8 Red Flags to Look Out for When Dating

Published on: 12 Jul 2018
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We’ve probably all experienced — and ignored — red flags while dating. It’s so easy to get swept up in the novelty and excitement of seeing someone new that we’re blind to the not-so-great things going on.

It’s one thing if you’re just looking for someone to casually hook up with — but if you want a real relationship, if you want things to get serious and take things to the next level, you need to be willing to take a step back, wipe the hearts out of your eyes, and get real.

Here are 8 red flags you should look out for if you’re trying to make something blossom into a serious relationship.

1. They’ll Only Hang Out With You in the Late Night Hours

This is almost always a dead giveaway that the person is only interested in one thing: sex. The later those “you up?” texts roll in, the worse the situation is. If someone wants to be serious with you, they’ll want to hang out no matter what time of day it is…and booty calls will probably be minimal.

2. You’re Catching Them in Lies

If you’re catching someone in lies time and time again — or even just once — you’ve got to stop and wonder how honest this person is. What else is this person lying about? If they’re lying about one thing, it’s likely they’re lying about another. Relationships are built on trust, and fibbing in the beginning of a relationship is certainly cause for concern.

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3. They’re Always on Their Phone Around You

I get it — phone addiction is alive and well. But someone who cares about you should be able to put their phone away and be present if they’re having one-on-one time with you. If they can’t give you their undivided attention for a short period of time while you’re hanging out, what does that say about them in the long run? It should be an extra-large red flag if they take forever to call or text you back, but when you’re with them, all they do is text or make calls. Rude!

4. Extreme Jealousy From the Start

Having someone feeling a little jealous and protective of you can be flattering, but exhibiting extreme jealousy — especially very early on — can be alarming and a cause for concern. As time goes on and the person becomes more and more attached to you, will their jealousy issue become worse? Jealousy often leads to fights and can even be bad for your mental health, so you’ll want to proceed with caution.

5. Constantly Bringing Up or Smack-talking Their Ex

This is one of the most annoying and awkward red flags in my opinion. Sure, people go through rough relationships and may want to vent about them when the time is right for being vulnerable, but the constant bashing of exes or calling exes crazy reflects more poorly on the person doing the bashing. It makes you think — if and when things end with you and this person, what are they gonna tell their new partners about you?

6. Being Flaky

Bailing on plans last minute is not cool — period. If someone can’t respect your time in the beginning of a relationship, how can you know if they ever will? Some people are flaky by nature, and if that’s something you can’t deal with, it’s not something you can make the other person “fix.” If you’re getting stood up without warning or notice, this person is not for you. Your partner should value and appreciate your time.

7. Not Respecting Your Boundaries

Everyone has boundaries, and boundaries are meant to be respected. A partner should never force you to do things that make you feel very uncomfortable — and should always ask before proceeding with something questionable. This is especially true if someone is not respecting your sexual boundaries or needs. Consent is crucial!

8. Being in a “Secret” Relationship

If it’s been a while and you feel like you’re in a secret relationship, it’s time to have a talk with your partner. They don’t have to be posting cute couple photos on Instagram everyday, but if they are hesitant about “making it Facebook official” that’s a red flag. Are they hiding you from somebody else they are seeing? Are they not ready to fully commit to you? It’s hard to avoid jumping to the worst case scenarios, so you should have an open conversation about this, voicing your concerns.

Your Happiness and Mental Health Come First

Now, this isn’t all to say that you should ditch someone as soon as they exhibit one of these red flags. After all, nobody’s perfect. Decide what are the most important factors are in a relationship to you, and decide what your deal breakers are.

Be aware of your partner’s behaviors, actions, and how they treat you. Look at the situation objectively, trying to put feelings aside. Yes, the heart wants what it wants, but we also need to be rational when it comes to forming a healthy relationship and staying mentally well — which should be our top priority!

Talkspace articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors; they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts (therapists and psychiatrists of various specialties) to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.

Our goal at Talkspace is to provide the most up-to-date, valuable, and objective information on mental health-related topics in order to help readers make informed decisions.

Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to in the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.

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