The Ominous Red Flags in Dating

For those of us who walked down this path, when we realize who we are really with, we wonder…’ what did I miss??’ and/or “why didn’t I really listen to my gut?  I knew it, but ignored it!”

There are various places on the web to research the red flags of dating.  This refers to signs that we should pay attention to so that we don’t get into a relationship with a disfunctional person – whether it’s that they are abusive, personality disordered, sociopath, psychopath, narcissistic, alcohol or drug addict or other mental health issues.

Remember that this red flags aren’t so “red” in true nature.  It’s more like they are often “chameleon” flags, and so easy to miss – especially when we are just starting to date and we really want the person to be as awesome as we are hoping.

Here are some things that I think should raise an eyebrow, and may or may not be entirely related to narcissism, but they definitely should be looked into further.

1. Too soon, too fast:  If they are quick to jump into the relationship, and seem to be everything you’ve ever wanted…Pause. See if pausing is okay with them – if they are willing to slow down to your pace, that’s good.  If not – really, really re-consider.  This is a hallmark sign of abusive relationships. Abusers love to sweep someone off their feet so they can’t see who they really are.

2. Not really available:  This is an opposite perspective – but if the person you’re dating is always only asking you out at the last minute, or hardly every available for a phone call or a short get together… then they either aren’t that interested or they are commited elsewhere.

3. Listen to how the talk about previous partners:  Do they speak extremely poorly about all of them?  Are they all psychos and worthless?  Was the relationshp failure always the other person’s fault?  or can they break up and still be respectful about it?  Whatever it is – history will repeat itself when your relationship ends.

4. Lies and gaps in their history:  It’s okay to go slow in revealing ourselves to others and have others reveal themselves to us.  Just make sure it stays consistent and makes sense.  If you catch a lie early on – think very seriously about whether you need to go forward even one more date.

5. Jekyll and Hyde:  A classic narcissistic trait which involves putting the partner on a pedestal and devaluing them at the same time.  One moment you’re the best thing ever, and the next moment, everything that you do stinks.  This may not be an early flag – it’s more likely something that will creep in over time.

6. “I need you”:  to wash my clothes, to clean my house, to be my partner in business, to be my social calendar, to set up meetings for me, to do everything short of take over my name and live my life for me.  RUN.

7. Entitlement/Superiority/Arrogance:  Does everything that they do have to be the ‘best of the best’?  Are they better than everyone they know? Do they expect that they should always receive top notch service (for no particular reason)?

8. Everything about everything:  Narcissists seem to know everything about everything.  Why? They hear one little thing about a topic and then they are very adept at taking that one point, expounding upon it and sounding very authoritarian.  Most people don’t challenge someone who really sounds like they know what they are talking about.

Other resources for further red flag reading:




4 Responses to “The Ominous Red Flags in Dating”

  1. Heather says:

    thanks so much for the list. I really love this blog. I find it helpful to know that I’m not the only one who was snookered by someone like this and the skills to fix the codependency issues that made me a prime target for NPD are very helpful as well ; )

    • Oh goodness… you are most certainly not alone! I just think we’re all the nice folks who never realized people could be so evil… but now we’re smarter 🙂

  2. Heather says:

    love this soooooo much. I’m back to dating. Right now I’m sort of at the “fling” stage. That is, after a year of grieving that my marriage and husband were illusions, I’m ready for just little flings and enjoyments. However, I can already tell that a lover I’ve taken on is an alcoholic and will never be able to be there for me. Like every other man I’ve ever been with, he’s passive aggressive. Not a big deal when it’s a fling, but I’m so aware that I can’t let this relationship turn into more. I’m trying to determine when I’m going to be ready for a true relationship and this list is something I’m printing out and highlighting next to the bathroom mirror.

    Funny enough – the fling guy wants to meet the kids. I’m SO much better having boundaries around the kids than I ever was having boundaries around myself. AND I SO WISH I HAD THIS LIST WITH THE EX. He fits so many characteristics it’s not even funny. His whole point was to become instantaneously husband/wife, he blamed his two previous failed marriages completely on the other women, he had huge history gaps (which I didn’t realize until he and I got pregant), he was classically jekylle/hyde (and very passive aggressive about it). The 3rd date included me figuring out that he had been married twice before and the second wife had an OP against him at the end. He stormed out of the date. I should have let him storm out of my life (except then I wouldn’t have my kids).

    Now that I’m not on biological button needing kids overload, I’m def. taking any real relationship potential much more slowly.

    • Good call on not introducing the kids. I always explain it by “I’m dating you, they’re not” and that there’s no reason to rush that part. Also good call that you’ve noticed the signs yourself! Way to go!!

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