Most people who've gone through a breakup will probably say that there were some not-so-great parts of the relationship they brushed aside because they really wanted everything to work out (*says this louder so 20-year-old me can hear*). While you can always learn from your past mistakes, sometimes knowing what to look out for in advance is just as useful. Here are some relationship warning signs that women regret ignoring:
- "My partner consistently told me he preferred life off the grid. He didn't want to be found, he didn't want me to mention him on social media, and he was always talking about his fantasy of picking up and leaving to go somewhere to travel. One night, I ended up locating his mother's Facebook page. I found out he had three children and an ‘ex’ wife who he never told me about for the entire year we were seeing each other. When you realize that you were with a relationship with someone who lied to you in such a big way, you question everything." —Maddy, 26
- "I was dating this guy in college, and one of the biggest red flags was how often he would jokingly make fun of my personal taste in style. He laughed at and called my favorite pair of jeans 'MC Hammer pants' when I wore them and hated dark red lipstick on me because it made me look 'scary.' I changed up a lot of what I wore or how I did my makeup around him just so I wouldn't have to hear little comments. I think I wore dark red lipstick for a week straight once we broke it off." —Arianne, 23
- "Every time I asked him if he would meet my parents, he would deflect it and talk about something else or his busy schedule. He always said there would be time down the road and not to rush it—but after six months, there was a growing pattern. We also never really met each other's friends. If someone hangs out with you, you want to be connected in their lives." —MaryEllen, 25
- "The first red flag was that he lied about his age. It took three dates for him to reveal that he was actually 10 years older than me. Then he would consistently get jealous about me having conversations with male colleagues. He gave me the silent treatment for a whole day because I got a ride home from my male co-worker. The distrust and insecurity should have been a sign—I ended up walking in on him having sex with another girl."—Jen, 25
- "I guess an obvious red flag should've been getting with him three months after he separated from his wife of five years and was forced to move back in with his parents. He wasn't sentimental about the divorce and was quick to place a title on what we were in order to stop me from dating other men. People will say whatever it takes to avoid the pain they're feeling. And 'meant to be' is something that happens once they've properly healed from their bullshit." —Katherine, 29
- "We were friends and starting to slowly like each other as more than that. There's nothing wrong with that, except he had a long-distance girlfriend at the time and gradually started to open up about the relationship in a negative way, saying he felt stuck in it or wished she was 'more ambitious like me.' Needless to say, after they broke up and we finally hooked up, it was only a matter of weeks before he ditched me, too. When he was with her, he kept hinting at us dating one day, and saying how much he liked me. When he was actually single and that was a real possibility now, he ghosted very quickly." —Diana, 23
- "We never really fought. He usually just caved in and agreed with whatever my complaints were, but never took real steps to change. I'm sure he had plenty of grievances in the relationship, but he was too much of a coward to bring them up or ever challenge me. Later on, I caught him texting other girls. It was easier for him to sneak around than try to make this relationship actually mean something, or, you know, break up." —Maggie, 24
- "I wish I'd known about gaslighting before it happened to me! When me and my ex began dating, I'd approach him with something that unsettled me and that conversation would shift immediately to why it wasn't his fault, or why the thing shouldn't have unsettled me in the first place. Everything was my fault, and nothing was ever his. I wish I'd known that my feelings are always valid and no one gets to tell me that I'm crazy, or to just be quiet." —Amanda, 27
- "We only saw each other one to two times a month because I lived an hour away. When I would reach out to him to make plans for a specific weekend and see if he had tentative plans with friends, he'd tell me he'd 'get back to me.' This led to consistent struggles when spending time together. I would come visit just to spend one-on-one time together, and when I showed up to our meeting spot, he'd already be drinking with his friends. He'd only chat with them while I was there instead of catching up with me, and never asked me if I minded meeting up with a larger group." —Shyna, 25
- "He loved The Big Bang Theory. Basically, when we met, we had a lot of differences in terms of entertainment tastes. Things hadn't been working out with all the guys who had similar tastes as me, so I figured that I should give someone who loves something I hate a chance. Maybe I needed to open up. But the thing is, when it comes to dating, you should be allowed to be as choosy as you want. It's one thing not to judge someone for a thing you hate. It's another thing to date that person. That takes it a step too far, and I overdid it. Because if you think the humor on Big Bang Theory works, we are just so fundamentally intellectually and emotionally incompatible." —Maria, 27
- "I was dating a guy when I was 19, who was pressuring me to smoke weed with him at parties. I was young, had never tried it, came from a very sheltered upbringing, and wasn't really interested at all in trying it yet. He took my 'no' very personally—he said that if I refused to try weed with him, that meant I was judging him for doing it (not true!). And what was he supposed to tell other people at parties when his girlfriend wouldn't smoke weed with him? He kept emphasizing that I needed to be adventurous, and shamed me over and over for refusing to try it. I never ended up doing it, but he made me feel terrible for it. That was a red flag and one of many very controlling behaviors. I wish I had been more self-aware of the early red flags – like the weed—and realized that it was a marker of more broad, controlling behavior."—Virginia, 28
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.