See that guy back there? That’s a red flag.Those posters? Red flag. My friend Sara? Not a red flag.
Someone, I think it was a gentleman named Robin, wanted to know if I could write about spotting those elusive red flags that eventually destroy a relationship.
Some of these are obvious to everyone but you. Like maybe your new boyfriends eats live lizards and calls everyone “Mommy.” That’s a red flag. Sometimes you notice this behavior but you justify it. “Lizards have LOTS of protein you guys.” Suuuure.
Let’s talk about the subtle ones.
Is your new partner forthcoming with you? When you ask them about their job history or their family, do they suddenly get quiet and stare off into the distance and say, “Sometimes the lone star is the one that shines brightest.”? Or maybe they’ll say something like, “Yeah I did stuff and my family exists.” Both of those answers suck. You don’t need their work resume or their family tree, but something like, “I used to work in fashion and have a brother named Jeff and my parents are dead” is just fine.
Do they freak out if you ask to use their computer or phone? Some people don’t like other people to touch their things, fine. But do they try to hide these objects from you? When you’re out in public and their phone rings, do they give it a worried look and then when you ask them, “What’s wrong?” they say, “Oh nothing, it’s just my parents” and you’re like, “Your parents are dead” and they’re like, “Yeah, iPhones suck, right?” What is it that they don’t want you to see? If it’s their laptop it’s probably porn, and that’s okay. Just because someone looks at porn doesn’t mean that they don’t love you or don’t want to be with you. It’s nothing to freak out about, unless it gets to the point where it interferes with your daily routine lives.
They mention their ex constantly. If you ask them about their last relationship, you’re going to want to hear something like, “My last relationship was a year ago. Great guy, no bitterness, it just didn’t work out because of long distance/wanting different things/they got really ugly” or whatever. What you don’t want to hear is this story when you didn’t even ask. What you don’t want to hear is, “Hey, what do you want on your pizza?” and the response is, “My ex Rachel loved pepperoni so no pepperoni because Rachel would eat it all the time and I don’t like Rachel, I mean pepperoni.” If they mention their ex more than, say, 3 times in your first week of dating, they’re probably not ready to date.
They ask to borrow money/things and never pay them/give them back. People forget, that happens. But if you gently remind them and they say you’ll get it in __ amount of days and you don’t and they never bring it up again, that is not cool. Money ruins relationships of all kinds. Maybe you guys do a thing where one of you pays for drinks and then the next time the other one does, or whatever kind of casual thing, and that’s okay. That’s very different from, “Hey babe can I borrow three hundred dollars?” and then they disappear for a month and never bring it up again. That’s spooky. Often this starts out innocently enough with, “Can you buy this gum for me, is that cool?” but it can end with, “Baby I sold your Lexus, is that cool?” It is not cool, Charles. Not cool.
They only call you late at night to “hang out.” They don’t call you to hang out during the day, or invite you to public places, or to meet their friends. Unless they are a vampire, one of those “True Blood” vampires not the “Twilight” vampires, then this basically means that they want you for sex and nothing else. Nothing is going to come from this. I’m sure you heard stories about how, “My friend Chelsea’s friend Sarah started seeing this guy Zach and his brother Franco started seeing her and it was strictly a friends with benefits thing but now they’re married and living in Milan!” No. No. Sit down. Stop giving us hope that this will ever happen. This might happen if you start out as friends. Because at least there is something to build on. But the chances of this turning into something real, of this person actually caring about you when you’re not in their apartment at 3 Am, is about 3%.
I’m sure there are plenty more. What are your red flags?