The Biggest Red Flags We Ignored

Most of the letters I receive from people asking for advice feature so many red flags I’m surprised the LWs can see anything else, let alone miss the red flags entirely. Of course, most likely, they aren’t so much missing them as they are ignoring them. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Years ago, I ignored the prominent red flag in the form of a new boyfriend who couldn’t stop bad-mouthing his most recent ex-girlfriend. Any kind of seeming obsession over an ex is a bad sign, even (especially, really) when the obsession is from a negative perspective. I ignored that red flag for months, even when the boyfriend called me by his ex’s name (twice!) and even when he compared me to her. (She was a clothes horse, apparently, and I was not so much; she liked spending money on her appearance and I prioritized cocktails at bars and delicious meals over leg waxing and keratin treatments). Eventually, we broke up, and a few years later, when I Googled him out of curiosity, I learned that he had married that former ex. If I had taken heed of the red flags when I first noticed them, I would have saved myself months of anxiety. But then… who knows how the trajectory of my life would have changed, and, fortunately, I like very much where, and with whom, I’ve ended up.

But I’m curious: What red flags have you ignored? Was there an old boyfriend who was a little too fascinated in your brother and then later came out of the closet? A fling who refused to let you come to his house and you later found out he was married? Maybe a guy from your past who clammed up any time you mentioned the upcoming election and then he confessed he was … Republican? 😉


  1. “Maybe a guy from your past who clammed up any time you mentioned the upcoming election and then he confessed he was … republican?” EFFING HILARIOUS!
    Speaking of, the coworker and I haven’t talked political yet so I’m not sure which way he leans. Hmm.

    1. Re: politics, I had the opposite happen. I was set up with a guy who was a law school friend of my friend’s husband. The husband is hardcore Republican so I kind of assumed his friend would be, too, and tried not to get into politics. Until halfway through the date I said something he construed as political and he starts mansplaining me about Barack Obama and why the ACA is better for women’s health and how he can’t believe any women would be dumb enough to vote for a Republican. (He wasn’t incorrect, but mansplaining is mansplaining).
      So I learned that he was not just a democrat but a rabid one, and that being a democrat doesn’t make someone automatically not a sexist douchebag. Actually this isn’t a red flag I ignored though, because at the end of the date I told him not to call me again. Mansplaining is the reddest of flags.

  2. So so many…. 1) dated a guy that said he had cheated on every girl he dated. So yeah, he ended up cheating on me. 2) same guy had a female friend that hated me for no reason and he couldn’t see why I wasn’t a fan of them hanging out – they’re now engaged. 3) another guy always had a ton of cash and didn’t ever seem to work – turns out he was a drug dealer 4) a month into dating a guy he told me I wasn’t considered attractive by our mutual friends and criticized my “resting poses” 5) on Valentines day he told me that he felt entitled to have sex twice in a row because otherwise it wasn’t fair I was able to have multiple orgasms. I said I couldn’t do that because I was in intense pain that lasted for hours after sex, so he told me it wasn’t fair he had to masturbate, and I should at least be willing to give him a blowjob before and after sex. 6) he said theoretically he didn’t consider visiting a massage with happy endings place cheating – which is how he met his now fiance.
    Wow typing it all out makes me feel really stupid. Here’s hoping the last half of my 20s aren’t nearly as naive.

    1. I felt really stupid typing mine also 🙁
      Lessons learned though

  3. Oh goodness… too many that I really don’t like to remember. My first husband somehow neglected to tell me he had children until after we had been married a month ( I had known him over a year btw). But he did tell me he was an alcoholic. Sadly I overlooked all that. He was a hot mess. I was barely 19 & very naive, that is my only excuse…..& of course TRUE LOVE! Shudder. The 2nd one had left a wife & (her) 2 kids, just ran out on them, had no $ & no possessions. Little did I know he would do the same to me down the road. Then came the dating…… guys who wanted to say I love you in a week or less. Guys who drank every night of the week, Guys who got angry that I had an ex I had to talk with about our children. Guys who wanted to pick fights over politics. I am a somewhat guarded person now, & don’t trust easily anymore……..

    1. This seems more of a list of all the letters Dear Wendy has gotten haha.

      1. I swear none of those was me! LOL!

  4. I was once an intern and dated a guy that worked where I was doing my internship. He told me he was separated from his wife, in process of getting a divorce. EVERYONE told me he was married, but I didn’t believe them, I believed him when he told me that everyone was jealous of us. He was of course married, and ended up ghosting me and getting back together (?) with his wife.
    I was such an idiot, got myself carried away and ended up almost breaking up a family because I ignored all the red flags like he never took me to his place, the dates he told me never matched up, etc etc.

  5. He was into drugs and was sent to military school for them. He kept comparing me to his ex too!

  6. Oh, so many!

    1) My first husband. When we were dating (he was 20, I was 17), he was delivering pizza and kept smoking pot and drinking and partying and skipping classes at community college. Then he’d end up dropping the classes because he got so far behind. When he told me he’d joined the Air Force I was sure he’d turned it all around. Fast forward to 5 years later: He’s finished his tour with the Air Force, and quit an amazing job he was able to get via the skills he’d acquired in the military. A SUPER well-paying, cool job at a huge company with great benefits, security, etc. Just quit. Smoking pot, drinking, partying. Went back to delivering pizza. Was still delivering pizza as of THIS YEAR. He’s in his 40s.

    2) The boyfriend after my first husband. On one of our first dates, I must have been in the bathroom when the check came, or it came and I went to the bathroom, I can’t remember. He got MAD and told me off. He turned out to be the most, ahem, frugal person imaginable, among many other serious issues. He hoarded cans of tuna and soup. Later he started buying and hoarding (but not using) expensive kitchen ware like you’d register for if you were getting married. He had hundreds of thousands of dollars in a money-market account that he always said he’d use to “build his dream house.” As soon as he got married. Well, he’s been married a while, and the word from my hairdresser is that he has no plans to move out of an apartment in a boring, super traffic-congested suburb. Even though his wife is dying to move to where her family is.

    3) A guy I dated who I caught in some small lies pretty early on.

  7. Flag: No friends. Made excuses for why he had no friends and everyone seemed to have wronged him in some way. This has two parts to it: 1. Maintaining and keeping a social circle is very important for healthy relationships, and 2. Blaming everyone else, without taking any share for what went wrong, isn’t very mature.
    Flag: Constantly lying and getting caught. Example: Told me he owned a catering company but had a ton of free time, no clients (that I noticed) and no money. He actually worked at WeedMan.
    Flag: Began smoking week 6 months into my pregnancy. Nuff said.
    Flag: Got caught hiding a tax refund from me even though we shared a bank account. He cried and apologized profusely. This ended up being a huge problem (hiding/stealing money) throughout out entire relationship.
    Flag: Parents always bailed him out of every tough spot. It was a problem because he never learned to take care of himself, take responsibility for himself, own his mistakes, learn from them, etc. BUT it was hard to really put a finger on why this was a flag as it was happening because it seemed so kind of them to look after him. It caused him a LOT of problems though and made him unable to function as an adult.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The time I was afraid to look under the bed because I might find body parts.

    1. I feel you! I was comforted by the fact that once I had gotten a tattoo I thought that at least they might be able to identify my body after I was murdered….. Ex #1. I’m happy I made it out alive!

      1. Anonymous says:

        Yeah, probably not the best choice.

  9. Avatar photo MaterialsGirl says:

    flag: jealousy over exes from ages ago. flag: anyone that asks you how many people you’ve slept with and then berates you for it. flag: gets drunk and rants about how smart they are and how dumb everyone else is. Flag: drinks a lot on the porch every other night and calls it “his thing.”

    i think the list goes on and on for that one big a$$ red flag of a person.

  10. There was the longterm boyfriend who went on a skiing trip with his guy friends over Valentine’s Day. I wasn’t invited, and he knew Valentine’s Day is important to me.
    Another flag surfaced when grocery shopping together and he didn’t want me to buy a $2.50 box of Quaker Oatmeal or $2 hummus. He was extremely cheap with me and I always felt nickeled and dimed.

  11. Avatar photo veritek33 says:

    Umm let’s see. 1.) said he occassionally smoked pot but it turned out that he smoked multiple times a day every day (which in and of itself isn’t awful he was just a lazy manipulative asshole when he smoked) 2.) Accused me of dating him for his money when, after we’d attended a really nice wedding, I said that my family and I could never afford a wedding like that. (He was a teacher and made the same amount I did but his family has a lot of money that he feels entitled to. Never mind that I never once asked him for money and always offered to pay for dinners, etc.) 3.) Said I love you really fast and then took it away. As in, a few months in to the relationship he started saying “i really like you” instead of “I love you.” 4.) Wanted to smoke his pot in our really nice hotel room and couldn’t understand why that was a big no no. 5.)Another ex started talking marriage really fast and then burned out quickly and changed his mind and broke up with me in like a period of 3 months. 6.) accused me of not really being a virgin because I admitted I’d orgasmed before (it’s called masturbation) 7.) said he’d cheated on almost all of his girlfriends but maintains to this day he never cheated on me (he totally did and I had evidence to back it up.)

    Let’s hope I don’t ever date those guys again. Sheesh

  12. Oh my. The ex I lived with for 9 years had so many.

    1. When I was 20 and we planned to move in together, he changed his mind three times during the process of apartment shopping and ended up insisting that I put the lease and everything in my name only. He said he would move in later if I was paying everything ok by myself. I didn’t make enough money, so I had to pay using student loans and get an extra job.

    2. This same douchebag ended up moving in two months later after he got mad at me for having a beer with a guy friend and accused me of cheating. Then, he said he needed to move in so that he could make sure I wasn’t hanging out with other guys. Guess who turned out to be a controlling psycho who constantly accused me of cheating through the years? Smh. I was dumb.

    3. After he moved in, he refused to officially change his address from his parents’ house. That never changed over 9 years. Technically, we never lived together or shared anything on paper.

    I wish I could go back in time and kick my own ass.

  13. 1. Constant need of contact. He would freak out if I hadn’t messaged him for an hour when I was out with friends.
    2. Quickly made a close female friend who he was study buddies with at school who also called multiple times a day and hated my existence even though we never met. This all started about 6 months before our breakup. They’ve been together 4 years.
    3. Argumentative prick on any topic on which we disagreed. He refused to agree to disagree.
    4. “Crazy-ex” syndrome.

  14. My ex told all my girlfriends that I was insanely jealous (a lie) and proceeded to flirt with them. He then told me they always wanted to hook up with him (another lie). The truth came out and I didn’t immediately dump him. Yeah.

  15. CattyGoLightly says:

    Oh, most of my exes have had some sort of red flag… One was selfish in bed, and consequently, with everything else. Another showed pretty severe depression early on, and I ended up feeling more like his therapist than girlfriend (depression isn’t always a dealbreaker, but he just wasn’t in a good place to start a relationship). Another prioritized work and getting drunk/high over me, every. single. time. I was pretty low on the totem pole….

  16. Oy… well I’ve had a few encounters with guys who’ve lied, had a preoccupation with women who weren’t me, quit everything they started, etc. But I’m going to list the field of red flags that I let go for one guy in particular (from college… it’s not even possible for me to be quite this stupid ever again):
    1. He didn’t let me go out alone with a group of girlfriends, because we might get hit on.
    2. He spent two hours yelling and calling me and my parents names after they left when they came for a visit because of all the things he hated about them. This was the first time he met them.
    3. He wouldn’t let me eat lunch with anyone who was not him, even if he couldn’t meet me (it wasn’t cost-effective to eat out, ever).
    4. He would spend meals quizzing me about items relative to our major (same major but he was older). That could have been fun on occasion, but if I ever got anything wrong, he’d yell and call me names.
    5. He would yell and call me names so much that I’d freeze and answer incorrectly or not at all, because all I could focus on was the incoming fight.
    6. He would damage my things when he got mad (but never his stuff).
    7. He threatened to make me take him to a strip club and pay for his lap dances.
    8. He got mad when I called my family.
    9. He was demeaning and overly critical not only of me, but of his family, friends, and coworkers, and had trouble getting along with all of them a whole lot of the time (he was the grand corrector).
    10. He called his exes crazy and talked very badly about them.
    11. He would get insanely angry when I wouldn’t answer calls/texts immediately, especially if I was with my family.
    12. He would drag out arguments about anything not completely objective and provable for hours and days, until I only conceded because I was exhausted.
    13. He told me to change my religion (I didn’t, and it’s not even a crazy fundamentalist religion or anything).
    14. He basically told me to get over it when my grandpa died with no condolences.
    15. He wouldn’t let me be in study groups with guys (I was and just lied about it, because 80% of my classmates were dudes).
    16. He called me the “worst girlfriend ever” for not answering his texts when I was out of town for school and at dinner with the professor and my classmates.
    Aaaaaaand drumroll for the winner of this ridiculous list:
    17. He threatened to kill himself because I went on a co-ed trip over winter break in college while he was working full time. Nothing happened with any of those people, not even anything that could be considered questionable.
    Obviously I hold some responsibility for being in that mess, but I met him when I was kind of an emotional mess. New to college, few friends, had just gotten cheated on, struggling in school, and he seemingly had all of that stuff together (at least it looked that way to everyone else). So he basically brainwashed me into thinking I was wrong about everything.
    If anyone out there is dealing with a person like this, GTFO. He won’t change, and even if he does, it’ll only be temporary or they’ll find another way to manipulate you.

    1. Jane, a lot of young women write into the forums about boyfriends who are showing early signs of that kind of stuff, and it feels like true love to them. I hope people read this and take it seriously.

    2. Avatar photo MaterialsGirl says:

      sounds all too familiar

  17. snoopy128 says:

    Biggest red flags: catching him in a lie and instead of breaking up, monitoring social media + his texts every morning to see if I would catch him in more lies (I did, and still didn’t break up).
    Another ex: went from cheating to having him hang onto my every word and jump at my every request. That sort of balance in a relationship doesn’t bode well.

  18. CattyGoLightly says:

    Oh! Also my first boyfriend still had a picture of his ex in his dorm. RUN! RUN AWAY! And pretty much all of them have lied about things.

    1. CattyGoLightly says:

      Oh, and my last ex trash talked his ex!

    2. Haha. In college my best friend was dating this dude who had pictures of his exes in his dorm because “those were good memories.” I remember a particularly sex-and-the-city-esq lunch where she recounted this line and every head at the table was shaking in wtf solidarity. He’s married to one of those exes from the photos now. Surprise!

  19. girltuesday says:

    I dated this older frat guy once in college who I was also friends with.

    He was GREAT to party with, and I knew he kinda got around (and frankly, so did I at the time).

    We started dating and I was like, “hey, since we just started dating, maybe it’s a good idea for both of us to get tested!” Anyway, he told me he had already been tested and made up this WHOLE story about the experience. The only problem? That clinic had been closed for years.

    Anyway, caught him in other stupid lies in the next couple of months. I was always questioning if he was lying to me, even if it was over stupid things.

  20. I was the queen of ignoring red flags when I was younger. Oy.
    My first serious relationship: He was a huge stoner and placed a priority on smoking/drinking with his friends and other girls than anything to do with me. One time I came home from college for our third year anniversary and made all these fancy plans to celebrate and he got so high after work he forgot to pick me up. After I drove to where he worked in a fit of tears, he shrugged at me and called me a “drama queen” in front of the group of people piled up behind the dumpster at the restaurant he worked at. It took me another year and a half to break up with him.
    Not to mention, he was a chronic liar, cheated on me, could barely keep a minimum wage restaurant job, and had massive family/friend issues (he always felt the need to tell me “blood is thicker than water” and even if we got married, I’d always be “water”). Looking back, it was a highly emotional abusive relationship, and I think if I had more self-confidence, I would have been gone after the first year.
    A guy I had a weird on/off relationship for years (the description is enough of a red flag): He was a spoiled rich kid who routinely drank himself into a blackout. He had a number of girlfriends while we were on and off and would blatantly lie about them. I would see them out together and he would actively ignore me in public and deny that it was him. He also sabotaged any guy that was interested in me because he would say horrible things to them or tell them I was taken, which at 18 thought was a sign of love?, but was really insanely crazy and possessive and awful. The last straw was when he blew off plans with me but called me from a strip club later that night to let me know a stripper reminded him of me, so he wanted to call and say he missed me. And that he left her a $50 tip in my honor. Yeah.

  21. Yikes. Advantages of growing up ugly and socially awkward, I guess – never having to deal with this kind of garbage since guys had no interest in me whatsoever.

  22. Nicolette says:

    I should have listened to my then newly minted boyfriend when he told me he’d make it very hard for me to break up with him. Seriously, a stage five clinger.

  23. First serious boyfriend: 1) extreme jealousy of other guys (telling me I couldn’t wear shorts out once, refusing to say hello to a platonic male friend, got upset I didn’t bring him to GIRLS night once), 2) put me down when I did better in school or work than he did (I once got an award for getting the highest grade in the class in law school. He chimed in to remind me it didn’t mean I was smart), 3) was too fixated on me at the beginning, to the point I, in hindsight, recognize he was he nice guy(tm) feeling entitled to date me, and 4) suspicious I was cheating when I wasn’t.and then our relationship ended with him cheating/telling everyone he hadn’t loved me in a year but had been madly in love with another girl, whom he’d developed a similar fixation on but hardly knew, during that year. Oy.

    Serious relationship 2: caught the guy in small lies relatively frequently and early on. Eventually caught him in bigger lies when our relationship was on the rocks. Turns out he’s been online dating while we were together and had another girlfriend during the last months of our relationship. Less than 2 years since our breakup — he and the other girl married and are expecting their first child. She knows how he behaved and still married him in under a year. WOW. But I now think it’s pretty red flaggy to lie chronically even if it’s just insignificant stuff meant to impress someone, though I know I have friends who disagree.

  24. Avatar photo Moneypenny says:

    I have a few, all from the same person.
    – Never called me his girlfriend to my face. His friends would call me his girlfriend all the time around him, but he never introduced me as, or referred to me as, one- at least not when I was in earshot. At one point towards the end, I said this, and he said that he always had called me his girlfriend. (I wouldn’t call him a liar, but I never heard it myself.)
    -Around the 6 month mark, he went for the weekend to his female friend’s house in the country, with another couple. And didn’t mention it to me. While I was wondering why he wasn’t responding to any of my messages (because there was no cell service) and wondering wtf happened to him. I was extremely hurt that I wasn’t (a) included, (b) it sounded like a double date weekend, when this woman knew we were dating, and (c) he knew I’d be bothered by it, which is why he didn’t say anything ahead of time.
    – Didn’t like to talk about our relationship or where it was headed. He’d say that he could see a long term/serious/future with me, etc. But when I’d ask him after 5 months, 8 months, etc about where we stood or “taking the relationship to the next level” type of stuff, he would clam up and say that he was just afraid of hurting me in the future. It was *always* about him hurting me down the line or doing something to sabotage the relationship- because this was always what happened in his past relationships. Even when we were breaking up, it always came down to this reason.
    – After 11 months together, he found out that he was likely transferred to a city 6 hours away and would have to move. When we talked about what was going to happen with us, he very bluntly said, “Well, you’re not coming with me.” Oh.
    – He told me he loved me for the first time after almost a year and a half- while in the same sentence saying that he wasn’t sure that the relationship was working. (Thanks for waiting till the last minute!)

  25. Yikes. I momentarily was laughing while reminiscing about how many awful flags I myself ignored, until I saw what other people went through–I’m sorry and so glad to hear you each eventually got out of those situations! Takes a lot, especially when you’re younger and can’t really see how bad it is while going through it.
    My own….
    Flag: Made up lies about being at some school meeting or other when I’d find out he had been getting a car stereo installed, or just playing games at home…he ended up failing out of school and being really terrible at managing money (didn’t pay insurance and got car registration revoked, etc) and was trying to cover it up so I wouldn’t be disappointed in or mad at him. He was a good person but that stuff just can’t fly as an adult.

    Flags: dated a co-worker at my first job and he would freak out when he saw others touch my arm or “speak too closely to me” or other ridiculous things. He picked fights about everything and then yelled at me that he didn’t understand why we couldn’t be like his bro + SIL who “NEVER FOUGHT” (BS). Obviously he turned out to be a controlling manipulative a$$ who made me drive down to see him right after my grandfather passed away because he was just so distraught I had to change plans and delay vacation with him for several days to attend the funeral. Ew.

    Flags: the BF right after that one was the craziest yet, and I definitely should have waited to jump into another relationship (but he seemed to be the opposite, really chill and not jealous at all…woops). He: 1) picked major fights with me and then told me to stay home anytime we were supposed to be going somewhere together but he realized he wanted to go alone (for g-d knows what reason, I’m sure to meet other girls) 2) would call one minute and everything was fine, 5 mins later call back freaking out and tell me something I said upset him and tell me everything wrong with me and great about him…I swear at one point I had some form of PTSD every time the phone rang afraid it was him calling again 3) ditched coming to my dance competition down the street from his house because he wanted to drive 45 mins to my own city to go on a bike ride with someone 4) woke up one morning and called me his “blue eyed girl” but my eyes are BROWN and then tried to play off and swear he was color blind 5) after a fight once, gave me a random bracelet and proudly told me he had bought that (actually said his mom bought it on sale) for a previous GF like 8 years earlier but never gave it to her–let me mention now he was 26 not 14 and 6) told me all of this bi-polar type craziness and treating my crappy was due to him “going crazy” because I wasn’t ready to have sex with him yet (we did everything else so not like he was in terrible shape, and I hadn’t slept with anyone yet)….this is after he told me blatantly that he slept with previous girls without protection but refused to get tested and told me his step-dad left a previous relationship because the woman tried to make him get tested–WTF does that have to do with anything? There was so much more drama within ONLY 6 months but I’ll leave it there.

    Flags: Last one, much more recently. He was 36 I think when we started dating. He told me about 1 serious GF of many years, she wanted to get married or at least move in together, and he had “terrible anxiety about commitment” so she broke up with him. A year later, he BEGGED her and pleaded for months that she take him back and promised to move in together, so she did. A year after that, he again said he wasn’t ready for commitment and she broke up with him and moved across the country (you go girl, whoever you are). I could tell he was still pining away for her but I ignored it, even after found out the previous GF between that ex and myself had also moved in with him after 7 months and then he quickly freaked out about too much commitment and broke up with her like a month later and made her move back out. He kept telling me how he had a huge crush on me for soooo long (we had mutual friends and were at lot of same events) and knew I was so great and blah blah and was always showing me off and being all loving in front of others so I was like “oh of course I’m different than those other girls” but very long story very short, nope! He now has another girlfriend for several years and as far as I know, there’s still not any move towards longer term commitment, but I wish them the best of luck. He was probably the driving force towards me realizing I needed to be “me” again and not ignore things or put on a dog and pony show for someone else, which doesn’t work long-term, so I guess I should be thankful. I was the 3rd girl out of last 3 he dated who was married to the next person she was in a serious relationship with so maybe he’s good luck HA.

    C’est la vie. Read the posts above, listen to Wendy and pay attention to that gut feeling!!

  26. Catastranaut says:

    So in love with this thread…

    1. The sex offender who I sexually retraumatized myself with (now i search everyone on megans law before i even consider going on a date with them.
    2. Any white guy or rlly any person who deems themselves colorblind or begin sentences with “im not a racist/sexist/heterosexist/bigot BUT…”
    3. Any person who showers while drinking a beer.
    4. Any person who has beauty ideals for women based in rape culture or too much jerking off to hetero produced porn.
    5. Any lie told to me not in order to keep me safe or spare my feelings.
    6. Every loser who needed a savior ie me the codepedent mess.
    7. Any person who fetishes me based on my ethnicity or queerness (talking to you white america!)
    8. Any person who can’t say love without having an anxiety attack.

    1. snoopy128 says:

      What’s so wrong with a shower beer? 🙂

      1. Avatar photo mrmidtwenties says:

        mmmmmmmmmm….shower beers

      2. I was wondering the same thing. Though I think the combination of a warm beer in a hot shower might just cause me to fall asleep on the wet tile.

      3. I love bath wine or beer.

      4. snoopy128 says:

        ditto. Shower beer or bath + book+ beer, all good stuff

      5. Shower beers are life itself.

      6. I bet shower beer would be awesome in theory, but wouldn’t it fill up with shower water?

      7. Avatar photo mrmidtwenties says:

        Not usually, unless you are not drinking it fast enough or leaving it in direct line with the water. The coolness of the beer, coupled with the heat of the shower is just sheer euphoria.

      8. even better when you do it after a tough workout!

      9. snoopy128 says:

        ahhh yes, Thursday night I’ve pencilled in a shower beer after my 13 hour day + workout 🙂

      10. I need to try this after my run tonight.

  27. Oh my gosh, so many. Basically the gist of them was seeing all their issues and thinking it was romantic and that we could be broken souls together. Oh no. And bad sex. One time, okay maybe it was a fluke, but constant bad sex should not be overlooked.

    1. girltuesday says:

      My mother always told me that bad sex is a red flag. Gross coming from my mom, but very true.

  28. bittergaymark says:

    Um, seriously? Ladies… these aren’t red flags but rather FLASHING NEON BILLBOARDS that you all somehow missed.

    1. Cleopatra Jones says:

      Yeah, they are but when you’re young it all seems so romantic. As in our love will fix these problems (barf). I will tell you as someone who came from an environment where shitty abusive relationships were par for the course, it took me a long time to figure out that just because someone isn’t smacking you around or constantly cheating on you, doesn’t mean you’re in a healthy relationship.

  29. dinoceros says:

    Better question: What red flags have I not ignored?
    –Some drama regarding his pregnant ex and a denial that it was his baby
    –Flaking out on dates a lot
    –A really disturbing porn magazine under his futon
    –PTSD (I know it’s not a red flag in itself, but he definitely was not getting the help he needed in order to function in a relationship)
    –Drank too much
    –His female BFF threatened to tear me limb from limb if I hurt him (which I did, and she didn’t)
    –Rude to customer service people
    –Took me to his abusive dad’s house after I declined to go
    –Favorite book is Infinite Jest (I kid, but not really)
    –Still sad about his breakup two years ago

    But I’ve learned my lessons now! Plenty of them

    1. “- Rude to customer service people”
      I forgot about this one. Being rude to people who are paid to help you is a horrible character trait. My ex thought he was better than everyone who wasn’t him and it was so embarrassing to be in public with him because he was so demeaning all the time. In hindsight, this is a HUGE red flag, because I never made the connection that if someone can’t be nice to people they don’t even know, that its only a matter of time before they are horrible to the people they do know (including myself).

  30. There were so many with my college boyfriend.
    1) He told everyone he was from Holland, while he was from Denver and had spent his first 15 years there.
    2) his uncanny ability to charm anyone.
    3) shutting friends or roommates out methodically and quickly.
    4) leaving his last girlfriend for me. He cheated on me with her (among many others) for years, yet was insanely possessive of me and jealous of anyone close to me. Surprise! He ended up being physically abusive and going to jail for a few days at the end of our relationship.

    My next long term boyfriend seemed so perfect and fun and we connected really quickly. I met him by house sitting for him and I was going to move in as a roommate…well,
    1) I moved in on like, our 4th or 5th date.
    2) he had just broken up with his ex, who had moved into an apartment across the street, and was basically stalking us.
    3) he would swing from manically sad to happy. Mostly unhappy.
    4) his brother hated me and he never said a word in my defense, ever.
    5) he was a workaholic and really talented multi-sport athlete and had no time to spend on/with me.
    6) he had no friends.
    7) all of his exes had cheated on him. Why? One reason is he never spent any time with any of us, other than the first few months of dating.
    8) he was insanely competitive and was always trying to please his parents, boss, etc.
    9) he did not celebrate birthdays, holidays, TOO CORPORATE. and nothing we ever bought could be made in China. I’m not kidding.
    But now I’m married to a great man and couldn’t be happier.

    1. “He told everyone he was from Holland, while he was from Denver and had spent his first 15 years there.” haha I’m dying!

      1. Lol. Maybe I didn’t make it clear that he and his family were living in Holland….

  31. Well mine was the beginning of an abusive relationship and I’d been love bombed into oblivion so my judgement was…. lacking.

    So it was Australia Day and I’d invited him to come with me and a couple I was friends with to the cockroach races (Straya!) but he elected to work instead. I went with my friends anyway only to get home and get the most heinous, abusive phone call I think I’ve ever had in my life. He called me every name under the sun and said I’d just gone to pick up men and because he couldn’t go I should have just stayed home blah blah blah, usual godawful abuser nonsense. So I hung up on him, he kept calling and I kept ignoring him until finally (and I can’t believe I put up with THIS)….
    Once they start that shit run for the hills, don’t even hesitate. No man who gets his mum to fight for him is a man worth having and a mother who thinks calling her son’s girlfriend because she dared to go out with her friends is ok is not someone you want as a MIL.

  32. Man, its been a while… but from a guys point of view, and a dude who married badly twice (doing well now), I have some tips. For once I will try not to offend…. but maybe.

    1. people never change… if the other was a nag/asshole/alcoholic in past relationships, they will be again. Self-explanatory, but damn if people don’t want to believe it.

    2. Parenting styles is a big big issue… especially if their are step children in the mix… make sure you are on the same page.

    3. whatever bugs you a little right now, will almost be certainly a major issue in the future.

    4. Never ever date a feminist (goes for men or women).

    5. temper issues are a big big warning… while dating people are on best behaviors, so if they seem to get occasionally irate or irrationally annoyed while dating, chances are they are a crazy person in reals life.

    6. never assume you are going to change a man… we will not ever learn to clean or do the dishes to your standards.

    7. if she hasn’t done anal while dating… it definitely won’t happen while married.

    8. the right girl or guy is totally worth it though… don’t screw it up.

    1. Avatar photo mrmidtwenties says:

      People in my book get a red flag is they don’t know what feminism is. They get a double red flag if they understand it and are still against it. Also plenty of men can do dishes and clean to and beyond many women’s standards. I include myself as a man that can clean circles around my girlfriend.

      1. Yeah, equality is the pits! ?

  33. Red Flags:
    1) 100% of his friends are female. As in he never ever hangs out around guys.
    2) Claims he can speak “girl” language.
    3) “Loses” his debit card at the beginning of the relationship and then “finds” it after the break-up.
    4) Constantly gaslights while denying being manipulative.

  34. I dated a guy who was basically an asshole for about 4 years. I won’t go into all the things he did that were actually asshole things, but there were a few things that didn’t affect me directly but should have been (as BGM says it) big honking neon signs saying “LEAVE THIS DUDE.”
    1) He said, “I don’t know if I believe in right or wrong. I just try to be decent and hope it’s enough.” Surprise, he later did a lot of stuff that 99% of people would consider wrong (you know, lying, hurting, etc)
    2) He argued that when criminals throw a baby at you to get at your wallet, you should not catch the baby FOR THE GREATER GOOD OF FUTURE BABIES that might be captured by petty thieves and used in this same tactic. Like, “If we discourage them from throwing babies by letting THIS baby fall to the ground and crack its head open, fewer babies will be harmed in the future.” I suspected he really just would have chosen his wallet over a baby, greater good schmeater good. Surprise, he later turned out to care a lot more about his own wellbeing than anyone else’s.
    3) He didn’t believe in celebrating birthdays, because birthdays weren’t an accomplishment. He said he would rather celebrate the loss of his virginity. He actually did fine at celebrating my birthday, since I’m always happy with a simple date and a small gift, but the Ayn-Rand-meets-date-rapist sentiment he expressed about birthdays in general should have been a giant red flag. Surprise, he turned out to be the kind of guy who sees “convincing” women to have sex with him as an achievement.
    3b) Also, the first year we dated, on his birthday, my blissfully ignorant friends tried to play a surprise “happy birthday” duet for him on a xylophone, which was totally adorable, and he didn’t even pretend to appreciate it. He was just like, ummm I hate birthdays. Surprise, he turned out to be … a dick.

    1. Oh I can’t resist, just thought of another.

      4) He once said that if he raised a child and later found out it wasn’t biologically his, he’d abandon the child and sue to get out of his parental rights/obligations. I had no plans to ever cheat on anyone, nor have I ever, but that he would have punished an innocent kid for a woman’s mistake should have been a huge red flag.
      Huh… I dated a guy for four years who on multiple different occasions expressed a hypothetical willingness to punish innocent kids for his own ends. I guess that’s a red flag about my intelligence 🙂

      1. I was thinking the same thing. Most of the things I accepted in previous partners were red flags, what does that say about me? Me accpeting those things maybe IS a red flag for someone who dates me.

    2. Criminals throw babies at you? I have never heard of this.

      1. Supposedly it’s a thing that happens in Rome. One person throws a baby at you — or a baby doll that looks like a baby — and you catch it out of instinct, and an accomplice takes your purse or wallet while your hands are tied.

        It may just be a racist myth though b/c it is associated with “gypsies.”

    3. I am having a serious LOL at “Ayn-Rand-meets-date-rapist”! (secretly a republican, too…?!)

  35. veracityb says:

    -He was French, but tried to use German to seduce me into going back to his. On a first date, against railings in a highly public area “darling, let’s be together tonight.. zusammen sein…” brrrrgggghhh..!
    -Lied about his age. 43 not 34.
    -First words he ever said to me in person was to complain how his feet hurt standing there waiting 5 mins for me.
    -Discovered his ex didn’t want children when he really did, but stayed and cheated on her instead.

    Still went on a few more dates with this dude! And then he wouldn’t be dropped!

  36. To sum it up:
    1. Badmouthing his parents like a 16-year-old when he was in fact 26 years old.
    2. Looking down on my friends.
    3. Making me feel bad about something I was very proud of at first.
    4. Forgetting to mention the girlfriend.
    5. “I use drugs for recreational purposes only. No, I won’t NOT do it in your presence just because you ask me to, why are you trying to limit my freedom?”

  37. I don’t know you guys, I may have one of the winners. This is one guy, and as many flags as I can remember:
    1. Did not care that his huge member made sex pretty painful.
    2. Was an illegal immigrant.
    3. Was homeless during a period of dating.
    4. Tried to move into my flat after dating for three weeks, I declined.
    4. Tried to get me to go to his country and ‘sign a piece of paper that said we wanted to be together’. (this was actually a marriage license and I wouldn’t have known since it would’ve been in a foreign language)
    5. When I said not to the above, tried to get me to help him with a fiancé visa.
    6. I found messages on his computer to another woman claiming that he loved her.

    For some pathetic reason, I didn’t break up with him through all of this. He was nice to me after all. So I eventually broke up with him for no reason over dinner and I still remember the feeling of intense relief as I walked away from him. Which lead to the last flags:
    1. Called me almost every day to attempt reconciliation, I never answered the phone.
    2. Continued to leave me messages after he had returned to his own country, professing his ‘love’.
    Man, I hate that guy.

  38. Avatar photo Stonegypsy says:

    oooh I have sooo many. I was a complete idiot when I was younger and absolutely willing to accept being treated terribly:
    First ever serious boyfriend:
    -Threatened all of my guy friends to keep their distance from me
    – Would give me the silent treatment for days whenever something I did hurt his feelings (would never tell me what was wrong until days later when I was begging for him to just talk to me, and it was often something really insignificant like I jokingly flipped him off)
    – His brother was constantly threatening me, harassing me, making shit up about me, and he would never ever stick up for me (or himself)

    Boyfriend after that –
    -had actually dated a friend of mine years earlier. Had gotten a DUI while dating her, and they’d broken up because he cheated on her, repeatedly
    -Wasn’t drinking very much when we first met, but quickly started being drunk all of the time
    -Blamed all of his problems on anyone but himself
    -Guilted me anytime I didn’t want to have sex with him
    -I found out that he was on probation for forging a prescription for oxycodone
    – Once waited up for me when he was very drunk, planning to kill me and then himself. Passed out before I got home (I knew what he was planning, because he’d written a note for whoever found our bodies). Kicked me into a wall.
    I stayed with him for 3 months after that because he cried and promised he’d change. And also because I didn’t have a ton of self respect.
    Finally wrote him a letter while he was at his mom’s for Christmas dinner, packed my stuff in my car, and moved to a different city overnight to get away from him.

    1. Avatar photo veritek33 says:

      I forgot about silent treatment. It’s a form of emotional abuse, especially when used for prolonged periods of time and frequently to get their way.

  39. Cleopatra Jones says:

    Well, I’ll bite (as I grimace). In retrosprect, I’ve had some pretty shitty ‘relationships’:
    1) “Dated” a guy who made disparaging remarks about my body as a way to get my attention. He would say that I had a flat ass. Why oh why did I even give him the time of day? Found out that he was also dating another girl at our job who decided to confront me (at work) about her man. To make matters worse, I found out that he was dating both of us while living with his fiance. Ugh, that only lasted about a month.
    2) “Dated” a guy who turned out to be a pimp. As in our dating was his way of trying to bring me into the fold of his prostitution ring. Ironically, all of his ‘treating me like a princess’ turned me off. He would buy me really expensive clothes, ask me to take off work to be with him, paid for semester of classes including books, etc. but I just couldn’t be with someone who wanted financial control over me. Also, his constant references to…he didn’t want to have sex but he could find someone who would do all kinds of things to me sexually turned me off (no pun intended). And his constant weed smoking. I dated him for about a month before I ghosted him.
    3) The guy who smoked weed several times a day. As in his car & apartment smelled like weed. As a matter of fact, whenever you went over to his apartment–you had to knock weed seeds off of the furniture to sit down. All of the weed smoking led to no sex because he couldn’t keep it hard. Sad though, I cause I actually liked him. Other than the weed, he was a decent guy.
    Those are the worst offenders but it’s enough.

  40. Avatar photo sobriquet says:

    My abusive ex had so many! They always do. Here’s a few:
    1] A few months into dating, I sang at my brother’s wedding and showed him the video. He acted completely nonplussed about my performance and said something negative about it.
    2] He asked me to move in with him on the same day that I was laid off.
    3] He got into a huge fight with his best friend and just like that, he was DONE with that guy. He even spent hundreds of dollars pursuing a lawsuit against him that he knew wasn’t worth it monetarily. I remember thinking then that if we ever broke up, he would make my life hell.
    4] We would get drunk and just have the worst blow out fights. Once he threatened to kill himself. Once he kind of swatted me on the head- very lightly- with a remote control. I talked to him about that and he told me that he knew it wasn’t okay, but he tried to brush it off and change the subject to what *I* had done wrong.
    5] After one particularly bad fight about 2 years into the relationship, when I went to talk to him about it the next day, he just sobbed and told me to never leave him, because everyone always leaves him.
    6] One day he decided to get completely fucked up out of nowhere. He drank 10 beers on top of Valium or something and it freaked me out!
    7] During a fight a few years into the relationship, he told me that his therapist told him to break up with me. He saved that gem for a FIGHT instead of actually discussing it with me months earlier.
    8] Near the very end, he got mad about something stupid (the trash in the bathroom!) and angrily took my full glass of wine and threw it in the sink (I had just been sitting on the couch, calmly reacting to his hissy fit which drove him nuts). When I went into the kitchen to get my glass, he shoved me into some bar stools that toppled over and made me hit the floor. I got a huge bruise on my leg. He didn’t apologize, instead saying that he meant to push me onto the couch.
    I was actively ignoring a lot of these signs for the last year of our relationship and secretly was looking for a way out, but those first few (1-4) were during the first year of our relationship. I should have gotten out then!

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