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“Men mess up and then we feel badly about it.” One of my best friends in graduate school used to say this.

As we swapped stories, too often this was a conclusion we came down to. Another said he was too good for the girl he was dating. Women wishing it was a small drawback and not an indication of something bigger.

Then when it didn’t work out they’d feel badly…about themselves.

No, not the guy who said all of these offensive things or treated a woman disrespectfully.

They blamed themselves—for choosing him, not ending it sooner, for texting him back when they should have remained silent, the list goes on.

Wanting to find a life partner, spouse, or someone whose shoulder to lean your head upon are a nearly universal desire.

Whether it’s the holiday season or Valentine’s Day or the magic of 4th of July fireworks, we know it’s the shared moments that are most special.

But deep down you may have a nagging feeling that something just isn’t right.

While often red flags come in the more obvious forms (he is verbally abusive, physically aggressive) it’s the more subtle ones we miss.

Below is a list of commonly encountered red flags that might want to make women think twice before pursuing or continuing such a romantic relationship. Does he show little interest in making reservations, getting creative with activities, or expect that you’ll do this for him?

While this article is written within a heterosexist frame, many of these same concerns can apply to same sex relationships as well. While it’s wonderful that women can approach and ask out a man without waiting for him to do it, there is also a delicate balance in the relationship. The investment factor seamlessly leads to an even more important type of initiative.

You ask him any iteration of relationship check-up questions and he’s either unsure, needs more time, or tables the topic entirely.

It’s completely fair to ask if he sees long-term potential in the relationship, his view on commitment and marriage, and other “big picture” questions.

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