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Dating Deal-breakers that Nobody Will See Coming

We all have likes and dislikes, it’s what makes us human. And naturally, the older we get, those preferences become more solidified. So, in the dating game, it’s not unusual for people to develop a set of deal breakers.

For some it’s age, for others it’s religion. Health nuts want to date health nuts, or opposites attract with the good girl wanting the bad boy. These “rules” are created by the individual and operate on a case-by-case basis.

As a therapist, I’m humbled to say I’ve helped hundreds of people create healthy relationships, with themselves and others. As they’ve shared their dating experiences over the years, there are 5 “red flags” clients mention that are actually huge stop signs.

I’m an extremely forgiving woman, but if you notice your date doing one of these 5 things – don’t walk, SPRINT in the other direction!

These actions are universally bad news and should be non-negotiable for anyone who wants a healthy partnership.

Are you ready? Here they are – 5 Dating Deal Breakers.

Stop Sign #1: Rude Behavior

We’re all on our best behavior during the first few dates because we want to impress the other person. We share things that make us look good. And we look good. I guarantee you I dress better on my first date than I do when I’m running to the grocery store!

With this in mind, most dates would never say anything rude to you right away but pay close attention to how they treat others.

Ideally, you’re in a public place together and have to speak to a host, server, or patrons. You don’t need a magnifying glass to notice if someone’s a jerk, just be aware.

How is your date communicating with people? How do they treat your server when they bring the wrong dish? Or your Lyft driver when he takes a wrong turn? Are they polite, using common courtesies?

If they act rude or inappropriate during this time – I promise you, it will only go downhill from there. And then, you’ll be on the other end of that toxicity!

Stop Sign #2 – No Eye-Contact

If someone doesn’t look you in the eyes on your date, there’s a problem. It’s one thing to become shy and look away – that’s not what I’m talking about.

If they’re looking around the room, fidgeting the whole time, or unable to focus on you and what you’re saying – abort mission!

This could be happening for a number of reasons.

  • They’re wildly insecure and can’t look at you

  • They find anything else more interesting

  • They’re on a substance

  • They’re listening to the voices in their head (you think I’m kidding)

All of these have one thing in common – they’re not good! They send the message that you are either not worthy of focus, or that this person doesn’t have the capacity to focus on you. How can you connect with someone who won’t look you in the eye? You can’t.

Stop Sign #3: Badmouthing

Ohhh, this one can sneak up on you! Not all conversations have to be about puppies and rainbows, devoid of reality. But listen to what your date says.

Again, we are on our best behavior during these dates. So why does he need to vent to YOU about his ex? In what world is her mother’s lack of boundaries an acceptable topic of discussion?

An example

I had a girlfriend, let’s call her Rae, tell me that she went out with this really great guy. But poor him, he had this crazy ex-girlfriend who did a laundry list of horrible things – which she recited in detail. And surprise, surprise, all these stories made him look like a hero.

This was an immediate red flag to me, but she couldn’t see it. “She was crazy!” Rae protested.

That’s. What. He. Told. You.

Here’s what’s wrong with this situation.

  1. If the ex-girlfriend really was crazy, why did he tell Rae about it? What was the point of talking about that for half an hour instead of getting to know her better?

  2. He seemed to enjoy giving all the gory details about her “craziness.” What healthy person has the energy for that?

I have a sneaking suspicion she didn’t have all the facts. And anyone who speaks so openly negative about someone, might end up talking about you that way in the future.

Stop Sign #4: They Pressure You (don’t skip this one)

Don’t skip past this one. We’re all familiar with the #metoo movement, and men can certainly feel pressured by women. I’m going to assume for this part, that we all understand that “No” means “No”. That’s a topic for another time.

But there’s a sneakier, more subtle element to this, and it’s one that can be dangerously brushed under the rug. It’s those little pressures, those tiny shoves, that show a lack of respect for your boundaries

For example, you tell your date you have a presentation the next morning, but she insists that you have one more drink. Or your date asks you an inappropriate question, and after you decline, they keep pushing for an answer.

Master manipulators are great at making you feel like you’re doing something wrong. “Oh, come on… It’s only ten-o’clock”. “No, please tell me! No judgment over here!”

If they’re doing this on a small scale, imagine what will follow as they get to know you better. Repeat after me: “Check, please!”

Stop Sign #5: Go with Your Gut

Women are known for their strong intuition and I’m here to tell you, men have it too. Tune into your experience. In addition to listening to words and watching actions, see how the other person makes you feel.

Every once in a while, you’ll get a really good feeling about someone. You just know, deep down, that this person has a good heart. On the flip side, every once in a while, you’ll get a really bad feeling about someone. Could you stick around to see if that feeling is right? Yes, but why spend time with someone who creates that reaction inside of you? There are over 7.5 billion people in the world.

This feeling could just be the result of an energetic mismatch, or your date has a body in the basement. Either way – say “Bye!”

By following these rules, you’ll have some fundamental bases covered. It’s also a great idea to know what their personal non-negotiables are.

Christina Johnson is a contributing writer for

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