It’s hard to know when you’re in a toxic relationship—especially when you’re on the inside. But there are telltale signs to be aware of (which may help you call it quits). Here, 18 relationship red flags every woman should know about.
I wish relationships had a preview button like iTunes, but they don’t.
So, the best we can do is equip ourselves with clarity—what we want and what we don’t want.
Through experience, I’ve learned what I am willing to accept and what I’m not.
On paper, it appears these actions and behaviors are changeable, but it’s not that easy. First, there must be an acknowledgment by the person—an unearthing of the origination of the action, the root. The root of these behaviors is fear and the dirt of unawareness.
To the men who act in the ways I describe below: if you are reading this, then you are curious, you want to know; you want to understand what a woman desires from a man. This is a strong sign you are ready to look in the mirror and do your work.
See also: 9 Relationship Red Flags For Everybody.
I hope you take time to look inside and become aware. When you decide to accept and love yourself as you are, by allowing your heart to be fully exposed and vulnerable, no one will ever wave a red flag in your direction again. I believe in you and your power to transform and be the true man that already exists inside of you.
To all of the ladies who stumble upon this article: read these signs carefully and reflect on your relationship. If I am describing the person you are with, you are dating a boy, not a man.
Let him go, so he can grow up.
Here’s a golden rule: Don’t waste your time with someone who wastes their own time.
1.) The relationship is one-sided.
Are you always pulling him along in every decision, plan, thought and action? You know the feeling—you are walking in quicksand with 180 to 200 pounds latched to your ankles.
Here is a clear indication you are in a lopsided love affair:
You make all of the plans. You have introduced him to your family and friends. You include him in every part of your life, yet he rarely, if ever invites you into any facet of his life.
These are signs he is unwilling to share his life with you and is a withholder.
Love never withholds.
2.) He waits until the last moment to commit to a plan.
If he can not make a plan or commit to an event a week away, or even a month away, he will not commit to a lifetime with you.
Don’t let him fool you with his New Agey-spiritual bullsh*t: “I live in the moment, who knows what will be in an hour, a day or a week.”
What will be? He will still be spewing the same line a week from now, a month from now, and you will have gray hair.
Real men make plans while honoring the moment they are in.
There is nothing sexier than a man of his word.
3.) You have never been taken on an actual date.
Ponder this one ladies: Are you always just ‘hanging out’? Or, do you decide last minute where to go (for dinner or what movie to see)? This is okay some of the time, but romance and chivalry should always be the dominator.
He should desire to woo you. A date doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, just thoughtful.
If he has never planned a special day or night without your input, picked you up, opened your door and whisked you away, then you have never been on a real date.
Find a gentleman, because a gentleman wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you have a gentleman, hold him close. He will become the greatest husband and father in the world (I know from experience).
4.) Foreplay is not a priority in your sex life.
It is clear whether a man thinks foreplay is a golf game or a steamy gift from God.
There are still men who think yanking their pants to their ankles, giving a quick lick to each nipple, a grab of the crotch and a swift sword fight with the sweet vagina is mind-blowing. No.
We should welcome a man into our bed who is connected to his masculinity. His strength and virility is united with his visceral desire to nurture his woman, keep her close, protected and fulfilled.
Only accept a man who is sensuous and patient. One who takes his time tasting you. This is a man who is not impulsive; he thinks and feels equally. He will make a lover for a lifetime because it isn’t about his penis, it’s about you.
Oh, and if he can’t talk about sex and his fantasies with ease, or he giggles like a 12-year-old when he says “vagina” or “penis,” he has no clue how to make love.
Intimacy is mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. If one of these pillars is missing, then so is the intimacy; it’s condemned.
5.) He does not have close friendships.
If he does not have one or two close friends, this is a huge red flag.
Are the friends he does have social acquaintances who only carry on small talk with a beer in hand?
Are they shady? You know what I mean—the ones who don’t seem to have any direction or real job. They only call for a ‘favor,’ and the pervasive conversations they do have are of burning nostalgia for the epic parties they threw back in college.
If he does have friends, pay attention to their interactions.
Do they hug when they say hello and goodbye? Do they talk about meaningful subjects other than sports, girls, cars or money? Is there reciprocity in their relationship?
How you do one thing is how you do everything. There are exceptions, but friends are the best indicator of how he will connect with you.
6.) He won’t introduce you to his family.
Enough said. He is screaming, “You are not important to me!” No woman deserves that. Find someone who can’t wait to take you home.
Meeting your partner’s family is critical to the relationship. Observing him in his parents’ presence will instantly teach you everything you need to know about his foundation.
7.) He is a slob.
It is completely acceptable to have a dish in the sink or a shirt on the bed. It is unacceptable when the contents of his closet no longer live on hangers, empty food packages are laying around the house or under the couch, and you need a hazmat suit to go into the bathroom.
If you ever live together, you will be his maid and you will resent him.
See also: How Cleaning Became My Meditation
Having a partner should make life cleaner, not dirtier.
The inability to keep a clean home and care for his belongings, speaks to the lack of control he has over his mind. I think everything should be cared for, whether it is a dish, a shirt, a toilet or a person.
You may be thinking, “This is changeable. I can train him.”
To which I say, “Hell, no!”
This is an inside job. One he has to tackle on his own. He has to decide to take the reins of the wild stallion that is his mind, and when and if he does, it is a beautiful thing.
When a man keeps clean, it is equivalent to a full day of foreplay.
8.) He gets up and leaves during an argument.
If a man leaves you when you are trying to express yourself, or the conversation gets uncomfortable and heated—he doesn’t know how to cope properly. He lets his ego dictate his actions. If he physically runs away, he abandons his heart too.
Unconditional love remains present at all times. There is always a way through a disagreement or fight. It just takes both people committing to listening to one another.
Consider your ‘In Case of Emergency’ person. We all need one, so choose wisely. Someone who leaves, is not the someone you want to rely on when you really need them to show up.
9.) He can’t say “I Love You,” even if he feels it.
If a man cannot express his love for you, he does not love himself. No one wants to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t love themselves; then, it’s not a relationship, it’s a torture chamber.
When he does say it, it should flow. There should never be a scoreboard for love; I said it, now you say it.
10.) Everything that happens to him is everyone else’s fault.
Pay attention to how he describes experiences and people in his daily life or past. Does he blame everyone else for the outcomes in his life?
If he speaks poorly of his exes and blames them for the failures in their relationship, then he will describe you, the same way.
If he cannot take responsibility for his actions or words and hold himself accountable, he is insecure and immature. It takes awareness and maturity to accept responsibility and say, “I’m sorry, and I forgive you.”
If he turns every argument on you and blames you, he loves being a victim.
Playing the victim is cowardly. A man of dignity apologizes, and apologizes well.
If he is always pointing out rights/wrongs, faults, bad/good, he sees your relationship as a basketball game—two teams in a dribble war.
A relationship is made up of one team; it is not a game, and it is most certainly not a competition.
11.) He’s an eye roller.
Does he roll his eyes, avoid eye contact and smirk when you share your feelings?
He is running from himself and from you emotionally (just like when he gets up and leaves during a fight).
He is invalidating your feelings and treating you with disrespect. He is uncomfortable in his own skin. He is not capable of holding a loving safe space for you or your relationship.
Once an eye roller, always an eye roller.
12.) He exaggerates, omits and lies (even if they are small).
Do I need to say more? He is not honest. There is no room for dishonesty in love. None.
13.) He doesn’t like to work and can’t hold a job.
There is nothing more noble or honorable, than a person who works hard. It does not matter if you collect garbage, work at a grocery store or shovel shit. If you work hard you are dignified.
Even if we have a passion, there is no need to be a starving artist. Work to live. For most of us, this is necessary. This is the reality of life.
There is no need to give up on passion, but if he can’t pay rent or eat, his passion will be homeless and starve to death too. The remedy is simple, get a job and live your purpose.
If he can’t hold a job, this is another sign of a lack of commitment, discipline and ambition.
Having a job is not about the money, it’s about the principle.
A man who works hard makes me wet.
14.) He is a hustler.
What does this mean?
He thinks selling his belongings on Craigslist is a legitimate source of income. Or, if you notice he has bought and sold more cars than years you have been together—he is a hustler.
He is also avoiding—what? Working. He lacks a hunger for perseverance, a thirst for self-mastery and is deficient in loyalty.
Again, how we treat one thing is how we treat everything. If he buys something and sells it within a short period of time, he will surely do the same with you—trade you in for a new model. No Bueno.
15.) He doesn’t like kids and/or hasn’t spent time around them.
How a man acts around children and how he interacts with them is a sneak peek of how he will be as a father. That’s all I have to say here—just be aware and very observant.
16.) He has ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Syndrome.’
Does the guy you are with switch personas whenever he interacts with other people? Does he put on a happy face, smile, laugh and schmooze with everyone at the party? Does he flirt with the women in the room? Yet, the moment you walk away with him, he speaks to you differently—sullen, distracted and withdrawn?
If the answer is yes, he is using you.
One line comes to mind, “I am not your doormat!”
If you are in an argument or a deep discussion and his mood shifts a bit, that’s okay. It is another when he consistently becomes Mr. Exuberant with everyone else, and you are only graced with Mr. Sulky.
17.) His words do not match his actions.
A man can tell you all day long via text message that he loves you. He can tell you he is your biggest fan and supporter, but if you look beside you and he is not there—well, actions speak louder than words.
A man who truly is your biggest fan and support will always be there when you need him, and you won’t even need to ask.
As my friend says, “You deserve someone who believes in you more than you believe in yourself.”
18.) You cry more than you laugh with him.
If he does not bring a smile to your face and to your heart every day and every time you see him, and he is not smiling back at you—move on.