14 Red Flags to Look Out for in a Relationship

by Brett & Kate McKay on January 31, 2013 · 279 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!

{ 279 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Matt February 1, 2013 at 12:06 pm

15. If she says she has a timeline for herself.

102 Moses B February 1, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Left out one … if she spends too much money, and is DEEP IN DEBT!
Hold your blllfold, and RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!

103 Greg February 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Good one, this is a pretty insightful list!

For people stuck on the “All exes were jerks” point, I have one caveat. My girlfriend used to say that to me because I’m kind of jealous. I was aware that she has probably had a good number of boyfriends before me due to our age and social group, but there’s a difference between knowing and accepting that and hearing too many nitty-gritty details, or having them referenced constantly, or having her less socially-adept friends talk about too many ‘crazy times’ in college in front of me. Anyway, being a terrible actor, I suffered these occasions with a twisted grimace, aware that being overtly upset would be hypocritical considering my own relationships. It stung nevertheless. She was not an idiot and could see that I was jealous, so she started pretending all of her ex-boyfriends were jerks and mistakes, for my sake.

Eventually I told her that I knew they were probably fine guys for the most part, or she wouldn’t have dated them. I just don’t like their making too frequent or graphic appearances in our own relationship. In fact, it kind of feels worse to hear that all of her exes were jerks than the other way around. As Brett says, I thought “If this relationship doesn’t last, will she remember the great times we had, or will I just be a jerk in the story she makes up for her next boyfriend?”

Since then she has been much more fair in her treatment of ex-boyfriends, and more conscientious in how she brings them up. So in conclusion, it’s possible that some of these flags also reflect our own shortcomings and insecurities. I don’t mean to imply that it’s all our fault, just to be self-aware and communicative in your own relationship.

104 Phil February 1, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Wow, that’s some fine gospel truth here today.
I would throw in a “6.a” that says “If she owns ANY clothes with big ol’ letters printed across the butt, that’s a good warning sign in and of itself.”

She’s trying very hard to attract (the wrong kind of) attention and that ain’t what you should be looking for in a lady.

105 Jake February 1, 2013 at 1:58 pm

What a great article. The one “red flag” I would add is if all of her friends are guys. Not just most…all. This typically means that she is too catty for other women to be around. I liked hanging out with my ex’s friends while we were dating because we played poker together. It wasn’t until after that I realized she couldn’t have female friends if she tried. Big personality flaw and red flag.

106 Mark Petersen February 1, 2013 at 2:09 pm

9, 10, 11

Why couldn’t this have come out 2 years ago?

107 Brian February 1, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I wish I had seen this advice years ago. Monday i’ll be divorced for the first time, and I’ll be following this advice from here on out.

108 Jeff M February 1, 2013 at 2:51 pm

One extra thing that may sound common sense:

You need to be able to talk to her without changing how you talk.

I dated a girl seriously for over a year who did not have my sense of humor and could not “keep up” when i spoke. She wasn’t dumb, she graduated top of her class from law school, but conversations with her just felt like work.

109 Curtis February 1, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Along the lines of #10 (her relationship with her family), pay attention the relationship her parents have with each other. Unless something changed along the way (e.g., remarriage), this is the relationship model she grew up with.

If her mother treats her father like crap (and your lady friend doesn’t seem to notice or care that her mother’s a bitch to her dad), that’s a red flag.

110 Joseph February 1, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Yeah- where was this 10 years ago? I have moved on from my red flag special relationship…thank the good lord. And am now with a woman who is just the best. Not that there’s no work, but it’s GOOD work.

This thing should be distilled won into one page and posted in every single mens room in the country…like right above the urinal where you will have to stare at it for one minute and maybe think about it later.

Not that I/men don’t have our own problems, but…

111 locutus83 February 1, 2013 at 4:14 pm

@Jeff M. “You need to be able to talk to her without changing how you talk.”
^^THIS!

I think it’s and excellent checkpoint/red-flag for a relationship. A relationship cannot prosper with pretense and artificial communication from either side. Both parties must be totally carefree, open and natural once the relationship has progressed significantly. I think it is a major red flag if:
1. You have to put on a show to impress her most of the time, OR
2. You have to “dumb yourself down”
3. You have to walk on egg-shells and bite your tongue all the time when you are with her.

My wife and I have been married for almost two years now. Both of us are very happy with our relationship at the moment. Hope it stays that way.

If I look at this list critically, then the only issue causing occasional friction is 11. She can be quite stubborn about her routine, schedule and ways of doing things, and does not incorporate new ideas/advice easily, and is loathe to experiment in general. Which actually saddens me a bit, since I feel she’s missing out on new experiences, ideas and improved methods. Fortunately, she does not impose her rigid ideas/beliefs on me – I am free to follow my own flexible, slightly Bohemian lifestyle from time to time (and I love her for that).

Point #12 is not major, but we do differ somewhat in our ethics and lifestyle – she’s more utilitarian, “ends justify the means” and “get the job done by hook or by crook” whereas I am a bit more conscientious and idealistic. She also is a bit more ambitious and driven in general whereas I am easygoing and relaxed. Somehow, she likes me for what I am; we gel pretty well and have not had major issues. Hope it stays this way!

112 Harrison February 1, 2013 at 5:29 pm

my father always taught me to pay good attention to her mother… he’d go onto to explain that if her mother is/was crazy chances are she will be too

113 W February 1, 2013 at 9:16 pm

The one I have always hated, and you see it all the time:

She wants you to give away your stuff. Your toy collection, your card collection, your favorite X, Y, or Z. She wants you to give it away so you can “grow up”.

If you have to give up a big piece of who you are to make him or her happy, they’re not worth it.

114 TL Brisco February 2, 2013 at 12:22 am

If you’re married to my wife, you’re in a bad relationship.

115 Jake February 2, 2013 at 1:01 am

Big red flag- Her father is from a foreign nation and blames America for his lack of success.

116 Token Female February 2, 2013 at 1:03 am

Well, these are some good pointers for men. But I wonder how 12 pointers for women to follow in their relationships with men would line up with those written here? I would like to suggest to the men here who have posted critiques of their current girlfriends / wives…writing critically about her in a public forum would probably be on that list. Just sayin.’

117 Jer February 2, 2013 at 9:10 am

Wow what a fantastic article! Having just got out of a relationship that I spent way longer than I should have, I can relate to many of the above points.

118 Eric February 2, 2013 at 10:06 am

This is very reassuring for me. Makes me look at my fiance and smile since I have a woman who is the antithesis of all of the red flags.
I am truly blessed.

119 Rob Dezendorf February 2, 2013 at 10:25 am

This is brilliant! Helped me understand a lot about the past and future girls

120 Jim Lopez February 2, 2013 at 10:44 am

All of the behaviors described here add up to what is known as High Conflict Personality. And these people not only make their partners and dates miserable they make their families miserable. Check out books by a gent named Bill Eddy or search for HCP on Google or other search engine and find his website. It’s a serious problem affecting the country as a whole.

121 Ryan February 2, 2013 at 11:52 am

This might sound horrible to say, but sometimes you don’t know who you’re marrying. The first few years could be great. Then after the “honeymoon years” of the marriage end, shit could go south. I personally would deal with a divorce if it was going to save me 20 years of misery.

122 Chris February 2, 2013 at 3:19 pm

A bit disappointed that this list is exclusively about men who are dating women. I know there are lots of gay men who read your website and want to be better men.

That said, if I mentally change all instances of “she” to “he” it’s a pretty good list. Just disappointed that one of my favourite blogs isn’t very inclusive.

123 Gareth February 2, 2013 at 4:06 pm

This is a very solid list. I particularly like No. 14 – stingy with appreciation. I think every guy wants his woman to show appreciation and respect, not to be just thought of as a nuisance.

124 Secret February 2, 2013 at 8:11 pm

She had them all. We’re in court.

125 Bill February 2, 2013 at 9:03 pm

That’s a really interesting comment, Token Female. I agree, writing about one’s feelings about one’s partner (while neglecting to put any information that could point toward her identity) is a big deal. Again, thanks for your comment (it was extraordinary).

126 Ed February 2, 2013 at 11:26 pm

I feel validated on some level. Experience counts for something. Personally I’m much happier being alone in today’s world where everyone seems to be so dysfunctional and to unwilling to make things work. Seems the dating sites are littered with women who just move on to the next best thing and visa versa because it’s so accessible and seems to be the mainstream. Meh.

127 Kory Leach February 3, 2013 at 12:09 am

Luckily my wife has none of the qualities on the list!

128 Luc February 3, 2013 at 7:31 am

#8, 9 and 14 are probably the reasons I broke up with my ex. She wouldn’t overtly guilt me into hanging out with my friends but would always be upset if I stayed longer than I thought I would. Her relationship with her family was terrible, they were poison and I couldn’t stand being around most of them, except for her dad, he was a cool guy stuck in a bad situation and we got along famously.

The worst though was how when I would go out of my way to do something she would barely acknowledge it. If I did the dishes and cleaned the apartment the most I would get would be a “Oh by the way, thanks for cleaning” but most likely she would notice the things I didn’t do. It didn’t really bother me at first but after 2 years living together it really started to bother me. Eventually I stopped doing things because all I got was negativity and not too long after I broke up with her.

Hoping I won’t make the same mistake again, I should have left a year before I did.

129 jj February 3, 2013 at 9:32 am

Token while I agree that men should be as critical of themselves as they are others I wonder if you’re just upset that you fall somewhere on that list. I apreciate your point of view but look at the name of the site.

130 Susie February 3, 2013 at 11:36 am

Thanks for this list! It will help keep me in check.

131 Aakino February 3, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Just going back to the part about fighting, I’ve also noticed this with many of my ex’s: WATCH HOW THEY FIGHT! If in an argument everything is “you, you, you” and she intentionally tries to hurt you (verbally or physically), dump her quick. I’ve seen women who the argument may be over, say, not doing the dishes, but then she’ll talk about all your perceived character flaws and how you’re the biggest loser she knows instead of giving you a chance to explain that you had a meeting or something earlier in the day.

132 Nick February 3, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Some great insight here. I would say another huge one is that she is constantly trying to change you.

Obviously, if you are falling apart then her trying to help may not be a bad thing. But if she’s trying to change everything about your personality, then that’s a huge red flag. Especially if she got into the relationship knowing all those qualities up front.

Compromise is very important but trying to mold your partner into your ideals is not.

133 Annie February 3, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Guys,
I have a problem I and I truley want to fix it. I dont have a perfect past. My boyfriend wanted to know how many I slept with, being honest with each other early on and I told him vice versa. I feel like it was a mistake. 3 years later he brings it up over, whether its within 6 months or a year. I tell him the same thing over and over. He looks at it one sided as if his past dosent hurt me. I learned to bite the bullet and move on. He always had a hard time letting go of the past, also with his father. What ever happened to forgive and forget? During our entire relationship I have been 100% honest, love him dearly, take care of his children and always said sorry for my mistakes. Do you have any adivce on how to patch things up? I feel as if my past is going to tear us apart.
-Annie

134 michael February 3, 2013 at 9:13 pm

She comes on AOM and wonders where the.list for women is……

135 C. Malm February 3, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Annie,
You have an immature, insecure, egocentric partner. You can’t change him. You also can’t change your past. If he appreciates who you are and what you do, stay. If not. move on. He will likely renegotiate, or worse, stalk you, but unless he seeks counseling in an earnest effort to change, he will revert back to the same jerk in time.

136 Ron February 3, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Loved this post! :D Kinda helped me double check my current relational dilemma by reminding me to be cautious — not just for my sake but also for the girl (better not enter a relationship where I know we’ll eventually hurt each other, than be rash).

@Susie — now your comment is most admirable. Seriously.

137 Andrew February 4, 2013 at 10:58 am

@Comment 122

Please grow up.

138 Jason February 4, 2013 at 11:25 am

Wondering where the list for women is? Try every women’s magazine. There’s usually one of these every few months in Cosmo. Or try Yahoo. There’s one on the frontpage now.

139 Stuart Schwenke February 4, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Great article…I hope you will consider a positive article on the traits a man should look for in a woman.

One of the red flags appropriate for this site relates to her views and opinions on manliness. Men have been losing the culture war for sometime. The art of manliness will stand as a stumbling block to a woman who considers herself or her opinions about manhood as greater than man. This deals with the issues of gender roles and responsibilities.

So, if she is looking for a “caring and sensitive 90′s kind-of-guy,” then we might want to hang out a red flag.

140 KierO February 4, 2013 at 1:08 pm

I have a friend who started his first long term relationship with a girl who ticked many of the above “boxes”, especially number 8.

It resulted in him dumping her (after some much needed advise) and now, two months on she is still living in HIS house (that he owns..not rents). As I suspected that he would, he buckled one day and said that he wanted her back, only to be told that she is now seeing someone else! Even given this he will not “chuck her out” nor will she set a date to move out!

He did rush into the relationship too quickly and by his own admission was blinded by love.

Let this be a warning to any man. Know and recognise the signs, and be strong enough to do what needs to be done.

141 FeatherBlade February 4, 2013 at 3:54 pm

@138 Are you sure you ant to be directing women to those lists? I’m fairly certains that they do much more harm than good, both to the women and to the unfortunate men whose women follow them.
Especially the Cosmo lists. *shudder*

142 St. Vital Kid February 4, 2013 at 3:58 pm

SNL did a great parody of those pretentious Chanel fragrance spots back in the fall of 2011. The scent was called “Red Flag” and the spot depicted Kristin Wiig as the woman who wears “Red Flag” for a lot of very, very good reasons. Best line: “She’s exquisite…but she also lived in Vegas for eleven years.” Find the transcript here: http://snltranscripts.jt.org/11/11aredflag.phtml

143 Justin February 4, 2013 at 4:50 pm

I am doomed! I have been married almost 5 years and almost everyone of the red flags has popped up in my marriage!

144 Steve February 4, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Justin:

sucks to be you man.

145 Cecile February 4, 2013 at 6:27 pm

LOL is it funny that I”m a girl that reads this site for tips on being manly. well as far as i can tell, it’s tips on being a more functional, healthy human being.

Now replace she with he and I’ve come across: 1, 3, 6, 7, 9 < that one is a big doozy! but really only displayed by one ex. and 13 < unfortunate yes. displayed again my same said ex in #9. But despite all that i've remained friends with and care dearly about all my exes, except that one before mentioned jerk. ;) And, now, am in an extremely healthy and happy relationship with an amazing person that doesn't exhibit any of the above. Eyes… FINALLY wide open.

146 Nathan Forrest February 4, 2013 at 7:56 pm

This is the most insightful article on relationships I’ve ever read. It brought up points I had never thought of before…said by nobody…ever.

147 Sander February 5, 2013 at 3:10 am

About point 13: You may be a big guy being able to take a punch. But if she beats you when she loses her temper, what is she going to do to your children? Do you want her to beat your future five-year-old child as well? Beware!

And Cecile is right. This website is secretly not so much about manliness as it is about being civilized. Which is fine by me, by the way.

148 Jason February 5, 2013 at 7:43 am

@141 You are probably right. Those lists are terrible, but there is more media out there with relationship advice for women than there is for men. It’s strikes me as silly to come onto a site for men and wonder where the women’s articles are. I don’t remember which of Brett’s articles it was, but one of them talked about men in social groups and how they need refuges from women.

149 Jason February 5, 2013 at 9:26 am

You must agree on Religion, children, and money. Or put another way: You must respect one anothers method of worship, you must agree on children (how many and discipline), and you must agree on what money is used for (charity, entertainment, savings, or some combination). If these three things are not agreed on, then the arguments will more than likely escalate until there is failure.

150 Mark S February 5, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Be careful if she is too quick to want to tie the knott! While some love at first sight romances last forever, if your new sweetheart is ready to walk the isle with you after only a few months, chances are the real person your about to wed has not showed up for the party yet. A good rule would be at least two years of dating, assuming all else is good.

151 Alex M February 5, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Thanks Brett. I always enjoy your thoughts on the topic of relationships as it comes from such a healthy relationship as you and Kate. So thanks for not only modelling but also communicating the facts of a healthy relationship in a world full of unhealthy ones. I’m looking forward to utilizing AOM wisdom with this girl I have recently started dating!

152 Greg February 6, 2013 at 6:31 pm

#12
The Bible gives a good reference on this in Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”

153 IVLIVS CAESAR February 7, 2013 at 2:18 am

HOC EST AURUM

154 James February 7, 2013 at 9:09 am

Funny thing, huh, Cecile, Sander?

I imagine manliness being like a Venn diagram, it can intersect with a lot of other things, including ‘being a functional human being’.

I laugh at the irony though, yeah. Could there be such a thing as an Art Of Womanliness?

155 Wifey February 7, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Great list, all good and correct observations. A good place for ladies to read about and recognize guys who are not treating them well is at Baggage Reclaim by Natalie Lue. That site is a dose of reality for women chasing emotionally unavailable men. One thing I always did was support guy time, workouts and hobbies and other things that made my man happy. Same as a woman with no female friends, its not a good sign when a man has no good guy friends, so if your man is doing guy things… support that!

156 FeatherBlade February 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm

@James, #154

Yes there is. But just try to promote it and the feminists will jump down your throat for being (if you are male)a misogynist backwards mouth-breathing patriarchalist who thinks all women should be treated like doormats OR (if you are female) an ignorant, oppressed and hapless woman-child who is simultaneously conniving in the oppression of your sisters. If you consider that most people who promote womanliness and the domestic arts as a virtue are religious and conservative, you can also add your religious slur of choice to the mix.

It’s a difficult thing.

157 James February 7, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Yes, I think feminism has quite a lot to answer for, but that’s a different subject, and not really appropriate for AoM.

I left a reply on Modern Mrs. Darcy about this subject, and on reflection, the situation becomes more paradoxical the more I think about it. I’ve heard it said that the reason women’s lib was so successful for women is because it extended their choices – you CAN go to the office, you CAN do this, that and the other thing. You can also be a housewife, if you like, it’s up to you, you are still a woman. Feminism has nothing for men because its attitude towards men is that they must stop being men (and become more like women) in order to become better people. I mean…what else is there to say?

So it seems doubly ironic that AoM can be so successful, yet when you contemplate an AoW, the first thing that comes to mind is being screamed down for presuming to tell women how to live their lives…by other women. Personally, I think it’d just take someone with the gumption to push through the initial wave of hate and gather an audience of people who say ‘hey, this is actually pretty good. I may not agree with everything this site publishes, but I still like it.’

158 Phil February 8, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Anyone who’s been in a relationship long-term is going to see a little of any or perhaps all of the things mentioned above – just as your partner will see a little of many or maybe all of the above in you! That being said, it’s really about when you (or your significant other) can no longer tolerate them and they become a game changer that they truly become red flags. Take some advice from an old fart: If you want a perfect relationship, it’s probably not going to happen, and if it is happening today, things will change over the long term – there’s no such thing as perfect forever.

159 JQ February 10, 2013 at 10:18 am

If she allows her family members to talk down to you, won’t defend you and won’t let you defend yourself in order to avoid confrontation with said family members…in other words, she doesn’t have your back…run away!

160 literaryheart February 10, 2013 at 4:52 pm

@Annie
I feel your pain, as someone who also has been made to feel like she has to feel guilty about past transgressions. I firmly believe that, unless you particularly like fighting, a couple should never have the “how many people have you been with” talk. But since you already have, he really should either get over it, or leave the relationship if he’s that uncomfortable. Having said that, you also need to come to grips with your own feelings about your past. Have you moved on? Do you feel so guilty that you feel like you deserve what he dishes out? If he’s the abusive type, he might stick around just to have a dead horse to beat. You might have to be the one to do the leaving.

On another note, great article! Some light criticism: some people (women are included in this group) get stuck in patterns of behavior that they are not aware of until someone points it out. Men, if the woman you love is awesome 90% of the time, but displays a “red flag” the other 10%, have a talk with her instead of running the other way. Ask her why she does certain things that hurt you, and you might find that she doesn’t even realize she’s doing those things.
However, if she puts on a tiara and insists that you make her cupcakes for her Princess Pity Party, start packing.

161 Dylan February 11, 2013 at 3:41 am

Another one; watch out for a woman that only sees the negative in her situation. i.e. every time you ask how her day was she says “horrible”. They are not easy to live with.

162 John February 11, 2013 at 8:22 am

This is a great list. I think the example that she is stingy with appreciation is a big one for me. The woman I am always makes sure to acknowledge the things I do around the house, and I love it.

163 Thaddaeus Werner February 11, 2013 at 8:44 am

After reading this article I saw red flag #15. If she is driving a gold sports sedan with a vanity plate that says “GLDIGGR,” it could be a rough relationship.

164 Dear February 11, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Hm, I’ve read the list out of curiosity, being critical of myself and luckily I could only honestly say I belong in rule 11. I have a panic disorder so “change” is a very unpleasant experience. I try to be flexible, but I can dig in my heels like a stubborn old goat occasionally. Thank you for this list, it was actually helpful.

Also, I would actually appreciate seeing a “For women” version of this. Please do not direct women to Cosmo for this kind of advice, you have no idea what you are asking. The “advice” is shallow garbage and it helps no one. Men, knowing your gender better than a magazine written by female writers, what would you say are red flags for women to watch out for?

165 carissa February 12, 2013 at 2:37 am

Grah, I’m 10 and 11. Though my current boyfriend agrees somewhat that the relationship wasn’t the best, I’m mostly just not flexible….it sucks because I’m not sure how much of it is my autism and how much it is me jut sucking at being mature. I’m not sure if I can find another autistic mormon cutie like that :(

166 Eldrick February 15, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Maybe someone mentioned it already but a red flag to me is when a person does not have any hobbies and can’t operate when you’re not around. They focus too much on you and the relationship and lose the person they once were (detachment from hobbies, friends, family, etc.) A healthy relationship in my eyes is two independent people bringing both their lives together rather than one taking over the other. Sort of like a King and Queen ruling together joining both their empires.

167 January February 15, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Hey Guys!

I completely agree with the list and believe it is genderless. I have known many men that posses or have demonstrated any one or more of the listed red flags.

Also, I do want to share something very important from a Woman’s perspective. Looking at the Manliness is a lost art thinking – While Men fear women will laugh at them, Women fear men will kill them.

Our worries really are that different and that real. We love Manly men but we worry it may get out of control.

168 Artilleryman February 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I have 3 things to add to this.

One, the old saying “you can’t turn a whore into a housewife” has always rang true in my experience. I have never been big on the one night stand, but any time I have brought home a girl I just met, is not a girl I consider “date material.” Mostly because they are too flaky and can end up cheating on you if you are away for an extended period of time. Like a field exercise, deployment, or a business trip.

Women with low or no self esteem. Sure it is a good feeling to know you are brightening up someones life a little bit, to give someone a hand up. However, when they have a constantly low self esteem eventually it just brings you down and you spend a lot of time try to ‘pick them up’ which gets old pretty fast.

Women who know they are wild or bad drivers, but don’t care. Sure, I love the feeling of driving my a Camaro at 115 as much as the next guy, bust as I get older the urge to drive like that all the time fades. You spend your time and money on a new car and you want to keep it nice, a wreck or a speeding ticket can take that away. As well as a responsibility to others, especially children. After I came back from my combat tour I bought a brand new Chevy truck, I loved that truck, all-terrain tires, 6″ lift, a good stereo system. It was a country boy’s truck. About the same time I got into a serious relationship with a girl I had known as a friend before. Now I see she had at least half of the issues listed above, but even with love blindness I remember her driving. She was crazy, driving 15-20 over the limit or more was not uncommon, she had just received a ticket for going 108 in a 65 before we started dating. For a long time though i just let it go, we were both in our mid 20s and I figured she had not matured under fire the way I had. Then one weekend we went to visit my parents, one the way back she spent an hour of the 3.5 hour drive home complaining about how I “drive like a grandma” even going 5 (maybe 10) over. We were on Ozark roads (hills and curves) that I knew very well and she had never been on, not too mention a truck with a high center of gravity. I tried to explain to her (calmly) if I drove the way she wanted me to, that I would surely kill either the two of us, or someone else. That didn’t matter I was going too slow. It was this point when I realized I did not want this woman driving my (future) kids around and putting them at risk so she could get her thrills. I made the mistake of saying this and got to spend the last 2 hours of the trip listening to her flip the F*** out. After that I broke it off with her and ever since I wont date a woman who is a crazy driver.

169 October February 17, 2013 at 2:42 am

On the “her friends are guys” point, I must add something. Very rarely can there be a male-female friendship which is only friendship, that is, without at least one of the people developing an interest in the other. If your GF is going out of her way to spend time with her male friends at the expense of time spent with you, it probably means that she has cheated or will. Sorry ladies — I am speaking from experience and many who would disagree with me need to be honest with themselves.

170 David February 17, 2013 at 2:46 pm

I have seen far too many of these “Red Flags” in past relationships as well as in the relationships of friends and family. I would add the following to the list …. Her stated philosophies in life as it pertains to others also pertains to you and/or her. E.G.; “What they don’t know won’t hurt them.” I learned that “them” included me. Also, “Everybody cheats on their wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend sooner or later.” I learned that “everybody” included her.

171 David February 17, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Further to Item 3 ….

A) The theory of “The Self Fulfilling Prophecy” holds here. Her (or his) self image drives her to seek jerks because that is what she thinks she deserves. The other side of that coin is the woman who says, “I won’t date him or I broke up with him because he isn’t exciting enough”. The interpretation is, “He is a nice guy and not the jerk I deserve.” I dated a woman who told me that I “treated her better than any man in her past .” According to her, all of them were jerks. It turned out that I was going to be cheated on/dumped if I didn’t start treating her badly. She started seeing her ex again. When we met, she had a TRO on him due to violence.

B) A combination of 3 and 10 … We are all the result of our past. I found that both the woman referenced above and her mother were abused by her father. This was the origins of her low self worth. Not all women who have been abused in their past should be “flagged” but it is an issue that deserves further investigation.

172 anonamys February 18, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Undeserved sense of ego.

173 Amy February 19, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Even worse than the “self-proclaimed” drama queen is the one who claims over, and over, and over again that she “hates drama,” yet it seems to follow her everywhere. I use this rule when making friends.

174 steve mcqueenie February 19, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Hate to tell you this fellas, but the vast majority of the comments only substantiate what women say about us: that we’re unrealistic perfectionists doomed to be single well into our middle aged years, at which point our reproductive viability ( odds for babies with deformities etc ) goes down very sharply. It’s why a young chick might marry an old buzzard for his money, but have the pool boys on the side for sex ( and passing his kids off as granpa’s ).

What’s next? Why not add the following to the list?
1) if she menstrual cramps it’s a sure sign she become a werewolf the next full moon – keep your garlic and silver handy!
2) does her makeup ever smear? like when she wakes up from a nap (god I HATE when women nap or act human, you know? geezus! ). If a broad’s makeup smears, it’s a sure sign she’s lazy and…uh.what else? oh yeah, she’s probably got a snake and an apple laying around somewhere to trick you with!
3) if she won’t she refuses to wear a dress, look out! she’s probably one of those evil, earth eating femi nazi’s Rush Limbaugh’s always warning old farts about
4) does she sleep? women who sleep are lazy…and probably don’t know how to invest money like good ol’ Rockefeller, feller…and she probably doesn’t knit or sew either…the TRAMP!
6) does she want sex more than you? does her dog have a cooler name than your car? is she so super impressive that you can’t stand the thought she’d actually outshine you in most social situations? Dude, you totes have to find chicks who shut their mouths when they’re told to, think all your juvenile thoughts and interests are kewl, and doesn’t mind the fact that you have a myriad of serious mommy issues…hang in there though, it gets better…

did she laugh when you pulled out your autographed journal titled “Charles Bronson’s Death Diary (of Death!)…you got dump her, and now!!! Hurry, before you lose a chest hair!!

175 Segodnyao February 21, 2013 at 6:05 am

@ comment 168: Is it possible to turn a whoremonger into a husband?

176 Jason R February 21, 2013 at 12:53 pm

I completely agree with the statement about the self-unaware drama queen. I tell others that if the girl says, “I’m tired of all the drama!” she’s usually the drama queen of the bunch.

I dated someone who was “tired of the drama,” and yea, she was the one who caused it. One time I told her that if she was so tired of the drama, she should quit causing it.

She was also abusive. Kudos to the article for mentioning this because, though we always hear abuse criticized, it never demonizes abuse doled out by the female. It’s just as bad, and if the man fights back in defense, guess who gets blamed.

177 PDC February 21, 2013 at 10:22 pm

I am female–just discovered this site. Intriguing article. I would add to the list (applies to both sexes) if the significant other ignores, gets annoyed, or is critical of your dog/cat/pet. I know it seems trivial and silly, but it is a good sign he/she will eventually not put up with or make allowances for just more than that.

178 Holly February 22, 2013 at 8:58 am

Though I agree that it’s bad to argue all the time, I also think that one should be careful about including arguing as a problem in any list of “don’ts” for men who want to be more, uh… manly. I say that because even with the further explanation you provided, some men just always run away from conflict — no matter how little it is. Those type of men obviously have their own manliness issues, and they take any advice that bemoans arguing (such as in this blog entry) as something that supports their malfunction — even though it’s clearly not meant that way. I am saying this because I’ve experienced it with people in the past who were simply too afraid (or lazy) to deal with any kind of conflict and it’s dangerous to give them any notion that their behavior is healthy. I am now happily married to a “manly” (and becoming manlier) man. It’s just something to think about…

(Also, the honeymoon phase is true of the sexual relationship in or outside of marriage… but as for inside of marriage, studies show that people are actually least happy in their first year of marriage… because they still have so much to work through.)

179 Holly February 22, 2013 at 9:27 am

Comment #174. You have a good point. The truly “manliest” men work on themselves first. That doesn’t mean they settle either because their awesomeness attracts awesomeness. And while I actually do agree with basically everything on this list… I always think it’s a bad idea to give men “arguing” as a sign of something amiss… just because the truth is that a lot of men these days are not manly enough (yet) and are too flaky and cowardly to actually deal with any sort of personal conflict. Yes, constant fighting is bad… but there are too many men who think that ANY arguing is bad… and many of them would be drawn to a site like this. That’s not saying anything bad about the site. I love it… and the writer actually tried to address the fact that arguing is not always bad. But people hear what they want to hear and if someone wants a reason to justify their avoidance of conflict, all they would do is say “yeah we argue too much!” when in reality the issue may be him. I am happily married, btw…. but I’ve been alive enough to see the scenario I described enough times.

180 Mia February 26, 2013 at 1:20 am

While I love this site (I’m a woman) for it’s witty and intelligent take on being a man, I was disappointed in this article.

I’ve yet to meet a guy without one major flaw. I have yet to meet a girl without one major flaw. Everyone has issues and past dating experiences that weren’t warm and fuzzy. Just because a girl says “All the guys I dated were jerks” doesn’t mean you should take that as a huge red flag to get out. There’s reasons why relationships work out or don’t work out. Men seem to be easier with walking away saying “ouuup didn’t work out”. Women are usually always hurt even if they know it wasn’t right. So how do you get over that? Make him out to be a jerk and it’s easier.

What I’m trying to say is, as a woman, I find this article misinforming to men and offensive to women. People are people and if you’re really interested in a girl get to know her flaws and all. Work through the shit that sucks. It’s not a science. There is no magic list to tell you what’s right. Chances are if someone doesn’t have at least one of these or other issues… They are really sneaky and good at hiding it. It will come out sometime.

Remember women are humans too. Not commodities. Treat them as such.

181 Dann February 26, 2013 at 9:44 am

If he is a nay-sayer for even your smallest desires, then, run. A guy I met always wanted a BMW – an attainable dream. He earned good money. She earned good money. They had two cars. She squashed his dream at every chance; she disliked the BMW brand, thought it was overkill. They drove a Toyota Tercel and a Toyota Corolla, and for his birthday she rather smugly gave him a metalcast BMW which amused no one but her. Yeah, ladies, men can be controlling too. But it isn’t acceptable in either direction.

182 Niki February 27, 2013 at 1:21 pm

I found this site by accident a while ago and shared it with some male & female college students. One of which I recently began mentoring. She had a recent break up, is in her early 20′s and has started an introspective journey. I apologize for invading this safe haven for men, but I wanted to offer some encouragement. I believe this article is a valuable tool for anyone who wants to grow as a person. I also believe there are women out there that would not fall under any of the behaviors listed. The reason I say that is because the list is not pointing toward perfection, but maturity. It leaves room for women who are mature human beings that may have a fight with a sibling or parent once in a while, may express irritation with the clerk at the cleaners who made a mistake if shes having a bad day, might be having a day where she’s feeling insecure and seems annoyed that you want to go out with the guys (& it is possible she’s mature enough to let you know why shes reacting the way she is), etc. I hope you good men who are single, find the mature women you are looking for. They do exist!

183 MsInformed February 27, 2013 at 11:10 pm

What a great article! All the red flags do seem appropriate and yet there is one small point I must comment on. If you are in a long distance relationship and your girlfriend comes to your town to visit friends on a weekend you have planned for “Guy Time”, please understand that it is not her trying to keep you from your friends if she asks to see you for drinks, a dinner or brunch, what have you. Living hours apart limits the availability of time spent together and she will naturally want to see you. This does not mean she resents your time spent with the “guys”, just that she wants to share a moment before she returns home and has to wait for the next opportunity.

184 naegelz February 28, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Thank You for this article! It shifts the truth from the heart upwards to the head!

185 missy March 2, 2013 at 8:06 am

All of this is a game changer, the bottomline are WE!! both willing to change OUR behavior.. thats the question??? Alot of the things on this website, is very interesting to me..especially in this day and age of 2013..

186 Walter March 3, 2013 at 10:44 pm

Great article! Thank you! I have made many of these mistakes in previous relationships and have learned some hard lessons. I am thankful that the relationships where these red flags were present are now over and I have time to myself to pursue my dreams and know what I need to look for in a potential mate.

It’s better to be alone than poorly accompanied.

187 Oonoo March 4, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Indeed, great article. But, boys, before looking for these flags in your gal, take a look at yourself. You might be the worst “Drama Queen/King” or stingy with the appreciation or whtvr. Maybe the problem is ‘you’? Ask yourself, and learn the distinguish ‘love’ and ‘egoism’.

And yes, again, you can’t change her.

188 David March 5, 2013 at 7:56 am

Stay single, guys. We’re better off that way.

189 J March 19, 2013 at 8:35 am

One comment above had me look at this from a different perspective. I was analyzing myself at first but now pointed at the man in my life, there are quite a few of these red flags in our relationship…not that i didn’t already see them there. He is always the one to say “i don’t need the drama.” It makes no sense to me because I’m the low maintenance one of the relationship. I don’t ask him for anything and I take care of the household as contribution to living here, including his kids.

190 FunnyFace March 24, 2013 at 1:58 am

These all apply to either gender. I definitely get rose-colored glasses when I fall for someone, not seeing or overlooking these obvious red flags.

191 gussie March 24, 2013 at 4:00 pm

On the other hand if you’re constantly vigilant for Warning Signs you’ll probly find them. It can be like reading a medical textbook and suddenly you have every fatal disease out there.

192 Ted March 25, 2013 at 4:29 pm

My ex had none of these, but then turned out crazy anyway…. I guess sometimes you just don’t see it coming.

193 Magnus March 28, 2013 at 12:46 am

Matt is right: the “time line” definitely needs to be on the list.

194 Bruised & Tired April 4, 2013 at 9:18 am

10 out of 14 for me. Because of this I was just recently arrested and now I can’t even see my kids from a bogus restraining order. Yes, I’ve been blinded by love and always thought we could work it all out. She fails to acknowledge her part in it – even tells everyone she’s coming out of the “abuse closet”. Drama queen and a half. I’ve loved that girl, tried many years to help her, failed many times in the process, and now my kids and I are paying for it. She literally has zero idea what she’s doing right now will do to our family in the future and forever.

I know have a criminal marks on my record for life. Men, listen carefully to this article and heed my warning. Walk with caution and record everything you can until you can get away gracefully.

This last time my wife started punching me I said I want a divorce. We butted heads – literally butted heads. I got a gash and she got revenge. Cops couldn’t believe it either. It’s a serious matter.

I’ll admit it to anyone. I became violent later in our relationship. I would yell and scream till my voice would crack. It was like being married to a wall that continues to fall on you and you’re expected to rebuild it every time.

The flags you should really watch out for…

- It’s always your fault
- you’re expected to be better regardless of their behavior
- they are rude or at the least inconsiderate of strangers like waiters
- guilts you when you want to spend time outside your home
- violent and will punches when the arguments don’t go her way.
- feels like you owe her something
- thinks she is a queen but refuses to treat you similar
- always argues. Hey the sky is black, no it’s not, it’s black kind of arguing.

Take my advice. Be a good man, good father, but get the hell out of there. Forget your pride and ego, lay down your will and just let go.

195 Jenn April 7, 2013 at 3:53 am

really good read!!…i think this article seriously applies both ways. My best piece of advice guys… If you treat her equal, you can’t go wrong. But it’s gotta be vice versa. I’m no where near perfect, and neither is any woman i’ve ever met. Me and my husband have been together 11years.. got pregnant not a year in, have a beautiful son, and 2 years later a gorgeous daughter. Through these years things got rough, i can say he at times didn’t treat me the greatest no matter what i did.. and in turn i wore to the point that i didn’t care and turned to treat him just as badly. And a year ago i ended up being the cheater…and only then did he finally really see how horribly he had treated me. But we owned it and it was a hard pill to swallow for both of us. Our biggest barrier was no communication!!! and not just over the big things but the everyday stuff too. We had two seperate lives under the same roof. But when it came to glue or shove..we choose glue. we Both owned our mistakes, went through counseling, and now have a really great marriage (always work in progress of course)…so don’t always give up like most do now, cause it really is the worst/hardest stuff that can make u a stronger couple if your willing to change together.

196 The Truth April 12, 2013 at 2:10 pm

the real problem is, many women nowadays just can’t seem to commit to only ONE MAN anymore and like to cheat too. and now many of the women want a man with a very large bank account.

197 FullyAwake April 17, 2013 at 10:18 am

I went through all of this relationship stuff for a couple of decades but didn’t appreciate what was happening. I could feel the things described in this post happening to me in my gut, but couldn’t make sense of these things in my head. In other words, I wasn’t able to say, “I feel this way because ‘that’ just happened. The reason I feel this way is because .” Because of my lack of knowledge and naïveté, I wasn’t able to articulate to myself the reason I felt this way or that. This lack of wisdom left me wide open to all levels of abuse.

Then, three years ago, I got burned by someone really close. I was truly at rock bottom. I realized that there was no way I was going to survive and move forward if I didn’t find answers. The result of my brokenness was an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. I researched psychopathy, sociopathy, marriage, divorce, MRAs, PUAs, MGTOWs, feminism, misandry, misogyny, codependency, love addiction, personality disorders (NPD, borderline, etc.) and more. I’ve read countless articles, posts and blogs (have no clue how many) and am far wiser today as a result. Thanks to the wealth of information on the net, I can now look back and laugh at how naïve and misguided I used to be.

I have no advice to offer other than to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. Tis not good to be simple minded and naïve.

198 Sarah April 22, 2013 at 12:02 am

First off I’d like to say this is a great article. I decided to read it, like some of the other ladies in here said, to keep myself in check and ensure I wasn’t throwing up red flags anymore.

I will admit after about a year and a half into my relationship I started throwing up a few of these flags but without realizing what I was doing. After a large and almost relationship ending conversation I realized I was acting very immature in some aspects of our relationship and was really only hurting myself while doing these things. It’s been almost six months now, and it hasn’t always been easy, but I have grown as a person and we are now doing better than we even were before the flags started popping up.

So I would just like to ask that, like a previous comment already stated, you please talk with us about these flags first before running in the opposite direction. She may be where I was, in my early twenties and in my first truly adult, long term relationship. It has been tough to change as a person (as well as rewarding) and I feel that I have become a woman that he can be proud to have at his side.

199 Raimo April 28, 2013 at 11:03 am

5, 9, 12, 13.

I would like to add a sort-of-3a: her friends tell you that you are the first sensible boyfriend/man she’s been dating (ever). I’ve had this told me once and while it felt kind of good and maybe also a bit flattering at the time (admittedly I was a lot younger and less experienced then), she was really after the jerks afterall. She actually confessed to me some time after the breakup that she had been “testing” herself when she was with me, whether or not she could be in an equal relationship (both being equally educated and so forth). The latter proved to be true in the end.

Also, and this too may seem a no-brainer, but how does she act when she’s had a couple of drinks? Especially in the situation mentioned before in this thread, ie toward strangers such as waiters or cab drivers. This of course applies both ways. My last relationship ended badly after two years (same girl as before, her cheating on me deliberately etc). Her behaviour started to change gradually at some point, which ultimately lead to disaster. But thinking back, some of the most irritating aspects actually did show quite early on when she was under the influence of alcohol, not exactly drunk but tipsy. For instance I remember this one time when we were on our way home from a party and the cab took a little bit longer to arrive to pick us up than usual. No harm done but she had a proper go at the driver for the entire trip, which was really out of order.

I didn’t pay much or any attention to these details back then, but I certainly have ever since. Thank you for a great and very insightful article!

200 JC May 11, 2013 at 11:28 am

@158 from Phil.

As a man of 53 I concur with Phil. And I believe that what he’s really saying is that the reality of life makes these lists pointless.

Quote: Anyone who’s been in a relationship long-term is going to see a little of any or perhaps all of the things mentioned above – just as your partner will see a little of many or maybe all of the above in you! That being said, it’s really about when you (or your significant other) can no longer tolerate them and they become a game changer that they truly become red flags. Take some advice from an old fart: If you want a perfect relationship, it’s probably not going to happen, and if it is happening today, things will change over the long term – there’s no such thing as perfect forever.

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