Home > Abusive relationships, Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, relationships > 8 Red Flag Dating Phrases that Should Send Men Running

8 Red Flag Dating Phrases that Should Send Men Running


man runningI came across a website called YourTango and saw an article titled 6 Red Flag Phrases That Should Send You Running: If a man tells you he’s not boyfriend material, believe him. Plus 5 other verbal red flags. It piqued my morbid curiosity, so I read the post. It was the standard fare on how to avoid men who are jerks. The article never once gives equal time to female verbal red flags, therefore, I’m going to take a crack at it.

The following are 8 phrases that should send you running for the hills when dating:

1. “What woman doesn’t go a little crazy now and then?” If a date utters this rhetorical question or some variation of it, my advice is, “Run, Forrest, Run!” Get while the getting is good and don’t look back. Otherwise, ask for an operational definition of “a little crazy” and then decide if it’s a deal-breaker.

There’s a certain kind of woman who believes that acting out, extreme selfishness, entitlement, throwing tantrums, pathological jealousy and having narcissistic rages are normal and acceptable female behavior. They’re not. She will try to minimize the severity of her craziness by sugarcoating it or glossing over it as a natural occurrence, tell you to make your peace with it and imply or explicitly state that you are the one with the problem if you don’t accept her unacceptable behavior.

For example, the blogger in the YourTango article cites the following red flag if a man isn’t willing to put up with a little crazy female behavior:

“All the girls I’ve dated were just too much.” Translation: He isn’t willing to compromise. We know our kind can overreact. Overanalyze. Cry at the wrong times and get all worked up over things that, perhaps, were nothing. But beware the man who says all the girls (but not you, of course!) he’s dated were crazy. You may initially delude yourself into thinking you’re cooler then the average chick and have the ability to melt that steely exterior with your no-frills stylings, but sooner or later you too are likely to have demands that are just going to be “too much” for him.

This is pretty frightening. Basically, the author of the above quote states that if a man is unwilling to put up with crazy, hurtful, irrational behaviors from his girlfriend/wife it means he is “unwilling to compromise.” Damn straight. No one, man or woman, should have to “compromise” on crazy hurtful behaviors.

crazy princess2. “I expect to be treated like a princess (or a queen, empress, czarina, etc.) Unless she’s some long lost member of the Hapsburg, Romanov or Plantagenet family, I don’t think so. Even then, who cares? She’s a person just like everyone else. When a woman fancies herself royalty, it denotes a level of entitlement, one-sided-ness and probably an incredible lack of empathy. She’s basically stating, “I expect you to be subservient to me. My needs and wishes trump all others.” Do you want to be a lover and equal partner or a manservant?

3. “I expect my man to put me first.” Here’s the unspoken second half of this phrase: “at the expense of his own best interests” or “just like I put myself first.” If she puts herself first and you put her first, who takes care of your needs? Who is looking out for your best interests? Not her, that’s for sure.

If you marry this woman and later divorce, this mentality morphs into, “What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine. In fact, everything is mine. Gimmee. Gimmee. Gimmee.” A healthy relationship between two equal partners is reciprocal. Furthermore, when you truly love someone you don’t expect or demand that he or she neglect or harm themselves in order to make you happy. Each person is responsible for his or her own happiness and needs. You’re dating to find a partner, not an autocratic dependent.

4. “I like the finer things in life.” Your response to this statement should be, “So what do you do for a living?” If she’s not an attorney, doctor, executive or in some other high paying profession, guess who’ll be on the hook to pay for the finer things she professes to like so much? That’s right; YOU or any other poor sucker who’s willing to let her pimp him out. Also, take note if she’s obsessed with designer labels, expensive cars and other bling. Does she read a lot of celebrity and fashion mags? Is she a reality TV junkie? These are other potential red flags.

5. “I’m a drama queen” or “My friends think I’m a drama queen.” Drama is something better left to the professionals like Meryl Streep and “reality stars.” Self-proclaimed drama queens are draining, toxic and probably have a touch of Histrionic Personality Disorder. If you want to spend your life wading through disproportionate reactions to minor events, that’s you’re prerogative. However, pushing the broom behind the bejeweled elephant in the room eventually becomes tiresome.

6. “All of my ex-boyfriends/ex-husband(s) are jerks.” Maybe, maybe not. Maybe the problem is her. If you read this site regularly, you understand that a person can choose the wrong type of partner many times before they “get it” and make healthier romantic choices. This is usually because the individual is reenacting an unhealthy relationship pattern from childhood as an adult.

As I’ve stated elsewhere, you want to hear a potential mate take some accountability for their past relationships. For example, “I was immature. I didn’t know what I wanted. I was attracted to the wrong kind of guy for awhile, but I’ve grown up, etc.” At some point, the only common denominator in all your failed relationships is you. Whether it’s because you’re the one with the issues or because your issue is that you’re attracted to people with issues.

7. “I don’t speak to my father.” This is either a healthy choice, for example, if her father is an abusive NPD/BPD type, or a sign that she has a lot of issues that will make a romantic relationship with her a living hell. Beware of unresolved father issues and proceed with caution. You definitely have to do some detective work on this one. You also want to discover how her mother treats her father.

8. “I like it when the man makes the plans.” This is the flip side of another YourTango red flag. If a woman expects you to make all the plans and entertain her, it may mean that she is unwilling to take responsibility in a relationship. It’s another attitude that puts you into a subservient role and also sets you up for failure. For instance, she expects you to make all the plans and you inevitably choose something she doesn’t like. She then gets to tell you what a disappointment you are and you “never” do anything she likes.

This is another device by which to control you and undermine your confidence. She pretends she’s in the passive role when she’s actually the one pulling your puppet strings. Meanwhile, you’re doing all or most of the work. In a healthy relationship both partners contribute.

The dating world is like a jungle and there are a lot of predators out there. My advice is:

  • Pay attention to your instincts.
  • Know your deal-breakers and deal-makers.
  • Don’t minimize or ignore crazy or unsettling behaviors and conversations.
  • Remember that your needs and feeling are just as important as a potential mate’s needs and feelings.

Beauty fades, but crazy and abusive are forever.

by Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

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Dr Tara J. Palmatier provides confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Shrink4Men Services page for professional inquiries.

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Photo credits:

Man running by andreamisera on flickr.
Crazy princess by hairstyle on flickr.
  1. burn3d
    August 9, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    When I woke up and identified the possible borderlines/narcs in my life thanks to this website, I started noticing similarities in their behavior. It’s truly amazing how alike they all are. Just wanted to warn you guys of what to watch out for. Beware….

    -If she has problems with her mother (or father). They will copy her abusive behaviors and become exactly like her! Continuing the vicious cycle.

    -If she has a negative body image (“I’m too fat, too thin” etc.). Some do excessive exercise, which could be a possible indicator for an eating disorder, to overshadow their inner feelings of inferiority. The question is, who do they need to please? Who do they need to compete against? They feel constantly under pressure. They are in a war against themselves and never feel happy!

    -If she asks herself over and over again (so far, all of those I knew did this with stunning repeatability): “Am I really such a bad person?” This demonstrates a total lack of self-awareness… You can be sure that any well-meaning advice or criticism WILL be regarded as an insult by her.

    -If you are communicating via text and she tries to impress/please you with her writing style, by showing discipline, intelligent words, etc. but makes a 180° turn and completely lets herself go when she writes with another person or friend. This strongly shows that she’s inconsistent/putting a mask on for you.

    -If she puts on a mask of “virtue” or has a negative attitude toward sex and puts others down for it. Chances are this is a case of projection and in reality she is the one who harbors sexual desires that she is unable to accept within herself. Sex with this woman will be dysfunctional, one-dimensional and very unsatisfying.

    -If she is intensely interested in you, almost puts you on a pedestal (“I’m always thinking about you”, “You are so perfect”, etc.), but rarely if ever reacts back to you, or says that she’s always busy and never has any time. She likely has plenty of time, but she can’t stand the thought of being intimate with you for too long, because of her fear of being exposed as the loser that she fears she is. If her career and friends are so important to her that she can’t even lower herself to have a chat with you, then you simply don’t matter to her at all despite the sweet talk.

    -If she is dressed to kill, has tattoos, piercings, pink leopard-skin clothes, bags, etc… or other accessories that seem over the top. Of course not everyone into those things will be a disordered person, but I found that these women try to compensate their inner lack of self-worth with outer trinkets a lot. Especially the narcissistic kind wants to appear tough and hard (I would say, almost masculine) or tarted up, but on the other hand they can and often do appear very normal.

    Always pay attention and remember: get out before it’s too late! No contact really works wonders. After a possible period of apparent whining, she will quickly lose interest in you when she realizes that she can’t hook her claws into you and bleed you dry. After that she moves on to the next unsuspecting victim (there are enough suckers out there that bow down to her feet in hopes of getting close to her, don’t be one of them!). Who the victim is doesn’t matter, as long as she can get what she wants. I’m sure you can find out many more red flags if you are only discerning enough.

  2. Paul Wall
    March 24, 2010 at 4:27 am

    I was primarily raised by my mother who taught me well and to have respect for everyone but if she ever heard of me dealing with a woman like this article described, she would read me the riot act. I respect women but I don’t ‘do’ doormat. I’m as good a given as I can be but a woman pulling out “high maintainance” will find out this wallet closed. I’ve been hit with some loads for doles but thankfully I knew enough to avoid the traps. The worst thing to do, guys; is let our egos get inflated by women who don’t care (as opposed to those who do) and expect a big payday. See all of Trump’s wives.

Comment pages
  1. June 30, 2011 at 7:09 pm
  2. February 14, 2011 at 10:01 pm

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