Dating can be really fun. With social media and apps paving the way for meeting someone at the click of a button, it’s in many cases easier to score a date than mustering up the courage to ask someone out in person.
Successful dating can also pave the way for future happy and healthy relationships.
The difficult part is that we all (myself included) bring our best selves to dates. Particularly first dates. We turn up all cheerful and polite, and any red flags often get swept under the rug.
Nobody’s perfect and we all have flaws, but looking out for these ten characteristics could save you a lot of heartbreak down the line from a relationship that isn’t as idyllic as it seems.
1) They’re always on their phone (or are sneaky with it)
There comes a time and a place where your date may need to be on their phone, even in the most romantic of situations. They might need to step away from a candlelit dinner to take a crucial business call, or pause a movie night to speak to their grandma.
But imagine you’re holding hands and watching a beautiful sunset, and you turn to your partner…and they’re on TikTok.
Someone constantly being on their phone is not only annoying, but it also shows that they don’t value your time or attention. On top of that, constant unnecessary screen time can suggest someone is hiding something.
So, avoid dating those who spend their lives glued to a screen or sleep with a phone under their pillow.
2) They try and play mind games and make you jealous
If you feel like you’re participating in a game of mental chess with whoever you’re dating, they’re probably also not the one.
We get exposed to a lot of it: She takes four hours to text back, you take five. He puts up a story of him having fun at the club, you post a hot thirst trap to show him what he’s missing.
However, meaningful and healthy relationships rarely involve gameplaying.
If you feel like you’re getting dragged into mind games or manipulation, run. A jealous person or someone trying to initiate jealousy is extremely toxic and unlikely to be able to make a trustworthy partner.
There might also be reasons for this jealousy. They might have been burned in the past or be burdened by trauma, but if you’re unwilling to try and help your date resolve trauma-based jealousy, avoid dating them altogether.
3) They pin all their self-worth and happiness on your relationship
It might initially feel really good. They constantly tell you that you coming into their life is the best thing that has happened to them. You’re the center of their universe. One text from you makes their day.
But then you forget to send that text, and it all falls apart.
You can support people and lift them up, but you can’t change them. Carrying the burden of a person’s entire self-esteem will eventually be too much to bear, causing grief for both you and your date.
4) They try and isolate you from your friends and family
Honeymoon phases are hot. You might find yourself wanting to spend each and every second with your date early on.
Nonetheless, be cautious of someone who tries to restrict you from spending time with your family and friends. This can be a sign of controlling behavior which can escalate into a situation where you’re isolated from everyone bar your partner and in an abusive and toxic relationship.
5) They’re flirty with other people
Every person has different standards when it comes to romantic boundaries.
However, an individual who is overly touchy, feely, and flirty with other people is generally a red flag if it makes you uncomfortable.
I’d like to tell you otherwise, but having watched my own ex cozying up and making eyes at a girl at the bar with the excuse of, “that’s just who I am, I flirt with everyone”, followed by finding out about a year of cheating, I’d advise avoiding overly flirtatious individuals.
Of course, this doesn’t count if it turns you on, or you’re non-monogamous. Make your own rules, just remember to stick by them.
6) They’re disrespectful towards other people
Maybe they’re a total sweetie when they’re with you. But then they’re rude to the waitress. Or to their mother. Or they kick kittens.
Hopefully there’s no kitten-kicking, but watching how a person treats those around them can be a good insight into their true character.
Be mindful of how your date treats those around you (or animals), and avoid those who are disrespectful or malicious.
7) They try and force you to be intimate
There’s plenty of discussion nowadays of when the correct time to be intimate is, particularly in the early stages of dating.
However, there is no right answer.
I don’t care what the reason is, if someone tries to force you to do something that you’re not comfortable with, or before you’re comfortable in doing it, avoid.
People who push your boundaries in a sexual setting will push them elsewhere, and are on the whole unsuitable partners.
8) They don’t brush their teeth
Okay, this one might be common sense, but general hygiene is a must.
We don’t all go to the dentist when we should (I certainly haven’t in more than a year), but someone who foregoes basic hygiene and cleanliness such as brushing their teeth or showering is generally a no-go.
To be in a successful relationship, you also need to be able to take care of yourself.
9) They call all their exes ‘crazy’
If you see a pattern emerging whereby each and every ex your date mentions is labeled as ‘crazy’, it’s usually a sign that they’re the crazy one. Or that their past behavior was enough to make these individuals act out in desperate ways.
All of my ex’s exes were ‘crazy’. They checked his location and scoured his phone, sniffed his pillows and checked under the bed for strands of hair. They were nuts.
The bit that he left out was that he was prolifically cheating on them and gaslighting them whilst doing so.
As someone who has dated an individual with a host of ‘crazy’ exes, who probably now qualifies as a crazy ex herself, I’d steer clear of anyone with a similar dating history.
10) They can’t accept blame or apologize
We all make mistakes.
Particularly in relationships, there will no doubt be times when slipups occur. It ranges from washing all your partner’s white shirts with a hot pink towel, to tee-totaling their car.
What matters is often not the mistake, but how the blame and apology is handled.
An individual who is unable to accept when they are at fault is a huge red flag, especially if they try to pass the blame on to you. Avoid dating anyone who can’t own up and say sorry for their mistakes.
In short, it takes a lot of confidence and vulnerability to put yourself out there and date.
But, with no risk comes no reward.
Just make sure that whilst dating, you’re looking out for any of the above to save yourself some heartbreak and make sure you find the most supportive partner.