Dating is supposed to be a fun time in which two people take time to know each other and decide if they want to spend more time together. Ideally, during the dating stage, each person tries to show the other their best qualities, while remaining honest about their dealbreakers. It’s a period to establish healthy boundaries, talk about your values, and meet each other’s friends and family. But sometimes, it doesn’t work that way. Learn to recognize red flags and stay safe.
- Conflicting or contradicting facts about their identity. If, for example, they have several social media profiles with different names, something’s wrong. Pay attention to details such as acquaintances calling them by a different name or nickname, or them being nervous or avoidant. If you have concerns about your date faking an identity, go to Checkpeople.com and run a background check. You’ll get a report that includes address history, sex offender registries, data from social media, marital status (and marriage history), and criminal records.
- Lack of work ethic. If you are dating someone who is significantly behind on life milestones, there are two possible scenarios: they either suffered an important setback –in which case it’s fine to move forward– or they have no work ethics. This is something that you can determine with the information that you get from a background check.
- You feel isolated. If the person you are dating does not like any of your friends or asks you to stay away from your family, run fast and far away. One of the first things that abusers do is to isolate their victims.
- A secretive attitude towards many things. While you don’t want to disclose everything about yourself during the first stages of a relationship, you do need to be honest. Someone who keeps a lot of secrets is probably not an honest person, especially if they act defensive when you call them out on it.
- They demand extremely personal information, such as your passwords. This is a very important red flag and one that should be enough to end any future contact. A possessive behavior at this stage can turn into abuse very easily.
- They want to keep the relationship secret. If someone doesn’t want you to meet their friends after a first few dates or asks you not to post anything on social media, they probably have something to hide. While some level of discretion is okay at the beginning, someone who wants to keep you as a secret does not deserve you.
- Double standards. They demand things from you, but they are not willing to offer the same back. (For example, they don’t want you to see other people but believe that it’s okay if they do).
- They constantly change plans without explanations. Someone who does not respect your time is probably not interested in a deeper relationship.
- They make you feel bad about yourself. If someone you are dating makes you feel ashamed or not good enough, it’s time to move on.
- They have a history of cheating. As much as they can tell you they won’t do it to you, someone who cheats is likely to do it again.
- They never apologize. No matter what happens or if they make mistakes or hurt you, they are not able to apologize and always find excuses or other people to blame.
- Manipulation and guilt trips. Someone who guilt trips you every time you don’t do what they want is probably narcissistic and it will just get worse over time.
- They trash-talk their exes, and all of them were wrong and crazy. Someone who is not capable of assuming their part of responsibility in a breakup is not likely to become a good partner.
- They are not truly emotionally invested. They say they like hanging out with you but won’t talk about feelings or wish to discuss where you are in the relationship.
- Violent behaviors. Yelling, knocking things, hitting walls, or hitting people are all major red flags. Never continue any kind of relationship with a violent person.
- They don’t respect your boundaries. If someone pushes you to do something that you are not comfortable with, stop seeing them. Respecting boundaries is extremely important, especially during the first stages of a relationship.
There are many more red flags, but what’s paramount is always to trust your gut. If dating someone is making you feel depressed, angry, or scared, it’s time to call it quits and move forward. If you feel threatened by your date, file a report immediately.