Signs Your New Partner Will Be a Nightmarish Handful


Since nothing is more valuable than the prospect of free(ish) perpetual sex, we’re often willing to use some pretty fuzzy math when it comes to calculating the odds that we’re dating a train wreck. But today we get to clear up this confusing guesswork while you’re busy enjoying the end of your dry spell.

Here are the red flags to watch for that are instant indicators of high-maintenance relationships you should get out of. Now. Should someone you’re dating fall into these categories, now’s a good time to start working up your exit strategy.

They’re weird about exes

Mature, emotionally stable people can endure breakups without taking a blowtorch to the bridge. And while some residual attraction is to be expected, it should be no more glaring than any fleeting magnetism you may feel toward a co-worker, restaurant server, or cute butt in yoga class. History is just history; it doesn’t inherently refer to risk or distress. People struggling with this painfully obvious reality are likely to invite unnecessary doses of drama into other areas of the relationship that ought to be straightforward.

Their Instagram account is mostly photos of animals and other people’s children

If the majority of someone’s publicly documented life showcases speechless creatures and other goofy mammals conscripted into friendship, there is probably some kind of social disconnect waiting to rear its head in very dramatic, intense ways. (Seriously -- trust me on this.)

They’re overly sensitive about judgment

Judgement is nothing more than the ability to draw sensible conclusions. And once you chew through the padded shackles of your floppy, incompetent childhood so you can enter the world of a (supposedly) high-functioning adult, judgement is how you sort out life. Being maliciously critical is a very different thing. And if your new fling doesn’t understand that distinction, there’s a good chance they are afraid of being evaluated. Get ready for some disruptive burnouts!


They regularly write REALLY long messages

There is a time and a place for thoughtfully crafted notes or the occasionally lengthy digital tale. But if text-based YouTube referrals, rough-day recaps, and daily deliberations routinely take the form of an Odyssey-like message, you’re dealing with a mind that lives in marathon mode. Bail out now while you still can.

They complain constantly

Whining, whether about work, about friends, family, health, or money, sucks. And if this whining begets no change save for the diameter of the vein in their forehead, it’s safe to say this behavior is around long-term.

Flickr/Daniel Piraino

They are deeply obsessed with traveling

The taxing psyche of a perpetually unsatisfied paradise-chaser constantly planning their next “escape” will drive you insane. Enjoying travel is healthy. Requiring constant movement is weird.

They are uncomfortably close with their family

It’s natural to love family dearly. But when someone is chugging from the genetic Kool-Aid 24/7, it means you’re signing up for endless ongoing concerns. Family is important. That your girlfriend’s mother is arguing with her hair stylist is not.      

They desperately want to be famous

Successful, influential, widely respected: these are good goals! But famous? If someone is  attracted to an overexposed, centerfold lifestyle of non-stop attention and smoke being blown up their ass, you can be pretty confident you’re jockeying for the role of dragon.


They have lengthy “rules” about sex

Never underestimate the resentment that can arise from someone with a list of sexual don’ts that could fill a book (you know, if those were still a thing). You don’t have to date Ron Jeremy or Jenna Jameson, but you should definitely avoid dating a Bedroom Buzz Killington.

They frequently use the phrase, “My psychic”

This one is rare, but when it happens it’s a doozy. Anyone who treats a carnie like a god because guess right 38% of the time is not anyone you want to place stock in. Don’t be surprised if you catch them consulting a Ouija board to get at your true feelings. Here’s a tip: G-O-A-W-A-Y.

There’s nothing wrong with them

This is called “The Tsunami Effect”: a small percentage of the planet is extremely well tuned, free of turbulent emotions, challenging perspectives, or raccoonish morning breath. The rest of us have issues. Those who hide said issues are the same ones from whom you should seek shelter.

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Benjamin Mann is a Sex & Dating contributor for Thrillist and the author of the blogs This Is Your Brain on Dating and Love Gone Cray. He has dated every woman on this list. Follow him on Twitter: @MrBenjaminMann