These Are the 5 Biggest Red Flags to Look Out for While Dating, According to a Relationship Expert

dating red flags cat

If you were scrolling through Twitter or Instagram about a month ago, you likely came across at least one meme featuring red flag emojis. All over the internet, people were using the emoji to share characteristics in other people that they perceived as no-nos. (Do they choose Dasani water out of a fridge full of alternatives? Have they been to more than five Phish shows? Are they #TeamEdward instead of #TeamJacob?)

Yes, the memes were funny, but it got us thinking about more serious dating and relationship red flags, which is why we reached out to Amber Kelleher-Andrews, a dating and relationship expert, celebrity matchmaker and CEO of the matchmaking service Kelleher International for some of her top red flags. She notes, “While being in a new relationship is exciting, sometimes it’s easy to ignore behaviors that can preview landmines in relationships. It is important to be mindful of some glaring red flags that warn you that this may not be the right person for you.” Below, three major red flags she warns all daters to be on the lookout for.

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1. They Want You to Move Too Fast as a ‘Couple’

“When you meet someone that seems to check all your boxes, it is natural to be excited and want to see them as much as possible,” Kelleher-Andrews tells us. “However, if the person you’re seeing is rushing into the dynamics of being a couple without allowing you proper time to get to know each other and let things unfold naturally, it could be a red flag.” She says that this often relates to love bombing, when someone overwhelms you with loving words and actions. Her advice? Take your time and go at your own pace. “Dating is about having fun and getting to know one another. Set clear boundaries and if the other person doesn’t respect them, it might be time to break it off.”

2. They Only Communicate Via Text or Social Media

The occasional “I’m thinking about you” text is sweet, but if the person you recently started dating pretty much only communicates with you digitally, that could be a sign something is off. Kelleher-Andrews says, “To really get to know someone, some traditional conversation on the phone is helpful…If all communication is via text, you are only connecting on the surface and it could signal that the other person isn’t really that interested in getting to know you on a deeper level.”

3. They Trash Talk Their Ex

Even though it seems strange to harp on a previous relationship in the early stages of dating, it happens more often than you might think. “A healthy, secure, and respectful person knows better than to cross this boundary on a first date,” Kelleher-Andrews tells us, adding that you don’t want to get too involved with someone who is obsessed with their ex (and possibly not over them yet). “It’s also been said that how someone talks about their ex is how they may talk about you someday, so use that to gauge their level of maturity and consciousness.”

4. They Just Got Out of a Relationship

“If a person doesn’t take time to pause and reflect after a big breakup and jumps right into another relationship, it can lead to the same types of problems and unhealthy patterns,” Kelleher-Andrews explains. “It also takes time to mourn, process and heal emotionally from a breakup.” After a serious relationship has ended, she recommends spending a minimum of six months of no dating to allow yourself the time and space to reflect and move on before entering another relationship.

5. They Got Drunk on the First Date

We’ve all been there: You’re nervous to meet someone for the first time, so you have a glass or two of wine before dinner. But Kelleher-Andrews warns that excessive drinking—especially on the first date—is rarely a good sign. “Proceed with caution,” she urges.

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sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...