The Biggest Relationship Deal Breaker I Ever Ignored



I told him I was looking for a pen, but the truth is I was snooping.

I used to be a real snoop. I was so curious as to what everyone around me was privately thinking. The only thing standing between me and anyone’s diary was a heaping pile of guilt, which I’m ashamed to admit didn’t always stop me. Eventually I learned, very definitively, that nothing good comes of it, ever, and I began to see it for the dubious breakdown of the golden rule that it is. Back in 2008, though, I only understood such a decency intellectually. I had yet to learn it the hard way.

One afternoon, I was hanging out in the bedroom of my first serious boyfriend while he was in class. We were about a year deep. We were technically happy (everyone dreams of being technically happy), but he’d broken up with me in a dramatic fashion about six months prior, and once we got back together, I had lingering doubts as to whether we were solid. This, of course, is how looking for a pen in his desk animorphed me into a raccoon sniffing around a dumpster. AND BOY, DID I SCORE SOME TRASH.

It was a small piece of paper. I can’t recall why it caught my eye. I picked it up with almost-psychic confidence. As I unfolded it, I knew immediately that I’d hit the shitty jackpot. I sat down on his bed, without so much as a blink or a breath, and read:

I was bowled over. I felt like I’d just peered into my own soul and finally understood myself.

Just kidding. WTF w/ TWO SYNONYMS FOR CUTE WASTING A QUARTER OF MY PRO SLOTS? I am also funny, fucker!

While my name was nowhere to be found, I never doubted the list was about me. The cons are all absolutely true, even still. And for the record, he meant literal board games, not like ~waiting to to text back.~ Trust me. This is a kid who was passionate about beer bongs.

I put the piece of paper back and returned to my homework, shaken. When he got back later that day, I knew that’d I’d cave and tell him. It was just too absurd to keep to myself. Oddly enough, my concern was not for the totally batshit contents of the list. I was just curious as to why the hell it existed. Was he thinking about ending things?

We sat down and I confessed I’d “stumbled” across the note while searching for a pen — an all-but-blatant lie — and was perplexed by it. My memory of the conversation is a little blurry (it was a decade ago!), but I know he told me the list was from a while back, when he was having doubts about us. He assured me it didn’t mean anything and I probably assured him I was game to change my personality. I was mostly interested in making the whole confrontation an enjoyable experience for him. I was just a good girlfriend, you know? We dropped it pretty quickly and didn’t break up for another six months. That it didn’t become a running joke was, in my opinion, singular evidence of our demise.

Him: Want to play Cranium?

Me: Did you forget? I DON’T LIKE GAMES!

The best part of breaking up and moving on is taking mental note of the red flags you missed. Of all the warning signs I’ve breezed past, the pro/con list is my absolute favorite. I really love it and wish I had it framed in my living room. In hindsight, the list’s existence doesn’t shock me (I had my own versions in the form of nauseatingly long Word documents), but the contents of it are so telling. They truly tickle me. That my best qualities in his eyes — cute, fun, nice, hot — were nowhere close to the ones I valued in myself and would prefer to be loved for — my mind, personality, literally anything else — should have been a smack upside the head for me. That mismatch was exactly why we didn’t work. Our values were off-the-charts different.

What was your biggest missed deal breaker? A red flag retro-identified is still a red flag.

Illustrations by Maria Jia Ling Pitt.

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  • LEM

    I wish I could forward this to a friend, who is currently ignoring a football-field-sized red flag.

  • toogoodtobetrue

    He would not go down on me…….tragedy

    • Katrina Elizabeth

      OMG call him right now and dump him again

      • Haley Nahman


    • ihaveacooch

      seriously wtf is this trend. i gotta learn to dump boys who don’t do this to me.

      • ESW

        Oral sex comes standard now.

    • rachel

      My boyfriend broke up with me about nine months ago. We had a THREE YEAR relationship, and he never went down on me once. We connected so well in every other way I ignored it, but thinking about that has definitely helped ease (some of) the pain of our breakup.

      • FLACA

        I keep thinking my man of almost 2 years is in the closet gay. sleeping with all my guy friends. cuz he starts acting all feminine around them . it’s crazy he can’t even stay hard in bed anymore am I right?

    • gwendomouse

      Really, is that a red flag? I refuse to give blow jobs. I find it demeaning and disgusting. I expect my husband to respect that, and he does. If he felt similar about giving me oral sex, I would accept that, too. Why force the person you love to do something they dislike?

      • alansa

        Wait so he does go down on you?

      • eyekwah

        that’s a fair enough opinion and it should be respected by anyone you’re intimate with. however, apprehension towards oral is not uncommon in douchey straight dudes, without a legitimate reason, who would be appalled if a woman refused to down on him.

  • Kaitf7

    I just got out of a relationship, and breezed passed many RED BANNERS if you will as if they were non-existent. There are just so many issues its hard to pick one at this point. In hindsight he just wasn’t nice to me or kind in the way that one should be. What I look back on as my ‘I should have known better’ was when we was strangely distant after I landed a job at my dream company. I always like to celebrate little achievements like that and he wouldn’t even treat me to a glass of champagne or wine.

    • Haley Nahman

      that’s a big deal!

  • Lindsay D

    I did snoop and find his W-2, I ignored all the serious commitment issues because he was kind and fun and we named our kids. This broken heart is a reminder DO NOT IGNORE RED FLAGS.

  • AG

    My red flag: when his twin brother told me “you know he lies, right?”

    But I laughed it off as just some sibling rivalry.

    7 years and a broken engagement later, I realized it wasn’t a laughing matter.

    • Lindsay D

      internet hug, its so hard to think clearly when you’re in love

    • Haley Nahman


  • Amy Mills

    woww this was so great and well-written. Love the justified outrage at him taking up 1/4 of the pro list with two synonyms for “nice.” Unforgivable

    • Haley Nahman

      it really was rude

      • Amy Mills

        Also can I just say I hate when people don’t like to complain? Like, do they not realize that complaining is the most basic way to bond?? Complaining about the weather to strangers is one of the best skills I have.

        (also realize the irony of me complaining rn)

        • Meg S

          You can’t complain about politics to everyone, so the weather is a pretty good complaining topic. It’s not even June and we’ve already got summer, complete with 90+ degree temps and humidity. Everyone agrees when I complain about the weather in an attempt to make that awkward elevator ride with people in my building at work who I don’t really know a little less awkward.

          Or traffic – there was an accident that tied up 90% of the roads in the area because the main highway was shut down for 5 hours. During rush hour combined with beach traffic. It’s all anyone talked about at work all afternoon, and we spent more time trying to find ways around it than actually working.

    • ESW

      I think she hit the nail on the head when she pointed out that he didn’t love the things she loved about herself. For example, my husband bemoans my “independent streak” and I think that is 1) not a “streak” and 2) the best thing about me.

      • Amy Mills

        So true. What I view as the best version of myself needs to match up (at least somewhat) with the guy’s favorite version of me.

  • lucyst0ner

    has anyone ever ignored a problematic future MIL and lived to tell about it? I’m ignoring that right now.

    • Abby

      I did. The first time we met she pretended I wasn’t there until my now-husband got up and announced that if she was going to be rude to me, we were leaving. We’ve been married awhile and my MIL has gotten nicer over the years, although I’m sure we’ll never be close. I think if your partner is willing to do the work to be a good buffer and call her out when she’s being rude/unreasonable/whatever the issue is, it can be fine. If they’re not seeing the problem or won’t take the initiative to shield you from it, then it definitely won’t work out as you’ll just grow to resent them for not standing up for you.

      • Jennifer Grigg

        I agree with you Abby! I ignored a problematic future MIL because I didn’t realise she’d become mine! Years later she has gotten better (so have I) and my husband has stepped up to the plate for me after we’d discussed everything a million times.

    • Michelle

      This is me. I ignored some major red MIL flags. Eg. her freaking out when we’d been engaged for one day about wedding details. Not talking to me for 6 weeks when my now husband and I were engaged because we invited someone to the wedding that she didn’t have a good feeling about. Crazy. There were red flags when we were dating too – I could write a book about the red flags. She ended up being a nightmare mother in-law. After my wedding her friends came out of the woodworks and only then told me she is a narcissist, that we should move far away before she started meddling in our marriage. 5 years on, and much meddling later, we moved country. Best move we ever made. Our marriage improved and we just had a very happy 10 year anniversary. My advice? If you marry this guy, keep your distance from the MIL. Move away and enjoy your marriage and lives together 🙂

      • Bo

        YIKES nice escape moves

  • Adrianna

    A couple months ago I snooped for the first time in a 5-year relationship and found that he donated $150 to a charity for disadvantaged youth to learn how to code, so there’s that.

    I think the only red flag I ignored was when my high school boyfriend yelled “will you fucking stop” when I tried to play with his hair. He ended up being a huge asshole. I later used touching a guy’s head or hair as a personality test. Coincidentally, my current boyfriend loves it when I rub his head.

    • belle

      That is the most wholesome dirt you could possibly dig up on someone!

    • alansa

      This current guy sounds like a keeper

  • Ashley

    QT lols here, Haley. If it helps, we can all start commenting “Did you forget – I DON’T LIKE GAMES” on every thing you write.

    On a more serious note, you snoop, you find. So I don’t even go there. Glad you found out kind of early.

    • Haley Nahman

      please do

    • doublecurl

      can we talk about this “you snoop, you find” thing?! I hear this all the time and understand the truth but does that mean that every partner is bound to have something gut wrenching and potentially catastrophic hidden from view?

      • Romina

        It actually means that, to some extent. To me it means that it you are willing to find something that makes him look like a cheater/bad person, you will definitely find something (anything) and turn it into whatever suits your view of him. Just ask right away and trust him. If you don’t, then trust your gut.

  • Out of so many, the biggest red flag I ignored I think, was how he was always too tired to talk about our relationship when I needed to. Like he was more important than me.

    • Haley Nahman

      !!! I have 100% gotten the “too tired” line, I’m like TOO BAD WAKE THE FUCK UP slap your own face if you have to

    • Vera Ivanova

      omg thiss.

  • Laura

    he was going down on me and lifted his head up from betwixt my thighs and said “i feel we’re platonic”

    • Laura

      also, he’s 14 years older than me and works as a sales associate in my retail job :~)

    • Haley Nahman


      • Laura

        best part is how i ignored it and then two months later i lost my virginity to him on his mom’s bed yikes

        • Hellbetty666

          These posts get sadder yet funnier!

    • libs

      nice use of betwixt, awful situation

      • Amelia Diamond

        “nice use of betwixt” <- day made

    • xtine

      Similarly, I was going down on him and he said, “I could do it better myself.” Fucker.

    • Joe Little

      My wife’s affair was 3 years ago. She subscribed to those hookup sites, knowing she was going to cheat. She had been talking to him for months before I caught on; and when I confronted her she lied. She even took a phone call from him during our daughter’s graduation! She had to step out of the open house to talk to her boyfriend. I figured it all out when a friend told me about a genuine hacker whom had helped her through the kinda stuff i was going through, he helped me hack into her phone. I had found out his name, address, social media info, everything…there was no denying it, but she sure tried! She lied over and no matter what, i got the truth…all thanks to (BIRDEYE.HACK at GMAIL dot COM). Contact him today and be glad you did. ./

  • Inaat

    Big red flag was him controlling me, preventing me from going out with friends, guilting me with he “didn’t want anything to happen to me” or last minute “but I had thought we could eat dinner and watch a movie” when he had known for a long time I aleready had plans. Other red flags were him not working and complaining that I didn’t do a good enough job keeping the house tidy and clean after work. And this hilarious one, he specifically said I was not spontaneus enough because I didn’t want to give him a BJ on the couch every night after work. I believed I was just wrong, and did not do anything right, covered up his behaviour for my friends and family, and stayed way to long! Girl, GET OUT!

    • Yep been there with the manipulating asshole too!

    • Haley Nahman


      • Inaat

        I know, I felt so ashamed when I woke up, but it felt like I had been brainwashed. Happy it’s over and I am finally living my life again.

    • Erica

      omg! 100% been there when it came to going out with my girlfriends. my ex would get insanely paranoid and untrusting as if my girlfriends and i were planning to have a huge orgy fest with random dudes, when in reality we would drink beer and eat tater tots at the local bar??

      • Inaat

        The worst. Good to read he is your ex now!

  • BarbieBush

    Not coming to see me when I shattered all bones in my leg because a football game was on. I offered for him to watch it at my house, still didn’t come.

    Sigh I really liked him.

    • Haley Nahman


    • Katrina Elizabeth

      I hope he gets tackled by a linebacker out of nowhere someday

    • ESW

      I got in a terrible car wreck (rolled my SUV – was okay but woah) – and he still went to a mountain bike race!

  • Abby

    He wanted to move to a farm in Virginia and live off the grid. That has never been anything close to my life dream but we still stuck it out for way too long! He lives on a remote island now and documents the whole thing through Instagram.

    • Meg S

      Had a boyfriend who wanted to live in a trailer park. I’m sure he could have agreed to a town house or something, but that always stayed in my mind and I think it was the barrier that kept us from getting more serious than 22 year olds who’ve been dating for 2 years. If I hadn’t said ‘okay’ to breaking up when he asked if I wanted to, it might have gone differently. I just couldn’t see getting any more serious with someone who wanted to live in a trailer park.

  • When he said, “so there’s this girl I work with …”

    As he proceeded to say she was crazy, he didn’t like her, nothing was going on etc. Red flag. Somewhere in my infatuated (psycho) mind I thought, “wow, he’s being honest.”

    Never again.

    • Meg S

      I had a boyfriend who played the ‘every girl is crazy but you’ card. His female friends, his ex girlfriends, and I was probably added onto that list of crazy people after we broke up. No idea why I didn’t see that for what it was, because the common denominator was right in front of me.

      • ihaveacooch

        so many guys i know do this. you cannot brand a woman “crazy” because she disagreed or reacted to your behavior, ugh!

        • Meg S

          The current me knows that. The me at 20 dating someone 5+ years older than me did not.

      • Ana Tavares

        A huge red flag for me is when a guy complains – in a truly bitter way – about his exes. If he still hasn’t worked that out in his head, it’s because he’s immature and unwilling to take responsibility.

        • Meg S

          Yeah. It wasn’t just one ex, it was like… all of them, from years ago. At 25, he should have been able to own up to some of that. But he couldn’t keep a job because he wanted to play video games and be online all day so??? My expectations weren’t very high (work full time, pay your share of the rent, treat me with the respect I deserve), and he still failed to meet all of them.

        • LK Parke

          It’s the biggest red flag in the world. Complaining about exes is a Deal Breaker, maybe THE Deal Breaker. +5 if on a date.

    • Jill

      Same exact thing happened to me! Then we’d conveniently get into fights before he had company functions that were open to significant others and he’d tell me he needed to go alone. I later found out he was hiding all kinds of stuff, naturally.

  • Patrizia Chiarenza

    This was such a great article and unfortunately I am the worst at catching red flags in time.
    The worst one was with this one guy who was much older then me. Only now do i realize how controlling he used to be, but at the time I was blind to it and saw it as love. Any time I’d have plans to hang out with my friends, he’d text me that he didn’t feel well and then would make me feel like a terrible girlfriend if I didn’t immediately run home to take care of him.
    I hope the next time I fall in love I am not as blind…

  • Hil

    omg we are the same person

  • Aydan

    Not realizing that all those conversations about our age difference (negligible in my opinion, but I was older) and how we are different we are (your friends are different, you act different, you like different things) were all him exposing his insecurities to me that he couldn’t handle how comfortable I am in my own skin….

    • omg I feel like I’ve been here too with all the blaming. arrgh!

  • My friend ignored it when her boyfriend said, in front of everyone at a party, that he was incapable of loving someone as much as he loves himself. (And he was referring to his looks)

    • Meg S

      This is sometimes the problem with being reasonably attractive and dating reasonably attractive people. You run into the occasional narcissist. My sister made the mistake of marrying one. I break up with them instead. 🙂

    • MM

      My ex used to say (quite frequently) that he loves himself more than ANYTHING in the world. With the emphasis on ANYTHING.

  • Another always tired girl here, reporting for duty!

    Um, maybe when after months of leading up to it, I started dating someone who was living across the country, and when I spent like $800 on a plane ticket to go see in him person for the first time since we ~made it official~ he didn’t offer to pay for my dinner at McDonalds? I’m all about splitting the bill but I mean……..come on.

    • Stevie

      Just a few weeks ago, I flew more than 24 hours to another contintent to see my long distance love, organized a surprise bday party for him, got a bunch of his friends together, this was all on the second day of my arrival by the way, the party I mean, so I was jetlagged as hell, the party was fun, later on the remaining people wanted to go to another pub, lover and I hadn’t eaten and I said he should definitely go to the pub and I may join, but I had to eat first to get some extra energy to get past jetlag, we all über to the pub, lover was going to come with me for food and then meet his friends again, hopefully with me joining and I ENDED UP EATIN FREAKING ALONE BECAUSE HE DIDN’T EVEN OFFER TO JOIN ME ONCE WE GOT TO THAT OTHER PUB.
      As it was my second day in town, and I was tired and wildly emotional and didn’t trust myself and of course it was his bday and he should enjoy himself, I ignored it, figured he was drunk and young and I just went back to his place, and stayed the rest of the week with him as planned. He dumped me the day before yesterday, and I kept on wondering what was wrong with me, when this is what was obviously wrong – he didn’t even care enough about my presence after a 27 hour flight to join me for a 10 minute quick meal before re-joining friends at a pub. F*cking hell.
      Also, he would say he call, and then wouldn’t. Happened a few times. Super annoying.

  • Harling Ross

    This is one of my top 5 favorite haley stories. so glad it became a full-blown essay. i, too, am crushed you are no longer in possession of the pro/con list and suggest you frame Maria’s illo instead.

  • “If you were a feminist, you wouldn’t be dating me, sweetheart.” WTF WAS I DOING?!

  • Ana Vla

    Red flag: he said I was not the prettiest in my group of friends!! I don’t know if I’m shallow or not because of this hahaha but he literally said: “Styles is definitely the prettiest, then Cute Squirrel and then Pretty Cat… and then you.”**

    **Names are changed for the sake of privacy

    • WHAT

      • Ana Vla

        I know. I was so blind.

    • ESW

      My dad gives excellent advice, and one piece of relationship advice he gave me once was, “Find someone who thinks you are the very best one.”

      • Ana Vla

        Dad’s are so wise but then you never listen to them when you’re a teenager do you?

      • Emily

        this just hit me right in the gut

        • ESW

          Same, girl, same.

          • Emily

            Why is it so hard to follow?! It’s so true! I don’t feel like that right now with my current boyfriend at all… get the violins out!

    • rachel

      I legitimately want to change my name to “cute squirrel” now, so thank you for that (I’d thank him, but he sounds like an asshole so…).

      • Ana Vla

        DO it!! Another proof: he had this “close friend” who I was a little jealous of but he always told me they were just friends, obviously. Three months later after he broke up with me, they’re dating. A-S-S-H-O-L-E.

  • lily

    When another girl came forward and said that they had been having an emotional ~thing~ I ignored it and stayed with him. BUT GUYS I BROKE UP WITH HIM YESTERDAY AIAIAIAIAIIAIAIIIIIIIIIIIII (my personal girl power roar)

    • Bo

      GOOD now go back to his place and knee him in the groin

      • lily

        Lmao I love you

  • Lil

    For our first official date, my ex told me the wrong date (i.e. May 17 instead of 18). Luckily he gave me the concert ticket beforehand so I called him out about it. He apologized profusely and made it up to me.

    But wow. Should’ve ran so far because looking back, he’s so scatter brained (or easy going depending on how you look at it), and I’m definitely a Type A personality who needs google calendar invites and rsvps like clockwork. He broke up with me because we weren’t compatible. Glad he noticed it first because I was so willing to change my self which is never ok period.

  • Rachel

    Found out he had a tinder profile 3 years into our relationship 😂

  • JB Fly

    Red flags are important, but some who is will to work through issue with you is always important too.

    Ms.Coco & The Gentleman Farmer – Building happy healthy relationships.

  • We were seniors in high school and leaving for college 9 hours from each other. We had our first big fight because he didn’t think he’d be able to handle the distance. I convinced him he could. A year later he had cheated on me (and told me via Skype the day after I got back from seeing him). Coward. I shouldn’t have to convince you to want me. haha

  • Suzy Lawrence

    I just had a come-to-Jesus moment in a 5 yr on-and-off relationship when I was yelling to myself, “He lied! He lied!,” then took a beat and realized, “Wait…maybe he did lie, but this is the same lie he’s been saying since we were only 6 months in.” I’ve dated psychopaths with so many red flags I still thank the universe I didn’t end up cut into bits stashed in their freezer, but when those heavy ones hit, and you think of how naïve you must have been (and maybe still are), it stings.

  • Nothing major. I think my biggest red flags have come about from not listening to my gut. I had a grown ass man (or so I thought) hang up the phone on me in the middle of a heated conversation and I thought to myself, what 30 year old reacts this way to unpleasant situations? Turns out, anger issues. Luckily, I ditched that bitch. Another time I didn’t listen to myself, I was nearly entangled with a convicted felon who lied about everything, including his real name. Yup, I’ve had such an interesting past with toads lol.

    • Kattigans

      “Ditched that bitch” –ahaha yes!

    • Bo

      Oh my GOD tell about the felon

  • Amy

    I was in an awful relationship w someone who told me i’m a 7 out of 10 (unsolicited – I was not looking for a rating, thanks), that he didn’t listen to me a lot bc I’m “boring” and “prattle on,” that I complain too much.. he used to ask me for help w his creative projects for work, I’d spend days or weeks helping, then he would give credit or special thanks to anyone who even BREATHED on the project but somehow always forgot to include my name. I wish I could go back in time and give myself a shake. At the time, his comments just made me doubt myself and led me to assume that my bad qualities were preventing him from being the kind, respectful person he seemed to be towards everyone else. I hope he dates someone w more self-confidence than I had who punches him in the face.

    • Catarina Bizarro

      I was in an awful relationship myself for 5 years! And I still question myself, sometimes, why the hell was I with such a selfish person, who never appreciate me and made me feel so shitty. Do you feel the same way? Why so many girls put up with guys like this?

      • Emily

        I’m in a relationship where i constantly feel insecure and i’m not a priority… no idea why i’m still here, i love him, i think??

  • ieatbees

    I think I’m realizing I’m not in a healthy relationship…

    • Jumpin

      I guess to continue the question from earlier if you’re still wantin help…does he write crazy notes about your flaws (well pros and cons I guess) and hide em like the article?? or like Mette above with him just sayin he’s too tired to talk about the relationship when you need him to, on TOP of being a jerk? Or is it like ALLLL of them combined on top of being short with you from the fight? Now I’m all curious lol. Sorry if it’s sensitive hang in there girl

    • Hiheyhi

      You will feel like you just put down two shopping bags full of emotions when you let go of someone who’s not good for you ,, even if you’re good for them — gooodlucK!

  • ieatbees

    I think I need some objective opinions here. I work outside the home, phone supervisor for the home equity division of a large bank. Hour drive away, so I spend two hours driving. He’s an aspiring director. I do the laundry, get my daughter up and to school every morning (she’s from a previous relationship, he’s the only dad she’s ever known), do the dishes, keep the kitchen and fridge clean, take out the trash and I do the best I can to keep the rest of our apartment clean. He’s a movie buff and collector, so I don’t touch those. We had a fight last night, where he raised his voice, called me names and refused to make eye contact. Fast forward to today, he called a b**** and brat because I told him I want to fix things between us.

    • snakehissken

      Better to have no dad than one who teaches you that it’s ok to treat people like that IMHO

    • belle

      well he sounds like a loser

    • Meg S

      Until he actually directs something, he hasn’t actually done anything. And… it sounds like he literally doesn’t do anything. So not only is he acting like a DB, he doesn’t do anything to help out at home. Does he work? Are you paying all the bills? If not, he’s not really contributing anything to the relationship at all. You’re a better example for your daughter than he will ever be.

    • Jumpin

      That sounds like a jerk. Gotta ask though did you instigate anytjing?

      you mentioned what he’s aspiring to do but does he work or actually act like a dad? Does he clean nothing? Lazy? Does he always act like that or is something else goin on?

      Just wanna find a little more to be helpful, everyone seems quick to call this dude a loser but damn fam it’s one paragraph. Don’t always have the whole pic for all we know she (he?) chopped off his ding dong and he mad. I mean, he’s probably a db but you know. Due diligence and all that lol

    • ESW

      So, I agree that we need some details – how long have you been together, and how old is your daughter? And are you married (though I am not sure how much this question matters)?

      But I am pretty sure you should, in the words of Dan Savage, DTMFA.

      Don’t stay with him because you are afraid. You are stronger than you know.

  • tiabarbara

    he used to lament not being able to afford to take me on dates and buy me nice things but bought himself a 42″ TV that he didn’t need.

    • Emily

      my boyfriend did this but it was a BMW (Y)

      • tiabarbara

        good lord that’s a lot of money to waste….

        • Emily

          tell me about it!

  • Cecily

    Being with someone who always told me that he hated everyone except me…I laughed it off as a joke (maybe it seemed sweet the first few times?) until I realized one day that he didn’t get along with many people and I was one of the few people he was nice to…aghh!!

  • Kay Nguyen

    Haha Love the sarcastic tone of this! I rarely even get a date, let alone finding deal breaker, btw isn’t hot = cute in some sense? Just curious…

  • Vanessa

    My red flag is about not listening to myself.
    A week after a boyfriend and I got back together, I developed a deep crush on another guy. Two years and multiple crushes later, the boyfriend and I broke up. As soon as it was over, I thought, “This feels so good, why didn’t I do this sooner?” I thought I was just being a bad girlfriend.

    • Emily

      shit son i’m literally at this place right now

  • Glitter Gossipgirl

    YES. An ex once told me he loved me because I was “chill”. LOL. I am the least chill person in the world, and fine with it. Definitely off the chart different values! (I actually didn’t ignore that particular red flag, and ended it with him shortly after, but trust me when I say I sailed right on past at least 77 other red flags).

  • Callie

    When he started buying clothes for me. And then later broke up with me saying he needed to be with a ‘stylish woman’. Oh yeah, and those clothes were too small (and nothing I wanted to wear), but he insisted I’d fit in to them soon. So thankful for that breakup, I just wish I’d beaten him to the punch!

    • Sugar Bones


  • Sabah Malik

    ‘I am also funny, fucker!’ – literally whenever I am perplexed why a douche canoe doesn’t want to hang, I think this

    • Sabah Malik

      Oh ‘you’re not as cool as you seem, you’re pretty soft’ – because I said its rude to not text back…

  • Kate Andrews-Day

    I was moving and my boyfriend said he’d be by after work to help. Instead, he went to the pub with work friends, stayed there for several hours, moved on to a karaoke bar, and texted me at 2am to say what a great time he was having. I couldn’t afford removalists, so it was just me and my mum and a tiny car. I didn’t break up with him for another year, but in my defence he did own an amazing house in a small town in the country that still is my favourite place in the world.

  • Camilla Ackley

    When a guy I was very casually seeing told me he woke up in someone elses bed after a night out (kudos to him for just how casually he slipped it in, as though we were mates or something) and I just thought, ‘I should probably care more about this’. We never spoke again after that day. Definitely not into guys who aren’t 100% into me.

  • Lisa B

    he was convinced a woman should take the man’s family name when marrying, because of “tradition” and “just the way it is”. I disagreed but was stuck in a 6 hour car journey with him. Ended up dating for another 8 months, I should have jumped out of the moving car then and there. Mayor red flag!

  • Emily Hawe

    “If your boobs were a little bit bigger you’d have the perfect body”

    …thank you?

    • Kiks

      My first serious boyfriend once said I would have a really nice ass if my hips were smaller.

      For the record, I am 6’1 and wore a 29 jean at the time.

      And had an eating disorder.

      Thanks, bro.

      • Emily

        I was 19 and he had a hairline like Vegeta and a very underwhelming penis.

        Bros are the wrst

    • Nose

      My first bf said he liked my face but my nose could be better

  • Allie

    Love this article, thank you!

    For me there were many. Favorites include: saying “adoption ruins families” (my brother is adopted), and telling me his ex-girlfriend and I are essentially interchangeable. Those were both in the same car ride. Why I didn’t jump out of the car and walk home is still beyond me.

  • Alexis

    Red flag #1: “I don’t see what the hype is over Beyonce.”

  • interned for paul ryan >__<

  • hate to be cheesy but honestly dating my current bf (first serious relationship) has made me realize pretty much every guy I dated before consisted only of red-flag moments/interactions — only after seeing what healthy/supportive/right looks like I can look and be like, da fuq was I thinking? why did I ever find “challenging” or an attractive quality??

  • Martina Haymond Eckstut

    When his friend made a toast at his birthday that he will only get married when he could legally marry yourself. needless to say, he broke up with me for his job

  • Sugar Bones

    Oy, he told MY best friend that he was having doubts about our relationship because “what if it’s my last year to have a fun summer, you know?” PS he was 32 and “fun” meant getting shitty on whiskey till the sun came up several times a week.

  • Anna

    My first college boyfriend didn’t want to meet any of my friends, had me bring him lunch at work, and eventually about a month in he wanted me to start doing his laundry for him. Yeah, no. Should have ended it long before that!

  • me


    Under his coffee table. (No, I wasnt snooping. Really.)

    “Cons: Doesnt like dogs. Or tv. Gets stressed about work. ” (Oh, wah, so shoot me.) And a couple of other lame-ass things he didnt like about me.

    Him ditching me turned out to be one of the best things ever.

    • Emily

      I made a pro-con list – with 10 pros and 34 cons 🙁

  • Rosie

    Being hard to spot sometimes, as red flags are in relationships, I would like your sage advice on this one.
    My boyfriend of 3 years is sometimes dishonest. :O
    I found out about 2 years into our relationship, that he had been dating someone else casually when he met me. He immediately cut all ties with her when we met – which I have corroborated from friend interviews and snooping his Facebook messenger (not proud of this but I had to know!) he said that he just realized I was perfect and later was scared to admit he was seeing someone else, and then that he had lied – because he loved me and didn’t to lose me / p**s me off.
    Everything else about our relationship is perfect, he compliments me everyday, is caring and thoughtful and supportive.
    It’s just these little lies on occasion – more usually about completely innocuous things like having a burger and chips for lunch or a beer.

    Is this a red flag? Or is this a small fault, which I can choose to love him in spite of?

    • Vera Ivanova

      I would say something to keep an eye on but not yet red flag status

  • BabyGotYak

    An ex-boyfriend and I took a two-week trip to Bolivia and Peru. We hiked the Inca Trail, it was amazing. Except that I ended up with altitude sickness, a wicked sunburn (my skin turned BLACK), and food poisoning. Now, I’m pretty game for adventures (shitting outside in rural developing countries is a non-issue for me) but I’m sure I was miserable at some points. We still did everything on the trip. Anyway, on our last night in Lima, at a fancy New Years Eve dinner overlooking the Pacific Ocean I looked to him and said how much fun the trip had been. With a glass of champagne in hand he replied, “well, you ruined this for me,” and took a sip. HE TOASTED ME WITH A NEG. I stayed with him for a couple of years after that and he ended up breaking up with me over the phone. I was an idiot.

  • kc

    I dated a guy for four months who had never finished a book.

  • Ashley Minyard

    Ugh most definitely the dude who had a weird schedule and expected me to accommodate it, but would never do the same for me. I would go several days in a row with very little sleep just to hang out, and when he happened to have time off during the day that corresponded with mine he would suddenly drop off the face of the planet! At the end, we knew it was over because it had been a while since we’d actually seen each other face to face. I made plans with him with the intention of having a break up convo, he ended up bailing last minute because he was tired, and then after TWO WEEKS finally texted me saying, “oh did you still want to hang out?”

  • Lori D Chamelin Smith

    Something to think about..
    Favorite quote:
    He doesn’t have to have the best of things but..
    He has to treat me the best!!

  • Olivia AP

    Reading all the comment and thinking of all my similar experiences while also thinking WHY DO WE TAKE ALL THIS SHIT?!

    • Stevie

      Because we don’t love/value ourselves enough, and until we do , we’ll keep partnering up with people that don’t value us either.

  • sarah

    Didn’t want our friends to know we were seeing each other, didn’t want me to meet his family. Couldn’t get his hands off me when we were alone, but cold as ice in public. boy bye 👋🏼

  • brie

    he told me he didn’t like that I wore jeans underneath my skirts and I wore too many layers.
    im cold and my skirt is clearly lonely. ugh.

  • deee_cue

    Red flag it took me awhile to realize– all the gifts he got me were meant to replace things of mine he didn’t like. Eff you, dude. College is a great time for a hot pink jansport backpack.

  • deee_cue

    Took me TOO long to see this one. All of his gifts to me were replacements for things I already had that he didn’t like. Eff that. Undergrad is a great time for a hot pink jansport backpack.

  • Amber

    my ex-boyfriend wouldn’t share his amazon prime password with me so I could catch up on Downton Abbey. Also, he got me his favorite socks and his favorite book for Christmas after over a year of dating…so many red flags.

  • rosie

    i was 18, he was 19, my first love, he was too lazy to work so i paid for everything, i was broke from bankrolling him and struggling so i begged him to get a job and eventually he did and hated me for it because he couldn’t stand the early mornings (9am) a week later on our 6 month anniversary he showed up at my place and told me he was leaving me for his ex girlfriend, who was at the time 16 years old and still in high school. i’ve never totally gotten over it.

  • Francesca

    dude. so many. among my personal favorites: once, he flaked on plans HE made with me because he was “high on xanax when I made those plans with you.” he was also the motherfucking KING of using “I’m tired” and flaked on plans yet another time because “it’s raining and I need to drive my mom around because she doesn’t drive in the rain.” (honestly ???) but I think my favorite excuse he ever made was when he “got dinner with my ex from 2008” because they’re still “friends.” did I mention he used to tell me he loved me in private but would introduce me as his “friend” in public? ugh. glad to report he’s finally out of the picture but holy shit was I navigating through that with some big ass blinders.

  • lillian c.

    he was wasted and I got his phone for him only to find a half nude photo of another girl sent to him with no other to or from texts. He told me it was sent unsolicited but??? no???? we stayed together for three more months before I realized what was going on and left him for my best friend who I’m happily cohabitating with four years later. So happy to not be 21 ever ever EVER again.

  • Bo

    When he told me that he and a mutual friend had their own secret rating system for the boobs of every girl in class, and I wasn’t even in the top five.

  • Isabella

    Two years into our relationship “I only dated you to see if I could get you” and “there was a girl hotter than you on the space needle”

  • Laurence

    told him I wanted him to read more, asked me if Garfield counted…

  • Anna Zavaruhina

    He had to move to other country for a business trip for a month. We agreed to meet the day he leaves. He called me and told that he will be in an hour, after three hours he calls me again and says he had some urgent stuff to do. I asked him maybe he coud grab a taxi so we could spend at least an hour tohether, but he said it’s too expensive…so he came by tram and brought me ice cream, and went away in 2 minutes.

  • Autumn Sky Hall

    ‪Just had the weirdest flashback to when I parted my hair to the side once and my ex got upset because that “was how my ex did her hair.” And I thought I was the one in the wrong and cried lolllll

    He also told me he was still in love with not one, but two of his ex’s, and gay bashed two others for deciding to be with women after they were with him. Keeper.

  • doobydoobydoo

    So his list was basically “Pros: I can fuck her / Cons: she’s a person”. Wow, what a gem.

    • Haley Nahman

      hahahah i know

  • Hana Naomi Reddin

    Said he didn’t like women telling him what to do

  • Carson McCrullers

    Woke up with a horrifying staph infection and could barely walk. He made me drive myself to the Cedars Sinai ER because “finals are next week, and you know I hate hospitals. I can’t believe you would stress me out like this right now.” (We dated for 6 more months, and HE broke up with ME 🙄🙄🙄)

  • zoe

    Biggest flag I missed: couldn’t prioritize me over the rest of his life. I’m shy about it but realistically I want my romantic relationship to be the most important one in my life- so why should I get anything less from him?

    • Emily

      i’m also in this exact position right now 🙁

  • Julianna Rodríguez

    Biggest red flag: having to ‘getaway’ to feel better (aka running away from thoughts and emotions). I had suspected that something was off with him…maybe depression? Flashback to our breakup…all of the sudden it was our relationship that was causing all of this unhappiness and stress :-/

    • Emily

      i’m in this position right now… i’m sick of him, went to a counsellor last night who basically told me that i’m the “parent” in the relationship and that he’s dragging me down… still not 100% ready to end it though 🙁

  • Anonymous

    I am posting this out of desperation for some outside advice (since my friends are biased and never really liked my bf of 4 years). I’m going to start with the good – so I don’t just talk about the shit and get opinions based just off of that. My boyfriend is the most loving, romantic, fun, open guy I’ve ever dated. He buys me flowers when I have bad days, he makes an effort to make me happy, he listens to me, he does things I want to do just because he loves to make me happy, we go on fun hikes/vacations together, he never lets me forget that he thinks I’m gorgeous, etc etc. Essentially he is over the top great.. most of the time. But, he has FUCKED up a few times. I will list a few things that have happened: he has an addictive personality and used to mix clonopin/ambien and alcohol and turn into a blackout monster (punch holes in walls and say stupid shit – never ever hurt me though), he used to be extremely manipulative (would make me feel bad when I wanted to go hang out with friends by saying he had nothing to do and would be so bored, or that he was “really looking forward to spending time with me”), has drugged me without my consent (put acid on my tongue as I was telling him I didn’t want to try it), my friends hate him (but put up with him because they just want me to be happy), has tried to sway me from doing what I wanted to do (was so upset about me deciding to go on a FIVE WEEK study away program, and asked me to stay with him in our home town for a semester while he paid off a debt even though I wanted to go back to school then), and just last year was talking poorly about me and our relationship with another girl, telling her how he thinks she is pretty and saying shit like “ugh, monogamy” (when he was caught he said he would never do that again or anything like that that would jeopardize our relationship…).

    I am very very forgiving, so when he says he will work on his issues, I believe him, and see these things are more “catastrophic mistakes” than dealbreaking red flags. I forgave because I trusted that he would work on himself and because his good qualities were so stand-out wonderful that I thought it was worth keeping the relationship going. We are in a long distance relationship currently, and he wants me to move out to him. I really really believe he has changed – he no longer acts manipulative, he has stopped abusing drugs (from what I know), and said he has remained absolutely faithful to me and wants to build our future together in California. I don’t want to break up because he is wonderful and I’ve never clicked with someone so much, but I’m just worried that I’m being stupid or blinded right now.. I’m worried that I’ll move out there and it’ll be a mistake, but I’m also worried that if I break up with him it will be a mistake. Please please give me feedback. Please be nice too, I know it sounds so bad, but you have to understand that maybe things are hard for me to see because I’m inside it, look outside looking in.

  • lil can

    biggest red flag: she had been ignoring me/generally treating me like shit (practically ghosting me even tho we were in a serious relationship) for a few days. i tried to talk to her about it and she said, “you know lily, this doesn’t really make me Want to talk to you.” I apologized for bringing it up at all and continued to allow her to treat me like shit while i convinced myself I was “being crazy” and just making up problems out of my anxiety. She broke up with me a week later.

  • John

    My biggest problem is when I run into someone with two XX chromosomes. These days that’s a huge deal breaker. From a guy’s point of view, relationships are all cost and no benefit. Heck, I’d even settle for 80/20. Women have priced themselves out of the market, and I’m out. Never felt better and more free in my entire life! #MGTOW

    • MK

      well don’t you seem like a treat!

      • Haley Nahman


  • John

    Oh – and if I were still in the market, if you snoop you’re gone. Insecurity is not attractive. Neither is lack of trust. Feel free to dump me if I ever act insecure or do something untrustworthy. I’ll certainly do the same.

  • Tiffany

    I was always told l: “Careful with snooping you may find more than your bargained looking for. ” and I did…. My biggest red flag was my bf would diasapear for long periods of time after a night out together. I would call him to say good night and his phone would be off until the next day. Following my gut, (aka anxiety, inner insecure omg you’re cheating on me vibe)
    I snooped through his phone and saw he was calling a few people AFTER he had dropped me off at home. So I wrote it down and typed it in google, and was redirected to an ad for transgender prostitutes. The good news is I didn’t end up on an episode of Who the FK did I marry.

  • Rosie

    HALEY. I know I’m months late on this discussion, but I COULD NOT RELATE MORE to that pros/cons list — it’s literally the same as the one my ex practically recited to me when he broke up with me last year. I’m also “not adventurous enough” and “hate games”!!! Like sorry that I don’t want to play Monopoly or go rollerblading through the treacherous streets of Philadelphia?? I’d rather drink tea in a cozy coffee shop or go to a museum but he WOULDN’T DO THOSE THINGS WITH ME EITHER, SO…???

    This feels fresh rn because I learned last night that he has a new girlfriend (lol “learned”, I literally was snooping on his tagged Instagram pics and hit the jackpot). A few days ago he had posted an Instagram story of them playing Operation in his room (why?? that game is the WORST), which used to be *our* room. Yeah, he still lives in the same apartment we shared for 2 years. Oh and she rides a motorcycle, so I guess he found his adventurous, game-loving chick. BARF.

    I know that I’m better off and there were a million red flags I was ignoring because I loved the heck out of him and thought we were happy. But things end for a reason. And I’m gonna refer back to this article when I forget that!

  • Alix

    when you’re having a fight on the street at night about a party you feel uncomfortable going to (mainly because of his rude female friends that will be there) and instead of solving it, he leaves you on the street and goes to the party without you. NOPE

  • Viivi

    never actually dated, but…he was gay. I was in love with him for a half a year anyway.

  • Christine

    I was with my bf and I was helping him find his phone, when I called his phone from mine, the dirty disgusting C..t word came up before my name. I was crushed. He hadn’t called me in days and when I saw this he tried to say he has clumsy fingers. It was an oversight.
    I don’t believe that for a minute.

  • JD plush and more

    Wow I feel like I read a confession from my partner. Just wish show respect once by telling me the truth instead of putting me through the ringer to keep it from me. I cannot even access Internet like a human being. I feel like I served a death sentence x2. I wish I was wrong about my intuition but unfortunately I have a feeling I’m not.