Red flags: we all have them. At the end of the day, nobody’s perfect—but have you ever stopped to wonder what might cause your dates to bolt?
Maybe it’s a quirky habit, maybe it’s a fear of commitment. Either way, knowledge is power. Learn more about your own red flag, and maybe you can improve on it over time (or at least find a way to hide it better!). To find out your #1 dating red flag, take our quiz!
- Admire myself in the mirror. Confidence is key!
- Get some extra work done. The grind never stops.
- Look at all of my unread texts, then toss my phone aside. They can wait.
- Facetime my best friend, ASAP.
- Fire (Aries, Sagittarius, Leo)
- Earth (Capricorn, Taurus, Virgo)
- Air (Aquarius, Libra, Gemini)
- Water (Scorpio, Pisces, Cancer)
- How amazing I’ll look in that outfit I just bought.
- Free time? What’s that?
- The solo trip I’m planning for next summer.
- My fabulous, jam-packed social calendar.
- Something awesome and smart—maybe a dolphin?
- Husky. They never give up.
- Maybe a bear. They spend their lives chillin’ solo.
- A meerkat. Those little guys are always looking out for one another.
- I rock whatever I wear. I’ll probably start a coffee-stain trend or something.
- I dump my drink on them. It’s only fair.
- Keep walking. I have a spare shirt at work. It pays to be self-sufficient!
- Apologize and ask for their number. Maybe we’ll become friends!
- My date serenades me at a surprise party thrown in my honor—it's perfect!
- We’re at a work event. My date helps me schmooze my boss so I get the big promotion.
- Dream date? Can I just go on an adventure by myself?
- We spend a whole weekend together in a cabin, attached at the hip.
- Snow White. Fairest of them all sounds just about right…
- Hmm…maybe Scar because he goes after what he wants. Is…is that bad?
- Mulan. She’s strong and independent.
- Cinderella. She’s always surrounded by her little mouse and bird friends.
- Amazing, inside and out. Duh.
- They’d say I’m a hard worker.
- They might call me a free spirit.
- They’d say that I’m always there when they need me.
- I’d want to be able to clone myself, so I could hang out with me.
- Super smarts, obviously.
- The power to talk to animals.
- They’re holding a huge diamond—I can see my reflection in its shine!
- I’m busy, so they keep it quick. “Will you marry me?” Boom, done.
- Either way, the answer is no. Don’t they know we’re just friends?
- They pull out the ring and promise to never, ever leave my side.
- Modeling, rocket science…it’d be harder to come up with a job that I wouldn’t be good at.
- World domination. Or, uh, I mean…CEO.
- Park ranger.
- Anything HR. I just want to help people!
- Give myself some much-needed self-care. Face mask, anyone?
- Look over my vision board. Again.
- Cancel the plans I’d made for later tonight.
- Send super sweet goodnight texts to a group of my 5 closest friends!
Red Flag or No Big Deal? Spot the Warning Signs.
Everyone has bad days, and we don’t always act exactly as we’d like to in relationships. But there’s a big difference between a bad day and genuine warning signs in your relationship. Forgiveness and flexibility are keys to creating a healthy partnership, but when your relationship is consistently toxic or damaging, that might mean it’s time to end things. Learn to look out for these relationship red flags:
Controlling Behavior: When your partner wants to dictate who you talk to, what you do, and where you go, they don’t have your best interest at heart. A loving partner will prioritize your happiness, not your obedience.
Narcissism: When you’re dating a narcissist, nothing is ever really about you—it’s always about them. Their own sense of grandeur will always come before your health and happiness, and you may feel confused, demonized, misunderstood, and alone.
Abuse: Emotional, physical, and sexual abuse are all automatic dealbreakers, and if you ever feel unsafe, you should leave your relationship immediately. Find helpful resources here and be sure to reach out to a loved one who you trust.
Substance Abuse: When someone is dealing with substance abuse, it can lead to toxic behavior, dangerous situations, and other mental health issues. When you’re dating someone who struggles with substance abuse, you may feel immense stress and pressure. If you know someone who’s suffering from addiction, offer them resources that can help. If you’re dating an addict, get perspective and support from people you trust.
Gaslighting: If your partner is gaslighting you, this means that they lie, mislead, or purposely confuse you about things that have clearly occurred. This often shows up as them telling you that you’ve misheard them, that things that happened didn’t actually happen, or that you’re overreacting. Gaslighters make their victims feel guilty or out of touch with reality. Their relationships are about power, not love and respect.
Isolation: In a controlling relationship, one partner may attempt to drive a wedge between their partner and their partner’s loved ones. This is a warning sign of abuse. In a loving relationship, your partner should want you to be happy—meaning they should support your closest relationships rather than undermine them.
Love Bombing: When your partner is ultra-romantic and gushy right from the get-go, it might feel flattering. But in reality, if someone is showering you with love when they hardly know you, it could be a sign that they aren’t interested in a genuine connection. Instead, they may be more interested in gaining your affection—and in turn, gaining control over you.
Codependency: Happy, healthy partners will love and support one another equally. But if you begin to feel like you’ve been swallowed up by your relationship, that could be a sign that you’re in a codependent partnership. It might feel like self-care and seeing friends has become selfish, and your whole life now revolves around your partner.
Anger Issues: If your partner can’t control themselves during conflict, it can seriously harm your relationship—and even your own sense of safety. If you can’t discuss your issues without fearing they’ll fly off the handle, that’s a sign that your relationship is toxic. Reach out to a loved one for help or discover more resources here.
Want to learn more?
Worried that your own “red flag” might actually be abusive or toxic behavior? By recognizing that, you’re taking an important first step. Read on for more help: