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 }

1 Gordon January 31, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Unfortunately for me all of these sound way too familiar.

2 NAte January 31, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Wow…I can honestly say for the first time ever that none of these apply to my lady. (no, this isn’t a new relationship)

3 Mckelin January 31, 2013 at 9:22 pm

That’s right.

4 Brett January 31, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Good list, but you left off at least one item… she has lots of credit card debt.

5 Jimmy Michael Arcieri January 31, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Wow, where was this three years ago lol, but the ironic part is that I would’ve been too blind to admit the faults even though I realized the red flags.

6 Alexander January 31, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Hahah sorry Gordon :(

I also like seeing when a woman grows in a relationship. I don’t advise pretending she’ll change for the better — but if you see her grow and you see lots of personal development occurring, that’s something I really respect and like.

7 Pat January 31, 2013 at 9:26 pm

YES ALL OF THESE

8 LunaMay January 31, 2013 at 9:27 pm

I figured i’d check this out and see if maybe this was where i was going wrong in relationships. I have none of these qualities. The only one i might have even a hint of is the third one, but that’s because most of my ex’s cheated on me. (Out of three boyfriends, two cheated. And the other one, if i saw him walking down the street i’d stop and have a pleasant conversations with him, because he was a very sweet guy.)

Then again, these do seem to be red flags i used to ignore in my last two relationships… Maybe i just don’t know where to meet quality men.

9 Boggia January 31, 2013 at 9:30 pm

I think the one about getting your balls busted is too true. If she’s trying to cut in on your man time, might be time to cut her out of your everything time. Good article.

10 Nye January 31, 2013 at 9:31 pm

4 out of 14 isn’t bad… I guess.

11 Vlonji January 31, 2013 at 9:33 pm

art of manliness at it’s best. Thank you

12 Jeremiah January 31, 2013 at 9:40 pm

I see NONE of these in my relationship. Makes me pretty happy!

13 Twyla Anderson January 31, 2013 at 9:41 pm

As a woman i find these all very true of other women, also i noticed they are all great advice for relationships in general. I have taken somethings away from this for my relationships with men. Thanks for another great article.
Most of the time when i read over your site I’m not sure if the site is just purely awesome or if somewhere in me i am actually a man lol.

14 Ryan January 31, 2013 at 9:43 pm

I mostly agree, except for the past relationship thing. It’s completely possible that someone dates a string of terrible people in a row, you often don’t get to know each other for months and months prior to a relationship; and even if you do, it doesn’t mean you’ll see their dark side. It doesn’t say much about their judgement if the other party is even better at putting up a facade.

15 akma January 31, 2013 at 9:46 pm

there. are. no. women. that at least don´t have 2-3 of these… actually, there are almost no human beings that don´t :)

16 Crysta January 31, 2013 at 9:48 pm

hi, i think you need to further qualify some of the points raised and not take them at face value. For e.g. The girl gets upset for when plan changes. What if the plan was about wedding dates and having children? These are major topics that when a man changed his opinion on, the girl will surely raise hell. This is not some plan a guy could change without seeing any reaction. Right? See with the eyes of objectivity when you evaluate your girl against these criteria.

17 Vincent Nguyen January 31, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Suddenly, I have a desire to share this article more than any other before it.

18 Jason January 31, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Unfortunately, I’ve experienced a few of those in a few relationships, and all of them in one. There’s also the fact that I am either really reserved, or like to just be goofy; one huge red flag for me is when someone pushes me to be outgoing when I just feel like being quiet and chilling.

19 Mike January 31, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Jesus, I wish I could have seen this list 10 years ago…

My ex (also named Kate) was 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 14.

I didn’t stand a chance, did I?

20 Mark January 31, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Great list. Useful in identifying traits to look for in our women in relationships as well as a guide for us men as to how to behave in relationships/life. (A tip of the virtual hat to Twyla – I agree!) Thanks for the reminders, gentlemen!

21 Aaron January 31, 2013 at 10:04 pm

This is one of the best articles on the subject that I have seen. I wish this would have been available for me to read during my last relationship. Would have save me a lot of time and trouble in the end!

22 Tyler G January 31, 2013 at 10:06 pm

I have a couple stories to share:

First of all, I almost fell into this during my first year of college. There was a girl that I liked my first term, and we became friends with benefits for a while. However, the more we saw each other, the more I noticed the signs you mentioned above, and the more those flaws grew. Now, we’re still close friends, but she still gets on my nerves every so often. I’m glad we didn’t go any farther than we did.

Second: I go to an engineering school, and as such, there aren’t many girls here (I think under 20% of the student body is female). Because of the offset ratio, and the fact that men will go to greater lengths to woo a lady, the girls here develop what we call “Instant Princess Syndrome,” or IPS. It’s a lot like tip #6: women often expect and sometimes demand to be doted upon, since the guys usually do it regardless. As a result, men here often become part of a one-sided manipulative relationship. This is especially true for the nerdier guys like me, who are usually more oblivious.

My advice is to really watch out for IPS, especially if you’re involved in a STEM-related field, or if you’re in an environment where the guy/girl ratio is less than optimal.

23 Chris January 31, 2013 at 10:17 pm

Money. You can tell a lot about how a person handles their life by how they handle their money.

24 Amanda January 31, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Twyla Anderson- I agree and completely understand.
I really like reading a lot of articles here and I wondered for a whole half-second (Am I tomboyish?..No, no I am most definitely very much a girly girl)
But I think to better understand and define myself as a woman and a lady, it helps to understand and define what a man and gentleman are supposed to be.
I really like this site, because it helps me see what quality men are supposed to be like, which seems to be so hard to find these days.

25 Fr. Tyler January 31, 2013 at 10:22 pm

In the Catholic Church, St. Valentine is patron saint of lovers and of the mentally ill. They are often one in the same.

26 Michael Remmert January 31, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Awesome article and I suddenly see a few of these flags in some of my previous relationships.
One that needs to go on that list and has been flagged by a few people is something to do with finances. Whether she (or he – this works with both genders) has a tendency to build debt or is more than happy to live out of your wallet. I’ve dated a couple of ladies who were more than happy to burn my cash before theirs. It’s all about finding a balance regardless of how generous or tight one party member may be.

27 Malcolm Munroe January 31, 2013 at 10:37 pm

Number 2 and 3 are soooo true in my experiences!

28 david archibald January 31, 2013 at 10:46 pm

Brilliant. Really well said and perfectly useable. Thanks for the ideas and the time you took to put them together!

29 Lynn January 31, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Speaking as a woman that has read this article, and agree with everything on it, I do have a small little word of advice. The majority of women, deep down in the very depths of their hearts, want their man to be a MAN. I look to my husband to make the tough decisions, to be the leader, and to stand up to me when I am out of line. Yes, I really did say that.

30 Jonathan January 31, 2013 at 10:51 pm

Uh oh, time for a “love is blind” intervention on NAte

31 Chris January 31, 2013 at 10:55 pm

On the violence thing:

I think what’s even more important is what wasn’t written in the article – that if there are children that come along, violence once directed at a partner is likely to be redirected at children. I’m totally fine with being slapped. Not cool if it’s the kids.

32 Ryan January 31, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Oh man, I wish I would have had this 6 years ago… it would have helped me dodge a lot of crap.

Another thing I would add is not knowing how to handle money. Saving money is absolutely important. I’m not saying you’ll turn every dollar into a hundred dollars; but you have to live within your means. Put needs above wants.

33 Josh January 31, 2013 at 11:02 pm

IMHO, everyone should be aware of the ten major personality disorders. 10% of the general population has one, and they’re pervasive and inflexible by definition. Cluster A or C traits might be tolerable, but if you see Cluster B traits, run.

34 Ryan January 31, 2013 at 11:10 pm

How often can “hanging with the guys” be acceptable” i think one to two times a week is acceptable but some women think that is too much?

35 Amanda January 31, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Twyla Anderson- I agree and completely understand. I really like reading a lot of articles here and I wondered for a whole half-second (Am I tomboyish?..No, no I am most definitely very much a girly girl)
But I think to better understand and define myself as a woman and a lady, it helps to understand and define what a man and gentleman are supposed to be.
I really like this site, because it helps me see what quality men are supposed to be like, which seems to be so hard to find these days.

36 Brian January 31, 2013 at 11:39 pm

You forgot one: her eating habits. How a woman treats her body will tell you a lot about how she will treat you, and will foretell whether your girl will be healthy as you age together.

37 Francisco JMT February 1, 2013 at 1:01 am

Great article!!

38 Daniel February 1, 2013 at 1:40 am

Very happily, my lady exhibits none of these traits!

39 Erin February 1, 2013 at 2:30 am

Someone who jumps from one serious relationship to the next with little or no time in between, that’s my big red flag.

40 Niko February 1, 2013 at 3:14 am

Haha! Tried them all except the violent one… some good lessons I’ve learned on my expense.

I would add:
-gold diggers
-no friends and lives with a cat
-flirtatious girls (she flirts with the waiter, could be more annoying than if she’s rude to him)
-party girls (out drunk every weekend?)
-a girl that has no hobby
-girls who love love/relationships (id est girls who cannot be on their own and jump from relationship to relationship) …unfortunately, I think despite female emancipation there is still A LOT of desperate women who look for a partner just for the sake of being in a relationship, just to conform to the standards of our society…

But keep you chin up gentlemen, I think most of us live in countries with more females than males! ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sex_ratio_total_population.PNG

41 Morton February 1, 2013 at 3:32 am

Yeah…….imagine having to work as a RN with women having many of these attributes: self importance/pride, need to be constantly acknowledged, ready to be offended at the slightest, wanting the drama which just makes life so darn fabulous!

42 Christine February 1, 2013 at 3:34 am

Knowing the article is written about women and their behavior, but surely some if not all qualities/behavior can be found amongst men also. What I think is a gigantic red flag in a beginning of a relationship, is that a man or a woman comments your looks or personality in a negative way or in a way that can be interpreted as a negative comment. An example from my own life. I had been on two dates with this guy and he seemed intelligent and well behaved. Out of a blue he says “You´d look so good with a long, blonde hair.” I was startled and didn´t know what to say- eventually I didn´t say anything at that moment. Was it that he was not happy with the way I look and if so, why did he bother to spend time with me and so on. Well. Our journey together continued for a while and he began to show more and more of his true colors. He called or texted me constantly like he was obsessed- where I was, who with, what I was doing…and also commenting on some of my features during the time we actually spent together. All this within two weeks of dating. So I had to blow the whistle since the guy was clearly somewhat narcissistic and as such a potential threat to my well being. I wasn´t really prepared for what was about to happen. After telling him, that I didn´t want to date him anymore he texted me for a week calling me all kinds of names, opening up about his previous disappointments in relationships, telling all women are whores and so on. So what is described as a princess in the article is really a person with some sort of narcissistic disorder. Bear in mind, that a man or a woman with a disorder of such kind isn´t really looking for love but a person who would worship them and who they can dominate and terrorize. Anyway, the article was great and I have seen behavior described in it in real life.

43 Morton February 1, 2013 at 3:34 am

………oh yeah….hysterical and emotionally based in all behaviors. I remember a few years ago asking a group of (sadly unattractive) nurses if they made decisions based on how they felt, and they laughed derisively and sincerely, shrieking, “OF COURSE THAT’S HOW WE MAKE DECISIONS!”

Quality women are very rare.

44 Silvio February 1, 2013 at 4:08 am

I counted 10 out of 14. I tried several times to end the relationship, but somehow she spotted my soft side and I allways give in. Everytime, I feel trapped in the relationship even more. This really sounds like I am a weak character, but I honestly don’t know how to end it. I read http://artofmanliness.com/2008/12/16/how-to-break-up/ and I’m quite sure I served all the points justice. What am I doing wrong?

45 Ivan February 1, 2013 at 4:11 am

Man, you should have compiled the list few years ago. I had to learn all that the hard way!

46 JephZef February 1, 2013 at 4:18 am

This is so helpful. Every girlfriend I’ve had, (including my ex-wife) had at least 8 out of these 14 characteristics.

I would also add “Bad Listener”. If what she hears often differs from what you actually say, no matter how many ways you say it, you’ve got someone who will never truly know you. If she always hears only what she expects to hear, the sad thing is that she isn’t even interested. She’s just looking for a way to confirm something she already “knows”.

I’m indebted to you for posting this, thank you.

47 Brooks February 1, 2013 at 4:42 am

Also watch out for girls willing to leave someone else for you. Like so many other things in life, if it happens once there’s a good chance it’ll happen again.

48 Daniela February 1, 2013 at 4:58 am

A very good article! I totally agree and have long used the same principles for dating men and of course try not to do any of these things myself.

In fact I smiled when I read nr. 8, as I’ve had more than one bf, who in the beginning of the relationship said no when they were invited to a guys night, as they assumed that a gf would be annoyed. I of course told them to go! We can’t allways drag each other around – it gets insufferable for everyone, including the friends.
Thanks again for the article.

49 Barry February 1, 2013 at 5:06 am

No. 9 is a scary one … my ex could never admit if or when she was wrong … she was always right, “in her own eyes of course” she had no sense of accountability … i guess i had my mistakes as well, but i cant be all bad , i did LIKE The Art of Manliness Page … !

50 Dee February 1, 2013 at 5:35 am

I have been here before. Looking back, l wish l knew better. Now l know. Great article

51 Martin February 1, 2013 at 5:54 am

My ex checked half of these flags! Well, I was blinded all right by her looks and it being my first serious relationship. Better prepared next time.

52 lady with a past February 1, 2013 at 6:03 am

I think a lot of these are strong points.

But because I grew up in an abusive environment and have a not so strong relationship with my family (10), it led me to date jerks (3). Does that mean I shouldn’t get a shot with a good guy now?

People change, and I don’t think I wouldn’t be a good partner to someone because of my past.

53 Ryan Grimm February 1, 2013 at 6:10 am

One thing I don’t see on the list is YOUR friends….the few that I have and TRUST for their judgement are also the first people I introduce my lady to.
I have her spend some time with them, and then get their initial impressions. These can be critical, and they are not often wrong.
It is a HUGE warning flag if she says she did not like your friends (and have her tell you WHY), and if she has any comments about them, are they positive, neutral, or negative?
If at later times when you go to parties with/at friends, does she drag her feet, or decide that she has to wash the cat? Does she take forever to get ready, making you late, or giving you little or no time to chat with friends before having to leave…or does she have to go somewhere else very soon, meaning an early departure…for no good reason? Signal!

There are more signs…..

54 the barking dog February 1, 2013 at 6:17 am

Been married happily for nearly 15 years. #9 and 10 are the only ones that sound familiar. But, her family is pretty much nuts, so I’m not worried about that.

55 Gray February 1, 2013 at 6:20 am

Lot’s of truths in there, however many are also true of strong, independent, interesting women. Someone with a bit of fire who knows what they want.
Give me a flame haired woman with spirit over a wet, mousey wallflower any day of the week.

56 Paul February 1, 2013 at 6:23 am

I don’t think not having a relationship with ones family constitutes a red flag. That goes for both sexes. Some families are toxic and if she chooses not to relate with those toxic people that is not a red flag

57 Amjad February 1, 2013 at 6:27 am

I got one and half, number 9, and the half or a quarter is of number 5. She says thanks to waiters/waitresses but rarely looks them in the eye when she says that.

58 Thomas February 1, 2013 at 6:43 am

These all seem to be quite accurate. I would also say if she uses the phrases “if you loved me” or “I shouldn’t have to change” to manipulate you or excuse bad behavior that’s something. Also, I’m surprised you didn’t mention apologies without any change in behavior. That’s the abuse cycle in a nutshell. Hurt you -> apologize -> hurt you -> apologize ad infinitum. There’s more to it of course, but those are the clearest signs.

59 Peter February 1, 2013 at 6:53 am

Having just gotten into a new relationship, this article couldn’t have come at a better time. Really interesting read!

60 Dave February 1, 2013 at 7:09 am

You just described my ex-wife…crap

61 Ryan K. February 1, 2013 at 7:32 am

Very well written article! Thank you for putting this out there, I think everyone should read it!

62 Ron February 1, 2013 at 7:47 am

My experience has been that a woman can often “fake it” for a year or so, but eventually their true self will emerge. By that time you may be entangled – perhaps living together, made some larger ticket purchases together, and, at worst case made a child together. This is why I believe it takes several years at the very least to begin to know someone.

63 Liam February 1, 2013 at 7:55 am

Man, I really wish I hadn’t been so blind in my first real relationship. I moved to another country specifically to marry her – huge, huge mistake. I still haven’t forgiven myself for being so blind for 7 years.

64 Radoslav February 1, 2013 at 8:00 am

Very nice article indeed. I would just like to add that the first think you should do if you recognise any of those red flags is to try share your findings (in a constructive, non-offensive way) with your partner and see if there is a will for a change. It is quite interesting situation if you see many of those signs and still try to change the other person for good. I doubt it will be possible, even in the long run.

Another thing that deserves mentioning is that in the end of the day all human relationships come to the notion of compromise. As we are not perfect human beings, we cannot expect the same for others. Yet in good relationships, the understanding that change is necessary should be present in both parties.

65 MH February 1, 2013 at 8:12 am

Number 13 is an important danger sign, and nothing I say is intended to dispute that. But the article linked is not in any way a reliable source of information. In fact it is by a major figure in the deeply toxic “Men’s Rights” movement, and is making deeply unreliable claims (see, for example, the following list of false claims made by the movement as identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center: http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/myths-of-the-manosphere-lying-about-women ).

66 Julio February 1, 2013 at 8:13 am

Thank you good advise. I has many good healthly relationships and I notice a few red flags, when I thought I found the one she walked away. Confused? maybe, but no regrets. Life is good.

67 Nicola February 1, 2013 at 8:15 am

I think another one could be: “She is not an independent person”.

Good article by the way! Thank you.

68 Scott St Clair February 1, 2013 at 8:16 am

Two things:

You can never satisfy her. No matter the complaint, if you completely do it her way, she’s still not satisfied. The ante gets upped or a new issue becomes the focus.

She tells you that if you would only clean up your act, then all of her problems would disappear. But then you can never satisfy her, as I’ve already said.

Read everything you can on borderline personality disorder since many of the behaviors described fit its symptomology.

And everyone involved with what I call a “crazy person,” male or female, needs to look in the mirror and ask themselves “What is it about me that leads me to these kinds of relationships?”

It’s not all one-sided — we end up with people of equivalent dysfunctionality.

69 Jeff February 1, 2013 at 8:37 am

my son needs to read this. You should add…”your parents and friends don’t like her”.

70 David February 1, 2013 at 8:39 am

Great list….it’s like you are in my head.

71 LG February 1, 2013 at 8:40 am

This is really great, and I found myself nodding along at almost every item in the list.

Two niggles:
1. Some of these things are less red-flaggy if there’s some sort of milestone turnaround moment of self-awareness in there somewhere. Did she date a string of jerks, and then realize the pattern and fix it? Or does she just bitch about her exes like they’re all scum? One of those is healthy, the other’s not. Does her family push all her buttons, but she knows it and is taking mature steps to deal with it? Or is she constantly engaging them in the same battle they’ve been fighting since she was sixteen? Self-awareness is KEY, I think.

2. I have to stand up for the ladies who aren’t into camping. I am one of them. I love nature walks, picnics, hikes, even all-day hikes — I grew up in Colorado and I love the outdoors. I just want a bed to fall into at night that is surrounded by four solid walls. That doesn’t make me a princess, it’s just a preference, and it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for 99% of dudes, but it seems like it is a deal-breaker way more often than that. I think guys need to ask themselves honestly how often they REALLY go camping. I’ve heard of guys dumping great girls who weren’t that into camping when their camping equipment was in their parents’ garage… and they moved out five years ago. Fellas, don’t dump a girl based on how she feels about something you don’t really do that much.

72 Curtis Blankstein February 1, 2013 at 8:47 am

I was in a long-term relationship kufor a number of years, which ended badly because I was the one exhibiting a number of these traits. Since then I’ve taken a sabbatical from dating, to work on my own behavior and attitude towards relationships. As far as I can tell it hassle worked out great, but all the same this list is great to keep in mind, both inwardly and out. This is AoM at its best.

73 Chris A February 1, 2013 at 9:03 am

If she has a kid already. One guy is already paying for one mistake, you don’t want to pay for the next.

74 Zach February 1, 2013 at 9:11 am

I definitely agree with these. I think Brett (comment 4) has a good point too. Financial responsibility is a huge one for me.

75 Miss.Ayami February 1, 2013 at 9:17 am

Sounds like my sister in law….

76 Jack February 1, 2013 at 9:18 am

Right, folks. A gentleman deserved a fine lady. I couldn’t agree more with that. Think ahead for your family, too. A good kid raised in good family, you know.

77 Sam Irish February 1, 2013 at 9:23 am

I’m going to be forwarding this list post-haste to my buddy. He’s had a string of real doozies over his college career.

78 Nick February 1, 2013 at 9:31 am

How about she says she doesn’t have any close girl friends, and only gets along with guys…I have found this to be a huge tell

Also, if she doesn’t get along with your family, and her reasons seem ridiculous and superficial. If she likes/loves you, she will get along with your family

79 Nick February 1, 2013 at 9:35 am

Yes, yes, yes to the importance of man time. For all you youngsters out there…take trips / go to games /etc early and often in the relationship and watch the reaction closely…you will be thankful later

80 Txcon February 1, 2013 at 9:54 am

@Brett
Totally agree . . . significant credit card debt (or signs of it) should be a red flag.

81 J.W. Simpkins February 1, 2013 at 9:55 am

How about #15: She has five cats that she calls her “babies” and dresses them up in custom made outfits.

82 Scott Sideleau February 1, 2013 at 9:59 am

I’m concerned with #11. I’m in a relationship right now where she doesn’t like change or deviations from “the plan”, despite any logical reasoning for suggested changes. Thoughts?

83 Rich February 1, 2013 at 10:11 am

My BF Gordon has issues with all of these

84 John February 1, 2013 at 10:16 am

Well done AOM, another spot on post. The fact that I can recognize these things in hindsight that have happened in previous bad relationships makes me all the happier about the awesome relationship I have now.

85 Wim Boeree February 1, 2013 at 10:20 am

I’m familiar with these, these Red Flags withheld me going into a lot of relationships (thank god) and I already knew them, sadly my friends didn’t, they asked me why I didn’t have as much relationships as they did and I explained my Red Flags, which lead to one of my friends noticing 8 things about his girlfriend right away and he took action (I didn’t want to point their problems out like a rude jackass, but tried it subtle) and he’s much happier now.

I hope this can help other guys as well, because ‘love’ (or a sweet body) makes blind.

86 Erin February 1, 2013 at 10:23 am

A big one you didn’t include – someone who jumps from one serious relationship to the next, with little or no time in between. Someone who can’t ever be alone is scary.

87 Luis C. February 1, 2013 at 10:27 am

Wow, really eye opening, Just like Gordon up there, all of these sound familiar.

88 Kyle February 1, 2013 at 10:37 am

None of these apply to my girlfriend except the life goals. She is cool with all of these but she doesn’t have that it factor for me to want a long term relationship.

89 Christina February 1, 2013 at 10:43 am

By princess you mean that she must get her way or she whines like a child right and not that she expects the man to lay down his life for her, right? For in some way I consider the honor and respect due to a woman as being treated like a princess, but a man should act like a prince, and neither the spoiled type. Expecting a man to lay aside his own desires for the good of a woman, like not to try to get into her bed before marrying her because he knows the harm it will bring upon her. But I’m an anachronism and in today’s society of feminism such gentlemanly behavior is usually met with scorn or manipulation.

90 TexBurrito February 1, 2013 at 10:45 am

Another one I have experienced is when they use things to control you… They buy you things or do things for you, then hold it against you when you don’t comply with their wishes.

91 GB February 1, 2013 at 10:59 am

It feels like all the girls I’ve dated or have been in a relationship with have had the princess complex. It also makes more sense why I refer to them in past tense.

92 Sundance February 1, 2013 at 11:06 am

Great article. I would add a couple to that list from my experience:

She has a lot of “Guy Friends” – Male friends in general aren’t a big deal. But when they are mostly eligible dudes (maybe even ex-BF’s) who don’t have/bring their GF’s around, who do not make an effort to befriend you and always seem to find ways to be with your girl sans you – they want to fuck her. Here’s how to tell; when your GF leaves the room and it’s just you and the dude(s) do they feel awkward around you? If she trots out the “Oh we’re just friends” line, she likes the idea of keeping dudes around who want to fuck her AND she thinks you are a gullible idiot. Solution – have a blast with her but don’t get serious, she’s not a keeper – FB status max – and keep other options open.

In a similar vein:

Green Lighting – If she’s attractive you will have the opportunity to witness guys hitting on her. How she responds is telling. She knows what the dudes are up to. If she’s giving them the “Green light” to keep pursuing her – same solution as above. She requires validation from men (plural) – not good.

93 Sonny February 1, 2013 at 11:22 am

Too bad I didn’t have this list a few years ago! The last lady I dated hit about half of these flags.

94 howstheboy February 1, 2013 at 11:24 am

One biggie you’ve missed. Slovenliness. A woman who is dirty, untidy and can’t keep an orderly house will quickly lose the affection of her man wen the love potion wears off.

95 MJ February 1, 2013 at 11:25 am

15. She shows little or no affection.

96 tod February 1, 2013 at 11:27 am

Happiness- if your girl friends happiness is overly Dependant on you,.or she is just not happy kick her to the curb

97 Francisco February 1, 2013 at 11:49 am

You are spot on with the violence thing. I dated a very athletic girl who punched me in the face – HARD – in public! Because I was a “tough guy” former Army SF type, I just blew it off. By the third time it happened, she had snatched up a nasty pane of glass and started to throw it at me from 6 feet away. There was nothing I could do. She could have easily killed me with it, but she stopped at the very last second. Too much fighting, violence…she had issues and needed help. But not from me.

So glad to now be very happily married to a wonderful woman!

98 Singh February 1, 2013 at 11:51 am

Exactly , wish you would have posted it a few months earlier…:p

but , cheers to another great Article.

99 Rob February 1, 2013 at 11:58 am

I was doing fine with comparing my wife to this list until I got to #6, then #7, then 8, 9, 10, and 11. I’m sure there were signs in the dating period, but I didn’t make much of them. Things can be worked on and worked out. But everyone knows marriage isn’t easy, so why make it worse by ending up with someone you’re frequently at odds with.

100 Orrin February 1, 2013 at 11:59 am

So true. Paying attention to these sorts of things and realising that I *do* have a choice in who I date made a massive difference to my dating life and over all happiness

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