We've all been there. You're on a first date with a guy, things are going well, but something feels a little... off. He might have checked his phone one too many times, or can't stop fidgeting nervously. Maybe he's dodging questions about his personal life in a way that makes you think, "I was pretty sure this dude wasn't a serial killer, but now I'm unclear?" All of these are red flags on a first date, but what do they mean, exactly?
They could point to any number of things, including nerves. (I, for one, live in constant fear that my anxiety comes across as guilt and I'll be inexplicably arrested at the airport one day.) But what if these red flags go beyond nerves? What if they're indicative of something a bit more sinister? Like, er, what if this guy's got a girlfriend? And if that is the case, what signs and signals should you be looking out for?
I chatted with five women who have found themselves on dates with shady fellows, who — you guessed it! — had girlfriends on the side. But hindsight is 20/20, y'all, and they're here to share all of the red flags they wished they'd caught sooner so you can avoid falling into the same trap. In the words of Carrie Underwood, maybe next time these guys will think before they cheat.
He doesn't want his roommates or friends to see you two together.
I'd spent an afternoon on a really nice date with someone, and he'd suggested we each head home before meeting up again way later that night. I didn't realize at the time, but I think he was nervous about his friends (and his girlfriend's friends) seeing us out together, or his roommates catching us when we went back to his house.
He dodges personal questions.
I get that some subjects are touchy, but if he avoids any personal questions about his life, he's hiding something for sure.
He won't stop checking his phone.
I went out with one guy who could not stop checking his phone. He apologized and said that he was waiting on an email from his boss, which I totally bought. But later on in the evening, he'd mentioned that his work was really low-stress, so that should have been a tip-off. I found out a couple of days later that he had a long-distance girlfriend, and then everything clicked in my brain.
He's got a "now or never" attitude.
The implication that it's "now or never" is definitely an indicator that something is off. I'd met a guy through mutual friends one night, and he called me three times that same night asking me to hang out one-on-one. When I said I was a bit too tired to go back out, he'd basically begged, and explained that he didn't know when he would be free to hang out again. He wasn't from out of town or anything, so that should have been a huge red flag. But he was cute, and we'd had a nice time earlier, so I agreed to go out. Then, at the end of the evening, he confessed to having a girlfriend. Ugh.
He's put a hard timeline on your date.
I went out with one guy who was really insistent that he could only stay out until 9 p.m. He said he had an early call for work, but even that feels like a weird excuse for such a hard deadline. Turns out he had a live-in girlfriend and wanted to make sure he got home before she did. Such a pig.
Be wary, ladies. Oh, and by the way, if you're on a date with a guy and find out that he has a girlfriend, you have my full permission to throw a drink in his face, à la The Real Housewives.
*Names have been changed. Quotes have been edited and condensed for clarity.
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