12 Relationship Red Flags That Mean You Should Run


After decades of ignoring the early red flags in relationships only to sail into disaster each time, I’ve finally realized that no matter how gorgeous and alluring the new stranger is, you have to quit when red flags go up. As soon as it goes up. 

If any of these things regularly occur in your relationship, run!

1. They’re chronically late.

For clarity, “chronic” means “three dates in a row.” If your date arrives more than ten minutes late each time, don’t wait for his (or her) fourth arrival. Be gone.

No doubt your date will have wonderful excuses and one or two may even be sound. But three in a row is a pattern and what the pattern says is: I don’t want to get into this. So neither do you.

2. They’re rude to the waitstaff.

And taxi drivers, and anyone else in a service job. I shouldn’t even have to explain why this is a dealbreaker or one of the worst red flags. Just remember that it is.

3. They tell scary divorce stories.

If she launches into the story of her messy divorce, is her ex the villain in every respect? To me, that’s one of the worst red flags right there. Anyone who’s emotionally grounded should be able to see that two people, not one, contributed to a divorce.

4. They have a too-deep attachment to pets.

A golden retriever is fine and cats are all right if they don’t do much. But I’m still haunted by the memory of an ancient, hairless dachshund that would manage to jump up on the bed during inopportune moments and bark.

Not until the dog owner chose to disengage herself from me and comfort the dog instead did I know that this was trouble.

5. They’ve only had short-lived relationships.

During a first, incredibly romantic lunch with a new prospect some time ago, I mentioned that my most recent relationship had ended after a year.

“A year,” my new friend marveled. “That’s so impressive! All of my relationships end after three months.”

Lesson: When anyone over 35 tells you all her relationships have ended after a few months — red flag.

6. They put ketchup on their eggs.

If one of those first dates is brunch and your new friend reaches for the ketchup to put on her eggs — red flag!

I realize this may seem arbitrary or fussy. Or perhaps you think I’m making a class judgment here. All I know is: Nothing good ever comes of ketchup on eggs. And it’s really gross.

7. They have demon children.

Children with an issue or two? Maybe. Children who hate you? Watch out.

Hopelessly spoiled or angry children? Head for the door.

8. They believe money is the only thing that matters.

Money stirs up so many issues, conscious and unconscious, far more than any magazine article can cover. For now, let’s just list two red flags you can spot early on: If a man suggests splitting the tab on a first date or that the woman should pay.

If you’re a sugar daddy yourself, have fun. If not, back off.

Over time you’ll only be despised and dropped.

9. They hold unjustified resentment toward their parents.

Powerful emotions about one’s parents are a huge red flag. For men, mother worship is relationship death..

Nancy rejected me after three really nice dates because she decided my eight-year-old daughter, whom she hadn’t yet met, would be an “encumbrance” to our relationship.

Only after we became friends did I learn how much she resents both her parents. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

10. The intimacy is bad — really bad.

I don’t need to go into detail here, do I? Except to say that bad intimacy may get better after a first, fumbling time, but bad intimacy two or three times in a row is something that only gets worse.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that intimacy is just one part of a relationship, that laughter and shared values are as important — they’re not.

11. They wear dirty underwear and socks.

Dirty underwear is the hallmark of a secret slob and every secret slob has many worse habits you don’t even want to think about, but will all too soon get to know if you don’t leave now.

12. They consistently show anger.

As he or she talks — not just about past romantic relationships but about work, friends, and family — listen for a low hum of anger, like a third rail running along the tracks of your new prospect’s life. For reasons I never quite figured out, I used to be attracted to women who had that vibe.

Maybe it seemed sexy; maybe it reminded me of my mother. But I now know how to recognize anger — not shows of temper, which may be healthy in moderation, but the deeper, more destructive hum — and to back off when I hear it.

Originally published by Michael Shnayerson on YourTango

Image by Pana Koutloumpasis from Pixabay


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