He’s tall, dark and handsome, and he clearly followed you from the produce aisle to the dairy section to strike up a conversation. The charming stranger could be the man of your dreams, so you flirt for a bit. If he looks the part of the perfect possibility, should you be on the lookout for any signs of potential detour? Relationship experts advise single ladies who are looking for Mr. Right to give the guy a chance.  Two or three dates should let you know if you want to continue pursuing a relationship, they say.

Even without the benefit of a few dates, you can listen to your own personal radar. Sure, it’s scary for a man to reveal himself to someone he’s trying to impress, and you can expect a few awkward moments in your first encounter. But there are red flags that can tell you just who he really is. A few tidbits can reveal if he might be off your wavelength.

He’s been divorced three times. Why aren’t you married?

You meet in a crowd of strangers and, after a few moments of chat, he asks if you’re married. No problem. That simple and legit question can clear the way for flirtation. He follows up by saying, “You’re a good looking woman, and smart. Why aren’t you married?” Mr. Maybe just turned a routine icebreaker into a background check. The insulting implication is there that there’s something wrong with you. He’s trying to put you on the defensive.

He expects you to share his low-rent values.

He is very frank about disparaging groups of people, and his conversation signals that he expects you to share his prejudices. The conversation turns to LGBT rights and he emphatically uses the words f….t and q…r. He congratulates you on moving to a neighborhood by observing, “There’s nobody black there.”

He uses sex to bully you.

He tells a sex joke within 10 minutes of meeting you for the very first time that makes you uncomfortable. When you back off and change the subject, he doubles your unease by telling you, “C’mon, everybody thinks that’s funny”, and implies that you, my dear, are an old-fashioned, potentially undesirable prude. That’s sexual harassment and intimidation. What might you expect on the first date?

Compromise in a relationship is normal. You’ll never find someone who totally agrees with you on every issue and who completely shares your values. But should you have to work hard to ignore parts of his personality in order to date him? Would you walk on eggshells every time you voiced an opinion? That’s not fair to you.

We all have a list of things that matter in a relationship, and those deal breakers don’t have anything to do with looks, or money, or career, or social standing. They include mutual respect. Go with your gut, honey. You don’t need a relationship expert to advise you against investing even one date on a tall, dark handsome stranger when your radar sets off an alarm.