He’s a deadbeat dad who runs hot and cold.

I met a 35-year-old guy named Keith on an online dating site. We both lived in Birmingham and met up for a date. Keith had only been in the city a few months and told me his girlfriend threw him out of his previous home because he didn’t have a job, despite him telling her that the economy was so bad that he couldn’t find anything. He said she was verbally abusive, had no friends and everyone hated her (BRF #1). Keith also revealed that the only other serious girlfriend he’d had was on and off for several years because they both kept cheating on each other, until she had a kid with another guy and then died from a drug overdose a few years ago (BRF #2).

Despite this info, I kept dating him. He was good to me and great with my daughter. Plus, everyone in my circle liked him. After several weeks he decided to tell me that he had a teenage son with a girl from high school who he’d slept with behind his buddy’s—and her then boyfriend’s—back. He said he hadn’t seen or spoken to his kid in about ten years (BRF #3). As he was telling me this he started crying because he felt like a deadbeat dad who treated my daughter better than his own son. Turns out, his previous girlfriend who’d thrown him out after two years of living together never even knew the son existed (BRF #4). But he said he wanted to make a change and settle down in order to be a good dad to both of our kids. I continued to see him.

During the course of our six month relationship, Keith constantly talked about every girlfriend, hook up, crush, etc. he’d had in the past despite my pointing out that guys who do this are either 1) hung up on the past or 2) have overly inflated egos (BRF #5).  Around the time he started obsessing over past love, our sex life dipped. He was always “too tired” or had whiskey dick because he couldn’t stay sober for more than ten minutes and was wasted every night (BRF #6 and #7). He said he didn’t care if he got off when we had sex because he got off plenty masturbating to porn. But he couldn’t get off with an actual person? (BRF #8).

After five months, I finally decided to move on. He emailed me constantly, saying he’d do better and finally start acting like a man because he wanted to marry me and help me raise my child. We met and he convinced me that he was ready to change. I took him back and we started talking about our wedding and future together. His family and friends were ecstatic, but mine were less than thrilled at this point (BRF #9). He got a raise and said he was going to begin saving up for an engagement ring. Three days later, he EMAILED me to break things off and said he couldn’t deal with the fact that I have a child. What the hell? Guys like this should come with warning labels. Lesson(s) learned.


He accuses you of texting other men.

My ex always accused me of texting other guys, so one day he fell asleep and I looked at his phone, which had several messages from different women and they were definitely not related to him. His defense was that he loved me and wanted to be with me, not them, so I should be happy.

He’s a psychotic player.

When I was going through a bad divorce, I met a Vietnam Special Forces vet (in hindsight, a red flag) at a church singles event. He was totally into the Single Parents Hiking Club, Single Parents Babysitting Network and every other Single Parents group they offered. He was also in the Church Counselor Training Program. He appeared to know all the moms very well and they seemed to get angry when I talked with him (BRF #2). I asked him about the vibes. He said they were all just jealous because they wanted to pursue a romantic relationship with him in the past and he hadn’t been interested (BRF #3).

We began talking a few times a day, but every time we made plans he’d cancel last minute to either counsel someone from church or deal with the son he had partial custody of (BRF #4). I figured he was just an overburdened single dad and did my best to adapt to his changes and cancellations. Many times he’d bring his son without alerting me beforehand and the kid would smirk and purposely call me other single-church-moms’ names (BRF #5).

When there weren’t any counseling calls, strange interruptions or interference from his son, the only thing he wanted to do was talk about sex, sex and more sex, explaining that he understood women so well from all the counseling he was doing (BRF #6). A few months into the relationship he asked me to marry him and then repeated the request several times (BRF #7).

Long story short: I found out that when he had to leave to “counsel” or deal with his son, he was actually having sex with all the other single moms, who each thought they were the only one he was dating. When I broke up with him, he started calling me 6-8 times a day, warning me about everything he’d learned in the Special Forces then hanging up. He eventually found enough time to get away from his “clients” to travel across town, bang on my door and leave notes demanding that I call him. The best part was that the angry notes said I had to call because “he cared about me and could help me,” presumably through more “counseling.”

He’s using his ex-wife’s house to keep you a secret.

When I was 18 and two weeks into dating my future husband, I met a cute guy who I would have gone on a date with had he asked. He didn’t ask me out and nothing came of it. Twenty-three years later, we were both divorced and I ran into him in the neighborhood: he was taking care of his ex-wife’s house, which happened to be down the street, while she was overseas. He asked me to come over after work one evening, and we had a nice talk over a glass of wine. He told me about his abusive, bi-polar ex-wife and his terminally ill sister, who he said he was caring for at his house, which was why we could never hang there (red flag #1). He went into detail about all of the gross things he had to do to care for her, and I bought the whole story. Then I began to notice that he never met me out and we spent all of our time at his ex-wife’s house (red flag #2). Shortly thereafter he sent me an email saying, “We could have been a great team,” meaning I should have read his mind back in the day and left my future husband for him (red flag #3). After that email I never heard from him again. Now, his Facebook page says he has a fiancee–who I’m sure he had the entire time–and there are photos of him with his sister, who looks healthy as can be.