25 Dating Dealbreakers and How to Spot Them

He texts but never calls, has a close girl “friend” and still loves mommy more than anyone. Run for the hills, honey.

Dating dealbreakers are a touchy subject. It’s common knowledge that sticking to lists of musts and rules is no way to find a man (or woman). But while we may need to learn to give a little when it comes to our list of dating expectations – no really, he doesn’t have to be tall, dark and handsome…or rich – we resolutely abide by the following list of dealbreakers and dating red flags. As with wardrobes, careers and fights with your mother, it’s much easier to make a list of what you don’t want, and when it comes to men, doing so will certainly help you steer clear of of some serious relationship problems.

1. Is always late. Not 10 minutes it’s hard to get a cab tonight late, but late

Fully unacceptable unless his Prius exploded…the first time. You are a busy woman and you have things to do, and if the man can’t get it together to meet up with you on time, it’s a question of respect. Move on.

2. Has a tramp stamp

Lower back tattoos are bad enough on women, but on a man? If you’re on a first date and he bends over to pick something up and his shirt pulls up just high enough to flash a Chinese character or some other cheesy remnant of his early 20s, run while you still can.

3. Has cut off all communication to family

We are perfectly understanding of strained familial relationships. It is a fact of human existence that all parents are flawed and we are all pissed off about it. No one’s perfect, and sometimes a break with those who are closest is what we need. That’s different from complete and utter disconnect. Zero communication with family members is an indicator of larger issues at hand – the kind of larger issues that you don’t need to be dealing with.

4. Buys you pets without asking you first

Puppies and kittens are cute, but if you come home to one wrapped in a bow you may need to do some reflecting. Owning a pet is a commitment, and if he buys you one to take care of without asking you first, you can expect serious control issues. Don’t let him put a bird on it.

5. Has previously had a sugar mama

Financial support is good while it lasts, and it’s fun to joke about marrying up, but if you’re dating a man whose last girl fully supported him in everything he did without his having to work for it, you’ve got serious trouble on your hands. Treat yourself and your best friend to dinner instead.

6. Smokes cigarettes

It doesn’t matter if he comes with an attractive French accent or a New York City address; cigarettes are just disgusting any way you look at it. Plus, do you want to be stuck caring for someone with lung cancer at the ripe age of 55?

7. Two words: dental hygiene

Brush twice a day, floss at least three times a week, and see the dentist now and then. That’s all we ask.

8. Liberally uses the word “douchebag” and its variants, e.g. douchey, douche

A good tip that a man will spend more time reminiscing about his fraternity glory days and/or expressing only thinly-veiled latent “jokes” (read: desires, see shrink)  for his bro pack than asking you how your day was.

9. Doesn’t read or seem to own actual books

If you can’t have a conversation about what you’re reading – or at the very least the latest New York Times article he recently read online – just think about all the other things you’re not going to be able to talk about. Sure, this might sound pretentious, but you’re a smart, intellectual woman and you need to fuel your brain as much as your lust.

10. Hasn’t broken up with Mommy yet (and probably never will)

Next please. Are we really still stuck on the mommy issue thing? Apparently so, because we keep hearing stories of perfectly nice gentlemen that just can’t seem to break loose and expect a girlfriend to fill the role. Nobody wants a mother-in-law from hell, but even worse is the full-time job you didn’t ask for: mothering your boyfriend. If he wants you to call him on his shit instead of bothering to notice the wafting of said shit himself, move on.

11. Thinks therapy is for losers

Let’s be honest: we could all use some professional help in one way or another. If he can’t see that, it means he’s hiding more emotional baggage than he wants to admit.

12. Inappropriate use of flip flops

Rugged, informed, creative, outdoorsy men who have a love for the good life? Drool. But there’s a time and place for everything. At the beach or brunch in the backyard? Wear those flip flops with pride! But all flip flops all the time, even business meetings and dinners? Put on some damn shoes already.

13. “Forgets” the condoms

Conveniently forgetting condoms is classless and disrespectful and shows that a man isn’t ready to honor your integrity. Plus, an adult man knows better no matter his age, and “forgetting” is just as bad as “but I hate condoms.” Newsflash: who doesn’t hate condoms? That doesn’t mean you don’t get to use them.

14. Suggests you split the tab…when he asked you out.

The right way: “This is my treat, if that’s all right?” Being generous, acknowledging potential it’s-not-all-right leanings. The wrong way: “Let’s split it.” That’s just forcing the answer in his favor. Manipulative and cheap.

15. Doesn’t understand your issue with his having a “best gal pal”

It isn’t your fear that he wants to sleep with her, but the fact that he is emotionally available to her and not you, which is why his repeated rantings about not wanting to sleep with her are so exasperating. Sleeping with you, confiding in her means he is incapable of sexual and emotional intimacy with the same woman and will eventually cheat on whomever he marries.

16. Postures himself wherever he goes

Is your new flame constantly posing for Facebook headshots as he’s having dinner with you and friends, trying to look dashing and throwing out quotes like a famous writer when you just want to hike, standing in the shower doorway naked with a “I-want-to-be-sexy-but-am-uncomfortable” grin? These are all signs that he is so self-absorbed and that you will never get him to be present. Posture at him with the middle finger as you walk away.

17. Uses “via” or “literally” in the same sentence more than once

Men who like to attempt to sound smarter by throwing in these little bon mots are just trying to cover up how clueless they really are. We mean to say they might actually be robots.

18. Burps or farts to just “break the ice”

Men can do whatever they want in the company of other men, but when they’re around you, expect that they at least act as if they graduated from high school. A pretty walk in the fall with steaming hot mugs of cider, a lively debate on the value of human communication followed by a loud rip? Hardly the scene you want to be part of. Dump the cider, hold your nose and run for your life.

19. Doesn’t understand the term “A little goes a long way” in terms of hair product

Just because the rest of the country is obsessed with the cast of Jersey Shore, does not give your man the right to channel Pauly D. Have you thought about how you’re going to run your fingers through his waxy, stiff hair and have you even considered what he might look like without all the hair taming?

20. Freaks out playing video games. No, the fact that he plays video games

It’s the third date and all is going well. He sweetly invites you back to his place. “Sure,” you think to yourself, “this has been going great, why not?” And then you see it. A living room centered around a big screen TV, with not one, but three different video game contraptions and a variety of games strewn about the floor. And just as quickly as you wanted to start talking about his feelings on the recent uprising in the Middle East or what his favorite place to travel is or whether he prefers organic or local, you realize he’s nesting into his favorite chair and let’s just say he’s pushing the wrong button.

21. Patting of any kind

Whether it’s on the forehead, knee or anywhere else, patting is a nice little indicator of someone thinking you’re “cute and adorable,” and not in the good way. Stay away from the insecure men who have an obsession with undercutting you.

22. Being weird about you making more money than him

It’s 2011. Enough said.

23. Has a filthy vehicle

You haven’t even been to his apartment yet but from the state of his car floor covered in candy wrappers, Coke bottles, chip bags and ATM receipts, you know for sure that not only is he disorganized, he’s a total pig who couldn’t even nice up for your date.

24. He calls you his “old lady”

Nope, never allowed. You’ll never be an equal. Other terms that will follow (if you’re a sucker and stay) will be “ball and chain,”  followed by “The Wife.”

25. He still sports a soul patch…

It’s 2011. Enough said.

Image: JonoMueller