Sometimes dating feels like a minefield, doesn’t it?
One minute you’re swiping right on someone who has a humorous and catchy bio and a profile picture that looks like a Renaissance painting.
The next thing you know, you’re two weeks deep into chatting with someone who thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to send unsolicited pictures of their…assets.
Well, it’s time to start paying attention to those little pesky dating red flags.
You know, those warning signs that scream “run for the hills!” before your second glass of Chardonnay on your first date.
So, grab a pen and paper, and get ready to dodge those dating disasters and find your forever person.
Top 10 Early Red Flags in Dating
Dating is a process of intense data collection. Before committing to someone, you go on dates and have intense conversations about their life, goals, values, and even past traumas.
And based on what you learn during this process, you can decide whether there is a connection and if it’s worth exploring further.
In the process, look out for the following dating red flags:
1. Lack of Empathy
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone’s shoes and see a situation from their perspective. It involves understanding and sharing someone else’s feelings even if you can’t relate to them. As such, it’s an essential trait in any relationship.
People who lack empathy are often unkind, inconsiderate, and unable to understand or sympathize with anyone else’s feelings. They also ignore how their words and actions impact those around them.
Most people mask it as “I was just being honest with you” or “I was just trying to help.” But if that so-called ‘honesty’ and ‘help’ leaves you feeling hurt or disregarded, it’s time to re-evaluate the relationship.
2. Controlling and Domineering Behaviour
From afar, we’re often able to point out when someone is being controlled. But in the throes of an intimate relationship, it can be hard to detect when our partner is becoming obsessively domineering.
That’s because controlling behavior often starts as something small, like your partner making decisions for the both of you on what to eat without asking what you prefer.
It often comes off as sweet and cute at the beginning of a relationship. But as it progresses, it can become oppressive and harmful for everyone involved.
So it might be time to flag it and run. After all, who wants to date somebody more authoritative than a teacher trying to wrangle a class of kindergarteners?
3. Propagation of Extreme Ideologies
Espousing extreme ideologies is a major red flag in any relationship. If your date holds radical religious, political, or social beliefs, it’s a sign that they cannot think for themselves or open their minds to different perspectives.
These ideologies are deeply rooted in hate, intolerance, or prejudice. Hence, they can have serious implications for your future if you stay with that person.
For instance, dating someone who subscribes to toxic feminism, white supremacy, or red pill beliefs can be dangerous for your well-being. This is especially concerning if they’re extremely vocal about supporting hate groups or display violent tendencies towards the opposite gender.
So, the next time you go out with someone who keeps raging about how modern women aren’t submissive anymore and that’s why they need a whooping, it might be a good idea to hit the eject button and bail.
4. Inconsistencies in Behavior
Is your partner always hot and cold, showing love and affection one minute, then ignoring you and acting like you don’t exist the next?
Do they constantly change their mind on the spot about everything and never follow through on plans? Such kind of inconsistency can be a major red flag in any relationship.
Some people use their hot-and-cold behavior to manipulate their partners and paint themselves as unreliable and untrustworthy. This way, you’ll expect less of them while they expect the world from you.
5. Being Rude to Service Staff
Being rude to service staff is a sign that your partner is profoundly inconsiderate and doesn’t understand the concept of basic human decency. They may treat waiters, janitors, or store clerks with disrespect and disregard or be rude to other people in your presence.
Good manners show a person’s character and how they view the world. So, if your date is more inclined to give someone an earful simply because they view them as less-than, it’s a cue that they will definitely treat you similarly in the future.
Someone who respects service staff will also respect their partner and be kind and courteous to them too.
Inappropriate jokes and comments can range from mildly sexist to blatantly racist or homophobic. Your date may even try to subtly put you down or make you feel inferior by making ‘mean’ jokes about your gender, ethnicity, or culture.
Before brushing their comments off as jokes, take time to evaluate what they said and how you feel about it. If their humor is laced with prejudice, it’s a sign that your date has not evolved to accept different cultures and backgrounds or simply doesn’t care about your feelings.
In this case, cut your losses and run as fast as possible. After all, life is too short to stay in a relationship with someone who devalues you in any way.
7. Constant Negging
You may not have heard of negging. But this is when someone gives you a backhanded compliment to lower your self-esteem and make you feel inferior.
But unlike other forms of emotional manipulation, negging in relationships is meant to create insecurity so that you can prove to the abuser that they are better than what they “think about you.” This leaves you more submissive and willing to do what the abuser wants.
Examples of negging include:
“I’m so attracted to you, though you aren’t my type. All my exes looked like barbie dolls. They were beautiful, blonde with blue eyes. “
“Don’t you look amazing! Wow, I would never be brave enough to wear my hair like that if I had your face shape.”
“I don’t want to sound insensitive, but are you going to eat all that?”
Negging often occurs in different ways- from comparing you to someone else to insulting you under the pretense of “constructive criticism.” And when you call them out, it turns into “where is your sense of humor?” or “But I was just joking.”
8. All Their Exes Were Crazy, Manipulative, and Abusive
It’s perfectly normal to have some form of resentment toward your ex. Maybe they cheated, played with your feelings, or even physically hurt you.
Whatever the case, you probably don’t go out shouting at the top of your lungs how your ex was a manipulative abuser to everyone. Likewise, your date should not be bashing their exes either, especially if you’re just getting to know one another.
While it’s understandable to tell someone about an ex who hurt you, it’s a major red flag if all their previous partners are labeled as crazy, manipulative, vindictive, and downright abusive. This is especially true if they always paint themselves as the victim or blameless in every situation with an ex.
In fact, your date could be part of the problem, and they don’t even see it. It may also show that they can’t take accountability for their actions or learn from their mistakes.
9. They Display Erratic Behavior When Told No
Rejection is hard to process or handle. While some people take it with grace and accept your decision, others get angry, lash out, or sulk. Others even cry and give you silent treatment whenever they hear the word ‘no.’
But it’s time to watch out if your date’s reaction to rejection or the word ‘NO’ is always over-the-top or violent. If they can’t take a ‘no’ without having an emotional breakdown, throwing a tantrum, or threatening self-harm until they get what they want, run.
This clearly indicates that they have difficulty managing their emotions and might be prone to manipulation or abuse.
10. Unwillingness to Compromise
Compromise and healthy communication are the bedrock of any healthy relationship. You’ll both make concessions from the day you meet to the day you go out on your first date.
Whether it’s the restaurant you want to meet at, how to get there, or even taking turns deciding what movie to watch, your partner must be willing to understand and meet you halfway.
Unwillingness and resistance to compromise are signs of controlling, manipulative behavior, which is never healthy in the long run. This can range from them trying to dominate conversations or dictate decisions that are unrelated to them.
It may also point to power dynamics where the other person believes they are always right and should get whatever they want without making any effort to understand your needs.
Red Flags in Dating a Man
Our grandmothers, mothers, and even our society always warned us about red flags in men. Unfortunately, most of them only focused on the physical and financial aspects of the man, such as his looks and status quo.
However, there are numerous other red flags you need to know about if you want a healthy and fulfilling relationship.
Here’s our dating red flags checklist to look out for during the talking stage and when you go out on a first date.
Red Flags to Watch Out for in the Talking Stage with a Man
He’s Overly Secretive and Always Avoids Answering Your Questions
The talking stage is when you ask about someone’s likes and dislikes. It’s when your guy should tell you whether they are in a serious relationship, married, or have kids.
However, if your date is overly secretive and constantly avoids or deflects answering even the simplest of questions, then they’re definitely hiding something from you.
Maybe they are not even being honest with you, which could spell disaster for your relationship.
He’s Overly Sexual or Pushy
If you haven’t known someone long enough, they shouldn’t be overly sexual or too pushy. Does he send unsolicited pictures and comments about your body? Is he suggesting you engage in sexual activities before you know his last name? These are major red flags that women might miss.
Unfortunately, most women are socialized from a young age to be polite even when they are uncomfortable with something. As a result, they are more likely to just go along with this behavior.
But you shouldn’t have to. If the guy you’re seeing is being pushy and making you uncomfortable, get out of that situation ASAP.
Red Flag to Watch Out for on a First Date with a Man
He Has Negative Pre-Conceived Notions About Women
“Women are too emotional; they can’t be trusted to lead.”
“She must have led him on. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have been raped.”
“Over 90% of women who accuse men of rape are usually lying.”
We’ve all heard these or similar statements from some men, right? These represent the toxic and gendered expectations in our society.
Such statements reveal the underlying sexist beliefs of a man about women, and if your date makes such comments on your first date, then run away immediately. Don’t even look back.
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Red Flags in Dating a Woman
Did you know that most men often miss a lot of red flags in women because they’re focused on the wrong things? Some guys only want to have a good time and don’t really pay attention to the warning signs.
Don’t jump into another relationship without checking for these red flags in women:
Red Flag to Watch Out for in the Talking Stage with a Woman
She Needs Constant Validation and Reassurance from You
A constant need for reassurance and validation could indicate low self-esteem and insecurities.
Does she constantly need you to tell her she is beautiful, special, and good enough? Does she always fish for compliments about her looks and character?
If it’s a yes, it could be a sign that she relies too heavily on your opinion. If you’re not careful, this behavior could quickly escalate and become toxic.
Red Flag to Watch Out for on a First Date with a Woman
She Always Blames Others or Downplays Her Own Role
Trust me, the last thing you want is a girlfriend who never takes accountability and responsibility for her actions. She will drain your energy with her blame game and put you in awkward social situations.
Whether it’s work or family-related disagreements, she should take responsibility for her part in the conflict. If you notice that she always blames other people instead of admitting to the part she played in anything, this is a big, fat red flag.
It means that your date is not prepared to handle relationships maturely.
What to Do When You Notice an Early Red Flag in Dating
Dating can be an exciting and thrilling experience, full of possibilities and potential. But sometimes, amidst all the fun, you may notice an early red flag in your partner’s behavior that makes you uneasy.
It could be a small thing, like a dismissive comment, or something more significant, like possessiveness or jealousy. Sadly, we don’t always know what to do once we pinpoint these red flags.
Should you leave or stay? Read below to find out:
1. Always Trust Your Instincts
If it quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. If something feels off or uncomfortable about your date, trust your gut and move on. Never ignore your intuition- it’s one of your most powerful tools.
2. Communicate Openly and Honestly
Seeing red flags too early in the relationship is never a good sign. So talk to your partner about your concerns and be open and honest. Don’t beat around the bush.
However, this doesn’t mean you become rude or aggressive. Be kind, polite, and respectful while discussing what makes you uncomfortable with your date.
3. Set and Enforce Clear Boundaries
Do you hate how he speaks to you in a condescending tone? Say something.
Do you hate how she always blames you for everything? Speak up and make your boundaries clear.
It’s the only way to ensure that you can co-exist in the same relationship without any major issues such as abuse and manipulation.
4. Talk to Someone About it
If you have a friend or family member you trust, talk to them about your concerns. A second opinion gives you a different perspective on the situation, helping you see things more clearly.
When we’re too close to a situation, we are often blinded by our emotions and may not always make the right decisions. So, talking to someone about it will help you make the best decision for yourself.
5. Be Ready to Walk Away
Lastly, always be ready to walk away. Red flags too early in a relationship could be a sign of things to come, and it’s better to leave than stay in a toxic situation.
No matter how much you like the person, it’s not worth compromising your well-being and sanity. Your physical and emotional safety should always come first.
If you’re currently in the dating game, finding someone compatible with all your quirks and fabulousness can be pretty challenging. But if you pay attention to the signs and trust your instincts, you can steer clear of bad relationships before they even begin.
It will not only save you from heartache and stress in the future, but it also helps you have a healthier and more fulfilling relationship. So use this dating red flags checklist to get the most out of your dating experiences!