dating

"He became so jealous." 37 women share the relationship red flag they wish they hadn’t ignored.

This post deals with abuse and might be triggering for some readers.

When it comes to relationships, most of us have encountered a few red flags before. 

These warning signs often go unnoticed in the early days of a new relationship. And even when we do spot them, they'll generally get glossed over or just straight up ignored as we try to convince ourselves we're with the right person. 

Often we'll try to dismiss their behavior as a one off occurrence or simply a personality quirk, as the excitement of being in a new relationship blinds us to what's really happening in front of us. 

Watch: The Mamamia team confess our relationship deal-breakers. Post continues below. 


Video via Mamamia.

It’s only when we look back at a relationship that we realise those inklings we couldn’t shake or the gut feeling we had about situation was actually… right.  

So, to help you spot these signs going forward, we asked 37 women to share the relationship red flags they wish they hadn’t ignored. 

Here's what they had to say.

1. "He had several women on the go."

"On my first time going to a new guy’s house, a woman walked out of his apartment block and said 'Oh, she’s the fourth one this week.' I ignored it, and that was dumb. Because he had several women on the go. And I stayed with him for NINE MONTHS... He also called her 'crazy', which tells you everything. I later found out he slept with her too."

2. "Showing no interest in your friends."

"Showing no interest in your friends and not making an effort to hang out with your social circle, but always expecting you to hang out with theirs."

3. "He cheated."

"When he cheated the first time and said he wouldn’t do it again."

4. "My ex used to make a spreadsheet of all our spending."

"I should've recognised the signs of it when my ex used to make a spreadsheet of all our spending and finances and balance what we owed each other to the dollar (we lived together). We'd even split things like getting a coffee together... it was madness."

5. "Gaslighting me from the start."

"I knew 100% that I had mentioned an upcoming event to him, but on the day he swore blind I didn’t and called me crazy. I can even remember exactly where I was standing when I said it!"

6. 'He was marking his territory.'

"My ex boyfriend sent flowers to my workplace for an entire year. Every time one bunch died, he sent the next one. I thought it was romantic, but it was 100 per cent him marking his territory. Especially given when we'd been together three years, he didn't even send me flowers on my birthday."

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7. 'Speaking badly about an ex.'

"Anyone that bad-talks exes much at all is a huge red flag to me."

8. 'Forgetting my parents' names.'

"When he couldn't remember my parents' names... after he met them."

9. "He would tell me how stupid he thought I was."

"When he would tell me how stupid and dumb he thought I was and that I was only 'book' smart but that he knew the truth about me... should’ve dropped his a** real fast!"

10. "He gave her an allowance for food."

"This is happening to my friend right now. She met this guy, they were together for two years and decided to have a baby. He was always weird about money from the start though – he had his house and she had hers. She suggested selling both and having one together and he didn’t want to. She went on maternity leave and he gave her an allowance for food only and she had to dip into her savings for anything baby related. He would never commit to joint bank accounts or anything. Now they’ve been together five years and have a two-year-old and the money situation hasn't changed. She would buy the toddler clothes and he would want to know where the money came from to make sure it didn’t come out of his food allowance. Ridiculous. They’ve just separated."

11. "He tried to distance me from anyone else in my life."

"When they make you feel like you have to 'ask permission' to see your friends, when they try to distance you from your male friends by threatening them, and when they openly and constantly criticise your family and friends. Basically, he tried to distance me from anyone else in my life."

12. 'When he never makes plans.'

"If a guy is super keen when you're together but then goes silent when you're not, as in never making plans, checking in, being 'super busy' and is always on his phone, he's just not that into you. God, I wish I STOPPED chasing. So embarrassing."

13. 'Still living at home.'

"When they still like at home after 27 and have never moved out. Not even once."

14. "When he tells you his dad is in jail."

"When he tells you his dad is in jail... and he has a tattoo that says father like son. You’d think that would be an obvious red flag."

15. 'She needed to borrow money.'

"When she said she wasn’t working due to an inheritance, but needed to borrow money in the first few weeks."

16. "When they refuse to talk about their family life."

"When they refuse to talk about their family life and get really upset when you bring it up. Or if they're being super secretive with their phone like walking back into the room to grab their phone when they're going to the bathroom."

17. "Lack of a driver’s license."

"Lack of driver’s license is one I overlooked a few times, and it wasn’t because of the lack of license per se, but it was more about what it suggested about what type of person they were. If you’re not motivated enough by the age of 25 to 30 to either renew your license on time, or get off your learners permit, it says a lot about your attitude in general." 

18. "The relationship was always on his terms."

"I had a gut feeling that it wasn't right, I kept on giving it 'one more month'. He didn't want to spend time with people who were important to me, the relationship was always on his terms... He's just not that into you is an important lesson that I wish I learnt much earlier." 

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19. "Being called names."

"Heavy drinking and promises to stop. And being called names or refusing to resolve conflict in a civil manner."

Listen to Mamamia Out Loud, Mamamia’s podcast with what women are talking about this week. Post continues below.

20. "He would start a fight every time I wanted to do something with friends."

"When he would start a fight every time I wanted to do something with friends so that I would then change my plans and stay home." 

21. 'He said I'd never be beautiful.'

"When my ex husband said I was good-looking, but I’d never be beautiful."

22. "I ignored the closeness of my boyfriend and best friend."

"I ignored the closeness of my boyfriend and best friend when she moved in to our house. I allowed them to tell me they 'just had a lot in common' until yes, unsurprisingly there was a nice little overlap toward the end of our five-year relationship, and I believe they’re still together now, a year on. I wish I’d paid more attention to that red flag!"

23. "Saying 'I love you' really quickly."

"Saying 'I love you' really quickly, saturation of gifts, talking about moving in together really early on in the relationship... it creates a false security and then subtly turns into controlling and manipulative behaviour all under the guise of 'love'."

24. "Laziness!"

"You can’t change someone if they are truly lazy by nature!"

25. 'His mum ran the shower for him.'

"When his mum ran the shower for him. Surely you can turn on a tap?"

26. "Getting messages from friends saying he has a Tinder profile."

"Apologies that go 'sorry you took it that way but...' and not being able to commit to any relationship decisions (ie. moving in together). Also, never offering to drive or pick you up... especially if you’re always getting the 'pick me up' 2am calls. And getting messages from friends saying he has a Tinder profile (don’t be dumb. He has to be actively using the app for them to see it. He didn’t forget to delete the app. He is still on it)."

27. "Sleeping all day."

"Staying up late and sleeping all day."

28. 'He stole a fire truck.'

"When he told my captain of the fire brigade father that his first crime was stealing a fire truck when he was 13. It was the first time they met. I should have ran. But no. I ran to North Queensland with him."

29. 'Never meeting his friends of family.'

"Being with someone for four years but never meeting anyone ever from his prior world. No family or friends. I was told they would make life too hard for me and attack my weight. He was protecting me apparently, more like hiding me." 

30. 'He spoke horribly to me.'

"I wish I’d listened to my mum when she told me how horribly she thought he spoke to me."

31. "He was furious and yet still managed to make me believe that it was all my fault."

"The first red flag happened when I ran into an old friend (male) when I was out with this particular boyfriend. The relationship with the old friend I ran into had always been platonic – he was much older than me and I saw him as a kind of surrogate brother. After the encounter, my new boyfriend was extremely angry. I’ll never forget how angry he was, particularly over the fact I had apparently been 'twirling my hair'. He was furious and yet still managed to make me believe that it was all my fault... He even threatened to pull the car over and leave me on the side of the road for being so disrespectful towards him.

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"It was only after I left the relationship (after the controlling and abusive behaviour escalated) that the memory of this encounter popped into my head and I berated myself for not picking up on this very first and very major red flag. It’s so easy to make excuses for bad behaviour, especially in the early days when all you want is for things to work out."

32. "When you disagree with them but they can’t discuss it."

"When you disagree with them but they can’t discuss it and negotiate – they just shut down and stare out the window, conversation closed."

33. "He became so jealous and upset that he wrote himself off at the pub."

"The big one was him being jealous and having rage associated with that and then telling me it was because he loved me so much. For example, when I went to a music festival with a (male) friend of mine about four months into our relationship, he became so jealous and upset that he wrote himself off at the pub and got into a massive punch on with strangers. For some reason, I saw that as him liking me so much and I took it almost as a compliment. By the end of our 10 years together, I had been alienated from most of my friends and family. The other massive red flag is him stating his ex was 'crazy' and 'baited him' into domestic fights when they were together. I look back at it now and I want to shake my younger self!"

34. 'Saying they love you after a fight.'

"If the first time someone says they love you is after/during a massive fight, get out of there." 

35. 'It took over nine months of dating to say I love you.'

"He would say 'I would rate me a 10/10 for looks, you're probably an eight' when we first starting dating. It also took over nine months of dating to say I love you' (we'd known each other for our entire lives). He also visited brothels/strip clubs without me knowing (I would only find out when his friends would let slip later)."

36. "My ex would pick fights every weekend so he could storm off."

"My ex would pick fights every weekend so he could storm off and go missing for the entire weekend, as though he hadn’t already made plans to do that anyway! He also over reacted whenever I pointed out any behaviour I didn’t like, saying that he obviously wasn’t good enough for me."

37. "Criticising the way you dress."

"Jealousy, the classic 'it's not you I don't trust but your friends or guys in general' when you go out or travel by yourself. Also, nit-picking or overly critical behaviour like criticising the way you dress that continues even after you've told them how much it bothers you."

Do you have had any relationship red flags that you wish you hadn't ignored? Let us know in the comments below. 

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

Feature Image: Getty.

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