So you’ve found The One.
He’s charming, handsome and well read, and is a hit with your family and friends. He laughs at your jokes and feeds you bits of his pudding, but most importantly, he:
– doesn’t message you only past midnight. Check.
– is not commitment-phobic. Check.
– is not mysteriously secretive about his life. Check.
– does not bring up his ex at all. Check.
– doesn’t get drunk every second night of the week. Check.
– is definitely not cheating on you. Check.
– is always available to talk. Check.
– loves you. Check.
You’ve personally scoured his life (and all his social media profiles) for a red flag, but you can’t see any. It seems like he’s perfect. But something still seems off. Do you give up?
Nope, because here are 10 home-tested ways to spot a red flag when you can’t seem to find a red flag at all:
1. He has a sense of humour that is cruel
While the occasional laugh at a stumbling child (or a man walking straight into a glass door) can be harmless, if someone finds humour in other people’s misfortune more than three times a day, it’s something to be scared of. Because at some point in the future, you may end up being the joke. It could be your hyena-like laugh or the way you slurp your noodles, or that one time you (almost) peed yourself through a re-run of The Ring.
Be with someone who makes you laugh all the time, not someone who laughs at you all the time.
2. He love-bombs you
What do you do the next time someone uses the L-word three minutes into the relationship? Pack up and head to the break-up bunker, because anyone who falls in love that quickly also falls out of it with equal ease (or sometimes, just deals with too many deep-seated insecurities about love, or lack thereof)
He might say that you are perfect and tell you how ‘he can’t believe he’s landed you’, but it’s a template he’s grown used to: it’s his defense mechanism to speed through what he thinks has potential, but more than often, it usually ends with a crash and burn. When someone says they love you early in the relationship, there’s a very high chance they are trying to direct it with their own terms, and if it doesn’t – things might only take an ugly (and a more resentful) turn.
3. You both have different life goals
You want to be animal rights activist but he wants to start his own barbeque restaurant? If you aren’t on the same page professionally (or financially), the chances of having a happy ending are next to nil. Clashing life choices aside, the last thing you want is for someone to hold you back from where or what you need to be – even if it means letting all the chickens go free.
4. And different sleep schedules
While it might seem like it’s not a big deal, the fact that both of you run on two different schedules will only run you into loads of problems (in terms of your social life, your careers and who drives you back home when you are passed out right next to the bouncer) especially when they are perking up to rage all night, just as you pull on your favourite clown jammies at 11 pm.
5. He doesn’t respect your boundaries
Does he tickle you jokingly even when you laugh and beg for him to stop? Call incessantly when all you want is a quiet day? Prod about your problems when you tell him you need time to think about them on your own?
If you are with someone who doesn’t respect your physical boundaries (even innocently), you are only two steps away from not having him respect you.
6. He says he hates conflict
You’ve heard the same sob story over and over again, over drunken fights at home or between arguments at dinner. He dodges all your accusations, and ignores all your pleas to come to a peaceful conclusion. And just when you are about to prod him for a reason and put an end to your couple-fuelled misery, he tells you he ‘absolutely hates conflict. It’s happened before with so many boys, and he can’t deal with it anymore’.
But don’t fall for it. He might as well as say: don’t confront me about anything in life, because I will ignore you or leave you. And somewhere down the line, he’ll tell all his friends how you were ‘just like the rest of them.’
7. He thinks all his exes are crazy
Ravi wanted to move in too early. Shyam would never stop calling. Rajeev decided to tell his friends why they broke up. Kunal begged to take him back by standing outside his apartment all night. Ahmed called him a cheating scumbag. Karan threatened to set his house on fire. Ryan asked his mom if she knew her son was a psycho. They were all so crazy.
Do you see the pattern? You obviously do. If a boy spews venom about an ex or two, it’s fine – we all have relationships that sour out. But if he badmouths every boy he’s ever been with, chances are he’s the problem.
8. He gets upset when you have to go back home
Could the movie last just ten minutes longer? Do you really have to leave after two ice creams? Can we walk around your block one more time? Must you leave right now? Can’t you stay the night? The morning? The day? The week? The month?
Makes you go aww? Naww, push those romantic aspirations back in your pockets, sir, because it’s not long before his ‘Don’t leave me so soon’s and ‘But we just met!’ turn into ‘You are leaving so that you can hook up with your ex right now, right?’
9. His sex drive doesn’t work for you
While there’s no wrong amount of sex that two people can have in a relationship, matching libidos are important for one to work. What if one half of the couple wants to get it on every three hours and the other thinks thrice a month is fine?
There’s no place for sexual chemistry in the sack when it’s already brewing with resentment, hurt egos, and an urge to get on Grindr and message the gorgeous man who texts from 800 metres away. At the end of the day, do you think you have different libidos?
It’s time you look for different partners.
10. He’s passive aggressive about tiny things
‘Your hair is a little too long.’
‘Try making it to dinner on time?’
‘Do you really need to go for a drink with your friends?’
‘I would have loved to see you yesterday, but it’s OK, I guess.’
‘Can you please send it to me before I have to remind you again.’
‘Just call me when you can.’
You know that little voice at the back of your head nagging you to end things? You should probably listen to it, because it’s not going to be passive aggressive like your paramour here.