Being in a relationship, or at least trying to be in a relationship, can be tricky nowadays.
With dating apps, casual hookups and social media, we’ve entered a whole new world of dating that no generation before us has ever experienced. And, while dating is confusing territory for all of us, and it’s easy to misinterpret signals sent over text message, there are some definite red flags that it’s time to stop ignoring.
Too many times have I seen a friend of mine, or even myself, walk into a bad relationship only to end up confused and hurt a few months later. Looking back on these situations, or hearing about them, I realized there was really nothing to be confused about in the first place; the warning signs were there from the beginning. It’s time to take off the rose-colored glasses when starting a new relationship and look for these six, commonly overlooked warning signs.
1. People Warn You About Them
I know listening to gossip is a childish thing to do, but if most of the people around you have something to say about this person, is it really worth the risk?
A while ago, I dated this guy who definitely had a reputation. Everyone, from my friends, to my friends of friends, to his ex girlfriends warned me about how big of a jackass this guy was. And what did I do? I gave him a shot because he “seemed like he had changed.”
Let me tell you, people don’t change, and I ended up in the exact same position as the girls before me. Now, granted, I was a dumb high schooler at the time, but I feel like I learned a lesson that I will carry with me for the rest of time.
In the same vein, if you bring your new significant other around your friends and family, and they seem to not like them—listen. People on the outside of a relationship can see it better for what it is than the people who are inside of it. So listen to the people around you.
2. They Don’t Make You a Priority
Making someone a priority doesn’t mean that they have to give you every second of their undivided attention and devotion. That would be creepy, unhealthy and just plain annoying. But what it does mean is that they attempt to make you a part of their life.
I had a friend who recently thought it was okay that the guy she was talking to took thirteen hours to respond to her text messages. Her reasoning behind this was, “Everyone is busy and can’t always get to their phone.”
While this may be true, no one is ever so busy that they can’t at least send you an “I can’t text right now I’m busy” text. In addition to this guy taking forever to send a simple text, he also canceled their first date a few hours beforehand and didn’t make plans to reschedule. Oh, and I forgot to mention that when she gave him her number, he waited a full two weeks before sending her a simple “hey” text message.
This guy obviously wasn’t that into my friend, and so therefore he saw no reason to make her a priority. This may be an extreme example, but if you’re with someone and they don’t ever attempt to take initiative, respond in a timely manner or keep plans, you’re not a priority to them.
Just because someone doesn’t make you a priority doesn’t always mean that they’re an asshole. Some people are just genuinely too busy or are not in the right place in life for a relationship. And that’s okay. But, for the most part, if someone doesn’t make you a priority, it means that they’re just not that in to you. Sorry.
3. They Continually Bring Up Their Ex
This should be a no-brainer, but too often I see people go into a relationship with someone who clearly isn’t over their ex. There is no way to be in a healthy new relationship if you are not over the old one.
I had a friend freshman year who had a boyfriend who brought up his ex so often that I felt like I knew her personally. Anytime I would hang out with them, he would find someway to slip her into the conversation.
In fact, one time, when he was drunk, he let it be known in front of a large group of her friends that he thought I was hot because I looked just like his ex. The relationship should have ended right there, but sadly it continued to go on for another eight months.
4. They Drink Excessively/Change When They Drink
I know it’s college, and we all drink a little too much and do things we regret in the morning, but if someone’s drinking is a problem, then it’s time to let them go.
Remember my friend who had the boyfriend who couldn’t stop bringing up his ex? Turns out, he also had a slight drinking problem. He was almost always drunk, had no problem with driving drunk and was at least an hour late to everything, unless it was going to a bar, in which case he was early.
As if this guy wasn’t bad enough, he also turned into a raging maniac when he got drunk and would just start yelling and swearing at people for not reason.
Alcohol abuse or hard drug use is inexcusable and a deal breaker when it comes to dating. If you get around a person who has this problem, cut them loose sooner rather than later.
5. There’s a Lack of Trust
Without trust, you can’t have a relationship. A relationship is supposed to be about two adults sharing their lives together, not two jealous teenagers snooping through each other’s lives.
If there isn’t trust on one or both sides of the relationship, end it and save yourself the drama.
6. Something Feels Off
This is one of the biggest red flags I see friends of mine, and myself, missing. I feel like people in general ignore their gut feeling when it’s usually right.
Just last year I was seeing a guy, and in the back of my mind, something didn’t feel right. Instead of cutting it off right then and there, I continued seeing him, only for him to disappear off the face of the planet a few months later.
Take it from me: If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t, so save yourself the time and confusion.