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 keeps his exes on a tight string.

I have known my boyfriend for over a year and a half, but we’ve only been together for the past five months. When we first met I was very reluctant to give him a chance, so we mostly “talked” off and on. When things didn’t work out with the guy I had been seeing, I decided to give him a shot once again. When I called him, he said he was so excited I was ready to be in a relationship with him after waiting so long, but there was a catch. He was talking to his ex-girlfriend at the time and said he wasn’t going to give her up until he knew I was sincere. So about a week later I went to his birthday party, at which he got so drunk that he passed out and I watched another girl kiss him while he was unconscious. I told myself I would never trust him again, and then a couple of days later he told me that he loved me. It has now been five months, and I love him, but we fight over the most insignificant things. He doesn’t want me to hang out with his friends because they all like me a “little too much” and I sense a lack of trust. I want to believe that things will work with him, but I can’t get past the things he says and does, especially when he brings up his ex-girlfriends, saying he gave them up to be with me.

He drinks and disappears.

I reconnected with a summer fling after many years. The third time we spoke—a nine hour telephone marathon—he told me that he loved me (red flag #1). Though we lived 2,000 miles apart, it had been a really long time since I had been out in the dating world and it was just what I wanted to hear. During the next several weeks, he planned a visit to come see me and we talked about the future together. Everything was going well, though I noticed that he would often text instead of calling, even if I asked him to please call (red flag #2).

He disappeared just over a month before he was supposed to visit (#3). Eventually, he texted me, saying he was “frightened” (#4). This is a 52-year-old man, mind you. I sent him a birthday card (crazy, I know) and the first text I got from him in weeks was “I love you.” (#5) He called me a couple days later and went right back to making future plans.

When a  few weeks after that he went missing again (#6), I moved on. Six months after I’d written him off, he called me totally wasted, screaming like a mad man (#7). I realized that the times he wouldn’t call me were the times he was too drunk to sound sober. It became clear that he had a serious alcohol problem (#8) that a long-distance, on-and-off  girlfriend he hadn’t even seen in years, certainly couldn’t help him solve. Looking back, I can’t believe the dozens of raised red flags that I made up excuses for.

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.

He’s clearly dating the wrong women.

It would be nice to meet women who: (1) have stable employment; (2) do not have a criminal background; (3) have a dependable motor vehicle; (4) aren’t drug addicts or alcoholics; (5) are capable of telling the truth, and not being deceptive; (6) do not have a bunch of kids from various men.

Yes, men have their flaws, we all do – no one is perfect. But I have yet to meet a woman who can meet the above criteria.