THE BLOG
09/30/2015 02:20 pm ET Updated Sep 30, 2016

10 First Dates That Should Be Your Last

There's nothing like the joy of a first date. Whatever it is you decide to do for the big event, the main idea is to move beyond the level of friendship and find out if there's potential for a more intimate relationship. But don't let that description scare you! With an open mind (use the mantra "It's Just a F**king Date" from the bestselling book by that title) it could actually be fun. And by being present during your time together, you're better able to spot potential issues with ease. In the course of getting to know each other if one these red flags pops up save yourself some trouble and move on:

  1. He's been divorced three times. Unless he's still knee deep in therapy or a recovering addict, assume there's a reason for this and that he hasn't changed. You will not be the one to save him! There is no prize. There is no reward. You won't succeed where others have failed. He will bring you down with him in every way. And he's already down. Trust me.
  2. He starts talking about his unhappy childhood. If he doesn't have the sense to know what's appropriate on the first date, he doesn't have any sense. There's no "feel sorry for me and take care of me" in first dates. And guess what? He's looking for someone to fill that empty hole. It may not come up again right away, but it will rear its ugly head at some point. His childhood suffering will be taken out on you.
  3. He badmouths his ex. Any ex. Wife, girlfriend, friend. This is a sign of unresolved issues and shows an inability to take responsibility for his part in the relationship. There's nothing worse than someone who goes from one relationship to the next without doing the work. Because it doesn't magically get better on its own. Once the oxytocin wears off, it will be the same pattern all over again. Whatever is was. Who cares. Don't make it your problem.
  4. He's unemployed or underemployed. There's quite possibly nothing worse than a man who can't provide for himself. Yes there are situations where this legitimately happens, but to a man, it's a huge blow to his ego. And if he's not feeling good about himself, he's not going to make you feel good about yourself either. He'll put you down to boost himself up.
  5. His children are disrespectful and/or misbehaved. Just in case you happen to meet them or you know them already, take note. Something to think about: Where did they get it from? He had to have some part of it. Just saying.
  6. He shows signs of being a crazy maker. Not always easy to figure out on the first date but here's what to look for: He brags about himself, he dismisses your observations, he's critical, he's rude to the waiter or bartender, or on the flip side he's overly familiar with them and not so attentive to you, he's late for the date without a heads up, he doesn't offer to pay for the whole tab. These are telltale signs that could lead to much bigger issues.
  7. His car is a mess. This is a sign that he's careless with things. Your call if this doesn't bother you. But when you live in filth it shows you have a tolerance for chaos in your life and who needs that?
  8. He drinks too much. Maybe if you're in your 20s this might be excusable. But after 30 it's rude, disrespectful, and problematic. If he's going for a buzz, he's not really going for you, is he? And how's that going to affect his performance later?
  9. He's checking his phone all night. Sure, he might need it out in case there's a problem with the kids. But even then, isn't someone responsible watching them? Wrong on so many fronts. He's there to engage with you. God forbid he texts or checks Facebook in the middle of your date. If he can't be 100% present, especially on the first few dates, leave him with his phone. There are plenty of apps for him to spend time with.
  10. Your gut is telling you no. Listen to it. It knows. Breathe down deep, ask yourself what you're feeling, and honor it. For whatever reason, this is a sign that he's not the one for you. There are plenty of other guys out there and if you're not feelin' it, end it and go on to the next. The more in touch you are with your emotions, the stronger your boundaries will be. And there's nothing more attractive than a woman who knows herself and knows what she wants.