At 22, I’ve learned that dating during your college years can take an emotional toll on you. Dating can almost be as stressful as gearing up for exams and lining up a potential post-grad job. Key word: almost. Your significant other, romantic partner, or friend with benefits should never come between you and your long term academic or career goals.

Before attempting to enter a relationship, it is important to be self-aware and to notice all of your good qualities. Me? I make good grades, I can cook, I can sort of sing, I have plenty of work opportunities lined up for me after graduation, my body is hella sick, I like to think I’m pretty good looking, plus, I’m woke. With all of that being said, I don’t understand why my past relationships have been unsuccessful. However, I’ve learned to be conscious of certain red flags when getting involved with someone romantically.

1. He never reaches out to you – Early on in the relationship, during the whole “butterfly” stage, you’ll find yourself starting your day by sending him a “good morning” text. If he so happens to wake up before you, he’ll send you the “good morning” text. However, as time goes on, he may withdraw and put forth less effort. This is understandable, as you two are both adults and have other priorities outside of the relationship;  however, if you find that you are the one consistently initiating conversation, it may be time to cut him loose. In order for a relationship to work effectively, both parties must make a conscious, consistent effort to maintain regular communication.

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2. Your friends/family don’t like him – Love can be blinding, but luckily, your friends and family can usually sense whenever something is off with someone. I can not tell you how many times I’ve brought someone around my friends and have them say “I’m not sure about this one” or “He doesn’t seem like a good guy.” In some cases, it’s wise to trust your friends’ judgment, as your head may be up in the clouds when you think about this guy.

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3. He sexualizes every conversation – If you are tending to a regular task, such as doing your homework at the library, or at the store buying groceries, and he texts you saying “what would you do if I were there? ;)” he clearly has one thing on his mind. Another common fuckboy colloquialism is responding with “haha without me? ;)” after letting him know that you just got out of the shower.

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4. He tries to tell you whom you can’t talk to – If a guy wants you to cut off other guys, but won’t make your relationship official, then you are by no means obligated to do so. This simply means that he wants control over you, but without having to put forth the same effort required in a monogamous relationship.

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5. He tiptoes around the truth – There have been many cases in which I’ve asked the guy I was seeing a series of questions, and he only answers a few. There have also been situations in which I’ve calmly ranted to the guy, and he only addresses the least significant points. Based on my experiences, if a guy does either of these things, he is either hiding something, or he is emotionally unavailable and literally can not grasp why you are upset.

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6. He invalidates your feelings – If you bring up an issue to your partner, and he tells you that you’re overreacting, or does nothing to change the behavior in question, it is time to drop him. If he is fully committed to making your relationship work, he must understand why you are frustrated with him, and be willing to change the problematic behavior.

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7. He expects a lot, but offers very little – This is by far the ultimate fuckboy symptom. If he expects you to drop when he calls but ignores your texts when you want to talk to him, he is not worth your time. If you can express your feelings for him but he can’t reciprocate your love, I can promise that you are better off being single. This is related to the point I made earlier about how some guys want control over you without putting forth the same amount of effort required in a monogamous relationship. You should never enter any sort of relationship with someone who doesn’t bring just as much to the table as you do.

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