It's the one thing no woman ever wants to hear: the term "red flag." Relationships can have many of these and oftentimes, we never even think twice about them. It's easy to ignore an issue especially if a relationship is new or, even worse, is long-standing.
While it's not our job to create or tear down a relationship, we do take pride in being able to offer advice to those who might have suspicions that their partner isn't quite who he claims he is.
Here at TheTalko, when we talk love, we speak the truth. The signs are often easy to miss and can absolutely be mistaken for typical guy behavior, but how does one know if there's something more to it? That's what we're here for. When it comes to offering solid advice like a best friend would, being a virtual checklist, and exploring all things love, we're here for ladies all over!
Below, we've noted the top 20 signs that something is up when it comes to exclusive relationships. Sometimes, all it takes is an outsider's point of view to shed light on what the real story is and that's where we come in. For current reference or in the future to avoid a potential mistake, look no further than our ultimate relationship red-flag list.
20 He Suddenly Changes His Profile Photo Or Hides Tagged Photos
Social media can be a beautiful thing. One moment, we're checking in with Aunt Lois and getting updates on our cousin Mimie's soccer awards, and the next we're flipping through tagged photos of our significant other with... someone else. It's not always glamorous but it's true: social media is the new way of leaving a paper trail.
If your partner suddenly appears in posts and photos without giving you the heads-up, chances are there's a significant lack of trust. Nowadays, anything can be customized including profile photos and which tagged photos are displaying on someone's account. If any of these take a sudden turn for the worst, it's time to throw your thinking cap on.
19 Subtly Shifting His Phone Away While Texting Is A Bad Sign
We've all been there and experienced the awkward shifty text. Everything will be fine (or so you think) while the two of you are watching a movie, and suddenly his phone will go off and he'll make a drastic shift in position. It could just be that he's a private person and comes from a history of nosy dates, but it could be much more than that.
We don't advocate for anyone to share every part of their personal life with their significant other or share the contents of their phone, but such an intentional motion suggests a bit more. Rather than go through his phone when he's not looking, a simple conversation about why it happened might be a good place to start.
18 Walking Out Of The Room To Make Phone Calls Is A Flag
Sometimes, it's just a polite gesture that leads to this action. If he has friends over, the place is a bit loud, and it's an important phone call, there's no harm there. However, if it's just the two of you, at home, with no distractions or loud noises, then it's a bit odd to completely leave the room.
Work calls are different, obviously, but making a personal call should be no big deal—right? Similarly to shifting away while texting or messaging someone, this can definitely be red flag territory if you're with someone who's generally pretty open about his social life.
17 Acting Vague About His Plans Is Red-Flag Behavior
This is usually what happens just before he appears in someone else's tag or photo. Being vague about plans—and we mean not even giving you a hint—means one of two things: either he's crazy private with his personal life—which isn't the best quality—or he's avoiding something.
Regardless of whether he thinks you'll get mad at the thought of him hanging out with someone else, it's still so important to be open and honest about what the two of you do while apart. He doesn't need to give you a detailed itinerary but in a committed relationship? Giving a heads up about who he'll be with is a solid courtesy.
16 His Friend List Is Growing Exponentially With Other Girls
Another beautiful thing about social media is that it provides us access to virtual life in addition to real life. It has been responsible for many a flubbed relationship and faux pas, which is probably why so many in our generation are beginning to shy away from it.
It's fairly easy to see who a person becomes friends with and while there's absolutely nothing wrong with your guy having tons of girl (space) friends, it does become an issue if there's secrecy about it. A whole range of new girls popping up on your guy's social media might be a red flag if it's out of character or extremely sudden.
15 If He's Hitting Up His Single Friends Again, It's Time To Move
There's a simple way to avoid making this mistake: just don't do it. It should be common knowledge that if you're in a relationship, there should be no co-mingling that could result in a serious scandal. We should differentiate, though.
Having friends of the opposite gender who are single isn't the issue—the issue arises when your partner suddenly has an urge to spend time with them, is vague about it, and spends a decent amount of time with them. Best friends should obviously be excluded from this list, but everyone else? It could definitely be a cause for concern so pay attention.
14 Changing The Subject When Future Plans Come Up Might Be A Sign
The dart-and-dodge, as we like to call it. This happens often in relationships that are just starting out and it's completely normal... Not everyone is ready to commit immediately. However, if it happens in relationships that have had the ball rolling for some time, it's definitely a red flag.
Your partner should want to spend time with you and look forward to personal trips and vacations, not shy away from them and become vague and interested. Either he's really not keen on traveling, or he's really not keen on traveling with you, specifically. Either way, it's not a positive sign.
13 A Sudden Lock On His Phone Might Mean More Than An iOS Update
While it's true that many of the iOS updates come with the mandatory setting of a password, this can easily be reverted in settings in a matter of seconds. If he never had a lock on his phone throughout the beginning of your relationship and suddenly has one now, that could be a red flag.
Sudden locks are usually the beginning of a cautionary tale because not only are they ensuring that you don't see anything, but they're ensuring that you couldn't even if you tried. Some people just feel safer with phone locks on and that's totally fair, but if he's also shying away from you while sending texts or checking his phone out of your eyesight line, start rethinking what's on that device.
12 Deleting Message History Is A Centuries-Old Hack
I was with someone who was once just a serial message-deleter. While initially, it was a bit concerning, I learned after bringing it up that he just thoroughly enjoyed having a phone free of old messages. In that instance, it turned out to be less of a deal than I made it.
Unfortunately, this could be a bigger issue in a relationship if you're with someone who's deleting them out of guilt or paranoia rather than for personal, OCD-type reasons. If he's deleting his browser history, too, then that's definitely something sketchy that goes beyond the normal limits of a clean phone.
11 If His Friends Become Antsy Around You, They Could Be Hiding Something
They say that you can tell plenty about a person based on those he chooses to spend time with. This is, more often than not, true. If his friends undergo sudden behavior changes around you then chances are, something is up. People don't just change overnight because life isn't a fairy tale movie where magic happens.
If you notice distinct personality changes, nervous behavior, and that they suddenly begin avoiding you, this could be your sign that something is up in the friend group. If something is up in the friend group, then chances are that something is up with your partner.
10 His Family Doesn't Reach Out Like They Once Did
This is especially important to pay attention to if your partner is close to his family. If they stop reaching out and you notice a bit of distance between you and him, something definitely isn't right. It's always important to follow your gut instinct because more often than not, it's trying to tell you something that your head doesn't want to hear.
Family relationships often transcend a relationship even after it has ended, so if they're giving you the cold shoulder—intentionally or not—it's best to bring it up with your partner. It could just be a misunderstanding, which would obviously be the best-case scenario.
9 Texts Become Further And Further Apart, Along With Zero Calls
It happens, and sometimes no one is really to blame. Couples grow distant and grow apart and this usually happens gradually, over time. If it happens suddenly and without explanation, that's obviously a sign and it's obviously not a good one. Placing distance between you and himself is never a good thing, especially if the relationship has well-evolved past the beginning stages.
Giving into this without discussing it will only result in one partner clinging to what was, while one moves on without any intention of acknowledging the problem at hand. In today's digital age, a drop-off in texts and phone calls is definitely noticeable and intentional.
8 He Stops Asking How You Are And Stops Caring
Something as simple as asking how you are can be a major sign when it comes to how a relationship is doing overall. Guys will be guys, of course, but that doesn't mean they just stop caring altogether—it just means that they're a bit behind sometimes.
They won't always shower us with affection (as much as we wish it were true!), but there is absolutely a difference between being absent-minded and slowly losing feelings for someone. If your guy normally wears his heart on his sleeve, then it won't be tough to tell when he begins to shy away a bit.
7 During Dates, He's Distracted And Somewhere Else
It could be that something is bothering him at work or a family member is annoying him, but if it happens repeatedly, there's something else going on in that mind of his. Guys are famous for being distracted at the worst times but this shouldn't be the case every time the two of you sit down to dinner together.
His distracted ways might be temporary, but they could also be a woeful sign that he's simply not happy in the relationship. We often escape mentally long before we escape a situation physically, and this could be exactly what he's going through.
6 Constantly Checking His Phone Is A Sign Something Is Up
We thrive on social media as millennials and while it's not always a bad thing, it does mean that we can't help but check our phones 80 times a day. If checking his phone is a signature move for your partner then you likely have nothing to worry about.
However, if he suddenly starts checking it more and isn't waiting on anything like a job offer or emergency communication, then something is up. Checking his phone could be a way of making boredom pass or waiting to hear from someone else. Either way, we're throwing the flag down on this one.
5 He's Liking Posts And Photos From Other Girls
Obviously, if someone is loyal to their partner in real life, then they should be loyal to them in their virtual life, too. It's way too easy these days to double-tap the screen and send a relationship status into chaos. In the old days of FB, for those who remember it, there was a time where you could go to anyone's profile page and see all of their recent activity.
Now, social media sites work via algorithms that display common friends, likes and comments—thus making it much easier to determine what your sweetie has been up to. It likely goes without saying that being all over another's girls social media is forbidden territory.
4 When 'Working Late' Becomes A Fib Rather Than An Excuse
We've seen this in all the movies with the biggest scandals... A guy rings home, says he's having a late night at the office, and gets away with the bad deed. In all likelihood, most of the time a 'late night' really does mean a late night. After all, everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
If you do have fair reason to presume that his late nights include a second late-night person then perhaps this is reason enough to assume the worst. A late night could be anything from a class running late to not paying attention to the time; dishonesty masquerades in the slyest of cloaks.
3 If He Gets Defensive For No Reason, Be Assured There Is A Reason
Defense truly only serves its purpose when it comes to sporting events. It should have no place in a relationship because one partner should never attack the other to the point where they need to be 'defensive.'
But none of us are perfect and sometimes, it just happens. The concern bubbles up when one partner becomes defensive for seemingly no good reason as this might allude to something just under the surface. From that point on, it's only a matter of time until the real truths come to breathe, and unlike an episode of Pretty Little Liars, this one is personal.
2 Giving In Too Easily During Spats Could Be His Excuse To Break Up
Bad boyfriends: we've all had one, am I right? I distinctly remember a time when someone I dated would intentionally cause fights and escalate them—press my buttons—just to pull the, "you know what, I can't do this anymore... we need to break up" card. It's beyond me why he stole a year of my personal time but maybe if I had realized what was happening, I'd have that time back.
Either way, giving in too easily is bad news. It says a lot about whether a guy chooses to fight for his girl even if that means bickering a bit to get past an issue. 'Fight or flight' is not a relationship status.
1 Social Media Tags Always Give Away The Truth
Last but certainly not least, we're back to good ol' social media. You can literally tag anyone in anything now and unless it's purely accidental that your lovebug showed up in ten pictures with another girl, it's likely something to raise a flag about.
Tagging is done based on a person's facial recognition now so there's a good chance your guy might not even know he's been pinned in the wrong place at the wrong time. Screenshotting is your best friend in this case—as is social media and all of its stealthy algorithms. To bring it up or not to bring it up... That is the question.