When you've just started dating someone and your body is running high on crush vibes, it's easy to overlook tiny things that might otherwise ring as red flag behavior. Maybe he's never had a relationship last longer than a few months, or maybe he's super weird about having you over to his place. You tell yourself he probably just lives super far away and doesn't want to inconvenience you, but fast-forward a few months and suddenly it hits you that he's married with kids and his wife is a perfect lifestyle blogger whose recipes you've definitely seen on Pinterest. Or whatever.
The point is, we've all been there. Here are eight real stories from women about the biggest red flags they've ever overlooked.
- "He verbatim told me 'you are going to hate me one day' via text the morning after our first date in the middle of a very pleasant and flirtatious text conversation. It was out of nowhere. After hanging out with him for a month, he turned out to be right. A week after we broke up, he called me to say we should just be friends. It was like he was trying to one-up me for dumping him? He would also brag about how young his female weed dealers were. It was so gross. Goodbye, so cancelled." —Martha G., 32
- "One guy told me his favorite movie was American Psycho and that 'embezzlement' was his favorite word. American Psycho is a movie about greed, objectification, and violence against women. It’s a masterful film, but it also gave me nightmares after I saw it. Lionizing Patrick Bateman like he did foreshadowed his own misogyny and disrespect of my needs and well-being, and his obsession with buying expensive products. It did not end well." —Ella D., 26
- "My college boyfriend told me that the sandals I was wearing out to get burgers were too sexual. They were flat, red sandals from Gap. He got really quiet and weird, and told me my outfit was attracting too much attention from the men inside. That was terrible in itself, but just the fact that he said, 'and your sandals, even those are too sexual' was such a specific red flag. It was the first time he had ever said anything like that, and unfortunately, it kicked off almost two years of being with a very controlling, manipulative jerk. 'Sexual sandals,' I should have hopped out of the car and ran!" —Kelsey L., 28
- "He went to a tiny college where a few of my friends who also went there only knew him on campus as ‘the guy that cheated on his girlfriend.’ After he cheated on his previous girlfriend, he asked me out, only to disappear for a year. After reconnecting, we finally went out, but he spent most of our date swiping on Tinder." —Mary E., 25
- "My ex refused to make any acknowledgement about me on social media, and would get irritated if I ever posted about him. I thought it was odd, since he was active on social media, but I brushed it off as him being 'above' all that. I later found out (while he was abroad) that he was actively seeking out other women and didn’t tell good friends about the extent of our relationship (after almost a year!!). He admitted that social presence had a lot to do with that because he didn’t want anyone to think 'he was doing anything wrong' based on what they saw on social media." —Suzanne G., 21
- "My now-ex made me delete everyone I had slept with on Facebook. He even went onto my account and deleted a guy friend of mine himself. He also would regularly go through my phone. He justified it by saying he always found something suspicious. This was within the first couple months of dating. There were so many red flags I ignored, which now I regret! It’s embarrassing to me now but at the time I guess I thought it was normal." —Charlotte B., 26
- "His mom was always texting me to gossip about his brother’s girlfriend. I took it as a sign that she trusted me and we were really close. I thought it was cool that his mom was so friendly to me and treated me like a BFF. Later, it turned out that it was because she loved inserting herself into her sons' relationships and that it was a way for her to keep me close and drive a wedge between us." —Morgan C., 25
- "He lived at home with his parents and they paid for everything. When I asked him why he didn’t have a job, he said that his parents wanted him to focus on his music. Except I dated him for over a year and no album ever happened. His parents were so enabling and I just looked right over it since everyone else in his family thought it was acceptable. From then on, I learned to look out for the way a son treats his mom and the way a mom treats her son." —Elizabeth G., 25