6 little-known red flags in men that the majority of women ignore, according to psychology

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Sometimes it’s pretty obvious when a guy will spell trouble in your life.

The bad boys, fuckboys, and players can have a perplexing appeal.

But we also know deep down that we’re asking for heartache, so are rarely surprised when that’s exactly what we get.

But sometimes, the danger we head towards can be far more subtle. Even if we do spot the red flags, we don’t think they’re such a big deal.

These are often the times when your gut may tell you something isn’t quite right, but you don’t want to listen to it.

Let’s look at some of the little-known red flags in men that the majority of women ignore, and the psychology behind why we downplay the signs to walk right into the trap.

1) Showing too much interest too soon

I know. It’s not fair.

It can feel hard enough getting a guy who invests the time and effort he should do. But now, we’re being told he shouldn’t be too keen either.

Sadly, if a man showers you with compliments, gifts and attention it can indicate more sinister intentions.

Love bombing may be something you’ve heard of. But it’s not always so easy to spot.

Especially because it’s designed to get you on side, as therapist Sasha Jackson cautions us:

“You feel special, needed, loved, valuable, and worthy, which are all the components that contribute to and increase a person’s self-esteem.”

Unfortunately, it’s often a tool of manipulators to get the upper hand early on, which they use to create a dependence and gain power over you.

We can get so swept up in the fantasy of Prince Charming that we don’t heed the warning.

  • Whirlwind romances
  • Probing questions
  • Constant complimentary texting
  • Spoiling you with little presents
  • “Checking in on you” all the time
  • Wanting to commit in the very early stages
  • Being emotionally needy

All of these are some of the more subtle psychological clues to be alert to that he may not be as perfect as he’s pretending to be.

2) Not believing the rumors

I appreciate that on the one hand, gossip can be unfounded and cruel.

We’re often told how it’s unkind to talk badly about others. But there’s no denying that gossip has a long-standing social function.

It’s there to warn us about people’s savory behavior.

Research concluded that it’s been used across history as a tool to keep people in check and discourage bad behavior.

There’s a motive to stay out of trouble to keep your reputation in order.

Professor of Psychology David Ludden says it still holds value in modern society.

“We are much more social [than our evolutionary forbearers] so it can be very helpful to get information about people [from others] when this network is too big to observe by ourselves.”

So if another woman warns you about poor behavior, don’t ignore it. There can be some truth to the saying ‘there’s no smoke without fire’.

If a guy has left a trail of broken hearts behind him, we shouldn’t be oblivious to the fact that we could be next.

Yet we like to feel like we’re special, his exes were all just “crazy”, and that we can be the one that makes him want to change his ways.

But don’t hold your breath!

3) Going off first impressions, not current behavior

When you meet a charmer, it doesn’t take long before you’re smitten. 

Some guys have that magnetic quality. So no wonder it sucks you in.

As professor of psychology Lawrence Josephs explains, this phenomenon is known as the “the primacy effect.” 

“We make a snap assessment of who that person is and that first impressions color all our future judgments. We know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but that is exactly what we do.”

It takes less than a second for us to get a vibe from someone. But then in an act of confirmation bias, we spend the remainder of our time trying to back up our initial hunches.

That can be pretty dangerous when a guy has instantly won you over. But first impressions should always be taken with a pinch of salt.

Even as his actions start to slide —for example through flaky behavior, inconsistent attention, or downright bad manners— you may be more inclined to overlook this.

Instead, you cling to those initial butterflies and warm fuzzy feelings he gave you.

Psychologically the mind plays tricks on us so that we are tempted to push through our doubts and keep our rose-tinted glasses on.

4) Not texting you back

We all want to give someone the benefit of the doubt for slips up.

Well, when we are attracted to them and desperately hoping it’s reciprocated anyway.

So when he takes two days to text you back you believe his feeble excuse. If he doesn’t offer one, you may even invent it in your own head.

“He’s probably really busy or just playing it cool”.

So rather than confront the reality of red flags like a lack of effort and investment in you, you strive to be forgiving.

Yet research has shown this can be a misguided approach, particularly when it comes to certain types of guys.

One study noted that so-called “less agreeable” people are actually more likely to engage in similar transgressions after receiving forgiveness.

We have to be alert to how small problem behaviors can erode our boundaries. Instead, we have to be clear with our expectations to make sure unacceptable actions don’t become a habit.

5) Sexual immaturity

Sexual immaturity should not be confused with level of experience.

That’s totally different.

What we’re referring to here is a childish or selfish approach towards sexual intimacy.

Women tend to fall foul of harmful people-pleasing behaviors more than men.

That can go for in the bedroom too and tempt you to turn a blind eye to sexual red flags.

But you need to watch out for guys who:

  • Try to make you feel bad about the number of sexual partners you’ve had
  • Expect oral sex but refuse to reciprocate
  • Want sex to be like porn
  • Are pushy about trying out certain sexual acts
  • Boast about sexual conquests
  • Are “grossed out” about women’s bodies
  • Show little consideration for your pleasure
  • Make body-shaming comments

6) Close relationships that have turned really sour

I’m not necessarily referring to exes. Although, as we’ve already seen, you shouldn’t disregard his romantic history.

I’m referring to close friends and family.

Fundamentally how well we conduct any relationship rests on many of the same skills and personal values.

Respect, trust, communication, commitment, conflict resolution — these come into play regardless of who the relationship is with.

I once dated a guy who was no longer in touch with his mom. I felt really sorry for him and obviously didn’t want to judge what sounded like a difficult relationship.

But I didn’t take note of some of the things he was inadvertently revealing about himself.

Rather than any big failing on his mom’s part, they seem to just have drifted apart and he decided he didn’t want to make the effort anymore. He handled it by increasingly ignoring communication from her, without explaining.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised when after several months of dating (and without any warning that something was up) out of the blue he ghosted me.

He’d already shown me how he deals with uncomfortable situations. I just didn’t want to see the red flag.

The point is, that big problems and broken connections in a guy’s life are relevant to your relationship with him too.

Be wise and protect your heart

I’m not suggesting we should be guarded. Showing vulnerability is an important part of allowing a deep connection to grow.

But we have to be smart about it too. Going at a slow and steady pace wins the relationship race.

That means keeping our eyes open to the psychology of why we ignore red flags.

A little extra vigilance in the beginning can save you a lot of heartache further down the line.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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