So you've found yourself the perfect woman. Awesome personality, great looks and your buddies love her.
Only something isn't quite right. Arguments keep breaking out, and tension is building.
When things aren't going right, it's important to recognize red flags in women. Identify them sooner rather than later, and you can work to resolve issues or end the relationship before anyone gets hurt.
I've had my share of rocky relationships and I've learnt a lot of lessons. Today, I'm breaking out the 13 red flags to watch for when dating.
Red Flag #1 She's Always Criticizing You
Now there's a big difference between complaining and criticizing:
Complaining is, “I was concerned when you were running late and didn't call me.”
Criticizing is “You're not forgetful, you're selfish. You never think of me!”
See the difference?
Everyone lashes out and criticizes from time to time; we're only human. But, repeatedly using you as an emotional punching bag shouldn't be tolerated and can lead to the other issues on this list.
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Red Flag #2 She Treats You With Contempt
To treat someone with contempt means using mockery, sarcasm, and disrespect. Essentially, it means your girlfriend is not taking discussions seriously.
What effect is this going to have on you? It will make you feel unloved and devalued. Nobody deserves this, so if this seems familiar, you should work on this as a couple.
Red Flag #3 She Gets Defensive
The third horseman of an apocalyptic relationship comes from blaming other people for their problems.
When someone makes a mistake, they can either say sorry and admit they made a mistake or defend themself. Defensiveness will only escalate the conflict, though; it places the blame on someone else.
In life, but especially in a relationship, ‘sorry' is a golden word. If your girlfriend won't say it to you and own her mistakes (because nobody is flawless), then this is a sign for you.
(Pro tip: saying “I'm sorry you're upset” doesn't count!)
PRO TIP: Make sure that you only apply this red flag if your lady is actually in the wrong. Sometimes it'll feel like she is, when it's actually you who should apologize. Take time to think about situations before jumping to conclusions!
Red Flag #4 She Stonewalls You When There Is A Problem
Stonewalling is an alternative route to contempt that people in a relationship sometimes take. Instead of your girlfriend not taking a conversation seriously, she refuses to engage.
John Gottman says refusing to talk, acting busy, or otherwise evading and refusing to participate with you means your girlfriend is physiologically flooded and is not in a place where she can have a rational discussion.
If this sounds familiar, you need to take a break. For some people, it could be as little as 20 minutes to calm down; for others, it could be days or more, in which case you might want to consider if you are committed to the relationship.
Sure, taking some time to regroup and run through your emotions is a good idea. But ignoring you as a way of hurting you is never acceptable.
Red Flag #5 She Has Different Cleaning Habits To You
This one seems minor, right? But, it can lead to arguments.
Does your girlfriend like things tidier than you? She will constantly be upset with you for not cleaning up more often.
Does your girlfriend not tidy up after herself? She will become increasingly frustrated you can't leave things where they are.
The frustration between the two of you will build over time, and this is a deeply ingrained habit that is very hard to change.
It's not impossible to overcome, but I strongly suggest you find out how tidy your girlfriend is before making any major decisions.
Red Flag #6 She Needs Constant Reassurance
This red flag in women might seem harsh, but it's the truth.
If your girlfriend cannot make herself happy, she could end up draining all your willpower and mental energy as you try to do it for them.
Everyone needs an emotional pick-me-up now and then. But if you are constantly doing that for her, when can she do that for you?
One of the most challenging life lessons I've learned is: You have to love yourself before you can love someone else.
Red Flag #7 She's Always Speaking To Her Ex
I'm going to come right out and say it, your girlfriend chatting to her ex regularly when they broke up less than 6 months ago is an awful sign.
Chatting to an ex from time to time is ok. I would even argue that a girl blocking every one of her exes is a red flag all of its own.
BUT, frequent contact with her immediate ex indicates the relationship is not entirely over. You should prepare yourself for the fact there is a good chance you could end up becoming ‘the rebound boyfriend.'
Red Flag #8 She's A Drama Queen
Does this one sound familiar?
Somehow, nobody has it worse than your girlfriend. Everything is a soap opera, and everyone has a vendetta against her – or so she says.
Engaging in oneupmanship is a contest with no winner. If your partner is the sort of person who always has to have it worse off than you, then consider that a red flag.
You won't feel emotionally supported, which is incredibly important.
Red Flag #9 She Does Not Read Or Push Herself To Grow
If you're anything like me, you love to read. Maybe you attend courses at the local college or university to expand your horizons; perhaps you're just a generally curious person. If your girlfriend isn't interested in reading and learning or even looks down on these things, that's a terrible sign.
As a quick litmus test, ask a girl on a first date if she is reading a book currently. If she hasn't read any book in the last year, you might want to enquire why that is. Life can be hectic, but a year is a long time.
Ultimately, you are the sum of the people with which you surround yourself. How can you learn and grow as a person if your girlfriend or wife is not developing alongside you and not encouraging you?
Want to recommend a book to your girlfriend? Here are 25 books everyone should read.
Red Flag #10 She's On The Phone To You 24/7
I love when my wife messages me when she's out and about. It tells me she's thinking of me. There's a natural limit to this, though.
If your girlfriend is messaging you every hour of the day and expecting you to respond every time, this is overstepping natural boundaries. It will get in the way of you doing focused, productive work and spending quality time with friends and family out of business hours.
Find out how often you should text a woman you've just met.
Red Flag #11 She Shares Other People's Secrets With You
Gossip is tricky, but it has played an essential function in society for thousands of years – after all, how would one man know another man is a good hunter without already going hunting with them? They would hear it on the grapevine.
Gossip is one thing but what you should never do is share another person's secrets. If your girlfriend does this, she breaks a bond of trust with her friends by going behind their backs. It also means she is likely sharing your secrets too, so be careful what you say.
Think about it, what's worse? Someone doing something embarrassing or someone gleefully telling the world about it?
Red Flag #12 She Plays Games With You And Your Feelings
It doesn't matter if you're 18 or 88. However old you are, I promise you you're too old for a girl who plays games. Enough said.
Let me quote one of my buddies. He once had a problem with his missus and told her straight:
“We're not in high school, and you aren't on the Bachelorette. Be honest, sincere, and forthcoming, and we'll get along just fine. I'm in my mid-thirties and thus am too old and rickety to jump through hoops.”
Red Flag #13 She's Using You To Cheat On Someone Else
They will tell you you're different from their exes, and they would never do it to you. Reality check: you're not ‘different from their exes‘
The hard truth is, they will break up with you too when the next ‘Mr. Right' comes along.
It can be challenging to face objective facts when you're in a relationship. I hope knowing these red flags in women help you recognize if you're in a problematic relationship or, if you don't see any of these, maybe appreciate what you've got!
- She Criticizes You
- She Treats You With Contempt
- She Gets Defensive
- She Stonewalls You
- She Has Different Cleaning Habits
- She Has Poor Self-Esteem
- She Speaks To Her Ex Regularly
- She Is A Drama Queen
- She Does Not Read
- She Is On The Phone With You 24/7
- She Shares Other People's Secrets With You
- She Plays Games With You
- She Is Using You To Cheat
Lisita, Ellie. 2013. “The Four Horsemen: Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling.” The Gottman Institute. Link
- Relationship Red Flags – what did you ignore and later regret? Link
- What are some subtle relationship red flags that are often overlooked? Link
- What are some major red flags in women you should never ignore? Link
- What is an immediate red flag about someone? Link
Guys, there are some pretty great women out there! To help you work out if they're attracted to you, click here to discover a foolproof guide to women's body language.
Click below to watch the video – 10 Things Women Notice That Guys Are OBLIVIOUS About