Recently, we asked the women in our BuzzFeed Community to tell us their biggest dating and relationship red flags — and the response was overwhelming.
NBC / Via media.giphy.com
From petty pet peeves to safety-conscious red flags, these are the biggest dating and relationship deal breakers that women encounter.
Columbia TriStar / Via media.giphy.com
Content warning: mentions of harassment, abuse, and sexual assault from #29–40.
🚩 Starting with the weirdly specific but generally harmless...
1."If he’s a member of the Freemasons."
2."If he parks his two motorcycles in the living room, that's probably a deal breaker. If his trailer is leaning to the side like an old creaky boat, it probably has mold underneath. (For context, I live in Alaska.)"
3."If he says, 'I'm in a band.' Nope nope nope!"
4."I found this out in my late 20s, but if they’re a picky eater — not for me!"
5."Guys who pinch the back of my neck like they’re holding up a fish — essentially saying, 'Look what I caught!' As if I should be as sentient as salmon."
6."I live near Portland, Oregon, and I implemented a strict no-Nike/no-Intel rule. It was like dating the same person on repeat (and I’ll pass on the ping-pong bar date, bro)."
🚩🚩 ...then moving on to low-level red flags that guarantee incompatibility...
7."I personally HATE it when someone doesn't want to put any labels on the relationship. Not because I’m clingy, but because we both deserve clarity to avoid misunderstandings. It’s part of showing emotional responsibility."
8."If he doesn’t want to commit. I won’t change him, so I don't waste my time."
9."If something happens to my husband and I have to start over, 'no slobs' will be at the top of the list. I'm not going to do all the cooking and cleaning for you."
10."Flagrant arrogance. After sex, one guy I was seeing said, 'I'm the best you've ever had, aren't I?' I just couldn't stomach being near him again. I desperately wish you could un-fuck someone."
11."When the guy only talks about himself and cuts me off to make the conversation about himself when I'm the one sharing."
12."When they say, 'I’m a nice guy,' unprompted. If you’re really a nice guy, I'll see it."
"Plus being nice is basic decent behavior. Everyone should be nice. Stop acting like you deserve special treatment for being nice."
13."When he asks how much I make, what my rent is, how I can afford certain things, etc. That usually means he’s trying to see if I make more money than him."
14."I absolutely HATE when you're having a discussion about anything at all, and the other person says, 'I've done that,' or, 'I know how to do that,' after EVERY topic. No, you don't. Absolutely no one knows, has done, or learned about every single thing. 🙄😬"
15."For many, many reasons I've refused to date anyone who is a smoker. I can't stand the smell, and my mom died of lung cancer."
16."If they don't ask any questions about your life and interests while on a date."
🚩🚩🚩 ...to more serious red flags that show how disrespectful someone really is...
17."Anyone who mocks or criticizes my passions and interests. If they don't at least try to understand what I like, it's clear they don't care."
18."I always watch how someone tips and how they treat waitstaff, cashiers, bartenders, etc. It's pretty telling of what kind of person someone is."
19."I won’t date a guy who is a Trump supporter. Seems very unsafe."
20."Deadbeat dads who only see their kids when it’s 'convenient' for them."
21."When a person instantly calls me a pet name like 'sweetheart' or 'princess.' It just gives me super creep vibes."
22."My biggest red flags are if they don't like animals, talk negatively about a woman's appearance, call any woman a bitch, or don't get along with my family or friends."
23."When they claim all their exes are crazy. Learned the hard way that it wasn't the exes — it was him."
24."When they ogle every woman who passes like some sort of hungry animal."
25."Liking the show Two and a Half Men, liking Joe Rogan, or thinking Jordan Peterson is smart. Being in a huge amount of debt for no good reason."
26."Any man who undermines any experiences of being a woman that I tell him about. If you’re not going to listen and validate, bye. Also if they are anti-therapy."
"That's a big one. A LOT of guys think their experiences are the only valid ones and that they know more about what women experience than actual women."
27."If a man asks you what your body count is, run. What happened before you met shouldn't matter. Any guy harping on how many other men you've been with is unlikely to trust you — but they will likely be controlling and immature."
28."Comments on appearance (negative AND positive) tend to be a red flag for me. I struggle with body image, so I try to be neutral on what I look like. If a guy talks a lot about looks, I get uncomfortable. Sure, a 'that dress is nice on you' comment can be sweet, but some guys will say how 'hot' and 'sexy' you are all the time."
"Don't even get me started on men who insult other women's appearances in front of me. I want someone to want me for my soul, not my meat sack."
🚩🚩🚩🚩 ...to straight-up alarm bells and flashing lights warning everyone to STAY AWAY FROM THIS PERSON!!!!!!!
29."I deliberately tell male dates that I've taken lots of elective women's and gender studies courses in university. Nine out of ten times I watch their faces fall, and they then either somehow shame me for being a feminist or hit me with their 'not all men' spiel. I usually just find excuses to end the date at that point."
"When someone's first instinct is to belittle the bullshit women have to put up with on a daily basis, it's safe to say that person doesn't want good things for you, and it's only a matter of time until the misogyny gets worse."
30."Bouts of anger at seemingly minor inconveniences."
31."I get concerned when someone wants the first date to be at my place — or even theirs for that matter. Like dude, how about a public place for everyone's safety?"
"I also get a little weirded out if the guy starts catching too many feels and wants a 'close connection' before we meet in person. I have also learned the hard way that even though they may not have said anything that raises a big ol' red flag, I follow my gut if it says, 'Don’t meet that guy.' Period."
32."The refusal to understand and accept that the word 'no' applies to them. Or that it's a complete sentence and is not subject to negotiation."
33."If he thinks women and men have designated roles in society, like women belong in the kitchen."
34."When you’re just getting to know each other and you get dozens of missed calls a minute because they find you 'unresponsive' to their calls/texts."
35."My daughter lived across the country from us, and she called saying she was on a first date with a really nice guy and he wanted to say hello. She handed the phone to him, and I asked to speak to my daughter again, refusing to engage with him. WTF, dude. Control issues?"
I don't know what to call that move, but it was a huge red flag. One month later, he sexually assaulted her and changed her life forever. I wish I had done more."
36."Sending nudes without consent. After our second date, he sent a naked picture and urged me to send one in return. I didn't go out with him again — and I blocked him after a series of messages from him with nudes and a video masturbating."
37."I've had multiple men say to me, 'I'm used to being the smartest one in the relationship.' They universally turned out to be assholes."
— Wanting to make the relationship super serious, super fast. Clingy a week in = manipulative.
— Expressing any Very Strong Opinion on how women 'should' wear their hair/makeup.
— Accusations of cheating based on nothing, or otherwise jealous behavior.
— Seeming confused by/unhappy about basic safety precautions.
To be clear, all of these have happened to me, and it's always been a sign of things to come."
38."Acting like they know you better than you know yourself and saying things like, 'Oh, you wouldn’t like that.'"
39."'Harmless' jokes at your expense. They start off as kind of cute and funny, but it gets worse. My ex said that I was weird, cute, and crazy, but he kept telling people that I was actually insane and psychotic."
"Some of his friends wouldn't talk to me or even look me in the eye because they were genuinely afraid that I might rip their face off or something (this was whilst I was acting like a maid to all of them, cooking lavish meals, and seeing to their every whim)."
To sum it all up:
40."If they don't listen, pay attention, respect boundaries, or consider your needs, look out. If they act entitled to you or show even the tiniest sign that they don’t respect you in any way, run like hell and do not look back."
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.