I have been in many terrible relationships that sounded so promising when we first began to date, and it’s partly why I gave up on ever dating again. So often, a guy would seem like a dreamboat until sh*t hit the fan.
Of course, people always asked me if I didn’t notice warning signs when we first started to date. And, in truth, in some of the cases that I experienced, certain qualities about a guy seemed off. Despite my gut feeling, many people told me that those were good signs he might be a good guy and that those things would turn into perks.
So, taking others’ advice, I gave those losers a shot — only to get horribly burned and blamed for not noticing it all later. Make no mistake about it, most of those warning signs contributed to our breakups.
While most people would tell you to run to a guy with these qualities, I’m going to play Devil’s Advocate and explain why you should take them as potential red flags when dating him.
1. He pushes for marriage and commitment fast.
This seems great, but the fact is that a lot of guys I dated wanted to lock me down just so I could “be their property.” What entailed with guys like this often included abuse, stalking, and more.
2. He’s all about chivalry.
Ugh, I really wish this wasn’t a warning sign! But, 99.999 percent of the time, it’s a warning sign. Guys who talk about chivalry often do so because they’re Nice Guys™ and they don’t see women as people. Rather, they see women as sex boxes that they must please in order to get sex to fall out.
3. He’s got a very close relationship with his mother.
Oh, trust me, I like seeing a guy who’s on DECENT terms with his mom. But this isn’t about being on good terms with her. When I say this, I’m talking about an inappropriate level of close, and a pride in calling himself a Mama’s Boy. With this issue, it’s clear that she exerts way too much force in his life.
After having dated way too many Mama’s Boys, I can honestly say that they make the absolute worst boyfriends and husbands imaginable.
4. He’s self-proclaimed “old-fashioned.”
Do you want to be pregnant and stuck inside a kitchen for the rest of your life? Because that’s what most guys who claim to be “old-fashioned” want you to be doing. Guys who believe this stuff tend to be very misogynistic and controlling, and usually will mask their hate with their “old-fashioned” veneer.
5. He makes a point of showering you with gifts.
We live in an age where most of the guys who do this basically expect sex in return. Is it sad that every gift comes with strings attached? Yes. It’s really, truly sad that so many men basically think they can buy love and sex. What’s sadder is that I’ve been guilted into relationships this way in the past, and they got so terrible that I get squicky about actually accepting gifts at all these days.
6. He had a tragic past with girls.
Funny thing about this is that I realized that most guys who talk about having terrible exes and “needing someone to heal them” are often the real abusers that should be vilified. Unless you want to hear smear campaigns about you in a year, you’ll skip this sad f*cker.
7. He talks about how nice he is.
Well, this has become a de facto warning sign for Nice Guy Syndrome these days, but the truth is that some girls still fall for it. Girls who fall for it most frequently do so because others goad them into dating him because they should “just give him a chance,” and because they want to avoid looking shallow. (Incidentally, I became OK with being a shallow bitch after one too many Nice Guys.)
8. He never had a rebellious stage.
I’m a true believer that a person needs to have a wild phase in order to get it out of their system and learn about themselves. If he hasn’t rebelled, he will resent those who got to sow their wild oats. That can lead to abusive behavior and a lot of condescension. And who’s to say he won’t want to sow them later on and drop you while he does it?
9. He’s overly affectionate and always compliments you.
Though it could be his personality, this also could be a sign of “love bombing,” an abuse tactic that basically gets victims attached to the abuser. Love bombing works by making people feel good … then withdrawing that affection as a way to get you to do what he says.
10. He has a lot of cool stories where he’s the hero.
Of course he would. Everyone does. But the thing is that, in most cases, people who are actually decent human beings won’t feel a need to constantly talk about it. It’s classic narcissist behavior.
11. He wants you to spend every second of every day with him.
Overly clingy behavior isn’t sexy and it often happens because he wants to isolate his partner from other people. Even if it’s not intentional, it’s often a sign of desperation that you don’t want to have to deal with.
12. He immediately introduces you to his family.
This might be a yellow light in some cultures, but most Western cultures would see this as a problem. Either he’s getting too serious too fast or he’s way too attached to his family. It just doesn’t bode well.
13. He says that he’s “all about positivity” and straight up says he “won’t tolerate negative people.”
Who doesn’t like a sunny, smiley demeanor? Well, me, that’s who! When someone is way too happy or seems like he’s doing that oddly corporate “smile happy” look, chances are that he’s using that “positivity” to manipulate others. Moreover, if you start getting realistic with him, it’s very likely that he will be quick to drop you like a rock regardless of how long you’ve been with him.
14. He’s a really religious person.
Though there are some legit devout people who are out there, there’s a scarily high percentage of people out there who’ll use religion as an excuse to abuse, control, or even scam people. A good rule of thumb I learned is that people who are truly good, faithful people will not make an effort to push their beliefs on others or shame them, judge them, or make their lives Hell.