You know what I’m talking about: relationship red flags. Like when he answers his phone on the first date because his mommy is calling, or when he mentions he has a little bit of a gambling problem. Maybe it’s when he shows up an hour late (and a little high) to meet your mother and grandmother for the first time or when he tells you he’s not all that employed. Whatever it was that made you stop your fork halfway between your plate and your gaping, disbelieving mouth, it didn’t stop you, did it? No, you threw caution and logic to the wind and agreed to one, two, maybe 100 more dates before that big red flag turned into a full-on dealbreaker.
With a few sweeping generalizations, we’ve made you a list of what to watch out for:
This charmer has no problems talking about his past relationships. In fact, he can’t stop talking about them. All of them. You see, he’s had the worst of luck with dating. Every woman who has crossed his path can only be described in a series of words I still don’t feel comfortable saying in front of my mother. After high school, most adult relationships should end amicably, if not indifferently. If he hates every girl he’s ever dated, it’s easy to find the common denominator (way easier than it was in 3rd grade).
Let’s not confuse this with boyish charm. No, a guy with rumpled hair, dimples and a little bit of haplessness is still going to make me so nervous I choke on an ice cube or start repeating myself when we’re talking. The man-child, while initially charming, is bad news. The specimen can be identified by the following characteristics:
¢ Habitat: The man-child eschews comforts like furniture and cleaning products. He has one towel, a threadbare scrap likely swiped from a Holiday Inn during Spring Break 1999. His apartment isn’t sparse, it’s mangy. Be on the lookout for multiple video game consoles, a hand-me-down couch that’s been handed down one too many times, and a bare mattress in the middle of his bedroom floor.
¢ Demeanor: The man-child can often be heard uttering the following:
Look, it’s not my fault my phone doesn’t work, I just forgot to pay the bill like two months in a row and suddenly it’s off, just like that, can you believe those a-holes?
I only screamed at the cab driver because the guy was being a total dick about using a credit card, did you not notice that?
Babe, totally broke right now. Can you pay for dinner? I’ll get you back next week.
¢ Appearance:The man-child doesn’t know his neck size, has never purchased clothing for himself, and is always dressed for a playdate. He is easily identified by his omnipresent hoodie and the pants he’s so proud to have found on the street that one day.
The d-bag is a shapeshifter who knows many forms. Sometimes, he’s the guy who knows more about everything than you do, whatever the topic may be. Even if it’s periods and tampons, he is the world’s foremost expert and nothing you say will measure up to his level of insights. Sometimes, he’s the guy who wants to run down a list of his accomplishments on a first date, just so you’re aware that you are currently on a date with a former Prom King. Sometimes, he’s the guy who is already in a relationship but, you know, thinks you’re really interesting and would like to take you out and drink alcohol with you and kiss you in public. Sometimes, he’s the guy who takes you on a magical first date and then doesn’t text you until 4am two weeks later. Sometimes, he’s the guy who lets you know how much the final bill is before he pays for dinner, just so you know he really took you to the finest Applebee’s that money can buy. If you fought the urge to punch him in the face on your first date, you’ll be fighting it forever.
Aw, man. This guy is such a sad sack you feel bad about counting him out. Maybe it’s the way he agrees with everything you say, or the way his posture makes it look like he is literally melting into himself. Maybe it’s the way he carefully begins to take on all of your interests, slowly but surely becoming a male version of you after just a few dates. Make no mistake, a relationship with you will destroy this man. No matter how much you like being right all the time, you have to let that little baby bird try to fly with his weak little wings.
What were the warning signs that you ignored in your last dude?