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 jobless, carless and phoneless.

I started dating a guy from a very, very small town, and chalked his shortcomings up to his small town mentality. Boy, was I wrong.

Red Flag #1: When someone opened the door for me, he’d walk through.
Red Flag #2: He said he wasn’t friends with his exes and didn’t want me to be.
Red Flag #3: He didn’t want to work because his wages would have been garnished.
Red Flag #4: He used a prepaid phone … that was always turned off.
Red Flag #5: He had a car, but it was in storage.
Red Flag #6: He didn’t offer to help pay for groceries, but would eat the majority of food in the house.

As it turned out, he’d been living with his parents and not working for about five years. His checks wouldn’t have been garnished, that was just his excuse for not wanting to work. His car, which wasn’t even registered to him, was in storage because it didn’t run. He was a total narcissist who had a history of using women for money and treating them poorly. Lucky for me, I do have money but not to support some deadbeat so I voluntarily paid for a one-way ticket and shipped him back to where he came from.

Most 40-year-old men (heck most 20-year-old-men) have a job, a car, or at least a phone. If a man makes excuses for why he doesn’t have any of the simple things, red flag.

He’d rather live with his parents.

Of my ex’s many red flags, one period of time stands out above all others. We had been dating for a couple years and lived together in a house with two other people (us upstairs, them downstairs but rent and bills were shared evenly four ways). My ex did seasonal construction work, but that winter the company he usually worked for had already filled his position, so he was out of a job for the season.

Instead of looking for a job, however, he got his parents to pay for everything. I would come home—after working one of my three jobs—to find him playing video games with one of his buddies and the house a mess. He never wanted to go out, claiming he had no money even though he had a constant supply of beer and weed, and could always find the cash to go drinking with his friends.

After a couple months of this, the two people from the basement suite gave notice they were moving out at the end of the month. We couldn’t afford to keep the place for just the two of us and couldn’t find anyone else to fill the vacancy, so we decided that we should look for another place as well. In the meantime, his parents offered to let us stay with them until we found something suitable.

When we moved into his parent’s place, I figured it would just be for a month, maybe two, until we got back on our feet financially and found an apartment. Well, those couple months turned into three, then four, then five…which was extremely uncomfortable for me because I didn’t feel right about his parents paying for everything. But every time I found an apartment for the two of us, my ex would say “I just can’t afford it right now, maybe in a couple weeks.” So I started looking for a place just for me, however, whenever I mentioned it to him, he’d guilt me into staying “just a couple of weeks longer” because he “really” wanted to live with me.

Then he bought a motorcycle. I left. Two years later, he still lives with his parents.


He’s a drunk and a druggie.

I was set up by work friends with one of their friends who was moving to our state from the Midwest.  My (now) ex was very open, and right away explained to me that he had experienced some very “quirky” things in his life.   Red Flag #1:  He showed up at my apartment one night with a laundry basket full of possessions, saying he couldn’t stay with “them” any more.  Of course, I let him stay at my place (now I wish I hadn’t).  Time passed, we got engaged and married.  We bought a house and renovated it. Things were actually pretty good. That was until his drinking took over. If being somewhat tipsy was good, stone cold drunk was better.  When we went out, he started staying later than me or going to friends’ houses after the bar and staying over. He worked from home (in sales) and didn’t have to go to the office except for meetings, etc. so I never knew if he was working, sleeping, drinking or whatever.

After a short separation and a bit of a rocky road – he bought a new truck and didn’t tell me, then I found out he had a separate bank account and took our tax return (a few minor details) – we decided to try again and thought a fresh start in a new city would be good for us. Since he could transfer within his job, we put our house on the market, flew across the country and placed a deposit down on a town-home rental. I gave notice to my job of over ten years and was setting up interviews for my next trip to the new state.

A month of so later, I woke up one morning to find a mutual (guy) friend and my ex-husband passed out on the basement bar.  There was nothing funny going on, but there was also no liquor left in the house. I kicked the friend out, spoke with my ex and went to work.  When I came home he was gone: cell phone on the counter, clothes missing, photos and personal stuff gone. In the basement, it looked like a fistfight had taken place with furniture toppled and caution tape across several pieces of large furniture.

Three weeks later, after a missing person’s report had been filed with the police and many panic attacks, tears, frustrated calls to friends and family, he turned up … on the opposite coast.  He called to tell me that he had a drug habit and was an alcoholic. He’d been doing drugs and drinking almost our whole marriage. Some nights, he would come home with me, wait until I fell asleep and then go back out. The things you learn that people won’t tell you until it’s too late!

Thank God I hadn’t moved across country with him, leaving my friends and family and possibly being stranded with no money or job. I did sell the house, after I hired a lawyer to obtain power of attorney as he wouldn’t return to sign the paperwork, and, surprise, surprise, found several items a.k.a. drug paraphernalia in closing up the house.