Don’t get me wrong, sometimes dating can be fun. Getting to know new people, going on dates, and exploring new places are experiences all of us should be lucky enough to have and look back on someday. Though dating has the potential to bring us some of our best memories, it’s not always a walk in the park. 

Just like anything else we do, you should dive into your dating journey with a sense of caution. There are so many reasons to be careful when dating: you could be wasting time with the clearly wrong person, you could be talking to someone completely different than who you’re seeing online, or you could even be putting yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. 

Here are some red flags to look out for when dating, and what those red flags are telling you to do when it comes to moving forward. 


Struggles with intimacy

Being intimate with your partner can make-or-break the relationship, and when intimacy is lacking or struggling, it can be a sign that something isn’t right. If your partner is avoiding physical touch, or lacking the desire to be intimate altogether, it might be a sign that you two are better off as friends. If you are intimate, and you or your partner experience regular challenges in the bedroom like premature ejaculation for him, or performance anxiety for her, these can be indicative of a deeper psychological problem in your relationship. 

While these issues can be addressed with an over-the-counter premature ejaculation treatment or a doctor’s professionally-recommended strategies for dealing with performance anxiety, you should still probably seek out advice from a couple’s therapist and evaluate whether or not the relationship is healthy. If your efforts to achieve a better sexual relationship have proven unsuccessful, your relationship may be causing stress and self-consciousness that destroys the chance of intimacy, and it may be time to reevaluate, or even move on.

Possessiveness and control

Everyone shows their affection in different ways– some are more laid back, and others are more attached to their partners. Attachment is healthy to a certain degree, but can become negative, or even dangerous, when a partner becomes possessive and controlling. 

If your partner clings onto you, never lets you spend a moment apart, or prevents you from spending time with your friends or family, especially early on, it could be a signal of an unhealthy relationship. Your partner may forbid you from going to certain places, talking to certain people, or keep you from doing anything that makes you happy. No matter how big or small the signal, you should avoid partners that demonstrate these methods of control. Don’t mistake infatuation with love; when you notice warnings of manipulation or control, it may be time to cut ties.


Selfishness, or even narcissism, can also accompany possessiveness and control and can be indicative of the type of relationship you would have with that partner later on. There are some personality types that are best suited to complement narcissistic individuals, but it’s helpful to know what kind of partner is most compatible with you so that you can make decisions about moving forward when you notice selfish behavior.

Pay attention to the signs of selfishness early on. If you notice the conversation is always revolved around them or you tend to do only the things they want, on their schedule, then you may be with a selfish partner. Manipulation can also raise some concerns. Lots of partners will do things that hurt us, sometimes intentional, and other times not. However, selfish or manipulative individuals will often twist the story, point blame toward others, and take no accountability. If your partner cares more about themselves than they do for you, or puts their well-being before yours, it’s important to notice as soon as you begin dating, so you can make the best decision for you. 


Honesty is vital to a relationship, especially in the early stages. When you’re getting to know someone and you begin to notice patterns of questionable behavior and misinformation, it’s likely that this behavior and deceit will worsen. The last thing you want is to become deeply involved with a person based on lies they told you, or information they intentionally omitted from you. 

Your partner might tell you they’re going to one place, and your friends see them somewhere else. Perhaps you find them texting other people you haven’t met or they haven’t told you about. This might mean that they’re actively dating other people, even though they’ve committed to you. Don’t overlook dishonesty of any degree, no matter how insignificant it may seem. If someone is willing to lie in the beginning, it can suggest that the behavior will only continue, which can make for an unhealthy relationship in the long run.


Everyone deserves a second chance, so don’t break it off with someone who you think might’ve made an honest mistake. Dating can be a fun experience when you’re careful and considerate of others. Be honest, understanding, and don’t be afraid to do what’s best for you.