We all want to find a great partner, so why do so many of us end up dating not-so-good ones along the way? No need to blame yourself: Hindsight may be 20/20, but spotting someone with baggage and issues isn’t always easy in the moment. And it’s especially not easy when he’s pulling out all of his charms over a glass (or several glasses) of wine at a swanky local bar. We talked to family therapist Vienna Pharaon, LMFT, and Carlen Costa, Ph.D, a sexologist and therapist in Toronto, Canada, to find out which guys you should strongly consider ruling out from the get go. Here are the seven types to watch for:
1. Just Out of a Relationship Guy
He’s on the market again, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s ready—especially if he’s the one who’s been dumped. “Usually when people jump into the next relationship, they haven’t done the work to grow themselves from that space, [or] to ready themselves for the next relationship,” says Pharaon. “You want to make sure that person has some time in between the previous relationship to actually be a human.”
2. Gets Really Angry Really Quickly Guy
When a guy’s reactions are consistently overboard for what’s appropriate, it’s a big red flag. “I think most of us have an idea of what would be an appropriate response to something and of course we all get angry from time to time, but people who get super angry, you want to stay away from that,” Pharaon says. Does he snap at a waiter who gets his order wrong? Talk down to his coworkers? Ultimately, you want someone who is responsive, not reactive; someone who can understand where their feelings are coming from and act accordingly.
3. Obsessed With Work and Money Guy
It’s great to be ambitious, but when your only identity is tied to your job or how much money you make, that’s a problem. “We need people to have different parts to them and to see that they honor and make time for those different parts,” Pharaon says. Maybe he’s a part of a pickup sports team, or he goes to see a lot of live music: No matter what it is, he should have a life outside of his job—if he has balance, it’s a good sign that he has his priorities in check and can make space for you in his life too.
4. Different Intentions Guy
What are you looking for in a relationship? If you’re keeping company with someone who doesn’t want the same things, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. It’s OK to ask someone what type of relationship they’re looking for, says Pharaon. For example, you can ask, “Do you want marriage and kids someday?” to gauge his feelings on both subjects. “Any man who’s kind of out of alignment or has different intentions is someone you want to stay away from,” she says.
5. No Ambition Guy
“This is the guy who doesn’t want to improve his life. He’s not very motivated, he’s not very accountable for his actions, he’s not very accountable to anything or to anyone, especially you, and that’s how it would affect you,” Costa says. He gets lazy about himself, and will thereby get lazy about you. Pharaon agrees: “For men, their purpose in life is something that’s critical to their overall well-being. So if they can’t trust in their purpose, then they can’t show up for a relationship the best that they can.”
6. Too Attached to His Family Guy
“There’s nothing wrong with loving your family,” Costa says, but a guy who doesn’t lead an independent life from them—financially, emotionally, and physicallywill not be likely to have a healthy relationship. “You want to know that the two of you are the team and that his loyalty is with you as opposed to going to his family,” Pharaon says. Instead of feeling like his girlfriend and priority number one, you’ll often end up playing the role of “mother, maid, and lover,” Costa warns.
7. All About Him Guy
It’s often difficult to spot a narcissist. This is because when they’re showering you with compliments and gifts when you start dating, it’s really about getting you to appreciate them rather than them appreciating you. “To be in a relationship with a narcissist, there isn’t anything healthy about it,” Pharaon says. “There’s no room for you to show up because everything is about that person. That person is not tending to your emotional needs or physical needs, any type of need you might have. It becomes all about them.”