When you start dating someone new, the excitement can cause common sense to take a backseat. You may hear stories from friends and think, “I’d never do that,” only to feel completely blindsided when the person you’re talking to winds up being the exact opposite of who you thought they were.
We all make dating mistakes, but what’s important is learning from them. Identifying mistakes we’re most likely to overlook in others can help us better protect ourselves and date with greater intention.
Intention, by the way, is the name of the game. Make sure that you’re dating because you want to, not because your life feels too empty without a partner. In fact, living a full life with or without a significant other is the best way to avoid falling for people who don’t have your best interest at heart.
Here are 7 mistakes you should always look out for and avoid when you’re dating someone new.
1. Love Bombing
There’s a saying that’s very helpful in dating, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” Not to indulge your inner skeptic, but it’s important to enter any new relationship with low expectations. If someone sweeps into your life and seems like they’ve fallen out of a fairy tale, there’s probably more to the picture.
Love bombing is actually a manipulation tactic that makes people trust someone else when they don’t have any real basis to do so. Instead of just being sweet and thoughtful, this person seems to be completely dedicated to you from day one, and they’re always showering you with compliments and attention.
Some serial love bombers will even be quite lavish with gifts, despite only knowing you for a few days or weeks.
Why it’s bad: Love bombing makes it harder for someone to maintain their own boundaries. Lines quickly become blurred in the relationship, and you may feel pressured to commit to someone before you’re ready to.
2. Moving Too Quickly
How soon is too soon? There are some key indicators that your relationship is moving too fast:
- You’re chasing a feeling or ideal, not the person
- Your new partner is “perfect” and has no flaws
- The relationship feels like fate from day one
- Your social schedule revolves around seeing them
- They call you their soulmate after a few dates
- You’re ready to make big commitments or life changes to be with them despite only going out for weeks or months
If someone’s telling you they love you after meeting three times, it’s time to step back and reassess. Moving too quickly also makes it hard to slow down, even when you want to. For someone who’s been single for a long time or just got out of a relationship, emotions can get in the way of better judgment.
Remember to take things slow, and speak up if you feel like things are progressing too quickly. Your comfort level always comes first. If they aren’t understanding of your feelings, or they even get angry or judge you for them, then you have confirmation they’re not the right person.
3. Bad-mouthing Exes
Someone who bad-mouths their ex has baggage, and you shouldn’t stick around to carry it. You’re not their therapist, and your job isn’t to help them heal or right the wrongs of their past relationship.
Someone who bad mouths their ex, especially to someone they just started dating, likely hasn’t recovered from whatever happened. They are also more likely to project issues from that relationship onto yours.
What’s more, bad-mouthing an ex keeps their memory alive and well. Whether it’s love, hate, or regret, a person who can’t let go of their past relationship isn’t ready for a new one, no matter what they say.
4. Not Introducing You to Family or Friends
Healthy relationships are gradual. You shouldn’t be meeting someone’s parents after a few weeks, but friends and family should factor into the equation after several months of dating. If someone deliberately doesn’t mention you or introduce you to their loved ones, there’s a reason.
Every couple will decide when the right time to meet each other’s inner circle is. The main focus here is on intent. Does this person want others to know you’re together, or do they seem to isolate themselves in the relationship with you?
5. Ignoring Boundaries
Ignoring boundaries is red flag 101. If you tell someone you aren’t okay with something, that is the end of the conversation. You should never have to explain, justify or rationalize your boundaries to a dating partner.
What’s worse, deliberately violating boundaries you’ve expressed means they don’t respect your feelings. It won’t get better, and it’s not an accident if it happens more than once. It’s best to take heed and avoid any relationship that makes you feel uncomfortable or judged for your boundaries.
Gaslighting can be hard to recognize because those who do it are usually subtle. Imagine you tell a partner that their behavior makes you uncomfortable. You tell them you aren’t okay with taking things to a certain level, or being talked to in a particular way. Rather than respect your boundaries, they say something like, “But you clearly enjoyed it,” or “I’m only doing it because I thought that’s what you wanted.”
There is no excuse for gaslighting anyone. Avoid falling into the trap of second-guessing yourself and favoring what they say over how you feel.
7. Inconsistent Behavior
Is your partner “hot and cold”? They’re all lovey-dovey when you’re together, but then they’re MIA or giving you one-word responses between dates. Perhaps they’re eager to meet and talk for a week or two, then they disappear or distance themselves again.
There are many reasons why someone might be inconsistent, but none of them spell happiness for your relationship. Whether they have another relationship, have commitment issues, or just can’t make up their mind, you deserve better.
You don’t need to waste your time playing detective. Actions speak louder than words, so listen closely and believe what you’re shown.
While every relationship will have its challenges, avoiding these red flags can help you avoid a lot of hurt and heartbreak when you’re dating someone new.
You deserve to be in a relationship with someone who respects, appreciates and supports you. Setting expectations early is a good way to avoid getting in over your head or questioning your own place in a relationship.
If you’re looking for deeper connections, schedule a free screening call with the Tawkify team. We can determine if our process is right for your dating goals, and if so, match you with vetted singles who are also looking to date with intention.