At this point in my life, I’d call myself a dating extraordinaire. (Hi, I’m single.) Basically, I have a sixth sense for sniffing out red flags from miles away. Oh, you don’t say “thank you” to the waiter? You’re chewing broccoli with your mouth open? You text me at 3 a.m. to come over to “hang”? Next.
Okay, fine. These aren’t exactly breaking news. So what about the not-so-obvious things we’re probs all missing? Like, following you on IG right away or meeting you at a bar with all their coworkers?! Here’s what relationship experts have to say about 10 red flags you may not want to ignore.
1. Overdoes the romance without any solid foundation.
“When you meet for the very first time and they just seem to be too good to be true, they probably are. It might seem romantic, but better watch out if they start giving you gifts, complimenting you to the extreme, becoming way too affectionate too early. This tactic is called love bombing.
When you haven’t built any foundation yet to your relationship but they are already treating you as if you are the love of their life, they are, in fact, lulling you into a false sense of security.” —Chris Pleines, dating expert and founder of DatingScout.com
2. Has too many things in common with you.
“If you find your date is leading the conversation and you’re in a constant state of ‘Me too!’ you might want to pause. Soul mate belief or not, if someone keeps bringing up things that you’re aligned with—favorite food, band, color, shop, author, place to grab lunch on Tuesdays—it could be a sign they social-media-stalked you and are attempting to ‘win’ your affection by stacking the deck.
Anyone who wants to manipulate the situation to seem like you have so many similarities and therefore a connection could be a real sign of someone who is overly controlling and potentially harmful.” —Crystal Rice, owner of Insieme Consulting
3. Tries to take a selfie the first time they see you.
“Confidence and friendliness is attractive, but if your date is acting too familiar with your roommate who answered the door, wants to talk to your mom when she calls through, or is immediately adding you to social networks and wanting to take a selfie, then you might be facing a glaring red flag around their ability to understand social norms and boundaries.” —Bos
4. Refuses to let you pay.
“If you want to split on a first date and your date insists on paying anyway, it could indicate a pattern of game-playing that might seep into many areas of the relationship. Someone who respects your wish to go 50/50 on a first date or another more equal option, such as agreeing to take turns paying, can both reflect and make way for autonomy.” —McLaughlin
5. Calls you “baby” or a nickname very quickly.
“It might feel really nice if they call you ‘gorgeous’ or ‘sweetheart’ 15 minutes into the date, but chances are, if they are cooing at you that quickly, they probably do it with every woman.” —Samantha Daniels, dating expert and founder of Samantha’s Table Matchmaking
6. Offers to change plans with a friend to spend time with you.
“If someone is canceling plans with their friends to be with you after one date, there is a strong possibility they are needy—there is also a strong chance they will expect you to do the same. They’ll want you to change your plans and stop doing things you like for them. Yes, you want to date someone who makes you feel important and prioritizes you, but they should not be changing things for you after one date!” —Dara Bushman, PsyD, clinical psychologist
7. They're VERY protective of you.
"Jealousy is a normal response to a real threat to the relationship. It is an evolutionary emotion humans feel when they suspect their relationship is in danger. However, irrational jealousy can be a sign your partner is controlling. If you find yourself having to defend completely innocent behavior, or [with a partner who] insistent on prying into your phone or social media accounts in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable and isn't reciprocated, there are definite red flags."- Dr. Mariana Bockarova, Ph.D in relationship psychology, University of Toronto
8. Brings up emotional wounds from childhood on the first date.
“The first date should be about the chill, casual courting. If things move too personal and deep too fast, this could mean that trauma from childhood was not left in childhood but is still haunting the individual in their present. The inability to process emotions and deal with them in the past can lead to problems in their adult life.” —Belinda Ginter, mind-set expert
9. Introduces you to his mom too soon.
"His mom was always texting me to gossip about his brother’s girlfriend. I took it as a sign that she trusted me and we were really close. I thought it was cool that his mom was so friendly to me and treated me like a BFF. Later, it turned out that it was because she loved inserting herself into her sons' relationships and that it was a way for her to keep me close and drive a wedge between us." —Morgan C.
10. They profess their love very early on.
"It's normal to feel infatuated very quickly if you really like someone, but if a person says something as huge as, 'I'm completely in love with you,' or, 'I know you're my soul mate and I want to spend the rest of my life with you,' only a few weeks into dating, you should take a few steps back."
"Although not true in all cases, this sort of behavior is quite common, unfortunately, among controlling, abusive, or narcissistic partners. While people with these qualities may really believe they're in love, they don't actually know you or your flaws yet. So when you deviate from their perfect perception of you, you may be met with aggression or coldness. Be cognizant that long-lasting and healthy love takes communication, trust, reliability, and genuine care, which takes time to build." - Dr. Mariana Bockarova, Ph.D in relationship psychology, University of Toronto