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Sometimes, you just know that a person’s not right for you, but you go for it anyway.
But red flags are called that for a reason, and they’re often easy to spot. Still, we might choose to ignore them, deny them, or justify them.
And occasionally, things work out. But more often than not, we realize that the red flags were there to warn us that we shouldn’t date that person in the first place.
So, without further ado, here are 30 such red flags to watch out for when you’re dating someone new or in the early stages of a relationship.
1. They repeatedly disrespect your boundaries.
Maybe they try to convince you to do something you’ve clearly said that you don’t want to do, or they simply go too far and cross a line. When they keep pushing your boundaries, or even break them, they’re not the person you want to trust.
Make it clear that they must respect your boundaries if they want to keep dating you.
For example, you should end things with someone who insists that you get sexually involved even though you’ve said you want to take things slow.
Or perhaps they push you to do something you’re not yet comfortable doing, like committing to them or making the next step in the relationship.
A person who knowingly disrespects your boundaries is likely to keep doing so throughout the relationship.
2. They try to isolate you from your loved ones.
A person might be so possessive that they try to have you all to themselves. They seek to isolate you from your loved ones or turn you against them.
It doesn’t make someone crazy for wanting you to prioritize them over the other people in your life, but you should be allowed to have a life outside of the relationship.
There’s no need to run from the person who gets upset because you canceled a date to go out with your friends. It’s reasonable to feel and show some irritation when you get canceled on.
On the other hand, if you’ve barely seen your friends since you started dating them, it’s a major red flag.
The thing is, your partner should get along with the other people in your life that you care about. Unfortunately, life is not always simple, and that doesn’t always happen.
Maybe your family and friends don’t approve of your choice of partner. If this is the case, you should try to see things objectively because they might be pointing out a red flag that you’re choosing to ignore.
Either way, your relationship isn’t going to be easy if your partner doesn’t get along with your family and friends, whatever the reason may be.
3. They disrespect you.
It’s not just love that you need from a partner; it’s respect too. Someone who disrespects you isn’t a good partner.
Maybe they don’t trust you to make an adult decision, roll their eyes at you, dismiss your opinions, or talk down on you. However they disrespect you, it’s a red flag to watch for because their behavior is unlikely to change later on in a relationship.
In fact, it could even get worse. So, while you certainly shouldn’t fear each other in any way, you should have mutual respect. It’s a necessary part of a healthy relationship and a sign of how this person is going to treat you.
4. They talk badly about all their exes.
Let’s face it, few people like their exes. When dating, it’s best not to even talk about them. Yes, a couple has to discuss the topic of each other’s past relationships, but the basic information is typically enough.
But what if they trash talk their ex instead? A person who talks badly about all their exes or even calls them all crazy for leaving them is likely to do the same with you.
Sure, they may not like their exes, but most people are self-aware enough to accept their fair share of the blame and mature enough not to talk badly about someone just because their relationship broke down.
A person who refuses to acknowledge their own shortcomings by badmouthing their exes is likely not self-aware enough to be in a healthy relationship.
5. They use name-calling in fights.
It’s important that your partner knows the line and stops before they cross it. A great example is the way you fight. All couples fight, and it’s perfectly normal to get into arguments even if you’ve only recently started dating. But the way you fight is what matters and says a lot about your relationship.
Is your partner ready and willing to say things that they can’t unsay later? Name-calling is a good example of not respecting the line in arguments. It is a sign of poor conflict resolution skills, which is rarely a good omen for a relationship. It’s certainly an easy red flag to spot.
6. They refuse to work.
You could start dating someone who has no career goals and no intention to get a job. A person who can’t see their own future is not going to have a future with you.
While it’s fine to take a break from job hunting, a grown-up individual who is chronically unemployed and refuses to work is not the person you want to date.
A person should have a goal in life, and it’s not really possible to achieve goals without motivation and money. When your partner has no money and no motivation to earn some, they aren’t really moving forward in life, so you’re not going to get far with them.
The big question you have to ask yourself is: are they working toward something in life, or laying on the couch waiting for life to give them lemons?
Maybe they are trying to make it as an artist, and that’s great! However, maybe they just have no idea what tomorrow could bring, and they have no plans. Are they working toward the life they want? If not, they are probably not a person you can make future plans with, and you need that to have a healthy relationship.
7. They don’t respect their parents.
Your partner should treat their parents with respect, if not love (unless your partner’s parents were abusive or just not great parents in general, in which case your partner may not wish to even keep their parents in their life).
But some people are downright cruel to their folks, and that’s clearly a red flag. Think about it, if they can treat someone who gave them life that way, how will they treat you?
On the other hand, some people have too much love for their parents, and it’s actually an unhealthy attachment, which might be a red flag too.
Basically, the relationship your partner has with their parents can tell you a lot about them, and the potential relationship you could have with them. For example, if they are ungrateful to their parents, they are probably going to be ungrateful in the relationship with you.
8. They have drastic mood swings.
One day, they are the best partner you could imagine, but the next day they push all your buttons just so they can continue the cycle the third day.
Drastic mood swings are a sign of an unstable individual who might be emotionally immature. If you have to guess what kind of mood you’ll find them in, and it could change at any second, you probably aren’t going to have a healthy relationship with them.
You need someone mature and stable who you’ll be able to count on. You simply can’t count on someone that unpredictable.
Of course, anyone can experience occasional moods swings, but if they are so continuous that they’re part of the person’s personality, that’s not going to change any time soon.
9. They are too secretive.
Your partner should be honest and open with you. While they might not want to reveal everything on the first few dates, you should have a good idea of who they are by the time you’re in a committed relationship.
This means that, while it’s okay to be mysterious, being secretive is a whole other thing. If you feel like your partner is hiding something from you this early in the relationship, imagine how it will be later on.
Naturally, they might not want you to know certain things right away, but they won’t be secretive about little things that don’t really matter. If they are, they might be hiding a much bigger problem, such as not wanting you to really get to know them in the first place.
10. They had an affair with you while they were with someone else.
A person who cheated on someone with you is more likely to cheat on you with someone else. This is especially true if their romantic history consists of jumping right into new relationships after ending old ones.
Based on the fact that they cheated with you, you know for sure that they’re not a stranger to infidelity, so who’s to say they’ll stay faithful to you?
Even if you haven’t had an affair together, if they have a history of cheating on their partners, the chances of them doing so again increase. Of course, not everyone who cheats does it again, but the odds don’t work in your favor.
This is why it’s important that you’re both clear on the term ‘fidelity,’ but more on that later.
11. They want to know all your passwords.
There should be no secrets in a healthy relationship, but there should be privacy. It’s great if you and your partner can be open about each other’s online activity, but wanting to monitor it smells like trouble.
Why would your partner demand to know all your passwords if they trusted you? While you shouldn’t be secretive about your online activity, you should be entitled to your privacy and autonomy.
If you have done something to arouse your partner’s suspicion, you might be able to understand them, otherwise, demanding to know all your passwords is a red flag.
Similarly, if you find them snooping on your phone or other electronic devices behind you back, take note and ask yourself whether you can ever trust them.
12. They shame you.
Does your partner make you feel stupid or ashamed? If so, you might want to consider running for your life.
You don’t need a partner who’ll refuse to take you seriously and consider your opinions. You certainly don’t need someone who’ll mock your ideas or make fun of you.
Why would you even want to be with someone who makes you feel bad about yourself? Your partner is supposed to lift you up, not put you down, and you need to remember that.
13. They don’t want anyone to know about your relationship.
Another red flag to watch for in new relationships is if the person doesn’t want anyone to know that you’re together.
Okay, so perhaps there are some potentially valid reasons for keeping your relationship secret, but can you really have a healthy relationship in this type of situation?
What possible future can you have with someone who hides the fact that they’re with you? If they have just asked for some time and promised to come clean afterward, think about how much time has passed.
If you think that you’re in a serious relationship but no one knows about it besides you and your partner, your relationship is not as serious as you think.
14. They avoid being seen with you in public.
A similar red flag is when they avoid being seen with you. Maybe you don’t know that your relationship is supposed to be a secret, but avoiding being seen with you in public is a clear sign that it is.
Your partner is certainly not embarrassed by you; they just don’t want anyone to know that they’re dating you. It’s possible that they might be in a relationship with someone else, or don’t have any serious intentions with you.
You deserve someone who’ll proudly introduce you to everyone they know, so don’t settle for anyone who tries to keep your relationship behind closed doors.
15. They don’t agree with your definition of fidelity.
Some people think that it’s okay to have an affair as long as you don’t get your feelings involved, while others think that having feelings for someone else is cheating even if you don’t do anything about it.
What’s your definition of fidelity? Is innocent flirting allowed? What counts as innocent? Surprisingly, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to the term fidelity, and not everyone agrees on the definition.
The person you’re dating might be dating other people at the same time and think that there’s nothing wrong with it because you haven’t yet agreed on being exclusive. They might even be interested in an open relationship.
You never know until you ask, so you should definitely discuss what fidelity means to you both. If you interpret it differently to one another, the relationship will be on rocky ground from the start.
16. They crave constant reassurance.
You constantly have to repeat that you like them and want to be with them, and they don’t seem to trust you even when you do.
A partner who constantly seeks reassurance is probably so insecure that no amount of comforting words will help them overcome those insecurities.
It’s hard to have a healthy relationship with an insecure partner, so it might be best to avoid getting involved in the first place.
While you could certainly help your partner fight their insecurities, consider whether it’s what you want to do with your life. It’s okay to be selfish when you’re searching for the right person.
17. They can’t say they’re sorry.
It will be hard to resolve arguments if your partner is never willing to apologize. Unless you want to be the one who always makes the first step in reconciling, you should avoid those who aren’t okay with saying they’re sorry.
Your partner should be capable of accepting their share of the blame, and if they can’t do that, a healthy relationship is going to be difficult.
You need a partner who’ll be ready and willing to apologize and make amends when they do something wrong. Someone who can’t take responsibility for their actions is not going to make you happy.
18. They need or try to control you.
Your partner should not be aware of your whereabouts at all times, and if they demand to be, that’s a red flag. They should not dictate what you’ll do and who you’ll see or limit you in other ways.
Naturally, they’ll expect certain things from you, but they shouldn’t try to control you. Don’t ditch them for a night out with your friends without even letting them know, but don’t ask for their permission either.
You can make plans together and stick to those plans. Meaning, it’s okay that they want to know that you’ll be out with friends, but it’s not okay if you have to tell them the exact location and your history with each friend even though you don’t want to.
19. They are allowed to do things you’re not.
Are there some double standards at play? Maybe they are allowed to go out with their friends every weekend, but they freak out when you want to do the same with your friends.
Perhaps it’s okay that they flirt with people from work, but you can’t even talk to a person of your preferred gender.
Whatever it may be, if they are allowed to do things that they forbid you from doing, it’s not fair, and you shouldn’t tolerate it.
You should both have equal rights in the relationship, and there’s no room for double standards in a healthy one. Maybe you can agree with them regarding some things that you’re not allowed to do anymore, but they shouldn’t be allowed to do them either.
20. They are abusive.
Of course, when dating someone new, or in the early throes of a relationship, one of the red flags to watch for is abusive behavior.
Whether it’s emotional, psychological, or even physical abuse, you shouldn’t tolerate it for more than a second, and the second when it happens is already too much.
If you’ve noticed abusive behavior in a partner you’ve only recently started seeing, end things before you’re in too deep.
You should never tolerate abuse of any kind, no matter how much you like someone, so get away from them before you fall in love with them and let them hurt you.
If they are ready to hurt you with their words or their actions without blinking an eye, it could only get worse if you stay with them.
21. They suffer from addiction.
A lot of people have suffered from addiction, and some have successfully recovered. This means that they’re people too, and deserve an equal shot in the dating pool.
However, a person with an active addiction is not the right partner for anyone, including other people with the same addiction.
Why? Well, if you’re not an addict, you don’t want to risk becoming one by getting involved with someone who is. And if you are an addict, you’re certainly not going to stop being one if you choose a partner who is an addict too.
So, the big question is whether your partner has suffered from addiction in the past or still does.
Not everyone thinks of the same things when they talk about addiction though, so you need to be clear with yourself about your deal-breakers. For instance, you might choose to give a recreational drug user a chance that you wouldn’t give to an alcoholic.
Keep in mind that addicts often lie about their habits, though, so even if they say that they only use drugs on rare occasions, this might not be true.
Your best choice is to steer clear of all people who have active addictions such as excessive drinking, drug use, gambling, or other forms. These people have a problem that isn’t going to go away on its own, and you can’t make it go away.
22. They are violent.
You most certainly shouldn’t get involved with anyone who makes you fear for your safety. If your partner is particularly aggressive or even violent toward others, they might physically hurt you at some point too.
You don’t want to be around someone who supports violence and wouldn’t hesitate to use it to get what they want.
Some people fall for the tough guys because it makes them feel like they have someone to defend them. What they forget is that the tough guy in question can use his strength to hurt them, not just to protect them.
If a person sees nothing wrong with physically hurting someone, they won’t see much wrong with physically hurting you either. So, before you get involved with someone who frequently gets in actual fistfights, think about your own safety.
The truth is, many abusers can be recognized in the early stage of dating, but we still choose to ignore the red flags until it’s too late and we’re already thinking of excuses for their bad behavior. Don’t do this. When you see that someone could be a potential abuser, run the other way and don’t look back.
23. They are not the commitment type.
A typical dating problem is when you’re chasing after someone who doesn’t want to commit to you. So, you start thinking of possible explanations and coming up with possible solutions for this problem.
But what if the person is just not the commitment type? If your date tells you that they don’t want a relationship, by all means trust them. Don’t keep chasing them if you want something serious and they have clearly said that they can’t give you that (or their behavior and attitude in life show that they’re not going to give that to anyone any time soon).
So many tears have been cried because of the players who don’t want to be tied down, but why let it get so far? When you see that someone has no interest in getting into a serious relationship right now, find someone who wants the same as you do!
Don’t give yourself false hope just because you want to keep chasing someone who keeps running. It’s best to move on as soon as you find out that they’re not ready to commit, before you start having deeper feelings for them and let those feelings cloud your judgment.
24. They have different relationship goals than you do.
A person doesn’t have to be a player to have different relationship goals than you do, and it’s crucial that you’re on the same page. If you want different things, you simply can’t achieve them together.
Maybe your partner doesn’t plan on getting married in the next 10 years, or they’re thinking of moving to another country for a few years. Whatever it is that’s stopping you from living happily ever after, you can’t ignore it if you’re looking for the real deal.
While many of the red flags on this list can be ignored if you’re looking for just a casual hookup, if you’re searching for something real, that person has to want it too. It will take a lot of effort and time to get there from where you are now, so if your partner is not willing to invest in the relationship, you’re not going to have a happy one, if any at all.
Maybe they are looking for a long-lasting relationship too, but what kind of future does their ideal relationship have? If it’s not the future you’re hoping for, you can’t postpone that problem until the future comes and you’re not where you want to be.
25. They are irrationally jealous.
Love can result in a small dose of jealousy. It can even be flattering. It’s natural to be a little jealous when you like someone so much. After all, you don’t want to lose them.
However, there’s a big difference between a natural dose of jealousy and irrational jealousy that could destroy your relationship.
When you find yourself in a situation where your partner gets upset if you even look at another person of the gender(s) you find attractive or you can’t have friends of that gender, you run like hell.
Naturally, your partner doesn’t want you to be in awe of someone else’s beauty right in front of them, or get too emotionally involved with another person, but was that really the explanation, or did they imagine it that way?
Irrational jealousy is rarely founded on anything more than the person’s own mind, so if you gave your partner no reason to doubt your loyalty but they freak out over trivial things and have jealous outbursts, you’re not going to find happiness with them.
26. They don’t trust you, or you can’t trust them.
Your partner might be irrationally jealous because of a trauma from their past or other issues, but what if they simply don’t trust you? Maybe they don’t have jealous outbursts, but they act like they can’t believe a word you say.
Perhaps you’re the one who can’t trust them instead.
Whatever the reason for it, relationships with no trust rarely end well.
Maybe this lack of trust comes from previous experiences you had with each other, or the past that you’ve each had with other people. Whatever it is, it’s dooming your relationship from the start.
Even if you’re already aware of your or your partner’s trust issues, you can’t go further and carry that with you. You’ll have to learn to have faith in each other if your relationship is going to work.
27. They constantly criticize you.
Even though your partner should give you compliments, they do the opposite and constantly criticize you.
Basically, they make you feel like you’re not good enough, and that means that they’re not good enough for you.
Don’t let anyone ruin your self-esteem because they can’t see how great you are. If they can’t see it, why are they with you in the first place?
It’s very likely that criticizing you makes them feel better about themselves, and that’s a major red flag. You don’t want to be with someone who’ll end up destroying your self-confidence and making you feel bad about yourself just to give themselves an ego boost.
Keep in mind that this type of behavior says more about them than about you, so don’t let their words get to you.
28. They talk about themselves all the time.
You might end up with someone who is the king/queen of their own world, and you’ll have no choice but to treat them as one if you want to be a part of that world.
They constantly talk about themselves, put their needs first, expect their wishes to be your command, and think that they’re better than anyone else.
You might find yourself on a date where the person gets inspired to talk about themselves or something that matter’s to them for hours. If so, don’t be quick to judge because this might be a one-time thing.
However, if you’ve been on more than one date with this person, and they can’t shut up about how amazing they are, you might want to leave them to the person they love the most – themselves.
29. They lie to you.
Naturally, one of the most important red flags to watch for is if the person can lie to you without blinking an eye.
Some people are pathological liars, and you don’t want to be with someone who can lie to your face.
Bear in mind that your date might keep some information from you during the first few dates. That’s okay since they’re probably waiting to get more comfortable with you so that they can tell you more.
However, what if they intentionally lie to you? While this sounds like the ultimate deal-breaker, there are exceptions. A person might lie about something that they’re not ready to admit to so early on, but come clean about it afterward. So, what exactly they are lying about, and the explanation they give you when you catch them is very important.
However, even if they have a good explanation for their lie, you should keep your guard up and be more cautious around them until you make sure that it’s a one-time thing.
30. They are using you.
In the end, your date might be simply using you. They can use you for more than just sex, so don’t think that’s the only thing that applies here. Maybe they want to be with you because of your money, or for your company when it’s convenient for them.
If they only want to see you at night or at their place, you’re not really dating them. Unless you’re going on actual dates, spending the night at their place is a hookup, not a potential relationship.
If they want you to buy them things, pay for their rent, take them to the most expensive places… well, clearly they’re using you for your money.
If they want you to be available only when it’s convenient for them, text you only when they’re bored, or schedule a date with you just because all of their other plans got canceled, they’re using you for your company. And you shouldn’t agree to be anyone’s second choice when you deserve to be someone’s priority.
You should note that the most important of these red flags aren’t really about your partner – they’re about you.
If you idealize your partner and see them as someone they’re not, you’re not doing anyone any favors. Knowing all the red flags to look out for won’t mean much if you choose to ignore them and justify your partner’s bad behavior. After all, if you know that someone’s wrong for you and still go after them, no one can help you.
Trust your instincts and try to see things as objectively as you can to make sure that you end up with the right person. Most importantly, don’t waste your time on those who are not right for you if you’re looking for something meaningful and long-lasting.
Still not sure what is and what is not a red flag? If in doubt, you need to speak to an experienced dating and relationship expert now. This is not something you should leave too long to figure out. So why not chat online to one of the experts from Relationship Hero who can help you identify when you should stay and when you should go. Simply click here to chat.
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