We may have to go through several relationships before we find a suitable partner we hope to spend the rest of our lives with. Though we may meet many attractive people who seem like great choices, chances are they aren't always compatible partners for us. Rather than waste months or years before realizing this hard-earned truth, look out for these early warning signs that the person you are dating might be toxic.
Some of these warning signs are subtle while others are loud and clear. But when we are caught up in that heady rush of falling in love, we tend to ignore our gut feeling that something is not right. It can be exciting and fun; getting to know an attractive stranger who seems to reciprocate your feelings. The chemistry is sizzling and that can be hard to overcome, but if there are multiple red flags early on in the relationship, you need to step back and take a clearer look at the person you are dating.
To save yourself the heartache, as well as your time and energy, we have compiled a list of 20 early warning signs or red flags that the person you are dating is not the person he's pretending to be. People have their own quirks, so don't be overly judgemental, but if your partner is making you feel uncomfortable and unhappy, then trust your intuition and pay closer attention. It's never too late. You need to end a bad relationship before you can begin anew and find the partner that's right for you.
20 They Don't Inform You If They Are Late
Turning up a little late for your date is not a deal breaker; it happens all the time and probably couldn't be helped if the poor guy got caught up in the traffic or was held back in a meeting with his boss. Maybe he got there late because he stopped to buy you flowers.
But if he did not inform you that he was going to be late and didn't show up with a dozen roses, then this may be a sign he does not value or respect your time. Presuming that you are not okay with waiting for him without knowing where he is or when he will turn up, this should be taken as a red flag. Demand a good explanation, and take note if he repeats his excuses-like always having an uncharged phone-because that too, is red flag worthy.
19 The Conversation Is Self-Centered
On a first date, if a guy talks a lot and monopolizes the conversation, he may just be nervous. If you are shy, you may like having a talkative partner, but if he dominates the time you spend together talking about himself, then he may have serious ego issues.
If you are shy or nervous, he should be putting you at ease and involve you in the conversation. Ideally, your date should be asking you questions to encourage you to talk about yourself.
Rather than talk about himself, he should attempt to steer the conversation in a direction that interests the both of you. If he goes on and on about something you have no interest in, then it's a red flag that he is probably more concerned with himself than with building a repertoire with you.
18 They Placed the Order Without Consulting You
Another early warning to watch out for involves ordering food or drinks during your date. Does he discuss the menu with you? Ask you your choices? Recommend some dishes? Or does he outright place your order without even consulting you?
This could be a sign he has controlling tendencies. This kind of repressive behavior early on in your relationship can be his way of testing your boundaries. If the relationship progresses, he may resort to coercive control.
Toxic relationships don't always involve physical abuse; coercive control involves patterns of threats, humiliation, intimidation that a person uses to punish or frighten their partner.
17 They Are Rude To The Waiter
If he is rude to the waiter then that's how he is eventually going to treat you too. Maybe the service was less than adequate but if your date takes this as an opportunity to show demonstrate how superior he is, then it's a clear red flag.
How a man treats his inferiors tells you more about him than his behavior with his superiors. Demeaning a waiter, or anyone else for that matter might make a person feel powerful but it doesn't score any good points on a first date.
16 They Are Absent Minded In Your Presence
You are all excited, dressed up and out on a date, but the guy seems distracted. He is always excusing himself to make or take calls and when he's not leaving he's fidgeting on his phone. In fact, he seems to be more interested in his screentime than with you.
Maybe he is fidgeting with his phone because he's expecting an important call or email.
If he is aware that he is not able to pay attention to you, then he should be apologetic and explain why he is distracted.
Once he has made the call or resolved his problem, then he should devote his attention fully to making up for his lapse. If your date is interested in other things and not you, then it's a red flag that he doesn't really care that much.
15 They Are Aggressively Romantic
Who doesn't love to feel special? Everyone in the dating game is looking for that perfect partner who will make them feel loved and cherished. How can you not be smitten with someone who puts you at the center of their universe? It is wise, however, to be a little wary if your date is far too romantic, constantly showering you with gifts and compliments.
This may be a tactic called 'love bombing', wherein he emotionally manipulates you into believing you have found your soulmate.
Once the partner is trapped with a false sense of security, the love bomber's real nature is revealed and is often more negative than his previous behavior. Once invested, it can be easy to hang on to an earlier image of the person and hope they will re-emerge, but the likelihood of that is very low.
So if he seems too good to be true, he probably is!
14 The Relationship Is Moving Too Fast
This could also be part of a 'love bombing' ploy where your first date seems straight out of the movies. He is the perfect gentleman who showers you with compliments, flowers, chocolate, and champagne. He tells you how glad he is to have met someone so special.
Within weeks or maybe a couple of months, you find he is professing to you his love and asking you to commit to exclusivity. He wants to label you as his own.
These may be warning signs that he is manipulative and controlling. If you feel the relationship is moving faster than you are comfortable with, then trust your gut and consider moving on.
13 How They Talk About Their Exes
Since this is probably not your first time seeing someone, it would be odd not to mention anything at all about your previous relationship. While obsessively bringing up an ex-partner is worrisome, talking bitterly about them is just as telling.
People tend to be quite predictable. Even if they are beginning a new relationship, they will eventually repeat whatever they did in their previous ones. So pay attention to how they talk about their past experiences. If he has nice things to say about his ex, despite the relationship not working out, then that's a good sign. This illustrates how he will talk about you if things don't work out either.
12 The Blame Game
If a relationship failed, then both parties are probably accountable in some way. But if he is blaming her for everything, then this means he is not ready to take responsibility for whatever went wrong in their relationship. A guy like that will expect you to do whatever it takes to make your relationship work, while he puts in no effort.
If he blames all his previous relationship failures on the women involved, this may mean that he is unable to see women in an integrated and realistic way.
He finds a woman highly desirable when he begins dating her, but eventually, all he will search for are her faults. Either he has a knack for making bad decisions, or his perception of women is distorted. Either way, move on.
11 They Seem Ashamed Of You
You've been on a few dates and things are progressing well as far as you are concerned. Except for one thing: he seems edgy at any mention of meeting his friends or his family. In fact, it feels like he is hiding you from the people in his life; you've never met them and there is nothing on his social media feed to indicate that he is dating you.
He may be worried that his family will reject or insult you due to cultural or financial differences and thinks he's protecting you. Or he's married and his hiding you for a reason.
Whatever his intentions, his hesitation to introduce you to his near and dear ones is a red alert.
10 They Withhold Affection
Women tend to be the culprits here rather than men. Being affectionate can make two people feel more connected and special to one another. So if a partner is using this as a reward for certain actions or withholding it as a punishment, then they are being manipulative.
If they avoid affection and reject you for not acting the way the way they like, then its time to have a conversation about how hurtful this is for you.
If they continue to behave this way, consider ending this potentially toxic relationship before things get worse.
9 They Keep Score
After a few months of dating, you decided to get a place together and like any newly moved in couple, you begin to navigate the divvying up of daily chores. But within no time, he starts keeping score of what he did versus what you did. If you are constantly arguing over whose turn it is to do the dishes, walk the dog, take out the garbage etc. then its possible you are not compatible living mates.
This doesn't mean that one person should everything and not complain. Chores need to be done and there should be an established understanding about that. But if your partner is keeping score, they may be resentful about things that go beyond a daily cleanup.
In a healthy relationship, we do things for the other person because we love them and we want them to feel appreciated, not to even up an imaginary scoreboard.
8 They Don’t Put In Any Effort
Its one thing to have a partner keeping score, what is worse is when your partner doesn't put in any effort at all into maintaining the relationship. This goes beyond sharing household chores. Does he make romantic gestures that make you feel cherished or provide emotional support when you need it?
If your partner is not as invested in the relationship as much as you are, then you are on a sinking ship. Better to bail out before you drown.
A one-sided relationship will eventually hit the rocks when you get tired of giving and getting nothing in return.
7 They Don't Apologize
No one is perfect, we all make mistakes. Every relationship is going to have its ups and downs. Sometimes arguments escalate and both of you might say things you later regret.
You go to him and apologize; does he apologize too?
If he forgets to do something he promised he will, or messes up in some way or another, does he take responsibility for his oversights? Or does he brush you off?
If he is unable to apologize for his wrongdoings, its a major red flag that he has ego issues and cannot see beyond himself. Get out of there quick.
6 They Make Too Many Jokes
Who doesn't love a partner with a good sense of humor? Jokes can be a great icebreakers and they help lighten up awkward situations. But some people use jokes as defense mechanisms to hide their feelings or to hold you at a distance emotionally.
If you find that he is laughing and joking when you are trying to talk seriously, then it's a sign he is not emotionally mature and will likely avoid being open and honest with you.
If they dismiss your feelings for a quick laugh, dismiss them; this relationship won't go anywhere.
5 They Constantly Criticize Or Dismiss You
This might not happen on the first date, or the second or the third. It might only start once you've become comfortable with one another. Your partner starts criticizing your choice of movies, dressing, diet, clothing, friends etc., and it leaves you feeling inadequate.
The criticism may be subtle in the beginning but it will become more obvious as they become more confident in your emotional dependence on them.
This person does not want good things for you. They are quietly putting you down to eradicate their own insecurities. Continuing a relationship with them will only lead to toxic consequences for yourself and your self-esteem. It's better to get out before you become too attached.
4 They Tease You In A Mean Way
The first few dates went wonderfully and you like that he has a cute sense of humor. He likes to pull your leg and you don't mind it because he's just so adorable. Light teasing is good for forming connections and it shows that you are comfortable enough to make fun of one another, but if the jokes stop being funny and border on mean, then this is a red flag.
If his friendly banter has an edge and you start to feel uncomfortable, don't dismiss it. Speak up if you feel taken aback or offended. If he continues to disrespect you with his jokes, find a (less funny) dude.
3 They Have A Massive Sense Of Entitlement
We've all seen relationships where one person is getting more out of it than the other. Some people were brought up to believe that they deserve the world despite their minimal contributions back.
Selfish people are fine with having their needs met by others.
If you find that your partner is never around to help you when you need it but expect you to go out of your way for them, then its possible they are just using you and don't care that much for you. While keeping score is unhealthy, doing everything for someone who does not reciprocate is simply a waste of time.
2 They Don't Talk Through Issues
Another red flag is when your partner avoids discussing your relationship issues. Differing opinions are to be expected in all relationships; somethings not right if you never ever argue.
When disagreements arise, how does he handle them? Does he shut down or throw a tantrum? Does he place all the blame on you and walk away?
Partners with avoidant attachment style tend to place the focus on your faults rather than theirs because they aren't able to confront their own shortcomings. You'll find yourself apologizing just to keep the peace and ultimately compromising your own emotions.
Avoid avoidant personalities; their repressions don't have anything to do with you and most probably signify that they shouldn't be in a relationship.
1 You Justify Their Bad Behaviour
He was rude to the waiter, so you tell yourself its because he had a bad day. He didn't follow up on a promise he made and you justify to yourself that he was busy.
Our minds can work like skilled Photoshoppers; editing out all the ugly and unwanted details and highlighting only what we want to see.
Chances are, if you're making up excuses for him to your friends and family, you already know his behavior is poor and are deluding yourself into thinking otherwise. Go find someone you'll want to brag to the world about!