1. Not believing in courtship. I hate to single men out on this one, because there are definitely guys who believe in romance, but often men seem to get away with not paying attention to the “courtship” phase of a relationship. Things like walking you to your door, taking the time to plan dates, or making a good impression on your friends are NOT exceptional. They should be the rule.
2. Not caring about travel. You don’t have to spend six months backpacking around Asia to understand that travel is important for the soul — even just getting out of your own city for a day or two does wonders for perspective. Someone who doesn’t care about leaving their comfort zone at all is probably not going to be good in a long-term relationship.
3. Making fun of other women. If a guy talks shit about women a lot — calls them names, judges their sex life, compares you to them — he’s probably going to do it to you eventually.
4. Not wanting to commit. We have all dated the guy who is interested in hooking up, and occasionally hanging out together, and keeping it as “casual” as possible. If we are really into the guy, we even pretend to ourselves like this is a real relationship. Sometimes it keeps going for months on end. But if commitment is what you want, not having it should always be a dealbreaker.
5. A bad work-life balance. If you are trying to Lean In and put in 80 hours a week to reach whatever goal you want, fine. But if you are looking for someone who will be home in time for dinner on a regular basis, always coming second to someone’s work is not acceptable. Convincing yourself that someone is going to change, that they will work less in the future, is a good way to waste years of your life in the wrong relationship.
6. Cheating. If you’re into an open relationship, then that can be negotiated. But take it from someone who was cheated on and imagined that it would never, EVER happen again: Cheaters cheat.
7. Misogynist jokes. They’re not funny, they’re never going to be funny, and they speak to much, much worse character traits. A guy who genuinely makes kitchen jokes is a guy who is not going to be supportive and respectful in the long term.
8. Never cooking. If you date someone who can only make themselves ramen and microwave meals — AND has no desire to learn or improve — you are going to be unhappy. And hungry.
9. Money. It’s such an ugly thing when it comes to relationships, but money is such a huge problem. If you don’t have the same vision of money — How much do you want to earn? How much do you spend? Do you want to save for the future? — you are bound to get into terrible, terrible fights over something that has nothing to do with your emotional connection. Sometimes you can overcome two very different backgrounds, but you can’t overcome different financial values.
10. Extreme messiness. A little bit of mess here and there is understandable, but if you’re cleaning up after someone two weeks into a relationship, you’re going to be cleaning up after them forever. (And also, someone who is okay with a dirty, smelly living space is probably not doing so great in general. And should probably work on that issue before dating.)
11. Addiction. Have you ever tried to date someone who had a problem with substance abuse, thinking that your love would fix him and make him whole and eventually convince him to get healthy and sober again? If so, then you know how terrible that experience is, and how futile. And honestly, I don’t wish that on anyone.
12. No sense of humor. If he doesn’t make you laugh, he will never make you happy. And you know that.
13. Not believing in romance. Ultimately, there are two kinds of guys: The kind who love the idea of loving someone, and believe that romance isn’t just flowers on the first date, and that it’s something they will build and work on through the entire relationship. And then there’s the kind that do some impressive stuff up front, and then get really complacent and feel like they’ve already “won” you. And if you’re not dating the former, you may want to ask yourself why.