Have you ever been told that a guy just wasn’t right for you? Or maybe you’ve felt it, you know that gut feeling deep inside, but you ended up ignoring it…and then seriously getting hurt at the end. If that happened to you, don’t worry you’re not the only one. It happened to me. I called myself stupid for missing the signs and also cried in regret. But, we keep it moving.

I’ve had my share of failed relationships and tons…tons…TONS of red flags that I deliberately ignored. The result? Heartache. But I learned from it and am here to help you realise those red flags before it’s too late, sis.

He has a lack of motivation

I had a boyfriend that I constantly had to “mother” he did not want to get the basic things that we need as adults. I wanted us to get our learners and drivers licence together (#couplegoals) but he would say, “why not get you a guy with a car then”. Sigh, my sisters, if a man has that kind of attitude with you…run and run fast!

He is obsessed with you

It is flattering to have a man obsess over you and make you his world. But sis, you need to understand that people need people. Your boyfriend should not want to keep you all to himself. Yes, there are times to be alone, but to constantly demand your attention, and I’m talking about every minute of your time, that is a red flag.

He is controlling

This is a big one. Far too often I see girls allowing themselves to be controlled by their boyfriends. The sad reality is these boyfriends become husbands, these husbands become fathers with little daughters who think it’s normal to be controlled by a man because mommy allowed daddy to do it. Let’s break the cycle. Controlling is a form of manipulation. If he tells you what to wear, how to wear it, when to wear it, that is not a good sign. If he tells you how to spend your money and gets upset with you for not listening, girl…no, just no. If he tells you not to wear make-up and you love make-up, please do break up! And here’s a big one…if he tells you to block and delete your male friends simply because he says so, then my friend, you are sitting with a huge red flag on your hands. RUN!

He accuses you of cheating

I had two ex-boyfriends who constantly accused me of cheating and constantly did not believe me when I assured them I loved them and only wanted them. They didn’t believe it. I tried my best to make them feel special and loved. I would post them on my status, I would send them cute messages and I would even get them little thoughtful gifts. But no matter what I did it was just not good enough, I blamed it on them being insecure. Later down the line, the accuser was actually the guilty party. You don’t need to explain yourself or prove yourself to him, if he doesn’t trust you, that is a huge problem.

He is secretive

Sis. Secretive? Really, does that not scream: red flag? If he cannot be open with you about his life, maybe the relationship is still new, that’s fine, give it time, but if it’s been a couple of months close to year and he is still not opening up to you. Either, he has really bad trust issues in people and simply doesn’t trust you yet, or he is hiding something that he does not want you to know about. This is honestly not worth the stress. Try asking him directly about whatever it is you feel he is hiding, if he constantly avoids it, then sis, this might be a huge red flag.

He keeps you a secret

No, my love. No. No. No. You are a jewel! A ruby! Precious! A queen! Why hide you? He should be proud of you. He should want to post you and show you off to everyone he knows. My first boyfriend did this to me. Yes, I met some people in his life, but not the ones who mattered to him. I felt like the “side chick” to be honest. Nah, sis. If he keeps you a secret either he is married, taken or doesn’t want other girls to know that he is no longer single, in other words keeping his options open. Privacy and secrecy are two different things. If the people close in his life does not know about you, and it’s been quite a while, then he is not serious and this is a definite red flag.

He puts the blame on you

If you’re having an argument and he automatically puts the blame on you, or points it back to you making you seem crazy and even making you feel bad, no, my friend, RUN! This boy is toxic and he will drain you to the core, trust me. This is called gaslighting. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse. It is the act of manipulating someone into believing that they are wrong and the other is right. This is a really sad situation, and if your guy is doing this to you…RUN.

He moves too fast

Now don’t get me wrong, there is no time limit if you already know you’ve found the one. But I’m talking about “I love you” within a week of knowing you. I’m talking about forcing you to break your boundaries. I was once with someone who wanted a baby within two weeks of knowing me and also promised to marry me, completely ignoring my desires to finish school, focus on my career and get married first before having a child, never mind that, I just knew him for a week, crazy! If a guy tells you he loves you, within a week or less, tells you he wants to marry you before even knowing you properly or wants a child way before the time…red flag! Also, if he doesn’t respect you when you say “no” for anything sexual, my girl, please do run.

If your gut tells you

If your gut tells you he isn’t the one, then sis, don’t try to force it. If you have this weird feeling about the relationship but you just cannot put your finger on it, it may be time to reconsider if this is something that you want. One thing I’ve learnt, don’t trust your heart it can be deceived by your emotions and feelings, but trust that gut feeling, it knows more than you may give it credit for.

Your mother warns you about him

Sometimes our parents can be wrong, however, the old saying, “mother knows best” is a saying for a reason. My mother was right about every single guy that she warned me about. This doesn’t just apply to your mother, it can be your father, close friends or close family members, our loved ones can see things that we can’t because we’re too in love with the person. If someone close to you tries to warn you about your guy, hear them out, it could save you TONS of heartache and time.

Do not settle for less sis, you deserve better!

Much love,

Tell us: what are the red flags you’ve picked up on in relationships?

Read about the signs of a healthy relationship here

Disclaimer: I am not a professional relationship guru, nor am I a relationship advisor. This is all from my personal experience.

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SADAG (The South African Depression and Anxiety Group) 0800567567