This blog post was intended to be about my ideal partner lol. I complain so much about being single all over social media that people started asking what I’m looking for that feels so impossible to find. But as I started writing, I realised that I had a better idea of what I didn’t want and the list became about what this person should NOT be.
Cut to more recently when I was in a Clubhouse room about red flags in relationships. I made a joke about how I have a whole spreadsheet full of them and one of the speakers joked back that I should publish it so that other people can get an idea of what to avoid. It may have started as a joke but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I mean, why not. Why not turn my learnings into a blog post for others who might end up on the same path. Maybe having this information will equip them to spot the warning signs.
- TRIGGER WARNING. Some of these will be difficult to read.
- Some of this is objectively not okay/abusive/toxic and some of it is a personal preference.
- What might be not okay for me, might be okay for someone else and who am I to judge.
- I’ve also been guilty of doing a lot of these things. I’m not saying I’m a saint.
- This list is meant to be gender agnostic.
- I have only dated men/been in heterosexual relationships.
So here’s they are, in decreasing order of severity/long term impact (in my opinion)
Tier 1: This is abusive/toxic
- They are violent. They hit/hurt you, break things, or threaten to hurt you, themselves or others
- They don’t take no for an answer and make you feel bad about setting boundaries — “What do you mean you don’t want to have sex? I’m your boyfriend. Don’t you love me?”
- Shame, guilt, or demean you — “Wow, someone likes to dress slutty”, “Maybe you if you ate less you would be pretty”
- Make you feel like they are your only option — “You know that everyone calls you a slut right? I’m the only giving you a chance”
- Everything has to go their way. They do not meet you half way or compromise. They make you feel like every fight is your fault. It seems like they never do anything wrong.
- Talk shit about your friends, family, hobbies, or life choices — “Why do you even hang out with them? They’re so weird”. They make you feel guilty for doing anything that doesn’t revolve around them.
- You’re expected to take their permission before doing something or meeting someone. They claim they’re doing it to protect you or make sure you’re safe.
- They overstep basic privacy boundaries. They want your passwords, they check your phone, and need to know where you are and who you’re with all the time.
- They constantly act like they’re better than you or that you’re not good enough for them. They treat you with pity or condescension. They patronise you and act more like a parent/teacher than a partner.
Tier 2: This is suspicious as hell
- They want the relationship to be a secret. They’ll tell you it’s because they want privacy but it usually means that they’re cheating on you, that you’re the one they’re cheating with, or that they’re ashamed of you or not serious about you.
- Their actions don’t match their words — “I’ll do anything for you, baby!” but when you ask for something that’s inconvenient or something that you need, they say no, or tell you it’s too much to ask. Basically they do the bare minimum and claim they’re doing everything they can.
- They’re unpredictable/unreliable. They basically never stick to their commitments — dinner plans to big favours, you can never tell if they’ll actually come through. Or they expect you to remind them. As if you’re their secretary.
- There’s no real evidence of something they claim is a big part of their lives. They tell you about how rich they are but they never have money to pay? They say they’re always busy with work but you can’t find anything on LinkedIn, you get the drift..
- They refuse to talk about a specific subject or their answers to a certain question keep changing.
- There’s that one person in their lives they constantly talk about and they say things like — “If we were in the same city, we would have been married by now.”
- They very very recently got out of a relationship but claim they’re ready to move on.
- They are nice to you or make time for you only when they want something in return.
Tier 3: They’re immature
- They constantly feel that they are not good enough for you and keep trying to end things because they don’t believe that you actually like them.
- Everything is a competition. They cannot be genuinely happy for you without becoming bitter, jealous, or sad about their own lives.
- They’re mean to you but tell you that’s just how they show love.
- They fall in love TOO soon. There’s no possible way that you know you’re in love on date #3. That’s not love, that’s hormones. You might have a good feeling about someone, but it’s not love.
- You never really recover from the first fight. Conflict resolution is important and if you can’t recover from a fight, what future do you have?
Tier 4: Eye roll, sigh, thank u next
- They will not stop talking about how much they love(d) their ex.
- They tell you/You know they’re in a monogamous relationship and hit on you anyway. If they tell you they’re in an open relationship but don’t allow you to verify that with their partner.
- They only talk about sex or they overshare about their past sexual escapades. Like I really do not want to know about that time you were in a hot tub with a bunch of naked people. Especially not in the first few weeks of dating.
- They’re really into one specific physical characteristic that you have. i.e. they don’t really care about you as a person, they just think that one thing about you is attractive. It could be your race or height or hair length.. etc.
- They constantly complain about everything, all the time, and never say a good thing about anyone or anything.
- They try too hard to be what they think you want. You can tell that they’re being inauthentic just to seem cool.
That’s it for now. I’m sure there are more to be discovered, experienced, and talked about. This list will be updated on a regular basis. Comment with your red flags and I’ll add them in (at my discretion). Let’s crowdsource this shit!