14 Dating Red Flags We’ve All Ignored
Everyone has a list of dating red flags. This much is true.
But whether or not you actually dump someone when they hit one of those buzzers is a different story. We all want to think we’re capable of leaving a relationship at the first sign of shadiness, but a lot of people end up waiting around hoping they’re wrong.
Here are a few dating red flags we’ve blown past — only to have things blow up in our faces, no surprise.
1. He didn’t own books
“I’ve always had a rule that I wouldn’t date people who didn’t read. There’s even an iconic John Waters quote about it, so I know I’m in good company.
“I started dating a finance bro for the first time in my life — and of course he owned precisely zero books. I told myself to stop being a snob and give a him a chance. Maybe he had other interests, right?
But it turned out we were just too different. Because he didn’t read, he had no inner life whatsoever. He couldn’t understand why I needed alone time. He was also way too conservative and seemed threatened by opposing points of view. So what seemed like a snobby, nitpicky personal preference for me actually went way deeper than that.” – Taylor
The takeaway: It’s okay to stand by dating rules that might seem arbitrary to some people.
2. He was constantly texting other girls
“A guy I dated was constantly texting other girls who were his ‘friends.’ I got curious after we ran into one of his ‘friends’ who was a little too touchy. She just seemed a little too excited to see him, you know?
“Later on, while she was still in our presence, I saw her name pop up on his phone. I immediately knew something was up. Who texts their friend when they’re in the same room?!
“So I decided to look at the texts myself. After reading a couple sexts and seeing pics of them having sex, I ended it. Still, I’m not one to blame the girl. I know damn well what this guy was doing. He was a player. And of course he tried to make me think I was insane and just jealous. He was manipulative from the start.” – Christine
The takeaway: It can feel impossible to tell if a guy’s being inappropriate with the girls he claims to be friends with. If you’re freaked out by his relationships with other girls, don’t let him convince you you’re nuts. You have to trust your intuition. Even if you’re wrong and he really does just have a lot of female friends, you shouldn’t be with someone you can’t trust.
3. He liked “Friends” more than “Seinfeld”
“There are two types of 90s kids in this world: the ones who learned their worldview from ‘Friends’ and the ones who learned it from ‘Seinfeld.’
“The ‘Friends’ people are lovable, but sort of simple, like golden retrievers. They are more earnest and real and nonjudgmental, but they’re also not very analytical. They don’t see shades of grey. They take everything at face value and they don’t dig deeper to understand people who are different from them.
“‘Seinfeld’ fans, on the other hand, are neurotic, but more interesting. They have a darker sense of humor and they notice every little detail of a social interaction — and they can analyze literally anything with you for hours.
“If you’re a ‘Seinfeld’ person and you try to date a ‘Friends’ person, you will be constantly disappointed in their straightforward, simple view of the world. And if you’re a ‘Friends’ person dating a ‘Seinfeld’ person, you will bore them and utterly fail to understand their neuroses and anxiety. Guess who learned this the hard way.” – Madison
The takeaway: Opposites can attract, but sometimes they can’t connect. And if you’re an overly analytical “Seinfeld” type, you’ll probably be the one who notices the lack of connection most.
4. She rolled her joints with lavender
“I was hanging out with this girl for a while. I thought she was cool, but knew we were kinda different.
“One day we had been hanging out and we went back to her house and she asked me if we should smoke a joint and I was down. So she pulls stuff out of her vanity drawer and I see her mixing weed with something out of a Ziploc bag. I was like, ‘WTF is that?’ and she told me it was lavender.
“I def should have know in that moment she was way too high maintenance for me.” – Veronica
The takeaway: If someone’s level of prissiness doesn’t match yours, you’d better find it adorable. If not, it’ll piss you off forever.
5. He was violent from the jump
“This guy fought someone the first night we met. We were at a party and someone talked smack about his cousin. The guy hadn’t even say anything bad — just ‘he’s an asshole’ or something. The next thing I knew, he’d beat the crap out of the guy and sent him to the hospital.
“At the time I thought it was hot! Like, oh, you’re so strong, blah blah blah. But he was always fighting someone and eventually became possessive over me.” – Sarah
The takeaway: If a guy’s capable of physical violence over a tiny insult, the insanity isn’t gonna stop there.
READ ALSO: Why Guys Are More Clingy Than Girls Post-Sex
6. His friends were p sure he was gay
“I drunkenly hooked up with this guy the first night we met, and then for months we would text because he lived in another city.
“One day his close female friend, who I also knew, found out we had hooked up. She was like, ‘Oh… okay… isn’t he gay?’ I ignored it. I kept texting him.
“Then I finally went to visit him for a long weekend and I became very convinced he wasn’t into girls. When we met up after weeks of sexting, he didn’t even hug me hello. He kept staring at his hot male roommate at awkward times. And when we were at a bar, the gay bartender made a joke to him. He was like, ‘Oh my God, was he HITTING ON ME?!’ For the rest of the night, he kept bringing up how the bartender had hit on him. He told every single person we saw.
“I left the next morning and he was texting me as if we had a great weekend. He was such a nice guy and so handsome, but it was obvious something was off.” – Brittany
The takeaway: Stereotypes are fucked and men definitely suffer from our culture of toxic masculinity. It’s not cool to ring the gay alarm just because a guy’s not an alpha male. But sometimes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. If his close friends are confused by your relationship, maybe you need to let him go find himself.
7. She cried over an abortion joke
“This was the most beautiful woman I’ve ever dated. But she didn’t believe in evolution and came from a super Christian family. I said something about hammerhead sharks being a freak of evolution and she scoffed, ‘If you even believe in evolution.’ She added that you can’t believe in God and evolution at the same time.
“I also made an abortion joke, and she started crying. She also said I was the only person she’d considered having kids with after four days of hanging out.
“We only dated a month but the red flags were immediate and I ignored them. I shouldn’t have.” – Jeff
The takeaway: If your senses of humor don’t match, it’s gonna be a hard life together. And if someone doesn’t believe in science, how do you even talk to them?!
8. He constantly said I was too good for him
“This guy was super insecure. He was always saying how I was too hot for him. I was 18 at the time and thought it was cute how he was so into me. Let’s just say it wasn’t cute forever.” – Ashley
The takeaway: You have to date someone you see as an equal. If you want guys to worship you, just download Tinder! It’s way easier to get compliments that way.
9. I was the “other woman”
“He was my boss and one night we got drunk and confessed our mutual ‘like’ to each other. Then we hooked up. The only problem: he was still in a relationship.
“He broke up with his girlfriend the next day, and acted like we were going to date. But he kept ‘not being ready.’ I thought because he was into me he’d instantly get over her but that’s not how it went down.
“He kept saying, ‘Give me a little time,’ while also growing increasingly distant. I was balls to the wall in love with him but I finally had to be like, ‘Okay, this is done.'” – Nanci
The takeaway: Run as fast as you can from a guy who cheats with you. If he’s unavailable when you meet, he’ll stay unavailable.
10. He picked weed over me
“I once dated a guy who was an hour and a half late to a date AT HIS OWN HOUSE because he drove across the state to buy weed. And I dated him for another month!!!
“On the day of the weed incident, I had driven all over the state between work and trying to see him. I hadn’t met his parents yet, so I waited in my car out front. He kept texting me saying he’d be right there, before finally admitting he was in a city an hour away buying weed. I don’t know how to respond so I waited for him to get back. When he did get back, he made me wait in the car so that his mom (who was peeking out from behind the blinds wondering who the hell this girl sitting in her car out front was) wouldn’t meet me because I wasn’t Jewish and they were.
“But still, I thought I was being too sensitive, so I gave him another chance.
“A week later, he was fired for verbally harassing a female coworker. And he bragged about it! That’s when I knew I had to break up with him.” – Maryrose
The takeaway: Stoners make the worst boyfriends. If someone makes you feel like you’re being “too sensitive,” they’re a dick. And whoever says weed addiction doesn’t exist is full of shit.
11. There were cheating rumors
“I was with this guy for four or five years. There were rumors he was cheating on me the whole time, but he convinced me I was crazy for being suspicious.
“After we broke up, I was at the bar and someone we went to high school with came over and said hi. After she left, my friend said, ‘Wow, that’s really cool you guys can get along after she slept with your ex when you were together.’
“I was like, ‘WHAT?!’ The next day I confronted my ex and asked him how many people he cheated on me with. He said about five.
“While we were together, there had always been rumors — super specific ones, too. And they all turned out to be true. Whenever I’d confront him, he’d say I was the crazy one. He’d even accuse me of cheating on him!” – Maggie
The takeaway: Hate to say it again, but where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Cheating rumors don’t just materialize out of nowhere. And if a guy ever calls you crazy, it’s because he’s hiding something.
12. We couldn’t travel together
“Every vacation was a total disaster. Every time. That should have been a clue.
“Whether it was a delayed flight or a lack of available hotels, we never went on a single good trip together. One time the hotel put a hold on his credit card so all we could eat was the Wendy’s dollar menu all week.
“Another time we got kicked out of a hotel because he destroyed the bathroom by being too tall — the water was ricocheting off his head and somehow that caused a flood that dripped all the way down to the next floor.
“He ended up cheating on me and getting married to the girl he cheated with. We were just doomed.” – Mandy
The takeaway: If you’re not compatible enough to make the best of things when disaster strikes, maybe you’d better call it.
13. He got out of paying for stuff by saying he was “progressive”
“He never grabbed the check so I ended up paying for things or we’d split the bill. He’d always say, ‘It’s cool that were one of those progressive couples.’
“The one time he was going to treat me, he was going to cook me dinner. We were shopping at the grocery store for the ingredients and he was like, ‘You need a good pan, I’m going to buy you this pan.’ At checkout, his card didn’t work so I paid for the ingredients and the pan. Now I realize I can’t deal with that. I like to be wined and dined.” – Jules
The takeaway: Any guy who gets out of paying for things by touting his feminist values is full of shit. It’s only a matter of time until his “card gets declined.”
14. Her dad apologized for her behavior
“I dated a girl who was a major handful — she was always trying to fight and break up and get back together and she made me nuts. When we got in big fights or broke up, her dad would apologize on her behalf. That should have been a red flag that I was not dealing with an adult.” – Robbie
The takeaway: If someone’s own parent can’t take their side, the relationship may be more trouble than it’s worth.