Twilight may be fiction, but vampires are real (and you could be dating one). Here are six major red flags to watch out for when dating a new guy so you can identify monsters before a movie-and-milkshakes romance turns into a thriller night.
How good is your monster radar?
You’re mysteriously drawn to him, but often leave feeling like he sucks the life out of you.
You’re dating a…
These guys make you feel adored, alive, delicious and then—boom!—fangs. “If you leave feeling exhausted, depressed or sad, there’s something wrong,” says Rachel Sussman, LCSW, relationship expert and author of the Breakup Bible. “You’ve got to tune in to your intuition.” These secretive creatures of the night rarely validate your feelings and can leave you feeling like maybe you just imagined his affection. Trust your gut and get out before he totally drains you.
You’re in awe of him, but often feel powerless and would never dream of disobeying.
You’re dating the…
“The early signs of guys who are very controlling are they want to be with you day and night,” says Sussman. “They come on very strong.” Even their doting attention comes with a dose of better-than-thou contempt (the number one relationship killer). “Controlling and jealous guys can be very scary,” she warns.
Once they’ve hooked you, they’ll treat you terribly and disregard your complaints with manipulative digs like, ‘I’m such a good boyfriend; you should be happy.’ Before he casts a spell on you, take a cue from Harry Potter and get rid of you-know-who for good.
You sometimes feel like you’re talking to a corpse…is he processing anything you’re saying?
You’re dating a…
There’s nothing more irritating than talking to someone who’s willfully unresponsive. “If you get frustrated and emotional, then he’ll get more unemotional,” says Sussman. “That’s the dance that often happens with intellectualizers who don’t show any emotion.” If they’re not acknowledging your feelings or not sharing theirs, those are clear signs of an oncoming zombie apocalypse.
But don’t write him off too quickly. “If he’s calling for a second or third date and you’re asking yourself why, he might really like you, he just has no ability to express it,” says Sussman. If that’s the case, consider yourself his guide into the land of the living.
He’s a good guy most of the time, but once in a blue moon, he turns into a raging beast.
You’re dating a…
You might love Wolverine’s hot-blooded temper, but don’t let the silver screen fool you. These relationships can easily turn abusive. “They can be very charming early on and really try to pull you in because they’re insecure,” says Sussman. “Once they feel they’ve got you, that’s when the abuse rears its head.”
Before you cry wolf, watch for signs like flying off the handle with a waiter or taxi driver, or emotional manipulation. “When you start to think you did something to ruin the relationship,” says Sussman, “that’s when you’ve got to get out.”
He might be sweet underneath, but sometimes all you see is a sloppy, inconsiderate brute.
You’re dating an…
If your princess dreams have been squashed by the ogre you wound up with, don’t despair. “The more time you spend with someone, you’re going to see all sides of that person,” says Sussman. “Everyone’s entitled to a grouchy side.”
But if that’s becoming a pattern and you feel like you always get his bad side, talk to him about it. “Ask what’s underneath that grumpiness,” says Sussman. Maybe he just needs more sleep, some stress relief or a little alone time. (Or a lovingly prepared plate of skewered bugs and a scrumptious eyeball cocktail.)
He’s picture perfect on the outside and always knows just what to say, but you’re constantly unearthing skeletons and can’t quite put your finger on the truth.
“This guy is the ultimate bullshitter,” says Sussman. “He might lie about his career, past girlfriends, where he went to school—it could be layer upon layer of lies.” Learn to be your own watchdog: Look for constant bragging, a series of broken promises, a story that doesn’t add up or a nagging feeling that he’s just a smarmy dude. “When you’ve had several incidents of shady behavior or things that don’t add up, listen to your gut,” says Sussman. “You can call them on it, but they’re not going to fess up.” Better to cast your vote elsewhere.