For every friend you have who’s living happily ever after with her high school sweetheart, there’s another one who’s in the midst of a nasty divorce, got dumped via text, or, worst of all, is dodging a guy who won’t give up. You’re about to hit the dating scene, so how do you make sure you’re spending time with the potential partner of your dreams … not your nightmares? You can’t really predict in advance whether swiping left or swiping right is going to turn out to have been a wise move or a colossal misjudgment, but after you’ve gone out a few times, there are definitely red flags — and when you see them waving, it’s time for you to wave goodbye.
If your new boo does anything that “indicates a lack of respect, integrity or interest towards the relationship,” you should leave looking back, according to dating psychologist Madeleine Mason Roantree (via The Independent). But that’s not always easy to pinpoint how do you know if you’re being hyper-sensitive, or if the guy just had a bad day and deserves a break? According to experts, there are specific deal breakers to look out for.
Rude behavior toward others is a huge red flag
If your new partner is super-sweet to you, but rude to the waitstaff, consider that a “tip” that it’s time to move on (via Lifehacker). If this sounds harsh, just keep in mind that aggressive or dismissive behavior towards a stranger is a good indication of how they’ll treat other people, in general — including you when you don’t need to be “won over” any longer. Be especially worried if you see your date being rude to his or her parents, or refer to their exes as “crazy.” Once you’ve had that first lover’s quarrel, if they call you a name out of anger, consider that your cue to exit stage left (via Self).
Sometimes the rudeness can be subtle — like eye-rolling, which is a definite sign that your relationship will not work out. In fact, a study by Ohio State University found that eye rolling is a reliable indictor that a marriage will end in divorce. So, if you’re seeing the whites of your new S.O.’s eyes already, there probably shouldn’t be a long white dress in your future.
Also look out also for below-the-radar behavior like gaslighting, designed to make you feel as if you’re always in the wrong. This includes needing to be right about everything, according to social science researcher Jeremy Sherman. “[Gaslighters] have to be right about everything,” he told Health. “Someone’s got to be wrong and that is going to be you.” Not apologizing, in fact, is another red flag.
Getting too serious too fast is another red flag
Not to knock love at first sight, but if your brand-new boyfriend or girlfriend is already talking about dating exclusively, moving in together, or getting married, pause for a moment and ask yourself why there’s such a rush. Being pushed for a commitment is a dead giveaway of insecurity, according to Lifehacker. And be especially concerned if you find yourself the target of “love bombs,” which is “the practice of overwhelming someone with signs of adoration and attraction — think flattering comments, tokens of affection, or love notes on the mirror, kitchen table, or windshield, and you’re beginning to get the picture,” licensed counselor Suzanne Degges-White, explained in Psychology Today. “It’s [also] surprise appearances designed to manipulate you into spending more time with the bomber — and, not coincidentally, less time with others, or on your own.”
Speaking of which, if you get any inkling from your new flame that they’re trying to drive a wedge between you and your friends, family, or other members of your community … well, let’s just say that flag couldn’t be redder if it was doused in ketchup and red paint and set on fire (per Self). This is classic emotional abuse. This behavior also goes hand-in-hand with wanting control of your social media passwords, bank accounts, and other personal information.
If it seems like they’re just not into you … they’re not
So, you don’t want a Clingy McClingerson to be your new love interest — and a Stalky McStalkerson is even worse. But what about that noncommittal, so-called “partner” who won’t update their relationship status on social media, or hasn’t introduced you to their friends and family members after you’ve been together for months? You should pass on this red flag-bearing suitor, as well (per Lifehack).
“When your partner doesn’t want to introduce you to his family and friends, or if he doesn’t want to be open about your relationship on social media, this could mean that he has something to hide, like a double life or other girlfriends,” Ana Aluisy, a licensed marriage and family therapist, told Redbook. You don’t want to be the “other woman!” Fair grounds for suspicion that you’re side action? If only go on “dates” at each other’s homes or at remote places, where you won’t be spotted by people they know. “Another sign is if you don’t see each other very often or only on week nights,” relationship coach Donna Barnes told Fox News, “Or, if after you have sex he [or] she leaves and never spends the night.”