Lots of us ignore red flags from the people we’re dating in hopes that they won’t turn out to be a big deal after all. But if you’re trying to convince yourself that this guy is right for you when he’s really a disaster waiting to happen, you’re only going to cause yourself pain. Never overlook these signs that what you have going is a recipe for heartache:
It’s not crystal clear that he likes you. Ever heard of the dating rule, “If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no”? You both should be totally excited about each other. If he seems wishy-washy, is sending mixed signals, or isn’t clear about where he stands, it’s not worth it. You deserve a guy who thinks he hit the lottery by being with you.
It’s clear he likes you more than you like him. This situation is a tricky one. I was in it recently. It became evident quickly that a girl had much more interest in me than I had in her. As much as it was flattering, I knew that it wouldn’t have been fair to string her along. If he’s more excited about you than you are him, it’s time to let him go. I know it’s nice to have someone pay you dinner and call you pretty, but you’re not his person.
He says something sexist, racist, or otherwise offensive. I used to find myself making excuses for men who didn’t respect women or who were racist. I don’t do that crap anymore. If someone shows you who they are, believe them. This includes slut-shaming women or making offhand comments. I go as far as only dating men who are feminists! Women have to deal with enough garbage in the world — we don’t need any from our boyfriends as well.
He just got out of a relationship. Girl, back away. I know it’s tempting to jump on an opportunity (especially if he’s hot), but let the damage get repaired first. He deserves space and time to heal, regardless of the circumstances of his breakup. And you deserve someone who will be able to bring all of himself to the table for you, not someone who’s still be hung up on his ex.
He mentions his ex on the first date. Do not paint this giant red flag green! I recently went on a first date with a guy who mentioned his ex-girlfriend six times. He went on to say he recently recorded a mixtape about her to try to “end that chapter.” Yeah, no. I’ll take a guy who isn’t still talking about his ex. Especially if we have our baggage sorted out, we deserve someone who’s ready to be present with us.
You’re not attracted to him. Should be an obvious one, right? I’ve had the issue, though, where I’ve thought someone was such a nice guy and attractive enough that maybe it would work out! I was wrong. We can tell if we’re attracted to someone pretty immediately. Do your date and yourself a favor by not trying to make it work.
You’re only attracted to him, so you’re blind to deal-breakers. Too many of us have been in this trap. He’s so hot that you’re willing to excuse the fact that he smokes way too much weed and never texts when he says he will. I’ve been there. My mind and body will tell me “BUT, he’s so hot.” It doesn’t matter —it’s not worth the heartache. Get the hell out of there while you have the chance!
He doesn’t understand enthusiastic consent. I wish we didn’t have to explicitly discuss this deal-breaker; it should be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, too many men don’t understand the nuances of enthusiastic consent. If he doesn’t respect you all the way from clothes on and no physical intimacy throughout clothes off and lots of physical intimacy, he’s not the one. You want a man who treats you with the tender care you deserve.
You have a gut feeling that it isn’t a match. There’s an itty bitty voice in our lower stomach saying (or screaming), “No, this isn’t right!” Something inside of us tells us that the guy we’re with isn’t the right one, but we ignore that voice. Despite my disregard, my gut feeling rarely turns out to be wrong, and I’d benefit from listening to it more. We’d all save ourselves heartache if we walked away when we felt it wasn’t a match.
You’re obviously not a priority in his life. I want to date someone who makes room for me in his life. I don’t want to consume his life, but I want to be a big part of it. I like to spend a lot of time with my partner. Regardless of the circumstance, if they’re continuously finding it hard to squeeze me in twice a week, it’s clear I’m not a priority. We’re willing to make room in our lovely lives — they should do the same.
He doesn’t know what he wants. I know what I want. I’m clear about what my desires and needs are, and I communicate them. If you also have a solid awareness of what you want and can speak it, you’re right to expect the same from him. Don’t accept uncertainty. It could be an indicator that he’s a commitment-phobe or has too much baggage to be dating right now.
You don’t feel like you can be yourself. Feeling like you have to be someone you’re not is a sure sign that it’s not going to work out. I’ve had experiences where I’ve felt like I have to tone down my goofiness or be less outspoken. Trying to be someone we’re not is a bad sign. You should feel like you can be your total self with your partner. Otherwise, the relationship can be stifling, and the future is bleak.
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