Discernment,  Relationships

Dating Discernment: 4 Subtle Red Flags You May Be Overlooking

So you’ve put yourself out there and started dating. Good for you!

Dating is exciting, right?

As a single woman, I’ve made a decision to let go of my dating fears and enjoying the process of getting to know someone new.

But, as much fun as dating is, it should also involve a process of evaluating actions and behaviors to determine if the relationship is worth pursuing.

Common Sense & Discernment

In the book of Proverbs, Solomon speaks about the importance of discernment:

My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang onto them, for they will refresh your soul. They are like jewels on a necklace. They will keep you safe on your way, and your feet will not stumble.

-Proverbs 3:21-23

As a single woman hoping for marriage one day, I recognize that it can be very difficult to exercise common sense and discernment when it comes to dating, especially if you’ve been single for a while and you finally meet someone who could be the one.

Discernment is easier when the red flags are obvious, like when a man is insulting, controlling, or dishonest. That’s where the common sense kicks in and tells you to run!

But, what about those not-so-obvious behaviors?

I’ve identified 4 subtle dating red flags from personal experience that I’d like to share with you, in an effort to save you from potential dating disaster.

# 1 He Only Wants To Text

What we tell ourselves: He’s really busy, but he takes time out of the day to send me text messages so I know he’s thinking about me. Besides, everybody texts. 

This is a tough one because texting is the new calling these days. It’s almost as if we’ve lost the art of conversation.

Throughout the day, the two of you exchange text messages about random things. You feel good because he’s staying in touch with you, and you can’t wait until you get off work for him to call you to make plans for the upcoming weekend.

But, he doesn’t. And when you try to call him, he doesn’t answer your call, but responds with a text message saying he’s tied up. But not too tied up to text back and forth all night.

The Truth

Texting is a very ineffective way to communicate when you’re trying to get to know someone. You also miss out on all of the nonverbal communication and body language that often tell you more about the person than their words convey.

If a guy isn’t willing to make time to call you for a real conversation, it could mean that he is not invested in getting to know you on a deeper level.

It might also be an indication that he lacks communication skills, which we know are crucial in any relationship.

This is especially true if he has never asked you out on a date. Only texting combined with no plans to meet face-to-face screams he’s just not that into you.

So, unless you are looking for a pen pal, save yourself the wasted time and move on.

# 2 You Always Catch Him Checking Out Other Women 

What we tell ourselves: Men are visual. He’s with me, so I have nothing to worry about.

Another touchy, sensitive subject in dating and relationships.

There are varying opinions about whether or not the wandering eye is a big deal. Especially when the guy is calling you (see above!), spending quality time with you, meeting your friends, family, etc.

I’ve been here many times where I’m dating someone with good qualities, except that he stares at other women when he’s with me.

It makes me feel pretty crappy, especially when the first thing that people assume is that I have low self-esteem or lack confidence because I’m bothered by it.

If this has happened to you, you might wonder if the guy even realizes how his behavior makes you feel.

The Truth

A caring and considerate man should have the awareness and common sense to realize that his staring at other women in your presence is disrespectful and hurtful. There is a difference between noticing someone attractive and staring at them.

This behavior is a conscious choice. He’s with you, after all, and that’s where his attention should be focused.

But, when he chooses to ogle another woman in front of you, he is also choosing to disregard your feelings.

Whether he is unaware of how this behavior makes you feel, or if he dismisses you as being insecure, both are concerning and should make you think twice about moving forward in the dating relationship.

# 3 He’s Often Too Busy To Spend Time With You

What we tell ourselves: He is very successful, with a demanding job that keeps him really busy.

I don’t know many women who wouldn’t be attracted to a successful, ambitious guy with a great career. This is one of those qualities that tends to be high on our list, right ladies?

But, does his status, accomplishments, and success really matter if he has no time for you?

The Truth

One of my favorite quotes is a popular one by Maya Angelou:

When people show you who they are, believe them.

This means that you take his words and actions at face value: the guy is too busy…for you. There’s no need to wonder why he often disappears or doesn’t follow through. He is showing you, my dear.

Also consider how you met him.

Was it at a work-related event that he was obligated to attend, or was it more social, like a restaurant, party, wedding, etc.?

If you met him socially, consider the fact that his busy schedule didn’t keep him from choosing to do something fun.

This indicates that, although he may genuinely have a busy schedule, he is choosing how he wants to spend his time. If you aren’t part of that equation, then spending time with you is not high on his list of priorities.

# 4 He Doesn’t Respect Your Physical Boundaries

What we tell ourselves: He’s a man…this is how men are. It must also be a sign he’s really attracted to me.

How many times have you encountered the guy who is just a little bit too touchy-feely?

You know. The guy who doesn’t seem to understand what personal space is, and can’t keep his hands to himself?

This kind of behavior might make you wonder just what his intentions are.

The Truth

Just like the men are visual justification, this is another one that excuses disrespectful behavior.

It’s not about him finding you so attractive that he can’t help himself. It’s about him being an adult, exercising self-control, and understanding the importance of physical boundaries.

If you make it clear that you are not interested in his advances, and he minimizes the situation or gaslights you, this is a sign that this guy doesn’t respect you or your boundaries.

A Final Word On Subtle Red Flags

I am all about giving people the benefit of the doubt when there is some indication that they deserve it.

I want to emphasize that I am not saying that a guy who exhibits any of the above behaviors should immediately be kicked to the curb.

First, I encourage you to pray for God to give you the discernment you need to make wise decisions when it comes to dating and relationships. I am also really big on finding a trusted, wise friend who will tell you the truth, not just what you want to hear. 

It really is possible that the guy’s behaviors could be isolated incidents that can be resolved after a heart-to-heart talk about how his actions make you feel.

However, I also want to warn you that, often times, subtle red flags turn into major red flags.

When we ignore or justify them, it leads to heartache and regret due to investing time into a relationship where the writing was on the wall from the beginning.

I hope this helps you discern wisely in your dating endeavors.

Have you ever found yourself in one of the situations above? How did you handle it?

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