Dating Red Flags (18 Alarming Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore)

Last updated on June 14, 2022 by April Maccario

Remember Frozen? When Princess Anna and Hans sang together about how love is an open door? Did the alarm bells also start blaring in your head at how quickly the romance developed and how willing he was to marry Anna after just meeting her? 

While it might have been shocking to find out about his duplicity, what did you really expect if you really think about it?

Let’s bring things to reality and talk about some red flags that you should be wary of. Here’s a stat for you: 100% of the people who did not pay attention to red flags end up regretting it. So, are you dating someone new who is amazing, but has one or two scruples that dishearten you?

Listen to your gut as it might be a warning sign, and you’ll later find out that a horrible individual is lurking underneath. 

You might think you know someone, and then they show you a side that you were never aware of, but the truth is, there were probably signs that you missed, or deliberately ignored from the onset. So, to help you work through some of these major signs, take a look at the list below, if your boyfriend is exhibiting any of these traits, then you should be careful. 

18 Dating Red Flags To Look Out For 

1. He is massively entitled

How would you feel if your boyfriend asked for your help while you were engrossed in a really interesting book, but you set it down to help him only to be ignored when you really need him? Can you relate to this? If it is, then your partner is entitled, and it is a relationship no-no. His refusal to help when he can while expecting you to be there for him makes him a user, and that’s unhealthy for any relationship. 

2. He ignores you

He ignores you

Does he ignore you? Or does he brush off your suggestions and advice without ample consideration? That’s a red flag because you do not do that to someone you claim to care about. If on your first date, he talks more about himself and cares less about you, then that’s a problem right there.

Dating is all about getting to know each other, so if he’s dominating the conversation, talking about his life story, work-life, or boasting about his accomplishments, he’s plain stuck-up.  

3. He talks poorly about his past relationships

Have you ever been on a first date where the guy goes on and on about how his ex was crazy and tried to ruin his life? If you have, you’ll agree that it gets pretty annoying, and you might even start to question if his ex was really the crazy one. Worse still, if he talks about multiple exes the same way, it shows a pattern in which he doesn’t believe he was ever in the wrong

When someone takes you on a date for the first time, the focus shouldn’t be on his past relationships, who did what, or who said what, the conversation should ride on both of you discovering new things about each other. Your likes, dislikes, favorite food, birthdays, and all the initial safe topics. 

With someone that talks poorly about his exes, you can rest assured that when you break up, he’ll speak poorly about you too with his next conquest. Therefore, save yourself the heartache and don’t date such a person.

4. Something feels wrong

Intuition, contrary to popular belief, isn’t some fringe science, but rather a reliance on experiences and data that exist in your well of existence. So, subconsciously, your brain recognizes patterns, and this helps with decision making. 

You might feel one thing is off with this guy you met off a dating site, his stories aren’t adding up, and something just feels off, don’t ignore these strong instincts, they may just be your saving grace. 

Let’s say you’re on a date with someone and he seems nice, but you still find yourself feeling uneasy in his presence and reluctant to share much about yourself with him, then that’s your brain trying to tell you to bail. In such situations, it would do you a world of good to listen to your gut and get out of there before you end up in a relationship you’ll come to regret. 

5. They regularly test your boundaries

Relationships are all about respect; respect for your person, opinions, and, most importantly, boundaries. So, if you set a boundary for someone you’re seeing, it is expected that they respect it and not try to undermine you

For example, if you have indicated during a makeout session that you aren’t interested in sex, but he keeps trying to initiate it despite your protests, then that’s a massive warning sign. It means that he has no respect for your boundaries and, in the right circumstances, might even force or manipulate things to get his way.

6. They don’t use their words

Communication is one of the hallmarks of making a relationship work, so if you have a partner that doesn’t know how to use his words, you should be wary. Therefore, carefully observe your guy during a heated conversation, does he talk it through, or does he prefer to walk away or irrationally place the blame on others? If it’s the latter, then you might have a problem on your hands. 

7. You’re constantly making excuses for them

This is one of the biggest warning signs of a potentially bad relationship as it turns you into someone who settles for less. This new guy does something you know is wrong, but you make excuses about how he had to do it, he bails on a date without letting you know beforehand and gives flimsy excuses instead of apologizing. 

It’s hard to believe that the person you’re dating isn’t the Mr. Perfect you assumed he was, however, it is essential to reflect on your partner’s behavior, and if you find yourself justifying their bad habits, then that’s already setting the foundation for an unhealthy relationship

8. He insists on ordering your food and drinks

Alright, so while some people find this cute and even manly, it gets old and annoying very fast. For someone who’s still getting to know you, he should let you order your own food unless you tell him otherwise. 

People like this who try to dominate the space, and do things without asking you first are unconsciously showcasing the 'domineering side' of them. It might seem harmless and insignificant, but most times, it’s the little things that matter. If the relationship does progress, you might find this person trying to take control of other parts of your life without asking, and things can go south very fast from there. 

9. He lies about the little things

A person’s comfort level with telling little white lies is a big indicator of how well they handle the bigger lies. In fact, researchers report that prolific liars tell more than five lies a day and are more likely to lie to partners. 

So if your boyfriend lied about being busy one time, it might not mean anything, but if you notice a pattern of small lies from their availability to the way certain events shaped out, then you might be dealing with a prolific liar. Needless to say, you don’t need such a person in your life, you don’t know what next he’s going to lie about.

10. He’s mean to the people around him

They say the best way to gauge someone’s behavior is to observe how they treat workers in the service industry. Therefore, no matter how nice your boyfriend is to you if he behaves like a jerk to the waiters, concierge, or other people that offer services, odds are he’ll also act out with you later on. 

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Also, observe how he treats his parents, does he keep in touch? Is he rude? These things actually matter, because if this guy isn’t nice or at least cordial with his family regardless of what may have happened in the past, he doesn't have a forgiving or kind heart. 

11. He tries to cut you off from your support system

Strong support structures help us get through life, they are a network of family and friends who provide the necessary help; emotional, financial, and mental support. So, if there is anyone who tries to take that away from you, then someone like that is harmful and dangerous.

No one can handle all our baggage, so if the person you’re dating is trying to fill up all the roles while keeping you away from the people that enrich your life, that’s a red flag.

12. He wants all your social media passwords

He wants all your social media passwords

Accountability is necessary for every relationship, but so is mutual respect and trust. So, while giving up your social media passwords to your boyfriend can be viewed as a powerful gesture that implies trust, having it demanded of you suggests a problematic character. You have a right to your privacy, and you aren’t required to share passwords with anyone. 

That said, a lot of boyfriends try to gain access to their partners' social media accounts. This is disingenuous and could be classified as stalking, stay away from such people!

13. He practices double standards

Double standards are an ugly practice, but unfortunately, it’s pretty prevalent in society. For instance, statistics show that men judge women who enjoy casual sex a lot more harshly than their male counterparts. This is wrong, but it’s even more annoying when brought within the context of a relationship. 

A guy who thinks it’s okay for guys to build their career, but has a different opinion for women may not be the kind of person you want to date. In times like this where society is finally easing up on the ‘ideology of the woman’s role’, he should get with the times. Some guys see nothing wrong with a guy cheating, to them, it’s in a man’s nature to cheat, but these same guys are very intolerant when their girl cheats. 

These misogynist ideas may seem playful and unserious now, but in the long run, could play out quite differently, if he’s stubborn about changing his views or at least being rational, the best time to end things is now. 

14. He hides the fact that he’s dating you

A cursory glance through Twitter reveals an interesting fact: women are more likely to show off their boyfriends to the world than men. That means there is a disproportionate amount of men who are unwilling to show their partners off. 

Now, you could argue that he just loves his privacy, however, if he is reluctant to talk about you two in a relationship, or calls you his close friend when meeting up with people, then that’s a huge red flag. It could mean he just isn’t proud to be with you, or he has someone else. None of these scenarios is good for you, so just let him go. 

15. He guilt trips you constantly

So, you have been with your man for a while; however, he’s quick to remind you of that one thing you did and are ashamed of whenever something comes up. This is manipulative behavior, and you shouldn’t stand for it. You might not notice it on the first date, but as time goes on and you start to share information, such behavior becomes evident. 

16. He switches moods quickly and regularly

Have you ever experienced a first date with a guy who was so nice and charming, and then in one moment, you saw a flash of anger or violence that shook you to your very core? More often than not, he’ll explain that he has no idea what came over him, and he acts all nice again; however, this is a major warning sign as it indicates that he might have a violent streak

If you love someone, their behavior should be consistent, a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ behavior should not be tolerated as it could lead to something much darker. 

17. You both have very different ideas of what cheating is

An alarming number of couples don’t discuss what they each consider to be cheating. This is bad for the relationship as it could cause things to go downhill quickly. What someone considers cheating should be a first date question, or at least addressed really early in the relationship, as it reveals a lot about your partner. 

For instance, some people consider buying food for the opposite sex as cheating; meanwhile, others only consider sex with another person as cheating. If you and your partner’s views on one thing like cheating don’t align, that’s a warning sign. 

18. You both have different views on fiscal responsibility

You’ll be shocked at the number of marriages that end due to money troubles. Therefore, it is a good idea to know early on how your partner is with money and if that makes the two of you compatible

Is he a spendthrift who has no sense of discipline? Or is he so miserly that he’d let himself suffer than get something necessary? These are questions you need answers to if the relationship is to go anywhere.


What are some red flags when dating?

We’ve listed a bunch of them in the article above, but the most significant one is if things feel wrong. Intuition is important and exists to protect you, so, if your gut tells you he’s not right, then you should listen. Also, if you always have to justify his behaviors, or if he acts mean to people around him, then that’s probably also a major sign. 

What do red flags mean in a relationship?

In simple terms, these are the things in a relationship that are possible deal breakers either from the start, or as the relationship progresses. Think of them as 'Beware' or 'Caution' signs when you’re entering dangerous territory, these signs are there to ensure you aren’t blindsided. 

Which is a possible consequence of violating the Red Flags Rule?

If these initial signs or warnings are ignored, you might find yourself stuck with a partner that doesn’t love or care about you. Worse still, he might be an abuser which is a very dangerous situation as they are difficult to escape. 

Why do we ignore red flags in relationships?

We want to believe the best of the ones we love, which is why when a red flag pops up, it’s hard to accept, and we try to make excuses or question our intuition. However, remember that red flags are not the enemy; rather, they are a protection mechanism. 

What does love bombing mean?

Love bombing is when someone showers their partner with so much love in a bid to control them or significantly influence their behaviors and reactions. That said, it can be used both positively or negatively. On the one hand, it could boost someone’s self-esteem or help them through a difficult time, on the other hand, it could be quite manipulative. 

To End Things Off

I hope you enjoyed the list, remember that red flags are there to protect, and they are not the enemy. If you have other red flags or warning signs to add, please leave a comment, and if you found the article helpful, don’t forget to share it. 

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April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

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