Dating comes with a lot of pitfalls, including the risk of giving your heart to someone who won’t take care of it. And while it’s true that it takes time to really get to know a person, there are a few early warning signs you can heed to protect yourself from heartbreak and avoid a potentially toxic relationship.
Keep reading for our list of 10 of these warning signs you should pay attention to when you’re dating someone new.
1. He’s rude.
He might not be rude to you per se, but if he snaps at waiters and is discourteous to people in general, even (or perhaps especially) strangers, that should set off some internal alarms that this guy lacks a good amount of common decency, which could be a symptom of something worse.
2. He scrimps on compliments, but is generous with criticism.
You don’t need someone who’s more negative than positive in your life. If you talk about a problem at work, for example, and he is quick to tell you how you could have handled things better, but he doesn’t take the time to tell you how gorgeous you look after you spent a couple of hours primping for your date, it might be a sign you should drop him.
3. He talks about himself constantly.
No one loves a narcissist—except himself. If everything coming out of his mouth is I, I, I and even talking about your concerns and interests is just an elaborate way to circle back to talking about him, you definitely should have a problem with that.
4. He’s arrogant.
This isn’t so much rudeness or narcissism, which we’ve covered already, as an inflated belief in his self-worth. An arrogant guy won’t go out of his way to impress you because he thinks he’s impressive all on his own. That’s probably a warning sign that he values himself more than he does you.
5. He doesn’t care about your opinions or interests.
This should be a no-brainer, but if he can’t wait to move on to other topics when you’re talking about something that genuinely interests you, or if you tell him your preferences and thoughts and he blithely ignores these, drop him quick. A person who doesn’t care about what you think or are interested in doesn’t care about you, and he probably doesn’t respect you either.
6. He avoids commitment.
So he loves spending time with you. But he doesn’t want to meet your friends or family, and he doesn’t want to talk about your future. That’s all right for a while—but once you start getting serious, make sure that he’s on the same page, or you could end up with heartbreak before you can even suggest changing your status to “in a relationship.”
7. He’s too focused on getting you into bed with him.
If a guy is moving too fast for your comfort, it’s a simple enough thing to tell him to slow down. If you’re in the market for a sex buddy, that’s one thing. But if you’re looking for a meaningful relationship, you deserve more than a guy whose only goal is to get you between the sheets even before he takes the time to get to know you.
8. He ogles other ladies in your presence.
This is not to say he can’t notice a pretty woman when he sees one. Even being in a committed relationship doesn’t strike a man blind. But it’s one thing to notice someone else’s attributes, and it’s another thing entirely to disrespect you by giving much of his attention to other people when he’s with you.
9. He’s overly possessive.
Yes, he’s the guy you’re dating. But that doesn’t mean he has the right to dictate what you do or say or who you hang out with. Even when you’re together (even when you’re married), this won’t give him the right to tyrannize your life. And until you commit to an exclusive relationship, he doesn’t even have the right to tell you who you can or can’t see. So if he’s flaring up in jealousy even before you’ve made any commitments, tread very carefully, if you don’t cut and run outright.
10. He’s cheated before.
While “once a cheater, always a cheater” seems such a broad generalization, you need to understand that the act of cheating on someone to whom you’ve made commitments, promises to, even if these were implicit rather than explicit, indicates a lack of integrity and honesty. It’s one thing to end a relationship because you’ve fallen for someone else. It’s another thing entirely to act upon having fallen for someone else while still in a relationship with another woman—and lie about it. Because that’s what a cheater does: he lies. So if you know he’s had a history of cheating, you might want to stay clear of him. And if he cheats on another woman with you, remember: if he does it to her, who’s to say he won’t do it to you?
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Liana Smith Bautista is an article writer, web content manager, manuscript copy editor, and blogger—and she thinks it's awesome that she earns her living marketing on her love for the written word.