Dating Red Flags: 55 Things To Watch Out For

The dating world is full of loving, wonderful people. There are men that will open your car door for you and bring you flowers. However, the dating scene is also full of men that just want sex, are insecure, and possibly complete psychopaths. I’ve met plenty of both. 

When you’re getting to know someone new, there are quite a few things that you’ll need to watch out for. Some of these are indicators of abuse, and others are signs of other toxic traits you don’t want to deal with, like jealousy or insecurity. Keeping an eye out for these dating red flags will benefit you in the long run. You don’t want to ignore these. 

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Dating Red Flags To Watch Out For

1. They don’t have their own opinion

When it comes to planning the first date, they want you to do all of the work. Trying to figure out what type of food they like, or don’t like, is like teaching a snake how to read. When you’re getting to know one another, they even manage to copy what you like. For example, your music tastes or favorite movies. This is a huge sign of low confidence, and it will show up in other areas of the relationship. 

2. They insist that they should order for you

they insist that they should order for you

When you’re at the restaurant, they’ll ask what you want. Then, insist on ordering for you. You’ll see them do this even if you didn’t ask them to. It’s a sign that they could be controlling. Watch for other red flags that they might be a controlling person if your date does this. 

3. Says they need someone instead of they want someone

They need someone that understands them. Perhaps they need someone that doesn’t mind when they work a lot. Whatever the scenario, they use the word need instead of want. This means that they might have low self-esteem, could use the victim mentality, or they will rely on you too much to fulfill their needs. In the long run, it will make for an exhausting relationship. 

4. They keep score

If a person is already keeping score early on, that’s a huge red flag. Your first date should not be spent discussing who texts who first, who planned the date, or anything else. Can you imagine an entire relationship spent with them itemizing things?!?!

5. They refuse to label the relationship

You talk every day. The two of you spend plenty of time together. However, when you mention the two of you being in a committed relationship, they balk. It’s either because they have an intense fear of committed relationships or they might be seeing someone else. Look for signals that you’re his side piece if you see this red flag. 

6. You’re the one always mentioning getting together

If you two go on a date, it’s because you initiated it. This is a big red flag because it means that the relationship is one-sided. In a healthy relationship, things are evenly balanced out. He calls you, and you call him. You both want to get together. If it’s one-sided, he might have low self-confidence or not be into you. 

7. He gives people the silent treatment

If a man mentions giving a person the silent treatment, consider that a huge red flag. You might just want to walk away. This is a sign of immaturity and/or abuse. Guys that do this are often trying to punish the other person by ignoring them instead of using healthy communication. 

8. He doesn’t say thank you to the waiter

If a guy can’t bother to be polite to the server on your first date, that says a lot. Not only about who he might be as a person, but about his manners in general. 

9. Compromising doesn’t happen

In healthy relationships, there is always a compromise at some point. However, there are plenty of people that just can’t do that. Approximately 10% of relationships split when it comes time to renovate a house because of the constant arguments.

If your date can’t compromise during the early stages, that’s a red flag. He more than likely won’t be able to later on either. In fact, it’ll probably get worse. 

10. Your family doesn’t like him

your family don't like him

When you first meet someone, it can be easy to try and see the good in them. This can also lead to you ignoring the bad or blowing off obvious red flags in an attempt to make it work. Sometimes, you’re blinded and don’t even realize that you’re doing it!

Your family will see right through his crap though. They’ll also see that you don’t notice. Because of this, you need to pay attention and listen when your family or your parents say that something is off about them. If your parents or family doesn’t like him, at least ask them why. They might see something that you don’t. 

11. He wants to know every detail of your day

This is controlling behavior. It’s one thing to ask how your day was or show interest in what you did for the day. It’s completely different to blow up your phone and want to know every single thing that happened every single minute of the day. The latter is a huge red flag, and you need to walk away. 

12. Criticizing things that matter to you

They might make fun of your favorite hobby or jokingly criticize you for eating healthy. The thing is, it’s whatever is most important to you. If the criticism isn’t obvious, they might try to play it off as them joking. This is one of the ways that abusive people might try to control you. Keep an eye out for other red flags if you see this. 

Even if there aren’t other red flags, you need to put some thought into whether you would want to be with this person. Acceptance is important in a relationship. 

13. Mood swings are a red flag

Mood swings keep you on your toes. You never know what they are going to do, or how they are going to act. As the relationship progresses, you’ll find yourself walking on eggshells to avoid upsetting them. It’s another form of abuse. Tactics like this are used to control your behavior. You’ll never mention it when something does upset you because you don’t want to anger them. 

14. They have no work ethic

When a person has no work ethic, it can turn into you doing everything for them rather quickly. Dating someone should be fun. It should not end in a situation where you feel like their parent instead of their partner. This is also common in controlling partners or those that like to play the victim. We’re all responsible for our own lives. 

15. Love bombing

Love bombing is when a person goes above and beyond to make you feel special. They are beyond perfect. This is another common red flag that you’ll see in abusive, controlling, and/or manipulative men. Once you’re hooked, the abuse starts. 

16. Image is everything

When image matters more than anything else, you’ll notice that all of his exes were hot. He might say that he only dates pretty girls. Appearances, such as what you wear, are extremely important to him. Avoid men that are too shallow. They’ll bail if you gain weight, don’t accept you for who you are, and might be looking for a fake relationship

17. Every ex was crazy

Granted, we’ve all had a crazy ex. If all of his ex-girlfriends were supposedly psycho, that’s another red flag that you need to watch out for. Guys that are abusive or crazy themselves are pretty quick to blame everything on the ex. 

18. Arguments result in name-calling

arguments result in name calling

This is a warning sign to watch out for. If it happens one time, it’ll happen again. When someone calls another person names, it’s due to a lack of respect. Both disrespectful partners and abusive partners are prone to this behavior. You don’t deserve either type of boyfriend. 

19. Different sleep schedules

It’s one thing if you guys have different sleep schedules during those fun weekends. If you’re on different schedules every day of the week, you’re not going to be able to spend time together. This can cause problems later on. 

20. You went from side chick to girlfriend

If he cheated on his last partner with you, what makes you think it won’t happen to you? It probably will. 

21. He goes overboard with jealousy

Jealousy tends to come up in relationships with time. However, there is a healthy way to deal with that. If he takes that jealousy and starts to become possessive, there’s a chance that he’s abusive. This is just the beginning of him trying to control you. 

22. Moving too fast is a major red flag

This is one of the main red flags of abuse that you need to watch out for. Every couple will go through a honeymoon phase in the beginning. Phases like this are normal. 

A newfound interest that is professing their undying love for you and being ready to move in after two months is moving too fast. Men that try to move fast are love bombing you, and they’re more than likely controlling and/or abusive. Walk away now. 

23. Talking about his ex a lot

It’s one thing to casually mention an ex. For example, I was talking to a guy that doesn’t smoke. I asked him if it was a deal-breaker that I smoke cigarettes. He mentioned that he doesn’t mind, the last girl he dated smokes as well. This was an obvious example to show that he didn’t mind. 

Constantly mentioning an ex is one of the red flags that will show you that he’s not over her yet. If you know all about their history, why they broke up, and what happened during all three years of the relationship before you even make it to the first date, just save yourself the trouble and move on. He is either still in love or still hurt and angry. Neither is fun to deal with. 

24. He needs your help

We all go through a financial crisis here and there. However, if you’re just getting to know him and he is suddenly homeless or needs help with bills, that’s a red flag. He might just be using you. Avoid helping him to see what happens if you’re not sure. 

25. You’re suddenly the only support system he has

If he’s new to the area, it’s not fair to hold this against him. On the other hand, if he has family that refuses to be there for him and no friends, watch out. They may have stopped helping him because he has a drug problem. You need to have a conversation with him about this and keep an eye on things for a while if you want to be sure or aren’t convinced to walk away yet. Stay safe. 

26. You feel angry or anxious most of the time

Sometimes, it can be hard to see red flags. If they aren’t blatantly obvious, you might miss them. This is common because abusive partners are so manipulative, and they are so good at it. Your own feelings can still tell you a lot about your partner. You should feel happy when you’re with them, not angry or anxious. Pay attention to how you feel to determine if there is something amiss. 

27. They cancel dates without rescheduling

If he cancels your date and doesn’t reschedule unless you mention it, the dude might not be into you. Don’t bother sending a text to schedule another dinner date. 

28. He doesn’t stick to his word

he doesn't stick to his word

He says he’ll do something but doesn’t. A guy being unreliable is going to be a problem at some point in relationships. If he thinks it’s fine when you’re simply dating, don’t expect it to change. 

29. He’s super busy

Everyone is busy today. I am a single mom with a full-time job, a grandchild, and two children that are going to school from home. One of which is considered disabled. This doesn’t include the home remodeling, cooking, cleaning, and everything else that gets crammed into my day. I have a date this Friday. 

When you like someone, you make time in your busy schedule. If he’s too busy, it’s time to consider looking for someone else to go on dinner dates with. Relationships shouldn’t be at his convenience. 

30. Sex is mentioned before the first dates

Guys that are already talking about what they want to do to you in the bedroom are mainly worried about one thing. If you want more than sex, this is your cue to make your exit. 

31. Bad texting can be a red flag

If he’s only making the minimum effort to keep you around, assume that he’s showing you his interest level. Some guys are bad at texting, but it doesn’t take much to talk on the phone or write more than one-word answers. 

32. Their words don’t match their actions

If they’re worried about plastic and the ocean, but continue to use plastic straws, that’s one of the warning signs that you need to watch out for. There’s no telling what else he’s lying about. He could have plenty more tricks up his sleeve to manipulate you too. 

33. Dishonest doesn’t seem to matter

If he’s prone to telling little white lies, that’s another red flag. You don’t want to be in a relationship with someone that doesn’t value honesty. You’ll constantly find yourself wondering what else he’s not telling the truth about. 

34. He can’t apologize

An apology can be as basic as saying you’re sorry and stating that it wasn’t your intention to make someone feel bad. Some people can’t seem to do that, though. If he can’t apologize, he isn’t going to start validating your feelings when you change your relationship status, either. 

35. Threats

Obviously, someone threatening to punch you is a red flag. However, some threats are a bit more playful, so it might be easy to overlook them. For example, he says he’s not going to show up on time for dinner dates if you keep doing a particular thing because he knows that punctuality is important to you. This can quickly turn into him bullying you to get what he wants, and it’s not okay. 

36. Passive-aggressive comments

He tells you about how his friend quit dating someone because she wore revealing clothing while you just so happen to be wearing a low-cut shirt, for example. (The issue of him telling you what to wear is a separate number, but don’t ignore that one either.) 

A relationship is built on healthy communication, and passive-aggressive comments aren’t going to cut it. He needs to be mature and state what is wrong so the two of you can resolve it. 

37. There is zero eye contact

When a guy won’t look you in the eye, that’s a red flag. He could be lying. Perhaps he’s not that into you. When a guy doesn’t look you in the eye as he talks to you, it could mean a number of things. None of them are positive. 

38. He tries to change you

he tries to change you

A man should be accepting of you as you are. If he tries to make you change or goes as far as mentioning changing things about yourself on the first date, that’s a red flag. The longer you date this dude, the more he’s going to try and change. 

39. There’s always an excuse for his behavior

If he’s disrespectful, there are plenty of excuses. There are excuses for everything from him being late to things like name-calling. Those excuses might be stress, not sleeping well, or some other reason. 

The thing is, no matter what the reason is, we are all responsible for our own behavior. If he has all kinds of reasons for his behavior, it’s because he’s not accepting that responsibility, which is a sign of immaturity. He’s also less likely to ever change because he won’t see a problem with anything he does. 

40. He cares too much about his image

It’s awesome dating a man who is composed, but you need to be able to let loose a little bit too. He should be able to kick back and relax. If not, your relationship is going to be packed with the two of you being too serious and never having fun. 

This is also a sign that he is just using you. When a man cares a lot about his image, he is more likely to be in a relationship that helps add to his image. For example, if he is focused on looking like a successful family man to the rest of the world, he’ll want a pretty girl by his side and might be focused on marriage. 

However, it’s only to add to that image he wants the world to see, not because he loves you. 

If you’re dating a guy that is focused on his image or appearance, keep an eye out for anything else that might indicate that you’re in a fake relationship to make sure that he’s not using you for the status you give him. 

41. You’re not glowing with happiness

When you’re happy while you’re dating someone, it shows. You have a glow. There is a little bounce in your step. If the dating process is exhausting with this guy, you won’t be glowing. In fact, you’ll feel miserable even if you can’t put your finger on why you feel that way. 

42. They only hang out with you late at night

If he only hangs out with you late at night, you have to wonder what he is doing during the day. You could be a side chick, and he sneaks out to visit you late at night. 

43. He treats others rudely

How a person treats other people says a lot about their character. Even if he is nice to the server, you need to pay attention to how he treats friends and family. A man that is disrespectful towards his parents, siblings, or friends will eventually treat you the same way. 

44. He doesn’t respect your boundaries

We all have boundaries. Perhaps you don’t want to have sex until marriage. Maybe you aren’t a fan of public displays of affection. If you state those boundaries, he should respect them. Trying to find ways around them or giving you one reason after another as to why they are silly is disrespectful. Move on to the next. 

45. He’s really needy

he's really needy

Those sweet paragraphs in the morning are great. So are good night texts. If your new man considers texting every day all day a part of the dating process, you need to put some thought into whether you can give him the type of attention he needs. 

You’ll also need to look at several other things. The main reason that people have high attention needs is due to low self-esteem. This can come with a wide range of other issues. He might be overly concerned with his image. Low self-esteem tends to go hand in hand with jealousy and controlling behavior, too. 

46. He starts talking badly about your closest friends and family

This is one tactic that abusive men use to separate you from your support system. They slowly downgrade your friends and family members so that you either focus on their bad qualities or start to see them in a different light. 

Then, you won’t feel comfortable going to them for anything. Eventually, the relationship will dissolve, resulting in you not having a support system, which is exactly what he wants. 

47. He doesn’t like you having friends of the opposite sex

This is commonly seen in men that are possessive, jealous, and insecure. If your best friend is a guy, you shouldn’t have to give him up for a relationship. In fact, the three of you should all be able to spend time together. 

48. He seems too good to be true

If he seems too good to be true, chances are that he is. This is the guy that says everything you want to hear. When you say you care about the environment, he gives examples of him being an activist too. If you have children, he’s suddenly stepdad material. He’s being manipulative. Stay away from anything that seems too good to be true. 

49. No desire to change for the relationship

As we date people, we learn that we all have little quirks. These might be something like wearing shoes in the house or saying a particular slang word. Sometimes, we compromise. We stop doing certain things for our partners. 

If your partner says that previous relationships ended because they had no desire to change, that’s a signal that they aren’t willing to compromise on even the smallest things. It makes for a very unhealthy relationship that involves you compromising and then stating that you need to accept them for who they are. 

50. It never transitions

You’ve been dating this guy for months. However, he doesn’t want a relationship yet. Even if he does manage to commit, it doesn’t feel like the relationship is transitioning. You’re still not on his social media. He doesn’t introduce you to his parents or his friends. There’s no talk of future plans. 

These are all things that happen when the relationship transitions into something deeper. If you don’t see yours going anywhere, that’s a red flag. 

51. You don’t feel anything

The first date might feel awkward. In fact, the first one usually does feel awkward. Sometimes, you struggle to fill in those gaps in conversation. You ask those cliche icebreaker questions, like what his favorite color is. That’s normal in the beginning. 

As you continue to see each other, you start to be more intimate. You develop a connection. If you’ve been seeing a guy for quite some time and still don’t feel anything, there’s a good chance that you never will. 

52. They don’t care about your needs

they don't care about your needs

We all have needs. These include things like emotional needs and attention needs. Typically, it takes time for one partner to learn and meet the other person’s needs. 

However, they should want to learn. They should also be willing to try and meet your needs. If you discuss those needs and they don’t care, that’s a red flag. You deserve someone that is willing to meet your needs just like you are theirs. 

53. Keeping a job doesn’t happen

When you discuss careers and goals, you find out that he’s been from one job to another. He doesn’t seem to keep a job for more than a few months. In fact, he justifies him quitting them all because of a boss, too little pay, or some other reason. 

That same behavior is likely to be seen in your relationship, too. Men that are inconsistent and refuse to accept responsibility at work often exhibit the same behavior at home or in relationships. 

54. They threaten to leave when they’re mad

I was in a relationship like this once. Every time there was an argument, he was ready to pack his things and head out the door. One time, he even told his children to pack their things. In the beginning, I was the one that said he should stay and we should work through things. 

Then, as the behavior continued, I told him to go. I said if he would rather leave than work through things together, he knew where the door was. I wouldn’t try to make him stay. 

Once I got to the point that I stopped trying to fix things if he wasn’t willing to, he quit threatening to leave. This is because he was controlling. He didn’t really want to leave. In fact, he probably never even planned on leaving. 

However, he used that to hurt me and to control me. If you see this type of behavior, don’t let it control you. Leave and save yourself the stress the relationship is going to bring you. Those types of relationships don’t end well. 

55. You discover that you’re in the relationship for the wrong reasons

When we think of red flags, our mind instantly jumps to things that the other person is doing. However, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes, those red flags are something that we have going on. If you’re not invested in the relationship for the right reasons, it’s time to walk away. 

One of the most common reasons that a woman will stay in a relationship despite not wanting to is because she doesn’t want to hurt him. What we don’t realize is that we hurt people more by staying when we don’t want to. Other reasons include: 

  • Abuse
  • Fear of leaving
  • Image
  • The kids
  • Financial security

If you’re the one that is packed with dating red flags, it’s time to leave. Take some time to look within yourself. Solve any underlying issues that you might have. Then, enter the dating world again when you’re ready. 

FAQs

What are some red flags in a man?

Lack of commitment is a common red flag in a man. If he’s not willing to compromise or doesn’t take your emotional needs into account, don’t ignore it. Other things you should never ignore are: not being invested in the relationship, canceling plans, being flakey, not communicating, and being rude to others. 

What are red flags on tinder?

Only sharing pictures of their body or their face on a dating site. Not having any information on their profile. Not showing pictures of themselves at all. Saying they need to find love in order to be complete. Mentioning marriage too soon. He won’t tell you what type of work he does. 

What are the signs of an unhealthy dating relationship?

There is no compromising from him. Communication is ineffective. When you have a problem with something, it often turns into an argument. One person tries to change the other one. He tries to control who you see or talk to. You’re in a secret relationship. He won’t post you on social media, or even be friends with you. 

How do you test a guy to see if he really loves you?

Look at his actions. A man that loves you will respect you. He’ll be honest and trustworthy. More than anything, he’ll make an effort. If you want to test him, tell him you have a problem with something and see if he cares. Men that love you will care about what is going on in your life. They’ll want you to be happy. 

How can you tell if a guy is desperate?

He doesn’t have dealbreakers. A desperate man is willing to do anything for a woman. He doesn’t object if you disrespect him or cancel at the last minute. He’s needy and clingy. Most men that are desperate also show signs of being insecure or having low self-esteem. He’s always available. 

The Bottomline

When you’re dating someone, it’s important to keep an eye out for red flags. These can let you know if you’re compatible with someone, and help you avoid a potentially abusive partner. What would you add to the list?

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