He eats all of your groceries.

I dated this guy who never wanted to go out—he only wanted to stay at my place and watch movies. Ok, fine, but the meals we ate were almost always meals that I cooked, and any movie rental was paid for by me. If I suggested going out to eat, he would say, “We don’t need to spend money, let’s just cook something here.” What did he think, that the grocery fairy came to my house? Cooking “something here” meant I paid for the meal, cooked it and cleaned up after.

The man could eat like he had a hollow leg: He would down a huge bag of chips, or eat a whole package of Chips Ahoy cookies in one sitting.  If he came over for dinner, he would hang around the next morning for hours and hours figuring I would eventually have to make some sort of breakfast. He never brought anything to my house, never contributed in any way.  He was at my house three or four nights a week freeloading. And to make things worse, his favorite rant was on how all women are gold diggers.  Pure. Class.

He’s financially controlling … with his parents’ money.

The twisted parent-child relationship my ex-husband had with his parents was a burning red flag that I unfortunately ignored.  When I met him he had his “own place” (subletting from his now-ex-brother-in-law), but basically had all his meals and laundry done at mommy and daddy’s house. On top of that they gave him wads of cash whenever he wanted.

The strange thing was that my ex treated his parents like children, constantly harping and criticizing them for everything. He even tried to take control of their finances, constantly lecturing them on how they should be spending their time, money and essentially their lives. Our six-year marriage was not a happy one; he eventually became physically, verbally and financially abusive.

A year ago I took our daughter, the dog and as much stuff as I could fit in the car and left him. By the time the divorce was final, lawyers paid and the property divided, he was left with about $6,000 out of about $80,000 his parents gave him. And yes, the gifted money was considered a “marital asset.”

He lies about having a daughter.

Dating a guy I met online, he seemed really nice at first and we moved pretty fast. When I asked him about the booster seat in his car and the photo of a young girl on his fridge, he told me that she was his sister’s kid and that he took care of her from time to time. I was over at his place all the time, so I believed him. Then I overheard him having a phone conversation about child support––turned out he had five-year-old daughter. His reason for lying was that he didn’t want me to have to deal with any “baby mamma drama.”

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 the worst first date ever.

A friend of a friend  began messaging me on Facebook. I should have known he was a major red flag from the start because all of his messages consisted of “your very cute” (note the spelling) and “What nightclubs do u like to go to?” Plus, all of his photos showed him at various nightclubs, so I naturally concluded that he was very, very into nightclubs. Finally, he asked me out for drinks. He wanted to know when I was free, and I told him the following Thursday. Then I didn’t hear from him for two or three weeks then out of the blue he sent me a message saying, “I never heard from you, but do you still want to go for a drink?”  I presumed the message I’d sent about meeting on Thursday had somehow not reached him. We set up a date.

When I walked into the bar the first thing he said, after hello, was, “I hope you haven’t done that black people thing of eating at home before you come out to the restaurant.” (We’re both black by the way.) Then he said, “You’re really quite tall aren’t you. What? 5’7?” When I told him that I was actually 5’9” he did not look happy. (I was taller than him.)

Being careful not to reveal his age, he started telling me a bit about his childhood and early life. Then he asked me about my childhood. It turned out he had not passed many, or any, exams in high school (though he had later managed to go to university) and when he learned that I had done well in school he became very defensive. He started saying it was impossible for black boys to do well at school due to the fact that they didn’t have fathers to raise them. He later revealed that his mother and father are still married to this day and he grew up in a two-parent household. He then told me I’d clearly had an “easy life.” (When, in fact, I grew up in foster care and was abused throughout my childhood).