Look, it's not a pleasant situation for anyone.
You're single for like a million years, then you happened to magically stumble upon someone who – at first – seems to tick every box.
Plus he's so pleasant to look at that it hurts and basically you can't believe your luck.
''It's finally happened,'' you proudly tell the gals over G&T's. ''He seems to good to be true, tbh.''
And bam! there's your first clue – if it seems to good to be true, it usually is.
I've had three relationships in my 24 years, plus a few shorter dalliances and I genuinely never bought the whole excusing-someone's-trash-behaviour-because-you-fancy-the-arse-off-them thing.
Or maybe I've been lucky to have never gotten tangled up with a narcissist before…whatever.
But, oh boy, it happens.
Doesn't the quote go like- "people tell you who they are in the beginning, you just choose not to listen.''
But if you want to avoid heartbreak a few weeks/months down the line, then listen up: if you see more than one of these red flags listed below – run.
They're non-negotiable, just like your self-respect.
1. He shows signs of controlling behaviour.
You'll probably read that and say ''omg, obvs! I wouldn't put up with that, no way'', but it can be extremely subtle.
And if they're seasoned at it, it can happen almost without you noticing the first few times – or worse, noticing it and letting it slide.
Warning phrases can be anything to telling you he doesn't like you wearing your hair a certain way/a lot of make-up to ordering for you in restaurants and putting you down in the the pub in front of your mates.
Don't fall into questioning your self-worth.
2. He's mean with money
If he's tight with money, he will be mean in other ways – with his time, his affection, his words.
It just shows bad character and you don't need to voluntarily associate yourself with someone like that.
3. His actions don't match his words
Who doesn't love to be told they look fab?
The problem here is when the person you're dating is saying all the right things but in the next breath he's giving you unprompted stories about his ex/past sex life or ogling another person in the bar.
The word for this is: fake.
4. He passes comments on other women/people in general
I mean, I'm laughing as I type this, this should be a shut-and-close-case of ''he's a sh*thead, what are you doing with him?'' BUT, here me out.
It's early, early days with someone and he says something rude and you're shocked and you pull them up on it, fine, ok. It's when the actions become repeated and they become the norm.
My advice then? He's not a good person, and not worth your precious time.
5. Something just feels ''off''
This is the worst one. Because it's not tangible.
If you're battling paranoia in the beginning, it won't probably won't get better.
Your gut can tell when something's not right. We might ignore the uneasy feeling in our stomachs, but it's there for a reason.
Basically, if you're holding back a bit, it's more than likely because you've picked up on energy that he's giving out – that's what you ''can't put your finger on.''
Look, you know if someone is genuinely good for you or not.
I read this the other day and it struck a chord with me; ''No amount of physical attraction or good sex is worth clinging to someone who does not make you feel at peace with yourself.''
And to that we say hear, f*cking hear.