18 Relationship Red Flags Every Woman Should Know.

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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.

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? What’s that? 

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.

Photo: Lianne Viau

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.

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.

[By andrea silva from santiago (SADNESS) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]
Photo: Andrea Silva from Santiago

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. workisgood

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.


Relephant bonus:



Mindful offering:

Yoni Egg



9 Relationship Red Flags For Everybody.

7 Relationship Green Flags for Everybody.

Ed: Brianna B.


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167 Responses to “18 Relationship Red Flags Every Woman Should Know.”

  1. Jeff says:

    So a guy is only meant to say good things about his ex gf even if she stuffed him around and cheated on him? Suppose while he’s at it he may as well say he still loves her… Yeah great advice! Actually not really.

  2. Informative article even for man. I counted partial confirmations to 12 of the 18 in your list related to my previous relationships. In the end, *every* relationship show us what we most need to see, and when we find and create the working balance, we continue.

  3. Paul says:

    Very informative, but in my world selling cars pays our bills and provides a pretty good living and lifestyle for my family. I have been selling and hustling cars since I was 16 years old and that did not give me a commitment phobia. Associating hustling with commitment is ridiculous, that almost sounds like a personal vendetta against someone who may have hurt you. Good stuff though even for men, because woman act very similar when not in the relationship.

  4. Smudge says:

    So how do we teach our children to avoid these types and not become these types? Every relationship I've ever been in, current one included (13 of 18!), has been on this list. My mom, too. Grandma, too. I've been taught this is alright, right? I'm not leaving the current relationship. Too much time invested, along with a family that is settled. How do I teach my kids that it's not ok, though? I feel like such a looser.

  5. tee says:

    I disagree with #15. But then I don’t want to have any kids. It’s an instant turn off when I find out a guy wants to be a father. I don’t hate kids, but I don’t want any or to raise anybody else excluding a tragedy in the family, I obviously wouldn’t let my niece go into social services if something happened to her parents but I think it’s only fair to star that one. People can be wonderful people even if they aren’t kid people.

  6. cathy says:

    I think I might be in a one sided relationship please help thank you

    Hi my name is Cathy I am a female (37 years old).i am currently in a relationship with a 37 male who works m-f lives with his parents .we live 10 minutes away from each  (no obligations other than himself) The longest relationship he has been in has only been 6 months.   He never calls but he suggests we have a night were we talk on the phone and I always call cause if it was our night to call and he did not hear from me he still would not call and it is late at night and he is always sleepy because he suggests it be at 9pm,  I always ask if it can be early but always says he has something to do, I do all the texting if I did not text we would not talk to each other until we see each other the next scheduled night.  He has our nights scheduled Thursday night, Saturday night and all day Sunday, as time has gone by I have wanted to see him more but he gets mad when I want to see him more,  he claims that he feels like I don’t think he does enough for me, and I never say anything like that because he gets defensive.  But he does get upset if you ask him to stay over on a night that we normally don’t see each other.  One incident I was going away for the weekend with my mom and sister and I asked my him if I could see him on when I got back, I wanted to see him on Tuesday night and he wanted to wait until the following Thursday night and he finally agreed to seeing me on Wednesday night but it was like pulling teeth to get him to agree to it.  I just thought he would have missed me but he definitely did not mind waiting until our scheduled night.  He did finally say he would try to stay an extra night once a month but it’s is when he can do it,  it’s all when it’s good for him,  on his terms.   When it comes to affection he lacks it big time!  I love to be affectionate, but he does not hold my hand if I want to hold his hand I have to grab it and one time we were out walking I held his arm and he said that I was wrinkling his shirt.   And in private I have iniate cuddles,  he will only on his terms but basically it is me who always wants to cuddle he is very very closed off emotionally. I ask all the questions about feelings and if we go to the movies we don’t hold hand or even watching TV, I get sometimes you don’t have to cuddle buy I love to cuddle or hold hands or have some kind of contact, it’s a must! I will admit I am not perfect at all I give him his space but I mean I thought a boyfriend would want to see there girlfriend a little more than he does, he has never said “I miss you or I love you”.  I think he has commitment issues, I have asked him twice if he would like to move in with me he always says relax,  breathe we are young but we are young but not like we are 30yrs old.   All these issues have been brought up in conversation more than once in the time we have been together currently we are together. If you could give me insight on him and I know you can’t anylaze him.   Thank you for your help. My email address is [email protected]

    • Elle says:

      Dearest Cathy,
      Just by reading your message, I can tell you’re unhappy and it saddens me. I understand you may have time invested in this relationship, yet its not loving at all, you deserve love and it seems like he isn’t ready to love anyone. Love yourself enough to leave him alone and find someone who will appreciate all you have to offer. I know you’re in love with him, but he doesn’t seem to be in love with you. He is not the only man in the world, love yourself enough to let go and love him from a distance. Be loved not convenience for someone. I hope you trust your instincts and move on, many blessings and sending love your way!

  7. Coiaquinn says:

    We are always searching for understanding, looking to those who say “Here is what you need to know.” When we see articles posted such as this one, we think ‘Yes, this will give the answers I need.’ We read each *Red-Flag* and try to compare it to what we have (or had) in our relationship, but surely all ‘flags’ are not created equal? I KNOW THEY ARE NOT! Sometimes, there are genuine reasons for some of these listed; issues, reactions, behaviours, and they are not all bad. Sometimes we see ourselves in these descriptions, and are then left thinking ‘who am I to say what is a *bad sign* when I do that a little, or that could be me too.’ When you love someone, you accept them for all they are; the good, the bad, the ugly. Who is so without flaw within themself, that they can check-list another, whom they claim to love? NO-ONE!
    My partner has strengths that would put any new age, present and connected man to shame, yet, some of your *red warnings* he displays (as do I). To me they are not simply red or bad, they are more like many coloured Tibetan prayer flags, each one with varied interpretations. Most of us have a very particular way of processing information, that when coupled with our past experiences, makes us vulnerable to information drawn from enlightening articles, such as this one. We could feasibly throw away a relationship that was a work in progress, one that was evolving as we were (are). It is so important to stress in such articles, that each ‘flag’ should be first viewed from many different angles, for contemplative comparison. We naturally search out information, from ‘those who seem to know, those who have been there’. Yet often I notice, that while such articles are great for very basic information, they should also come with a health warning. *For all those, who are vulnerable to expert information, those who are unsure of their own absolutes, never make a final decision based on another’s decree of what is worth it and what is not worth it in a relationship. Only YOU can know what is right for YOU!*

  8. Alexander says:

    I as a man, must say this article was very informative. Almost like basic tips on how to make your significant other feel more connected and loved. However, must number 15 be included in this list? I personally don’t hate children, but I don’t have a fondness for them either due to my (rather) strong liking for personal space. Does that mean I will be a bad father? I sincerely hope not, but according to red flag number 15, I have a higher chance of being a bad father -_-.

  9. Justin says:

    Many of these apply to women just as much. Both men and women are selfish, insecure and in a relationship with red flags such as these someone always wants to have the upper hand and feel they are in control instead of finding each other on equal ground. And sometimes helping your partner to rise up and feel as the other’s equal. Some will always be content with a love life resembling apathy and complacency. Both men and women.

  10. dave says:

    So apparently only men are capable of this? Seems aweful biased to me. Women are just as if not more capable of theae red flags and more. So how about you stop hating on men and include women inyour articles. It is pretty fucked up if you actually think like this

  11. Guillermo says:

    So, I know I’m nowhere near perfect, but according to your list, I’m pretty damn near perfect.

    So how come I’m still single? Is it because I don’t want children NOW, but I do want them? Is it because there are many things in my life I’m not proud of at all, that I don’t want to share them, out of shame and fear? Is it perhaps because I want to spend as much of my free time as I can with her (which is not much)? Maybe because of my work I happen to have little room to figure out what to do on a date, because I’m so fried mentally and sometimes physically that, as long I’m with her spending quality time is all I can ask for? I mean, most times I do think of something, but even when when I don’t, I always put chivalry first.

    Also, why should I say good things about my exes, when some they trampled on me and cheated on me? I just clam up about them and just say: we weren’t right for each other, period. I understand that in some cases, things were technically my fault and as much as I tried to work on them, it wasn’t enough for them, but they sure didn’t do much to change themselves, or at least not make matters worse.

    I love women, I respect women, my life would be empty without you women, that’s how I was raised. But, I won’t grovel for anyone anymore, specially when they won’t do a lick of work within the relationship. I could go great lengths for my beloved, but not for someone who won’t move one inch for me.

    I always and be there for them, but being a doctor, makes it difficult most times. But when we’re together, I’m in the moment.

    I think the real problem is that most love the idea of their partners, not their partners themselves. We can’t force them to change for us, they have to do that for themselves.

  12. Fran says:

    What do you do when your stuck with a manchild? Someone who has tried to “leave” nearly 12 times, yet when everything seems about to fall apart in the relationship comes running back and claims that it’s hard for him to share how he really feels.. well have a huge discussion and then everything is fine, til next time.. every time this happens he’ll claim to be lying about loving me and say he’s just with me for the kids.. then he turns around and apologizes and says he was just trying to hurt me because I deserve someone better and he figured me hating him would help me heal faster so I could be happy.. he has severe depression and battles treating his feelings. This last episode happened yesterday. . On Christmas day. We had a HUGE talk and got everything out, he told me about things that have been going on for years. I think we’re ok. Am I an idiot? I feel so emotionally ragged that idk if I’m scared of an uncertain future or losing him. He is an amazing father, we have 2 beautiful children that we love terribly. When he treats me right he is a great husband.. my family has nearly completely given up on us, I have no support anymore. I’m really scared and lost.. I want this to work for me and our babies.

  13. Brandon says:

    6.) He won’t introduce you to his family.

    Some of us just don't have a close or healthy relationship with our families. We don't get to choose our family members, and can't control what some of them do. I've learned that family or not, do not keep toxic and poisonous people around in your life. But someone having the knee-jerk reaction that everyone else is tight with their family is too presumptuous, and keeps you from taking people/situations as they come.

    8.) He gets up and leaves during an argument.

    On the contrary, perhaps it's a red flag if someone indulges in an argument while they're still heated up? You are much more likely to say things you don't exactly want to say, shouldn't say, or emotional response made you say. Personally, I don't like to confront serious topics right as they're happening, particularly to avoid the reasons I listed. I'm an introvert that likes to think and figure things out BEFORE I act. But I live in an extrovert's society where many people believe just the same as this article makes it out to be: if you put a pause on arguments, you must be a coward or unable to handle problems.

    9.) He can’t say “I Love You,” even if he feels it.

    This could happen for any number of reasons, and some I don't see why they need to be looked at in a hostile way. Maybe he wants to be sure. Maybe he wants to wait until he's bursting at the seams wanting to say it. Maybe he doesn't want to use it in the same way that people say "goodbye" on the phone (which describes me). Of course, if he has issues communicating or showing vulnerability, then that is something to address. But ADDRESS it, don't red flag it. Don't be in such a hurry to look for an escape route from the relationship. Like #8 says, don't just get up and run, right?

    14.) He is a hustler.

    Umm, what? How in the world does someone selling things or buying/selling into or out of hobbies cause a red flag to pop up? I'm into motorcycles, used to be into cars….you rarely ever just buy something and just sit on it for life. Things come and go. This point seems very silly and nit-picky to me, as it really makes no sense, isn't realistic at all, doesn't tell anything, and just seems like a filler for the list.

    15.) He doesn’t like kids and/or hasn’t spent time around them.

    Are we all supposed to like and want kids. Granted, this is a valid concern if you want them, and your partner doesn't. But why am I expected to like kids, just because the rest of society worships them? I don't hate them, I just don't want any for myself. I know plenty of guys and girls that also don't, and they face the same type of assumptions and scrutiny from society that expects this should just be the default.

    17.) His words do not match his actions.

    Everybody judges everybody else by their actions. People may not overtly realize it, but I have enough faith in people that they know just how cheap talk can be. This is just common sense to look at people's actions to have a better idea as to what they're about.

    The rest of the points I didn't mention seem like valid things to consider about another person. But the ones highlighted seem to more of the same old assumptions people make as a result of traditional norms that are never questioned. Soooo many people do things in their life, believe things, say things, etc….that they don't really know why nor ever have the thought to question it. I understand that you are probably older than me (I'm 26) and we were raised in different eras of societal norms. But to me, I don't really get why people have some of these default rules that they feel others should follow, or why they never seem to want to know why/what they truly believe. It's basically just living at the mercy of your own feelings and cultural teachings, rather than digging inside to find out what you can teach yourself.

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