Whilst that thing we refer to as dating is for having fun and getting to know each other, it is also the key period where you are looking out for the red flags that will later catch you with your pants down and infuriate the hell out of you. People have a nasty habit of wearing rose tinted glasses when they date someone and witness various red flags which they fail to acknowledge and act upon. If we want to have more successful relationships and minimise some of the pain we suffer in pursuit of love, we must learn to be more aware and pay attention to the red flags that ALWAYS get raised in those first few dates.

I say always because even though we all make a massive effort when we first meet someone, we can’t help but slip into our natural selves within the first few dates, plus we can’t control situations and life, which means we get put to the test and inadvertently reveal our true selves.

What is a red flag?

This is something that the party does which flags a potential problem either then or further down the line. Often ‘red flags’ are a character trait, for example aggression, and at other times it’s a fundamental core difference in values or something that is extremely important to you, that you really shouldn’t ignore. Red flags can and often will deal a fatal blow to the relationship. Ignoring these gives the person a lifeline to expand upon these red flags and the damage that can be dealt with this lifeline may have long lasting
The key with a red flag is that whatever it is, it’s something that alerts you to other potential issues or that normally you would be wary or not accepting of. They are normally things that you don’t want to compromise on.
We ignore red flags because:

– We’ve already slept with them and are already in the justifying zone, that place we go to where we keep finding reasons to stay with the person to justify sleeping with them.
– We want a relationship more than we want the right person.
– We’re insecure.
– We’re blinded by lust and desire.
– We have I can change him syndrome.

In your mind as part of the natural process of life and certainly because you want to have a decent mate to have a relationship with, there should be certain predefined things that you know that you will not accept, regardless of how fabulous he is, or that will cause you to pause things and question the problem to clear up the red flag. Our inability to ask the right questions or even ask any questions at all is the very thing that is coming back to bite us further down when the person is acting out these behaviours and we feel bewildered.
Red flags:

Anger and aggression
If he has trouble keeping it in check, he’s irrational, violent, and a bit too handy with his fists, be careful that you don’t end up being a human punchbag or being emotionally abused.

Emotionally unavailable

Something that a lot of women are all too familiar with on this site. These are men that are extremely self absorbed and are incapable of sharing anything of themselves emotionally.

Dodgy attitude towards sex

Pay attention to guys who don’t know what to do with themselves if they don’t get their ‘medicine’. Some of these will never be satisfied. Also unhealthy attitudes in the bedroom do spill over into other areas of your life and will leave you feeling very insecure.

Is he incapable of doing much for himself because he’s a mummy’s boy? Is he irresponsible with life in general – bills, rent, job and borrows money off you? Is he reckless?

Addicted to something
If you meet someone and they are addicted to something and not aware of it and doing something about it, this will impact on your life greatly if you continue on.

The Controller
Run like the wind from a man that wants to control you. It won’t let up and the longer you’re with them, the more entrenched he becomes in your life, is the worse he will become. Watch your self esteem walk out the door.

They play victim
Be careful of anybody that refuses to take any responsibility for their life and blames it on others. You will eventually become one of those ‘others’. People who play the victim and refuse to see their own part to play in things make dubious partners.

Not over the ex

Not over the ex, not ready for you. Plain and simple.

Problems with past/childhood
Unfortunately things happen in life and it can be difficult getting over things and dealing with them. Some things have a very lasting effect on people and can impact hugely on future relationships. They of course can be overcome, but failure to acknowledge these issues in the first place and openly deal with them will cause big problems.

Nasty and spiteful

I am always wary of people who don’t have a good thing to say about anyone and begrudge people their success and revel in their failures. I don’t think it’s the fabric of a good strong character and it’s something to keep an eye on. Mean spirited people don’t stop being so in a relationship and may attack your self esteem by latching on to what they think are flaws in you.

Now how much of a blow these red flags deal to your relationship is down to you. You must decide on what is and isn’t acceptable and stick to it, and of course follow your gut. One of the things that allows people with some of these red flags to ‘prosper’ and to continue as normal is acceptance of the behaviour as is, with rarely any questions asked. If you have someone with any of the above, raise the issue with them, or if it’s serious enough, bail out and don’t look back.
My new eBook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl is now available to buy as an instant download. Find out more

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30 Responses to Knowing When To Bail Out – Red Flags

  1. […] it is and whether it has been dealt with but as a general rule I advise people to steer clear of obvious red flag behaviour. That said, you don’t need a reference from a man’s previous girlfriends because it is down to […]

  2. […] know your red flags Know how to spot emotionally unavailable men Understand the hallmarks of how a relationship should […]

  3. […] overdone keeping your options open and suggest you close up shop for a while…. You are ignoring red flags, you’re ignoring your gut, and you’re ignoring common sense. Unless you want to play […]

  4. […] often get asked what the danger signals are with men and I point out the key ones in my post on red flags (print and keep if you are drawn to assclowns) and how to spot emotionally unavailable men (print […]

  5. Marie Sanders says:

    I have been alone for 16 years and recently I was dealing with aot of family problems(mother was extremely ill). Normally, I don’t deal with men who are emotional unavailable, due to being hurt very badly by one mentally and emotionally years ago and ended up with a son. It took me years to get strong and to know what I want and need from a partner. But, at the time of the emotional crisis in my life I let one end. I knew what he was and I knew that I could due better but I got involve. Love me, love me, I begged and he loves it. Anyway I’m tired and I really don’t need to be with him he is dangerous for me. So I am going to change my number and move on. I have not gotten into calling him alot but the moment I try to break off he will call me. So I’ve decided to end it by changing my number and during that periond working on me again. Why did I get involve this long with this guy? We have nothing in common and we would have never have met if this crisis had not happen. Why I cam’t feel mad because I knew his type (red flags painted the sky!!!} and I still gave him a chance. I need to change my number because if I dont he will work on me emotionally. I like him but his behavior I hate so I am walking away but for carry the feelings and emotions of hating a person. I need a positive, nuturing relationship and he can’t give me that. He is more needy than I thought he though he is trying very hard to make me feel needy. He can not maintain a friendship because he is not honest, trustworthy, and dependable etc….I don’t have anything to say to him because its crazy going over over something that not interest in changing. I am not his therapist and he is driving me into needing one. I bailing out, too bad for him I had alot to offer in a relationship but he does not appreciate me. I need to work on being kind to me now, how can I avoid this mistake again?

  6. ARulesGirl2theEnd says:

    Hi Marie,

    By never, NEVER, ignoring red flags again. They are you values and come from your gut. I to ignored the most blatant red flags once, and did I pay? in dividends. But fromt hat massacare of a relationship, I learnt about myself and that some people have to many and some such huge issues we as women cannot help. Remember we are their girlfriends not therapists. Im not heartless in any way shape or form, I truly understand people have baggage and why. However its not our job to sort everyone out. You can show them the way by example, not spending hours playing life coach. If they dont get it. Its time to go. For your own sake.

  7. […] don’t just welcome people back into your life with none or very little questions, or ignore red flags; you’ll see the wood for the trees and process that information to see if it sits well with […]

  8. gina says:

    I’m proud of myself that I did listen to my gut when I went out on a date 6 months ago (this was after I was conscious of not choosing healthy partners) … On his dating profile, he had “NO” next to drinking, but when I did a little background search online to see if he was on any other website, on the other profile it said “SOCIALLY”… I initially didn’t mind he didn’t drink, especially since I decided it wasn’t the best thing for me and gave up drinking because of drinking problems (nothing too major but enough to stop because of bad situations I got me into with dating/social/etc)… We get to the restaurant and he orders a drink, so I ask “On your dating profile it says you don’t drink”… and he swept it under the rug “you know how I said I filled the profile out so quickly”… I go “is it maybe because you were contimplating on whether not to drink… and he admitted he did have a problem with it (but apparently thinks he has a handle on it) but then continued to complain on the date, with other flags which indicated he was not emotionally available. I suppose when I first met him for coffee and he asked me how much I pay in rent, that should of indicated something… but wasn’t a major flag and just stood my boundaries.

  9. Astelle says:

    Gina, what was he complaining about? Also, how did you find him on other dating sites, did he have pictures posted?

  10. […] expectation that all men behave in this way, many women have misguidedly failed to recognise the major red flags in their men when they are in the early stages of dating […]

  11. […] is why it’s important to have boundaries, to recognise red flags, to be action focused rather than word focused, and to ensure that you don’t keep flogging at […]

  12. […] feel for these men, because you don’t get real which also means you don’t see them, the red flags, and the potential crossing of […]

  13. […] sure you are aware of the implications of red flags in relationships and having little or no […]

  14. […] For instance, I consistently hear from readers about how they are struggling with the anger they feel after they’ve broken up with someone or have started No Contact. It may be towards themselves because they feel they coulda, woulda, shoulda done things differently, or it may be that even after a few months, just thinking about or seeing their ex triggers a very angry feeling. They then feel guilty that they’re angry or still angry and wonder about how to deal with the anger or control it. Often the anger is driven by recognition of poor judgement and a disbelief that they could ignore glaring red flags. […]

  15. […] there is copper and you bet on potential, cling to illusions, and don’t process things like red flags to ensure that your feet are firmly in reality, online dating will just add to your virtual reality […]

  16. […] your bases covered and know what your boundaries are, be aware of red flags, and focus on feeling good in a relationship for the right reasons – i.e you’re being […]

  17. […] naked. The person is wrong for you. It’s likely to be a mix of boundary crossing, blatant red flags, a fundamental inability to meet one another’s needs (or you meet theirs but they don’t […]

  18. […] Are there any major red flags in this relationship? If you are dealing with someone who is abusive, or has an addiction, […]

  19. JJ2 says:

    I posted this in another section of the blog, but I will post it here, too.

    If you tell him that you “like” something, he immediately stops doing it, or makes sure that he never starts doing it if he hasn’t already. (This could happen both in sex or non-sex scenarios.) My EUM did this. This was SO ODD to me. He did this both in sex, and non sex stuff. I couldn’t figure it out.

    Also, the “red flags” may be there, but you don’t have experience with them, and, thus, don’t recognize the red flags. For me, the “if I like it, he stopped doing it” was definitely a “red flag” but I had never encountered this before.

    Also, my EUM asked me to move in with him after two months. The “Red flag” (which I did recognize, but ignored it) was that during the two months, we had never spent 24 hours together, or even a weekend together. RED FLAG.

  20. Anna says:

    I have recently been involved with someone who wasn’t over his ex. Well, it wasn’t quite his ex but it turned out after me seeing constant messages between him and this girl on facebook, i asked him who it was and he said he still had feelings for her but that nothing had happened.

    Anyway, that all ended after me still pursuing him regardless of knowing he was an EUM and finally got over it.

    Now i am in the situation of knowing that i continuously go after the same types, but finding it hard to break the habit and start focusing on me first and getting my self esteem in order so i am able to find a decent partner in the future.

    I have recently gotten back in contact with a guy who i was seeing for a little while on and off a few years ago. At the time he was telling me he was afraid of commitment but did really like me, but couldn’t be in a relationship. I finally told him one day that it wasn’t good enough and if you like someone then commitment issues or not, you want to be with them and make it work. So i didn’t contact him after that and then i found out about 2 weeks later he had met someone and she became his g/f for the next 3 years.

    Now they have broken up, and he wants to catch up and see me. But, trusting my instincts i know that this could be just going back to the same old situatuon i have been in too many times now, but yet i feel like i am still going to do it anyway. We haven’t met up yet but he has given me his number and has said via IM for me not to expect him to be more mature than what he was before, if anything he is less mature. So…obviously this is a red flag which i am either going to shove aside and say to myself, “yeah i’m going to see him anyway and something might develop” or say to myself, “i’ve had enough of this and don’t have the energy to go through this crap again”!

    I tell myself that i will just “catch up” with him, see how he’s going etc, but really who am i kidding. Only myself, because him and i both know we are not just going to sit there talking and asking how each other has been over the last few years.

    Plus, he still talks to his ex, so if i really look at the situation, what the hell am i thinking and why am i even still considering seeing him? Is it because i am emotionally unavailable too and am not yet ready to expect more for myself and wait for someone who actually wants to be with me too?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated!

  21. JJ says:

    Run Anna Run!! No you should not consider him cause you would be non other than a Rebound or Fall Back Girl… You couldn’t possibly want to be that because I am sure you are worth much more than you are allowing yourself to settle for…

  22. […] where there is one boundary crossing/red flag, there are others, so someone can be physically abusive, cheating, drinking, stealing – […]

  23. […] naked. The person is wrong for you. It’s likely to be a mix of boundary crossing, blatant red flags, a fundamental inability to meet one another’s needs (or you meet theirs but they don’t […]

  24. […] boundaries, values, awareness of red flags, and recognise when it is time to fold on a bad relationship investment instead of continuing to […]

  25. […] tinted glasses removed, plus use of instincts, gut, judgement and awareness of your boundaries, red flags, and matching actions with words, you have all the answers – you just need to process the […]

  26. […] to have and the direction in which you intend to go, you’ll register that information as a red flag – you’ve either got to ask more questions, make a judgement call on the situation, and […]

  27. […] you are not able to answer these questions or the answers throw up red flags, you either need to ask more questions and get the clarification and answers you need, or […]

  28. […] often than not, are revealed in the early stages of the relationship, but if we are not aware about red flags, boundaries, and values, we miss key signals that we need to adjust our perceptions and check that […]

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.