10 Red Flags To Look For While Dating

We always hear about red flags, but do we have the tools to recognize these warnings that could be signs of serious problems such as abuse, cheating, manipulation, and misery?

By Juliana Stewart4 min read
Shutterstock/Cast Of Thousands

In dating, there are always subtle and not-so-subtle warnings. Sometimes it can be small things like an annoying habit, but sometimes they are things that feel good in the moment, and it isn’t until further down the line you realize it was a con. He was just telling you what you wanted to hear, and now you’re putting up with all kinds of bad behavior because your emotions got the better of you.

Many women get into bad relationships because they don’t know how to read the bright red flags and how to enforce healthy boundaries. Don’t ignore behavior that makes you feel uncomfortable — that’s your intuition telling you to *back away.*

Below are the top red flags to look out for so you can navigate dating in a much better and safer way:

1. He disrespects you.

Disrespect comes in many shapes and forms, and it can create tension, problems, and anxiety if not dealt with. 

Does he lack courtesy or act rude, impolite, dismissive, or downright offensive? 

Disrespect and rude behavior can spiral and spread like a disease if you let it, so it’s good to nip it in the bud. Call him out on it by expressing how you feel, and really ask yourself whether it’s the kind of behavior that you want to put up with.

Mutual respect is a major foundation of a happy and healthy relationship, and nobody deserves your time and attention if they have a fundamental lack of respect for you.

2. He's quick to anger.

This is an easy one to detect. For example, you’re dining at a restaurant and he orders the ribeye steak, but the waiter says they’ve run out. Instead of ordering something else off the menu, he gets really irritated, causes a massive scene, you feel uncomfortable, and it’s embarrassing for everyone.

This man clearly has anger management issues that could explode into more dangerous behavior such as bullying or verbal and physical abuse. Avoid this man like the plague.

3. He has an addiction. 

Addiction can be really dangerous. Not only does it harm the addict, but it also harms the people around them. 

People can get addicted to lots of things such as drugs, drinking, gambling, gaming, eating, and porn. 

If you’re on a date and you notice he drinks to excess, it could be a sign that he has a drinking problem. Or perhaps he tells you about his experiences using drugs or any other weird habits, which makes you feel uncomfortable.

Other signs of an addict include irritability, mood changes, lying, decreased productivity at work, sudden money problems, and unreliability. 

If these behaviors keep recurring, you really need to ask yourself if he is the best person for you to be in a relationship with right now.

4. He talks about marriage and babies on the first date.

Some men will say anything to get laid. If a man gushes about his married friends or asks whether you want babies on the first date, he is trying to get you to think he is family-oriented. Men know we go gaga for this, and it’s the oldest trick in the book. 

Don’t get sucked in by the sweet talk! Most men who are serious about settling down hold off on sharing this information until they have formed genuine trust rather than a fantasy bond. 

Not all men are like this of course, but it’s good to know that some will use tricks to get what they want. 

5. He's unemployed.

This may sound superficial, but sometimes we need to be realistic and ask ourselves the hard questions. Being unemployed doesn’t necessarily mean he is lazy or incompetent, but, if you’re dating with the intention of getting into a serious relationship, this is definitely a valid question to ask. 

If he has been unemployed for one year and doesn’t have a serious health condition that’s stopping him from getting a job, then he might be a little lazy. If he’s just lost his job but is actively seeking to get another one, then maybe it’s not so bad.  

Being discerning and taking account of your choice in men is a form of self-care.  Choosing a boyfriend or a future husband is the biggest decision of your life, so choose wisely and according to the future you envision.

6. He constantly lies.

Lying is a major red flag.  If you don’t have trust, then you don’t have a relationship.

There are various degrees of lying, like little white lies to keep things moving. But big lies can erode trust in the future. 

It takes years to build trust and only one secret or lie to destroy a relationship, so if you catch him lying about serious things frequently, you could be dealing with a dishonest person.

Is this really the type of man you want to be in a long-term relationship with?

7. He has wandering eyes (IRL or online).

You can tell a lot about a man by the way he interacts with other women. Does he act respectfully, or is he overly charming, flirty, and always commenting on beautiful women’s Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook posts? And even worse, does he do it in front of you? Rude!

If so, you could be dealing with a bad boy, A.K.A a player. Some women like this type of men; they're fun, exciting and thrilling. But let’s be honest, would you want him as a husband? Maybe he’ll change when you get married, but then again, maybe he won’t. Imagine dealing with this kind of behavior as a wife? Yikes!

8. He talks badly about women.

This man has been hurt by women in the past. You can hear it in his words, and there’s an angry and aggressive undertone. It sucks to get hurt and no one deserves it, but he clearly needs time to heal and maybe even therapy. 

Anyone who trashes the opposite sex has some unresolved issues. Maybe he’s still getting over an ex and there was some bad blood, or maybe he has a toxic relationship with his mother. It may not be a complete deal-breaker for some, but misery loves company and sometimes it’s best to put your needs first, especially early on in dating. 

Whomever you decide to settle down with will affect everything from your happiness and wellbeing to your future. You want to date men who meet your standards, requirements, and morals. You want someone who adds value to your life.

9. He asks you to go dutch or to pay for the date.

We've heard this time and time again: if a man really likes you, he will pursue you and will try his best to impress you.

If a man asks you to go dutch or pay for the whole date, he is either: a) not that into you, b) trying to make you second guess your worth so you’ll lower your standards and maybe sleep with him, or c) he is cheap.

Look, if you’re a feminist and have no problems with going dutch then that’s great, but if he is the one who asked you out on the date and then asks you to pay for it, that is a completely different story. It’s awkward.

10.  He gives you the ick!

Sometimes a man just makes you cringe.  It could be small superficial things like the way he dresses, or the way he talks, or even the way he takes his coffee. And sometimes, he doesn’t have to do anything wrong; he just gives you that icky feeling. 

Think Jessica and Mark from Love is Blind. She never really liked Mark from the beginning, but she continued to date him because she was desperate to be with someone. Don’t be a Jessica. 

Closing Thoughts

No one is perfect, but if you get a gut feeling that something is off, don’t suppress it. That is your intuition telling you, “He is not the one!”