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10 Dating Red Flags to Help You Spot Mr. Wrong

This man looking intensely into the camera may display a few of these dating red flags.

Dating can be expensive; and it’s not just the money you spend. It’s about the investment of your heart, your time, and your emotional energy. And you definitely don’t want to waste another minute on the wrong person. But how can you know if you’re dealing with a Mr. Wrong before the relationship goes too far?

You deserve someone who wants you totally and completely, because you’re worth it. If you find yourself stressing out about your new relationship, here are a few signs that the man you’re with isn’t worth your time.

1. He lies or exaggerates the truth.
All meaningful relationships are based on mutual trust. If you can’t trust the person you’re with, everything else is meaningless. It doesn’t matter if he’s drop dead gorgeous (even if you’ve never dated such a hunk), has a great job (even if you’ve always wanted to date a doctor), or takes you on great vacations (even if you could never have afforded to go to those fabulous resorts on your own), a man who does not honor his word has no value.

If you can’t be sure that your date is being honest you’ll always doubt him. And there’s nothing more exasperating than a guy who exaggerates the truth. For example, your date tells you he’s the VP of his company, only later you find out he’s a part-time salesman on commission. Or maybe your date boasts that he received a football scholarship to Notre Dame but had to turn it down because his dad was very ill. Turns out his dad was ill and he was accepted to Notre Dame, but he never even played football in high school and no scholarship was ever offered.

It’s true that some people may stretch the truth in order to impress you, but habitual lying and a pattern of deception are far from healthy behaviors

2. Your date is a financial mess.
Your date takes you out for expensive dinners and showers you with extravagant gifts. Wow, you think, This guy is so different than the stingy boyfriends of my past. Simultaneously, he asks if he could borrow money, which he promises to pay back when he gets paid but he never does. He has an expensive car yet he’s driving on bald tires because he can’t afford new ones. It’s your birthday and he says I wanted to get you a really nice gift but money is tight, so if you don’t mind I’ll get you a gift next week. Sadly, you never get anything. Financial fitness is essential for a healthy relationship. Irresponsible spending is a warning sign that this guy isn’t ready for something serious.

He promises you the world but delivers nothing.
If your date has broken promises to you over and over again you do not ignore it. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • He promises to get tickets for your favorite concert, but by the time he gets around to buying the tickets they’re sold out.
  • He swears he’ll take you to the airport, but at the last minute says, sorry I can’t.
  • He gives you his word that he’ll bring dinner to your place because you’re sick, and even offers to pick up your prescription at the drug store. At 7:30 p.m. he calls you and says he has a meeting.
  • He vows that he’ll never be late again. Guess what? It’s your next date and he sends you an apologetic text that he’s stuck in traffic.

He is an expert at justifying, explaining, and defending his position. He’s so good at it that you start doubting your reaction. Please, take a look at how many times this guy lets you down and stop making excuses for him. In baseball, it’s three strikes and you are out. How many strikes does it take for you?

4. He never plans ahead.
He calls you at the last minute to go out. He’s never sure when he’ll be available and thinks you’re crazy for wanting to know when you’re going to see each other. Your plans together constantly change to meet his needs. And yet, when it comes to his friends, sports, and work his life is scheduled weeks ahead. Do you want to be your date’s last priority? Feeling special and important is crucial for a relationship to flourish. We all have busy lives, yet we make the time for what’s important. A guy who’s into you knows that if he wants to see you he has to book you ahead of time.

5. He’s selfish.
If it’s all about him, all the time, he’s being selfish. When you’re dating someone who’s selfish there’s very little room for your voice to be heard or your needs to be met. Even picking a movie or a restaurant becomes a battle. What does a bank account and an ideal relationship have in common? The more you deposit the greater the return. Men who understand the value of compromise know that the more you put in, the more you get. And the more you give the more the interest gets compounded. If compromise, concession, finding middle ground, and negotiation don’t exist in your relationship, then it’s time for you to give him his walking papers.

6. He doesn’t want you to meet his friends or family.
If your date is genuinely interested in you he’ll want everyone to meet you—and that includes his friends, family, and coworkers. He’ll also want to show you off at weddings, work, and social events. If none of this is happening, and your relationship is exclusive, it’s time to find out what the deal is. Is he dating someone else, or is a future with you out of the question? Why are you being kept a secret? If you bring it up and he says, sure I want you to meet my family and friends but I’m not ready, it’s time to ask yourself if you’re ok with that.

7. He never calls when he says he will.
Unless there’s a natural disaster or a major catastrophe there’s no excuse for not calling. Okay, his battery went dead, or he misplaced his phone, or he overslept… it happens. But, does he always have an excuse and the only thing you can count on is that he doesn’t call when he says he will? A guy who is into you will call you when he says he will. And also when you least expect it.

8. He gets too serious too quickly.
Picking out china after one date, going on a vacation together after two dates, or moving in together after three dates is outrageous. Does your date want you or does he desperately want a relationship with anyone? Don’t be misled by this whirlwind. When it’s too good to be true, it usually is.

9. The relationship is one sided.
One of the most revealing signs that you’re with Mr. Wrong is that you’re working way too hard to make the relationship work. Do you find yourself putting in all the effort to please your date, doing all the planning, and constantly making sure that he’s happy? It’s exhausting when you’re the only person invested in making the relationship work. There’s no way to sustain a relationship like this, and it’s up to you to cut your losses before he does.

10. Commitment isn’t in his vocabulary.
You meet this great guy—You really like him and he does all the right things, he calls when he says he will, takes you out on great dates, he’s affectionate, tells you he really likes you, wants you to meet his friends, and you’re on cloud nine. Then you tell him that you’ve never been happier and he stops calling. When you ask him what happened he says that he wants to slow things down. You give him his space and hope for the best. Then he tells you he misses you and things start getting better and better again. You’re back on cloud nine and tell him that your feelings are growing for him. His immediate response is to tell you he’s not ready for anything serious and that he’s feeling pressured. Although the chemistry is right and you feel that you’re a perfect fit, if he’s not willing to commit to you in the way you need, he’s not right for you.

You deserve a great relationship!

Are any of these red flags familiar to you? Are you experiencing them right now or have you experienced them in the past? Think of them as flashing lights alerting you to the fact that no matter how charming or attractive your date is actions always speak louder than words. I know how hard it is to meet someone, but staying with Mr. Wrong will eventually lead to heartbreak.

Always remember that you’re worth it and that you deserve a loving, committed, equal partner.

Fran Greene LCSW is a nationally renowned relationship expert. Flirting is her hobby, love is her passion, and her dream is for you to have a loving relationship! She has a private practice working with singles who want to maximize their social life and couples who want to improve their relationship. And she’s also an accomplished online dating coach. To learn more about how to get back into the dating world check out her newest book Dating Again with Courage & Confidence. She is also the author of The Flirting Bible.

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