It’s important to give people a chance while dating, but there are some red flags you just can’t overlook: Does he spend the whole evening interrupting you to talk about himself? Don’t date him. Is he still weirdly obsessed with an ex from years ago? Tell him “thanks, but no, thanks.”
Below, marriage therapists and other relationship experts share those and other glaring red flags that the new guy you’re seeing is categorically not The One.
You shouldn’t know everything about the guy after one date: If he monopolized the conversation with talk of his stock options and rudely interrupted when you finally got a word in, you probably don’t need to see him again, said Kristin Zeising, a psychologist in San Diego, California.
“Chances are, he’s not truly interested in you or interested in getting to know you on a real level,” she said. “If it’s not a mutual conversation, you’ll probably end up being his mirror and supporting him.”
Nervousness and awkward pauses are totally normal on first dates. But eventually, the conversation should flow easily between you and your man, said Marie Land, a psychologist in Washington, D.C.
“Conversations should be like a tennis match where the ball is hit into one court by the person and hit back by the other person,” she said. “If he doesn’t ask questions or have a general curiosity about your experience, it’s a red flag.”
Don’t turn your cheek when he trash talks his ex: Stick around long enough and he’ll likely be saying the same things about you to future dates, said Diane Spear, a therapist in New York City.
“People are not all-good or all-bad, so if he can’t find anything good to say about past partners, it indicates that he may tend to idealize partners then denigrate them when the newness wears off,” she said. “You won’t be immune to this treatment.”
Don’t settle for a guy who sweeps you off your feet in the first few months, then proceeds to ghost you, said Aaron Anderson, a marriage and family therapist in Denver, Colorado.
“If he can’t maintain a relationship beyond first impressions, he’s not long-term material,” he added.
5. He talks about your future as a couple on the first or second date.
On the other hand, also be wary if he starts talking about your future in super specific detail, Spear said. Whether your future kiddos will go to private or public school should not be a topic of conversation on date number two.
“If he’s that certain that the two of you are a great match a few dates in, he’s living in fantasy,” she said. “There’s no skipping over the ‘getting to know you’ phase of a relationship.”
OK, so he doesn’t quite ghost you ― but getting him to respond to your calls and texts about making plans is damn near impossible. That’s a red flag, too, said Isiah McKimmie, a couples therapist and sexologist in Melbourne, Australia.
“If he’s unreliable and noncommittal now, he’s likely to stay that way,” she said.
A man who can’t acknowledge when he’s wrong is a man you should have nothing to do with, Land said.
“I’m not a fan of over-apologizing in relationships, but the reality is that people make mistakes and feelings get hurt all the time unintentionally,” she said. “When he messes up and hurts your feelings, he should apologize for it, at the very least from time to time.”
There’s nothing wrong with a guy who’s charming ― unless he’s charming and flirty to everyone he meets, said Anderson.
“When that happens, he’s usually just playing the field and keeping his options open, which means he doesn’t see you as long-term material,” he said.
You want a partner who’s going to genuinely listen to you: He needs to be the type of guy who’s up for your rant about work and the flaky friend you can’t pin down. If he’s not capable of that, he’s probably not the one, said McKimmie.
“One of the biggest complaints I hear ― especially from women coming to therapy with their partners ― is that they’re just not being listened to,” McKimmie said. “Their partner is hearing the words they’re saying, but they’re not able to empathize with what’s being shared.”
Hopefully, you both go into the relationship with your eyes wide open, knowing that you’re both flawed human beings. Still, there are some qualities you can’t settle for in love ― and that includes a man who’s not willing to be emotionally intimate.
“A lot of women dismiss emotionally unavailable men as ‘just being a guy,’” Anderson said. “But emotionally unavailable men make for bad boyfriends. You want a relationship that is fulfilling, rewarding and emotionally open.”