Meeting a new love interest is one of the most exciting things. You get to learn a lot about the other person and spend quality time together to see where things go. It is also a crucial time to scope out if the person has any red flags. Identifying these early and choosing whether or not they are deal breakers is crucial when deciding to pursue a relationship with someone. Some red flags are bigger than others and make people run the other way at the drop of a hat. People share the red flag that made them immediately stop talking to a person. This content has been edited for clarity.
“I had met someone online when I was casually dating after my divorce. I was a bit naive in hindsight. I was talking to a guy who seemed nice, clean-cut, and an impressive-sounding job. He started to get a bit intense but I was blinded by the excitement and let him pick me up at my home on our third date. Soon enough, there were some flags.
I started getting strange emails and noticed some bizarre behavior. He was younger than me and became obsessive. I cut it off and he took it really badly. I started getting crazy texts, calls, and emails asking why we couldn’t be together and how we could have such good-looking kids. I got emails saying ‘I HAVE A GIRLFRIEND!’ and some vulgar ones cursing me out. I blocked him as best as I could and printed out all the emails and threats just in case. I told him to get lost and never contact me again. I had to repeat that several times.
Months later, I was seeing a new guy and pretty much forgot about the creep. I was visiting my aunt for NYE, one state over. On New Year’s Day, while driving home in a snowstorm, I received a call from the stalker.
He left a voicemail saying, ‘I’m driving by your house. If I don’t hear back from you I’m going to stop by.’
I was scared. I called my aunt who said to call the police. I was worried my landlady would get upset if I had the cops waiting there when I got home. I called my then boyfriend but he was overseas and couldn’t help. I texted my mom and I immediately got a call back from my dad. He told me to send him his number.
Apparently, my dad called the guy and with his thickest NY accent said, “I hear you’re botherin’ my daughta. You better leave her alone or there’s gonna be some serious consequences, you hear.’
A few minutes later, I got a text back from the creep saying he had just heard from my dad. He said he was so sorry and that I’d never hear from him again. I didn’t know what my dad said at the time, but I could only imagine. A year later, it was my birthday and I received a random text saying something like, ‘New phone, who is this?’ I’m convinced it was him. It had the same area code.
Ladies (and men but especially ladies), be careful out there. Do NOT let someone know where you live until they pass the sanity test. It could have ended up way worse for me.”
“I’m a petite Asian girl with tanned skin which is important to note for what comes later. A couple of years back when I was on my way home from my part-time job during the holidays, a tall, muscular, and good-looking guy smiled at me. Not thinking much, I smiled back at him. We were walking along a 20-meter stretch in opposite directions. I shrugged it off as him being a smiley stranger even though it’s not a norm for strangers to smile at each other where I’m from.
He ended up turning around and literally ran back in the opposite direction to come say hi to me. I was very taken aback because as I said, that behavior wasn’t normal where I’m from. We struck up a conversation: you’re cute bla bla bla, would you like to have dinner bla bla bla. Since it was such an abnormal behavior, I decided to meet him for dinner at a very public place.
We met for dinner a few days later and he didn’t seem weird. I genuinely enjoyed our conversation. Turned out that he was a pretty outstanding visual effects artist working at a prestigious firm. However, a red flag started showing as he started making slightly creepy comments. For example: ‘Wow, all you Asian girls look like you’re 15,’ and ‘That’s freaking amazing you work out in the gym,’ and ‘You have supple skin. Seems common among you Asian girls. I like that.’ You get the gist. He was very open about the fact that he dates Asian girls exclusively because we all look like we’re 15.
He would sprinkle our otherwise normal conversation with the random racist and creepy comments mentioned above. At that point, I was just straight-up annoyed and creeped out. Dinner ended, we had dessert, and said our goodbyes. I blocked him everywhere. I had enough of the weird dude. On my way home, I was wondering to myself if something was wrong with him, but I shrugged it off. Just a creep, not exactly worth my attention.
Fate had it that I would run into him everywhere I went because Singapore is tiny. The first time I ran into him after our dinner, we were at the subway station. He said hi and literally just bear-hugged me in the middle of the station with very heavy human traffic. I found an excuse and scurried away. Subsequently, over the next two years, I kept running into him wherever I went. After the first encounter, every single time that I ran into him, he is with a different petite Asian girl with tanned skin. Coincidence? I think not.
Fast forward another year, I was checking the news and found out he was a convicted sex offender with a stash of child porn. He titled his stash ‘Fifteen.’ Phew. Close call. Turned out he was a creep after all. I’m not going to ignore small red flags about people anymore.”
“I was born and raised in Thailand. Decades ago, I dated a very accomplished white man. He was a CFO of a big local company, traveled a lot, and was very cultured. After a few coffee and dinner dates, I went to visit his place. It was a beautiful home. The interior was decorated with Southeast Asian arts and artifacts. But what caught my eye the most was the kitchen where he had twelve Thai cookbooks and three rice cookers.
‘Why do you have so many rice cookers?’ I asked.
‘They are my ex’s,’ he replied.
Shortly after, I was told he only dated people from Southeast Asia. A brief flash of Jeffrey Dahmer’s face entered my mind. But the real red flag started waving when he continued to speak.
‘If we get more serious, I’ll take good care of you like an oriental princess. You won’t have to work a day in your life. You just have to look pretty and wear these around the house,’ he said as he was showing me traditional Thai garments he’d been keeping.
I declined the offer and quickly said goodnight. He called many times the following morning. I didn’t pick up. When I checked my voicemail later, he’d left a few voice messages. One of them was him singing the Thai national anthem at the top of his lungs. I didn’t call him back.”
“I grew up on a ranch and trained all of our horses. We used to hold a rodeo event every year and met a ton of people from all over the United States, even Canada. One summer, I met a very handsome guy at a penning, ‘Jake,’ and was pleasantly surprised to find out he only lived an hour away from me. We had amazing chemistry and started seeing each other as often as we could. After two months of dating, he invited me out to his place to spend the weekend. I fancied myself madly in love already, so I eagerly packed my bags and drove up.
When I got there, he was working with a young colt in the round pen. I stood at the rail and watched, curious about his technique. You can learn just about all you’ll ever need to know about someone by how they treat animals while training, even what kind of lover they are. I thought that based on what I had seen of him so far, Jake was a gentle and loving soul, and expected to see that as he worked.
Something about Jake was off, he seemed agitated and jumpy and so did the horse. I was about to ask if he wanted some help or to take a break when out of nowhere, WHAM! Jake suddenly lashed out with the lead rope and hit the colt on the face with it. He started yelling and cursing, was extremely frustrated, and actually tried to kick the poor horse at one point.
Horrified, I immediately got back in my truck and left. I heard him call out to me, asking where I was going. When I ignored him he yelled, ‘Fine, just leave then, you weak bitch. If you can’t stomach this, then you have no business being in my life!’ As well as some choice curse words flung at my back. I was terrified he might try to chase me down, he sounded that unhinged. I just wanted as much distance between us as possible. My phone went off several times during the drive, but felt too scared to even talk to him on the phone.
When I got home and finally checked it, I saw that I had five missed calls, five voicemails, and twelve text messages, each one nastier than the last. I blocked his number and then called the sheriff in his town to report what I had seen. The woman I spoke to said it wasn’t the first time they had received complaints about Jake. I don’t know what happened with that investigation or if there even was one conducted. After that, I saw him a couple of times at rodeos, but we pretended to not see one another. When I moved and quit the ranch, I remember feeling a bit relieved knowing I’d probably never run into him again.
I was always afraid he would hurt me in retaliation and anger. Since then, I’ve met two of his ex-girlfriends and both confirmed that when he got drunk, or had even just a little bit of alcohol in his system, he would lose his temper and harm them. It happened several times before they finally got themselves away from him. One of them pressed charges and he did jail time for it. I also learned that no one would sell him their horses because he’s known to be violent towards them. I sure wish someone had warned me about him. I’m just grateful it ended before it began.
That is probably one of the biggest red flags there is: If someone can be cruel and violent towards an animal, they can damn well be cruel and violent towards you or a child.”
Two Personalities Too Many
“A few years ago I had a guy in one of my college history classes. I would catch him looking at me all the time until he finally asked me on a date. I told him I’d love to and we agreed to meet at an Italian restaurant at 6:00 pm. I went inside when I got there and he was nowhere in sight. He didn’t show up until close to 7:00 pm. I’m a very, very punctual person so that really got under my skin, but he apologized profusely and told me he had gotten out of baseball practice late and came as soon as he could. I just let it go and we started talking.
He really bragged and stressed to me how he was in the minor leagues and was about to go pro. He was 28 at that time and I’m not too familiar with baseball, but I thought that was a little late in life to be going pro and he didn’t look like he had played a sport in years. After a while, we started talking about what we wanted for our futures, kids, jobs, and things of that nature. He told me he wanted to get married and play baseball, nothing else.
‘No kids?’ I asked.
‘No, this planet is full of horrible people and I refuse to add another to the world,’ he said.
I just sat there and looked blankly and then said ‘Well, I think the odds of you having a horrible person as a child are pretty slim–’ trying to lighten the mood.
He cut me off and asked if I was an idiot and if I heard what I was saying. He went on a full 40-minute rant about the Roman Empire, mass murderers, Islam, rapists, and crazy conspiracy theories. He would go back and forth between this cool laid back guy to this crazy the-earth-is-going-to-burn extremist. I excused myself to ‘go to the bathroom,’ found the waitress and personally left her a tip, and then ran to my car and left.
When I saw him in class the next week, he avoided me. Like, completely picked up his desk and moved it across the room like a child avoiding. Every time I’d answer a question, he always had a rebuttal, even if the answer was a clear-cut answer, or he would elaborate on what I said because ‘I didn’t explain it right.’ After so long he dropped the course and I never saw him again.”
“I was friends with Jay for 35 years and we started a romantic relationship about five years ago. We met when we were both really young and just starting out in our careers. Neither one of us had any money but we both had big dreams about the future. He ended up doing extremely well and has become a multimillionaire. I, unfortunately, lost my job two years ago and, as a result, lost everything. I’m sleeping on my uncle’s couch and trying to get a job. It has been a humbling experience and I struggle with depression and anxiety. It feels like this will never end.
I had a recent emergency and asked Jay if I could borrow 340 dollars. He cursed me out and told me to never ask him for money again. I was ashamed and devastated. This was the same man who always said I was one of the few people who he could trust because he knew I wasn’t a gold digger. I cut him off immediately and told him that I have never been in an abusive relationship and I wouldn’t start now.
A week later, I find out that he had a house built in my state and had been hiding it from me. That was a gut punch. For 35 years, I thought we were very close friends. But he showed me that his money and possessions were more important than any relationship. He reaches out constantly, but as far as I’m concerned, the relationship is over. I did send him a final email advising him to dig deep and do the hard work through therapy to figure out how to be a decent human being with empathy.”
Dodged A Bullet
“We were an Indian couple and got introduced by our parents. Things started to move quickly from there. For the sake of privacy, let’s call her ‘Seema.’ Seema was very nice and beautiful too. We started talking on calls. She was very nice and was the kind of person who listens to people carefully and I liked that about her. I felt like she had a lot of empathy toward people.
The first red flag I think was her mom. I had heard some stories about her mom and all of them described her mom as a controlling and manipulative person. I ignored all of them, thinking that it had nothing to do with Seema. She could still be a good person even if her mom isn’t.
The second red flag came when we talked about past relationships. I told her about my relationships without thinking. She’d always dodge the conversation and tell me that she never had a love affair or even a crush in her life. That didn’t sit right with me. Who can live 22 years of their life and never have a crush? Though at the time, I thought maybe I was overthinking and let that slide. She was definitely lying, but I didn’t have to do anything with it, even if she had anything in the past.
The last straw was after a really weird phone call. I had recently gifted her a new phone. She called and told me she hadn’t slept the night before because her aunt found out about the phone. She didn’t want anyone to know about it for some reason. I then heard her mom in the background and it all made sense. Seema then asked me if I could tell everyone her mom gifted her the phone. I hung up on her. The next time we spoke, I told her if she couldn’t stop being a puppet to her mother’s orders then we weren’t going to work out.
I asked her to take time to think about it and get back to me in a week. After a week, she said she would not stop answering to her mom. I canceled the wedding and dodged that bullet.”
Goodbye For Good
“I had been dating a woman for a few months. The two of us had been getting on great and I was really falling for her. I knew she had broken up with her most recent ex after discovering he’d had an affair, and this had happened while they were on holiday with his whole family. It sounded pretty dramatic but she was mostly complimentary when talking about him.
I don’t remember exactly how we got onto the topic, but one day we were talking on the phone about what had happened, and she was being surprisingly positive about him throughout the conversation. I asked her why she seemed to be okay with him betraying her in that way and she said she didn’t see it that way. I was unbelievably confused and kept asking questions, but nothing she said made any sense to me.
It got to the point that I had to ask her to give me her definition of cheating and eventually she used the word ‘inevitable.’ She genuinely believed that cheating wasn’t a choice and would invariably happen if someone met ‘the right person’ while in a relationship. I also discovered she was in a relationship when she first met this previous partner. She believed that cheating on her former partner was correct and rejected the idea that she could have ended her previous relationship first. At that moment, I told her I never wanted to talk to her again, and I never did.”
“I met this guy on my way to an African restaurant one evening. He approached me to ask for directions to a mall which was where the African restaurant was. I told him I was going to the same place and that he could tag along. We got to the mall and we both went our separate ways. A few minutes later, he came into the restaurant and since we already met earlier on, we started talking after he had ordered his meal. We were from the same country so we had a lot to talk about. We exchanged numbers after that.
We hung out a few times when I started to notice a very weird quality. He would brag about little things, even the most mundane stuff. He would brag about how ‘his hair smelled better than every guy’s hair in the world,’ and he’d talk about the several hotels and houses his family had. He actually came from an upper-middle-class family, but I didn’t see the need to talk about those things, especially when no one asked.
I told myself I was going to stop talking to him but that didn’t happen right away as he was a little clingy and always found a way to be a lovely person sometimes. The final straw that made me instantly cut all communications with him and even ghost him was another stupid thing he said. I can’t remember what we were talking about but he said something very annoying and childish like, ‘I know I’m very proud and arrogant and I believe anyone who cannot deal with it or handle it does not deserve me.’
I was livid when I heard that. I never thought I’d live to see the day when pride and arrogance were regarded as something to be boastful of. He still tried contacting me several times but I never replied. I believe he sensed I was no longer into it, so he moved on.”
Uber To The Rescue
“A couple of months ago, I went on a date with a man I met on Tinder and had been chatting with for two weeks. As the date ended, I insisted that I wanted to take an Uber home and my date didn’t push. However, while we waited for my ride to arrive, he went ahead and lunged at me fixing his lips on mine for a kiss. I immediately pulled out and told him not to do that again, but because I was leaning on his car, he tried to hold me against the car so I couldn’t move anymore.
I struggled with him and managed to wriggle my way out of his hold and move away from the car completely. Just then, I saw the headlights of the car taking me home from a distance. I was completely awash with relief and didn’t even say proper goodbyes before jumping into the car. I never saw nor spoke to him again. Clearly, there was no way I would have been safe around such an individual and I didn’t need another experience with him to know that.”