUN for you lives! This will drain you, all your energy will go on solving problems and calming her down, you will not have time to think about yourself because you’re always busy with her.

234 amber September 9, 2013 at 2:56 pm

I read this out of pure curiosity to see if I myself send out any red flags….strangely enough I’m the polar opposite of each one on the list….I just breathed a sigh of relief…Im realatively new to being single and overly concerned with how I appear to new people I meet since I haven’t been part of the dating scene for years. this little article just eased my concerns.

235 Jake September 13, 2013 at 12:21 pm

This was a really great article. It just makes me feel like I should end it now because it explains everything I can’t stand and is whats going on in my relationship.

236 THKNS September 16, 2013 at 12:01 pm

This article helps me put my recently ended relationship in perspective.
I was living in denial / enabling #1,4,6,7,8,9,10,11,13,14 (holy sh#t!) for almost 2 years. A lot of what i went through has already been said in the comments. This article and the comments definitely helped me realize and accept the toxic situation i allowed myself to put up with for so long.

I’ve never had to deal with such a situation in my life. Having a forgiving outlook on life, it was especially difficult to ‘give up’ or ‘let go’ when you love someone deep down. Looking back thought i was ‘compromising’ to ‘make it work’. In reality, I simply enabled these behaviors to become worse and bring out the worse in me as well.

Anyway, thanks for the writers of this article.

237 Heidi October 13, 2013 at 10:21 am

I read an article rececntly that basically said, we are not necessarily attracting bad people, that we will always attract bad people. But what we are doing is staying with bad people. That really resonated with me because I thought I was attracting bad people, but the whole time I’ve been staying with them for whatever reason. I have had opportuntities with good people, but when I got involved with a bad person I felt trapped. We have to take responsibiltiy for our choices. It’s possible to be deeply in love with someone and it necessary to leave them at the same time. Our feelings need to stop dictating our choice to do the right thing for ourselves or not. This is the key to breaking from our addictions to unhealthy people/relationships. And the more we expect from ourselves, the less we are willing to let slide into bigger problems, we address them up front and nip them in the bud before they get out of control. We become confident and realize that if it doesn’t happen for us to be in a relationship that’s ok because we are working on ourselves all the time and our interactions with people are works in progress.

238 Cin October 17, 2013 at 9:26 am

A you are dealing with someone who has Commitment Phobia.

239 Cliff October 19, 2013 at 7:55 pm

In response to the OP: any disrespect. Really, there’s something your heart isn’t telling you if you’re putting up with any hurt the person that should be your partner in little crimes. It goes both ways – birds of a feather flock together. Listen.
Tino – if you’re not truly busy with your own happiness, consider those of your kids. You know the score – the little apes don’t.

240 Jared October 23, 2013 at 11:57 pm

Here are a few:

1) If she steadily gains an appreciable/noticeable amount of weight, and…

2) If she insists on having a ton of male friends and insists on being in contact with ANY of her exes…

…then cut your losses.

241 Dave October 26, 2013 at 8:07 am

Wow. So true- She’s a great mother- 3 wonderful kids. Never any appreciation, lousy relationship with her family; never apologetic. Worst? No intimacy. Love how the dogs greet me when I get home; she says nary a word. So much baggage that she won’t deal with. Now at 54 I think it’s time for me to be happy- but it’s a very tough place to be; I have a 13 year old at home and a daughter overseas at school. I keep thinking “tough it out a little longer” but is that for the best? Never thought I’d be in this situation.

242 Ross November 6, 2013 at 7:59 pm

If you have known her for a while and she admits to you that the “old friend” of hers you just met was somebody she shared a needle with back in her “wild days”, then you should consider getting rid of her. The longer you have known her without knowing this the more danger you have been exposed to. This is a life threatening issue and you should take it very seriously. It may be difficult if you are already married to her, but it’s assured that she really has no regard for your safety, and that retaining her sense of pride is more important to her than whether you live or die.

243 Charlotte November 14, 2013 at 4:00 am

I think everyone would have their own list of red flags….I think a couple of these are a little harsh.

I personally take issue with a couple of these and I have it on very good authority that I am an awesome girlfriend – and (I promise) a lovely girl.

The princess one…don’t take it too seriously if a girl wants to be treated like a princess or a real lady at first – pop culture has really devalued women as people. A lot of girls have had bad experiences of being undervalued or by a partner who doesn’t put in effort to plan couple time or find out about her interests and personality.

Wanting to be romanced and feel like a princess some of the time is a show of her strong self esteem.

When it spills over into being a diva and only treating the man as an ATM or servant to her every whim…thats the red flag Gentelmen

244 Patric November 14, 2013 at 4:55 am

This article is an eye opener, i´m newly married, and my wife´s mother has been with MANY men. Also, my wife does not show frequent appreciation for “run-of-the-mill” tasks. She also was the first one to show physical violence. What´s more is that we argue all the time, the ratio is inverted is more like peace=1, violence=5. Now you ask me, WHY are you staying in this relationship? Well… I suppose because i´m a foreigner in her country, i don´t want to have to leave the country if i seperate, quit my job etc… I also am waiting on immigration papers to another country, which I added her to my file, so a divorce could hurt the case. So, I think it isn´t worth it, and plus break ups are shitty. I´m going to break up with her anyway, the hell she puts me through, will just augment with time. let´s see.

245 Jake November 24, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Wow! I sure wish I read this article before I had to go through all of this. I gave so much of my time and effort in trying to make things work out. I gave my all. Everything I possibly could. And in the end. I just got left high and dry.

246 Sue November 28, 2013 at 9:38 pm

NO camping. Take your buddies. I enjoy time with my friends and you go with yours. Be a gentleman and schedule a date. My current will become totally distracted waving at a child in a restaurant, answering a call or a text. YES, both shut off the phone. Do not yawn through the date after telling about the all the things you just did for “mom” all day after a night of party with gang the night before(after work) and try to convince your date that today is ALL for them. I will ask prior to the next date how the day has gone and if it much of the same, I cancel. I also tell why. I will tell my friends when they are a jerk and my dates.

247 gem451 December 6, 2013 at 4:43 pm

My son’s girlfriend is all of these, and more. She lies, manipulates, is a compulsive shopper who bounces checks, she talks down to her parents, answers his texts pretending to be him, and she is the biggest slob I’ve ever been around. We (his family) are hoping he actually see’s these red flags before she traps him. Frightening to read this article and know he’s living with a potential Lifetime Movie….

248 B December 7, 2013 at 1:12 pm

I’m married 10 yrs with three kids. I fell out of love with my wife. I recently had an amazing affair with an incredibly sexy younger woman. She’s divorced with great kids. I fell in love with her. She shut it down when my wife found out. She went back with the guy she was with before “us.”

He is wealthy, divorced with kids.

Now I’m getting divorced and I want to be with her, exclusively.

She is with the other guy, but she confides in me, we talk everyday, she says she’s close to leaving him and will reconsider the possibility of “us” when I’m divorced.

Meanwhile, she can’t be alone, enjoys attraction from other guys, and wants to go out everyday. I simply can’t take her being with the other guy. So I just broke it off with her – which I’ve tried to do before, but always gave into the closeness, bond, and happy feeling of talking to her.

I would truly appreciate advice as to whether I’m delusional as to there being a real chance for “us” – and a happy, committed, trusting, lasting “us” – in the future??? Otherwise, what should I do???

249 Cameron December 18, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Brett, I can confirm through experience (some of them multiple experiences) that every one of these points are completely dead-on. Being able to identify these, and articulate the cause-and-effect like you have here is some damn good advice that I recommend everyone reading this heed.

250 Cat January 6, 2014 at 7:29 am

I believe a red flag would be an Ex calling him or her up on the cell phone and talking while your in the house and he/she is across the street watching my boyfriend or girlfriend. Another Red Flag is if your boyfriend or girlfriends sister in-law says fake the smile when taking a picture then there is a sign you shouldn’t be with that person. Another red flag is where his or her family is distant from you or him, that’s because he’s cheating on you and the family knows about it(trust me I know about that) Another Red Flag is, if your boyfriend/girlfriend comes home smelling like a man or woman and has hair that doesn’t match yours that’s a red flag there cheating. Cheaters never win,due to Charma being a $&%^#

251 Cat January 6, 2014 at 7:34 am

Another red flag is if you ask your boyfriend if there is marriage in the near future, and he says not a chance in HELL!!! Leave, because why waste your time on him. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and don’t look to Plenty of Fish dating site to get a husband or boyfriend, its a bad choice, I went through that dating site and its just bad!!! Match.com is awesome!!!

252 Gregory Bolton January 6, 2014 at 7:47 am

I am going through all of those things, I met my wife when I was 35 and she wss 23 and she has 2 children 3 and 2. We went to the mall t the begining of our relationship and she caught me checking out another female, now in 2013, she continually accuses me of looking at other females. She’s had me quit my job I had because she I was trying to talk o a certain female there even though we worked different shifts and I had zero contact with her.
She used to cut up my work clothes and one time in 2008, she cut up some military uniforms and equipment I was issued from my Guard unit.
She prevented me from going to military drill numerous times, and when I went to muster in another state, she went with me because she did not trust me to go on my own and her daughter ended up getting pregnant at a reletive’s house.
She calls me childish all the time up to now, but all the fights start with her. Her teenage son and myself got into two physical altercations already because of the physical fights he saw us get into and her teenage daughter constantly is violent even atound her baby to the point where the baby is starting to exhibit wild behavior.
Part of this is the fact that she grew up experiencing her mother and father constantly fighting and all of this is spilling down to her kids who are constantly disrespectful. She gave them and their biological father the notion that she was going to leave me and they would get a house together, but that fell through. So she thinks that I will be there to take care of her.
At fifty years old and realizing everytime I leave het, she finds a way to get me to come back and the same nonsense keeps happening, my course for 2014 is clear. I’m just letting her get her financial situation in order before I leave her forever.
And when I leave her this time, I will definately not look back.

253 Larry January 14, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Jealousy. If she’s jealous and gets all bowed up when you have an innocent conversation with another woman. An ex of mine threw a fit when I smiled at the waitress in a Denny’s as I placed our order. If you see signs of that, get out while you can.

254 Xiphias January 29, 2014 at 12:51 pm

well…quite many of those are checked…there is some thinking to be done…

255 J M January 29, 2014 at 12:54 pm

#10.SO True. (Sort of). While the article explains that a poor relationship from legit issues like abuse is a reasonable consideration, I assure you its just the opposite. THAT is the red flag your are looking for. Its harder to spot and there are some other indicators that go along with it, but a lady who is an abuse survivor of some sort… tread carefully.

I am not criticizing. I empathize with the victims. I’ve known (and dated) more than one. That’s also how I know from experience, if she has some serious childhood trauma in her background, getting it worked out is a BIG deal and if she has not completed that process (or even addressed it, which is COMMON) then her head is very likely to be messed up and it WILL manifest itself in your relationship. Be it trust issues, intimacy issues, self worth issues, or all of the above. Again, its terrible, and I totally feel sympathy for anyone going through that, but as a potential relationship interest, you better understand what lies ahead and be real sure you are ready to wrestle with all the stuff that comes with it.

256 Gary January 29, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Larry speaks truth… irrational jealousy is a sure sign of trouble. It got me into an 8 yr codependent relationship where I put my life on hold to enable her insecurities. 8 years wasted.

Tino… I suggest you get some help with the codependency. There are 12 step programs and other counselling available. Read some of Melody Beatty’s books on the subject.

257 Dan January 29, 2014 at 12:58 pm

The girl I’m with now is Serbian (I’m American) and on that last point, the one about appreciation, we’ve had a bit of a culture shock.

Initialy when I would give her compliments, she would tell me to shut up. She would smile and say it in a playful way, but I noticed she never took it with a “thank you” or “you too.” I asked her about it and she told me that in her culture, it’s really strange for men to give compliments, especially at random. People are more closed off where she’s from, so she told me that in all honesty, she just didn’t know how to take a compliment because men rarely ever gave her one.

She’s getting better at it and I know how to deal with it now, but just sharing an experience that might inform yours.

258 matt January 29, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Question. My girl and I have a son…she seems sexually detached, disappears with her phone in the bathroom, emotionally detached, never shows any appreciation whatsoever but a thanks here or there. She’s always willing to kiss friends asses, but when it comes to me, I get the short end of the stick. She suggested a break, blames her personal life on why she’s the way she is, but I think it’s an excuse. Tells her friends untrue things about me, won’t drink with me but will with her friends, when we have family babysit..what do I do?

259 Joe H. January 29, 2014 at 1:19 pm

1) If she degrades/teases/insults you in front of others. Of course, a bit of teasing is just fine in private, but if she’s doing it in public to “see how you’ll react” or “because you deserve it” or because she thinks it’s cute, or just thinks it’s fun to tear you down, then that is unacceptable.She doesn’t respect you.

2) If she talks about her exes more than just the occasional reference as it relates to a larger conversation. If she keeps talking about her exes, she’s not really “with” you, and she’s got unresolved feeling and issues from the past.

260 Werner January 29, 2014 at 1:23 pm

That painfull moment when you must admit that 3 ou 4 of these red flags are actually your girlfriend’s.

Oh well…

Verbal violence counts?

261 Ariah January 29, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Dude. I don’t camp. It’s not a red flag, it just means I don’t want to cuddle with bugs. If anything, it should be a sign that I’ll keep your house nice and (reasonably) clean and critter-free. :)

262 S N January 29, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Refusing to go camping? REALLY? How silly. Some of us ladies prefer not to have to poop in the woods. I suggest a better test–a three day road trip that you know will include traffic and hassles.

263 Michael January 29, 2014 at 1:55 pm

I’d just like to ad to the “all of her ex’s are jerks” one with the “I’ve never fought with ANY of my ex’s” statement, along with “no one’s EVER called me a negative person”. The downside for her was that I know a couple of her ex’s, go figure their opinions were different.

264 TP January 29, 2014 at 2:03 pm

These red flags just described my ex to a T. Fortunately she is my ex. Unfortunately it took me over 2 years to get my shit together and realize the obvious. Too bad I didn’t stumble upon this sooner, read up men. This is a very useful check list!

265 Matt January 29, 2014 at 5:58 pm

A red flag is your partner having a fused relationship with one or both parents. A fused relationship is where the adult child does not break away from the parental figure in a healthy way. It’s like they are stuck being 12 with their parent(s) and refuse to leave their proximity while the parent(s) enable this behavour. Look for: an inordinate refusal to move away after your married. Your decisions as a couple depend on what their parents think. The parents pay for stuff. The parents see you as a threat and try and isolate/ignore/or start useless arguments with you.

A BIGGER red flag is when the family is WAY too accepting of you at the very beginning. They are trying to inload their child on to you.

266 Claude January 29, 2014 at 7:59 pm

Donna Pinciotti was an out and out batterer. She battered every man around her except Red. It’s no wonder Eric Forman went to Africa to escape her.

267 Jakob A. Kattner January 29, 2014 at 8:30 pm

Everybody is entitled to their own opinions and desires. If you wish to follow the list, so be it. I for one will probably ignore half of it. I am a married man myself. I have been married for 11 years with two kids. My wife and my kids are in Mexico while I am in the United States. In my opinion, I think we both have red flags out the whazoo. I don’t really care though as I still love her regardless and I would give my life for her if I could. The point being that if no man her likes all the fruitcakes. That is fine. Hand them over to me and I will take them. I have manic depresion, paranoia, and panic disorder. I have taken medication twice in my lifetime and I have found that that is not the solution to problems. We can work out our differences without medicine and without being a bunch of clones or robots. There is no such things as a ‘perfect’ match. I agree with the guy earlier that said that is delusional. Again, any nutcase women you end up with, send them to me. I will take care of them and straighten them out. I tend attract women with mental disorders for some reason anyway. Besides, I could use more friends to talk to via the internet or whatever method of chatting such women have. Shoot, I wouldn’t mind them working for or with me either. They say the crazy people are the ones who end being business owners and leaders. At least that is what I have heard down the grapevine. I fully agree with that too. Again, send them to me if you want to get them off your tail.

268 Toni Tetreau January 29, 2014 at 8:57 pm

good article… if you teach your sons to look for girls with good character… honesty, hard work, serving others, a heart that loves God and loves others, she will not be perfect, but she will certainly be a blessing and not a burden. The red flags are certainly true, but dig WAY deeper than a pretty face before you seek any long term serious relationship, and you will avoid most of these.

269 P A January 30, 2014 at 3:25 am

One of my closest friends is currently dating a girl who fits at least 5 of these flags. I’ve seen a few of their fights, which happen every time we hang out now. She hardly ever compliments him, worms her way into our guy outings, and is fairly loud-mouthed and opinionated in the worst way. I expect the fog to lift sometime in the future and it’s not going to be pretty.

270 smokes January 30, 2014 at 9:06 am

Art of manliness should invite Alan Roger Currie to write materials for the ‘dating part’ of the site.
Check his articles on examiner.

Nice article btw. You should’ve added ” if she raises her voice on you, or disrespects you or telling you what you should do and how you should spend your time” etc. then she’s gone.
Also on the being violent point – add – if she ever raises her hand on you” she’s out!

271 nunya January 31, 2014 at 3:08 pm

As someone with family issues – I appreciate the caveat on #10.

272 Bluenose February 1, 2014 at 12:33 pm

At first I thought this was a summary of my girlfriend in the last relationship i was in 5 years ago. Still haven’t ventured into the dating game because of it. Good read, and very true. My hope is for anyone that reads this who may be in a difficult relationship will recognize the signs and do what is best for them. Life is not a long journey, no need to be miserable for the trip.

273 Sarah February 13, 2014 at 5:36 pm

I think I might be anywhere from 2 to 4 (or maybe more?) of these red flags, but I can’t tell if I’m just insecure about him or I genuinely am these things. Damn it.

274 Anon February 24, 2014 at 2:56 pm

My story is soooo very similar to lots of you here. I’m 30, started dating a girl when I was 25, she was 19 (very young) but seemed to have everything going for her. Nice apartment, car, college and part time work to put her through school (parents weren’t helping financially), pretty smile, the works. I had a roommate at the time we started dating, and we would tease her, wrestle with her, things like that. She loved it! She started to become very possessive, controlling, and was coming between me and my friends and family. I was starting to see their family problems, and it was becoming evident in our relationship. She had many hang-ups over girls, my brothers girlfriend, my friends girlfriends, whether I hit on girls on not, etc…She even once told me I should only have male friends who are in committed relationships! bah hahaha. And it went on like that, for the next four years. I could honestly write a book. I was waiting for it to change, by working on myself with a therapist, couples therapy, etc…3 days after a therapist session, it would revert back to the old habits again. It has changed me from once a carefree, friendly guy, to almost a sheltered, naïve basket case. I’ve recently started dating again, and am watching very, VERY closely. Watch them flags in the beginning people!

275 jhan6120 March 10, 2014 at 11:18 am

Another one:

PORN SEX right from the starting gate.

She’s lightning fast to jump into bed with you, and it’s PORN STAR sex. Naughty nurse outfits two weeks into the relationship. Suggestions of bringing another women into it very early on, etc, etc. It might sound like a man’s wildest dreams, but in reality, there’s a HIGH probability that the woman has some kind of personality disorder (Borderline, for example) and uses sex for WAY different reasons than you do.

Damaged people use sex for a variety of reasons. As a kind of ‘drug’ to treat their emotional sickness; as a way to ‘glom on’ to people very quickly. Watch out for this.

276 GAR March 19, 2014 at 9:20 pm

Been married over 36 years but recently widowed… Of course you’ll find “red flags” in every relationship but they can’t dominate and people have to be willing to change. If you run into the attitude, “Don’t confuse me with the facts my mind’s made up” then run like the wind… you’re in a no winner.

277 Jack March 24, 2014 at 9:57 pm

@Chaos
This is a good point. “Everyone was born with a “clean slate” during birth.”

I have a theory though. I’m guessing everyone is not different and that people are born with different levels of anger, happiness, sadness, depression, empathy, violence, sadism, etc. I think it’s like survival of the fittest and nature tries what it can to make something successful.

I think this because mammals share a lot in common. I was thinking about wolves and dogs. Wolves would eat you in a second and dogs display almost love towards humans. This happened because humans breed the less aggressive pups over and over.

There was also an experiment that did this with a fox. They kept a control batch and then proceeded to breed the least aggressive foxes until one day they had foxes that were non aggressive. So they were basically born kind. The main control group were still aggressive.

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