Posted by: Suzanne Griffiths | June 30, 2013

10 Warning Signs to Look for On a Date

As a divorce lawyer, I’ve seen it all, and I’ve got some relationship advice to share-so that you never end up in my office.

If you’re looking for love, I’m probably the last person you want to talk to. I’m a divorce lawyer. But before you turn the page, consider this: In my 34 years of practice I’ve seen crumbled relationships from all walks of life and I’ve learned something important: Divorce doesn’t strike like lightning. Often there are signs along the way—what I call red flags—that can alert you to trouble brewing in your relationship.

 So if you’re looking for love, save yourself a lot of heartache and a trip to see me. Keep your eyes open for these red flags when you’re just getting to know someone:

 1.    He’s vague about the details in his life. Most people like to talk about themselves. If he doesn’t, that could mean he’d rather you not know his history. Be alert.

2.    He doesn’t want you to meet his friends. Friends are an important source of information for you as you learn about this potential mate. If your date does not want you to meet his friends, that’s a red flag. What is he afraid they’ll tell you?

3.    He hates his mother. I’m not talking about petty annoyances. Everyone has those with family. I mean, he has a poor relationship with his mother. This is a man who may have serious difficulty relating to women in a secure, committed relationship. This is not just a red flag, in my opinion. This is a deal breaker. Shake hands, wish him a happy life, and leave. 

4.    He has an addictive personality. An individual with substance abuse issues may demonstrate addictions in other areas as well.

5.    He comes from a divorced family. While not a deal-breaker by any means, this is something you’ll want to know early on. An individual who experienced divorce as a child may view marriage as a less-than-permanent institution as an adult. You’ll want to explore this issue with him—how has the divorce colored his outlook on marriage? Has he dealt with the issues of his upbringing so that he can be ready to be married?

6.    He experienced abuse as a child. Like the issue of divorce, this is one that you’ll want to explore. What you’re looking for is signs that he has dealt with his trauma – rather than attempted to bury and deny it. Children who are abused often become abusers.

7.    He never apologizes. Ever. For anything, no matter how big or small. He always has a reason why it’s not his fault or it’s your fault. Whether it’s being late for a dinner date, forgetting your birthday or stepping on your toe. If you wonder if he can form the words “I’m sorry” this is a red flag. It’s an indicator that you might be dating a narcissist. Narcissists make terrible partners and hellish exes.

8.    He wants to live together before you get married. This may seem reasonable at the time, but my experience has been that co-habitation before marriage is a red flag. Studies have shown that partners who cohabit before a committed relationship have a higher marriage failure rate. If he has to do a test run, he may not be ready for the long haul of married life. 

9.    He comes from a starkly different background. Often, divorce stems from an inability to merge two very different partners. These differences can be economic, religious, ethnic or educational. Love can’t conquer all and a vast divide between the two of you at the dating stage may signal trouble in the years ahead.

10.  He reminds you of an earlier unhealthy relationship. Keep in mind that the red flag in the relationship may be you. Does this man you’re dating help you to continue old emotionally unhealthy patterns? Remember, if you want a good relationship, the first person you need to fix is yourself.

 The secret to a happy marriage is taking off the rose colored glasses, conducting a careful assessment, having realistic expectations, and avoiding the wrong partners. Often the signs are right in front if you, if you want to see them. You have the power to select the right partner and live happily ever after.


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