50 Married Women Share What Red Flags They Wish They’d Paid More Attention To While Dating Their Husbands-To-Be

There are a million things to consider before getting married. Whether or not you and your partner plan to have children, where the two of you want to live, whether or not you’ll combine your finances, and of course, any unresolved issues within your relationship. Tying the knot can be one of the most exciting times in your life, but it’s important to remember that all of those annoying or concerning habits that your partner has prior to getting married will not vanish overnight. In fact, it’s likely that they’ll only grow over time.

Women have recently been opening up on Reddit about some of the red flags they ignored in their relationships before getting married, so we've gathered some of their most poignant responses below. Keep reading to also find an interview with a counselor from The Marriage Foundation, and don't forget to upvote any answers that might help someone else recognize unsettling behavior in their own partner!


Little white lies.

Turned out he also told huge lies as well.

Image credits: alh0425


Persistence- at first I was flattered that he didn’t just nevermind my “no” to dating him or my not answering my phone if I was upset.

Persistence meant he cared! People who “don’t care” just never mind it.

Probably the MOST incorrect thing I ever believed.

Persistence is a ? Refusing to let you leave it at
“no” is a consent issue. Refusing to let you make the choice to not talk rn is a control issue. This is a sign this human doesn’t respect boundaries or consent.

At first 5 missed calls after a bicker is kinda charming. 15yrs later it’s threats to your life if you don’t answer now!

NEVER mistake persistence for “caring”

The only thing a human should ever persist onto you is taking care of yourself. Any other reason is for *their* self gain.

Image credits: Thejenfo

To learn more about the red flags to keep an eye out for before deciding to get married, we reached out to a counselor at The Marriage Foundation to hear their thoughts on the topic. We were curious if unresolved issues in a relationship tend to be exacerbated after a couple chooses to tie the knot. “Marriage is not meant to be issues-based. Once you have found your soulmate and decide that they are the one with whom you want to complete your life’s journey with, your relationship/marriage is intended to be lived on the highest planes of love and happiness,” the counselor told Bored Panda. 

“Any so-called issue that comes up, and they do come up, should be a call to action on your part, individually, to rise above your own judgments, criticisms, and so forth,” they went on to note. “Those are the lessons in life, for you. Even those that seem to be the most complicated and challenging, are to be seen as dust compared to the unconditional love you are learning to give and live within.”


The way he treats OTHER people, not just me.

That is, he was good to me early on, because he wanted to impress me. The poor treatment came later.

So the lesson I learned is to watch how he (or she) treats OTHER people. Since they’re not trying to impress them, you can spot their true colors much more easily that way.

Watch how they treat their friends, family, coworkers, etc. You’re looking for a pattern of behavior. If they have a problem with their boss, maybe they have a bad boss. If they have a problem with every boss they’ve ever had, that’s a different story!

Similar for friends. Maybe they have one problematic friend, but that’s different from having problems with practically ALL their friends!

Especially pay attention to how they treat women they’re not attracted to. And to people they consider “inferior” (for example, waitstaff and retail workers). And of course, pay attention to who they consider inferior in the first place!

Image credits: secretid89


1) When he was proud of not ever doing anything he didn't want to. Turns out he's right, he won't. Which included changing absolutely anything in his life when the children arrived.
2) the holes in the walls. Speaks for itself.

Image credits: UpbeatInsurance5358

We also asked the counselor why it’s so common for people to ignore or completely miss red flags in their partners before getting married. “Red flags are often ignored or put on a back-burner because the desire to be loved and experience the joys of marriage are such a great life to look forward to (it is the soul’s compelling desire) that nearly everyone sees the red flags, but chooses to ignore them, usually with a ‘hope and a prayer’ so they can have the marriage of their dreams,” the counselor explained. “Some imagine that it’s a subconscious ignoring, but it isn’t. It is deliberate…and understandable.”

The Marriage Foundation’s counselor also provided us with some tips for how people can be more cautious before saying “I do”. “If you remind yourself that marriage is a lifetime commitment, spending the entire time with someone’, you will be more apt to prepare a list of what you are looking for, based on your own desires and wisdom, along with a list of things you do not want,” they told Bored Panda. The counselor also added that The Marriage Foundation has specific courses diving into this topic, including processes that help individuals choose the right soulmate. 


Basic inability to do generic things like making doctors appointments. I’m now his mother in this aspect and it drives me up a wall

Image credits: I_eat_all_the_cheese


Not keeping his word. He didn't keep his word on small things then and now he doesn't keep his word on larger things.

Image credits: stressandscreaming

We also asked the counselor what the most important factors are for couples to consider before deciding to get married. “It is all about values, not race, age, or other outer factors. Not even social compatibility matters when you are married,” they shared. “We should carefully discover all we can about anyone who is a ‘potential’ and consider where you may meet them, too. For instance, if you are a conservative woman (I don’t mean politically) you don’t want to meet someone at a bar. Learn about their values, discreetly so you are not fooled. Also, be clear about your own values. Do you want kids? Do you want to belong to a church? Do you believe in abortion? The more you know about them the easier it will be to compare them with your list, which you should be true to.”

If you’d like to gain even more advice about building or maintaining your marriage from The Marriage Foundation, you can find their website right here


Extreme jealousy. I dated some who watched my house, tried to trace my calls, let me see no one but him, constant arguments, was late, insulted me.

Image credits: Effective_Spare_


How involved are his parents in your relationship.

We were dating only a few months and it’s like his parents were just… always… involved in our relationship. I actually didn’t ignore this sign. I ended up breaking up with him not too long after I noticed this, but I think this is a big one, ladies.

To clarify; what I mean is that the parents would make decisions for him or kind of influence his decisions I guess; would kind of be in the know about things happening in our relationship, etc. It’s just weird, you know? We were in our mid-twenties. This kind of dynamic is just unhealthy. Period.

Image credits: txmsh3r


I've read quite a few comments and am surprised that this hasn't ranked higher:

The biggest red flag is them rushing the relationship and expressing strong feelings too early on. It spells terrible every time.

Image credits: DeCryingShame


Sexual incompatibility

Image credits: DBL236


always left dishes piled up in the sink until mold grew, and didn't really pick up his clothes. It turns out, mommy did everything for him, so he never thought much about it. I should have realized this wasn't going to change when we moved in together.

Image credits: lonelyronin1


Indecision, being wishy washy about small decisions. This lead to him not being able to honor big commitments. He could be easily swayed.

Image credits: Acrobatic-Fox9220


The coveted “he hates everyone but me”. Yes it makes you feel special and fawned over, but you’re gonna have to be everything for them because they have no other meaningful relationships in their life.

Image credits: chewiechihuahua


His emotional repression and strict upbringing. It's apparent he has anger issues and can't deal with the stress of parenting. His reaction to stressful situations is anger and he's overbearing as a parent.

Image credits: Difficult_Humor1170


Not cleaning up after themselves/helping with cooking and cleaning.

Never again.


He's only on that PC, gaming and all. All. The. Fu**ing. Time. He is initiative when I speak, indeed, and I got used to it in a while (I'm a PC player as well, mostly), but damn, I had to SCREAM a few times for help (mind you, I do most of the things myself and when I ask for help, I really really need it). I didn't know it would bother me, until after a while. I was 18 when we met, dated only 1 guy before him, so I didn't really know better. Besides that, he's great though. Loving husband and I can always rely on him when it's for something serious.

Image credits: anon


If y’all spend money differently, don’t think it’s going to change after your married, after you have kids, after you have a joint bank account, etc. Financial reasons are the number one reason people get divorced and if you aren’t on the same page now, you most likely won’t be 5,10, 15 years later.

Image credits: Due-Investigator6344


He lied about all kinds of things.

Told me that a coworkers wife had cancer (she didn’t ) told me later that I had made that up.

He told me that if he got an erection and it wasn’t satisfied, he would have to go to the hospital to have it fixed (I can’t believe I was that naive)

He told me that my mother and he had an affair before we met (why would he say that?) told me she came onto him.

When I found a ring box on the Christmas tree that my father had hidden for my mother, he said it was from him. When I excitedly showed it to my father, who was truly shocked, he just shrugged. Told me I misunderstood.

Told his and mine 9 yo son he was coming home for Christmas and had lots of toys for him. He never showed up and no toys ever came. Told me my son misheard him.

Told everyone at the same sons funeral that he “always” wrote to his son since the divorce and they had a special bond. He never ever wrote and my son had legally changed his name to mine and never bothered telling his father. My son never saw or heard anything from his father since we left 14 years earlier.

Image credits: BrainsAdmirer


Being a nice guy can also have it’s downfalls. Avoiding conflict at all cost, even saying sorry when it isn’t truly meant solves nothing. Something inside of him truly believes he can do no wrong, bc he’s so nice, right!? Wrong. Turns out he believes he’s so nice so when he does something wrong, it’s all my fault, or it’s all my fault for not immediately accepting his sorry and then he gets abusive bc he believes he deserves to be forgiven on his terms. Not so nice after all.

Image credits: squigglyeyes


Mommy still bought him his clothes

Image credits: bigbean132


This is one I actually think is going to hit my friend who is getting married this year: inability to plan ahead. Maybe not the inability but the lack of knowledge that some things need planning far in advance. My friend has only been with her fiancé for not even 2 years yet and they are getting married this year. But he didn’t realize the planning that went into a wedding and thought it just kind of happened (not literally but you know). And then he told her he had something nice planned for her but had to scratch the plans because he didn’t know it was something you needed to plan in advance.

To me this indicates someone who had their parents do everything for them and she will be doing this for him forever. She brushes it off now as something that happens with all men…and maybe she enjoys this role! But I would get sick of this fast if it kept happening.


Hiding out alone and avoiding problems instead of talking through them. Not prioritizing the relationship. Forgetting to be best friends. Being afraid to open up. Ending relationships when they get difficult instead of repairing them (I’m mostly talking with family although it happened with friends also). Not being able to talk about money. Not being able to problem solve as a team. Not understanding how to be on a team. Not understanding how to set and reach goals together. Making excuses for why you can’t do important things. So many.


i dated a sociopath at one point. he started making pancakes early on, which aren’t a favorite of mine. he would cook up a whole batch and then put them in the fridge drawer *for me* to eat later

i had a stressful and demanding job that didn’t pay well, so i’d get home and be too exhausted to fix a meal. i would resort to eating a cold pancake as i’d be too hungry to heat it

after a couple of weeks, one time he comes home from work late (he worked at local nightclubs doing sound) and i often would have passed out on the bed, fully dressed. he whispered something in my ear that didn’t make sense to me and i couldn’t remember what he’d said for years—but i’ve remembered and will put that at the bottom of this story with a tl;dr too

he started putting bananas and walnuts in them. i am not fond of bananas and i find walnuts bitter, but i’d be exhausted and i’d eat one or two all the same

one day, about an hour after i’d eaten a pancake and a single carrot that was close to being good only for stock, i started getting terrible stomach cramps. i started barfing, and each time i’d feel better for about five minutes before the cramps returned. i threw up everything and for a couple hours i was just dry heaving—but then i started barfing this dark green liquid, which turned out to be bile

i had to go to the hospital. i couldn’t drive and had no insurance to hire an ambulance, so i called my bf at work. he blew me off, saying there was no way he could leave. i was forced to finally call 911, but it rang once before i heard the garage door open and my bf came in, so i hung up (that’s a mistake). he drove me to the hospital. on the way i had to have him pull over twice so i could get on my hands and knees at the side of the road to barf

my bf’s attitude was casually dismissive of my condition which was galling

we finally got to the ER, and while i was being triaged i panically told the nurse i needed to barf and they grabbed one of those tiny, curved little barf trays—i didn’t have time to complain, as i immediately barfed out the green liquid again (the color of a ripe lime) and the nurse sped me right on back. both his and my bf’s faces paled when they saw what i was barfing

they take me back, get me fluids, and give me something for the horrible pain. i fall asleep almost instantly. my bf goes back to work until about 4AM when he came to pick me up

we get to the house, and the landlord was standing there in his bathrobe saying the police had come by. i apologized and told him what happened. he told us the police do this automatically when you make an incomplete 911 call. lesson learned

i was in fair shape by morning. i awoke to find my bf deep-cleaning the kitchen. i notice the rat poison he’d gotten a couple months ago as he said he’d seen one in the laundry room is no longer under the sink where it had been

he stops making pancakes completely

if this narrative made sense to you, you won’t be surprised when i say he was putting rat poison in the pancakes. he would make sure i couldn’t taste it as he gradually added more and more by putting flavorings to mask it

the thing he whispered to me? “are you alive?” it was such an odd question and i was so groggy with sleep, it never properly registered in my mind, other than to wake me up in confusion

tl;dr: sociopath bf put rat poison in the pancakes just to see what would happen. when i finally became deathly ill, he destroyed all the evidence

EDIT: typos. plus there’s also a horrible spider story but i’ll only share that if people ask. i hope this hasn’t derailed the convo…obviously we weren’t married so i’m not quite answering the question


Was calm and collected but unfortunately it was just him being disinterested with anything that doesn't happen inside his phone, TV or laptop. I realized too late. He's calm because he just don't care.


How poorly he treated his mom... Because now we've been married 8 years and I f*****g get it.

(You didn't say it had to be a problem with HIM specifically)


I’m not married yet but i have been asked if i see myself marrying my boyfriend of the moment and here are a few things that make me say nope:
- has full custody of MY car and whenever i wanna use MY car its a problem and inconvenience for him
- always asking me to send him money even when he “has”
- lets me pay all of the bills while he only buys food
- lets the dishes sit in the sink because “he didnt use any of those dishes” so when i make any thing even dinner for the both of us he just wont wash dishes period.
- sooooooo many “i wanted to do… i was going to…” and seeing the same s**t chance after chance
I know I’ll be getting lots of “leave him now while you can” comments but please! I’m doing my best here.


he was great in the beginning. We could talk for hours about anything, but then I made the mistake of telling him I owned a PS4 and letting him use it. Everything started getting s****y since. His life REVOLVES around that stupid game and I HATE IT! I cannot imagine actually sitting there and basing your entire life and schedule around Call of f*****g Duty.


He lied to me about everything and was very convincing. He hid his drug problem until we moved in together and it turned out to be huge. Poor hygiene and terrible money management. Jealousy, was never able to go out or make friends or let alone have any friends of the opposite sex.


all of them. seriously. whatever mildly annoys you while you're dating will make you want to scream at them after 5-10 years of marriage. *they will not change just because you married them*. any minor point to contention now is likely to become a major sticking point later. pay attention to these things and decide which ones you do or don't want to live with.


Said he didn't know how to change the sheets on the bed. He was 36 when we met. Needless to say trying to get him to do stuff like that is like pulling teeth.


- he couldn't hold down a job
- all of his exes were "crazy"
- only had a high school education
- insecure, easily angered, emotional immaturity

*Numero uno*: he wouldn't let go of Mommy

Husband #1 treated her like his wife and I was just the mistress who wanted to ruin his happiness with her. Husband #2 *refused* to leave his mother's house, and intentionally sabotaged our marriage so he wouldn't leave her. Husband #3 was sexually attracted to his mother (I didn't really understand this until after we were legally married)


His need to keep things because “I might use this later!”

It’s turned into a hoarding issue. I can’t even have a dresser because there’s too many boxes in our house. We have two cars we should have junked in the driveway, filled with stuff. I cry a lot over it because I can’t handle clutter. I feel claustrophobic and can never feel relaxed in my own home. Its just another reason our marriage is failing. He gets mad that I’m upset over it.


- Blaming other people for money issues
- Not paying taxes
- Living outside their means/living paycheck to paycheck
- The only friends they have are people they've been intimate with
- If all their friends are druggies, so are they.
- If they admit to cheating on previous partners, they will probably cheat again
- If their pet dog is neurotic/untrained
- Not wanting to fix personal problems
- Poor hygiene could be due to mental illness


Anxiety about sex that he never went to therapy for


I say this fully loving my husband and it is something he is truly working on and has improved quite a bit (still working on it tho), but if they don’t clean their dorm room/apartment/whatever…they won’t clean the home you share.

Image credits: I-am-the-trashcan


His family! I knew his mom is kind of extremely controlled and stingy person but I didn’t really care as I thought we lived separately from her anw. Then we married, moved to his country , things got ugly because his mom visited us everyday and gave me a lesson about saving money, about this about that …I don’t spend money on handbags or jewelry, for ex :she scolded at me Because I bought chicken wings (chicken wings is more expensive than chicken legs so she thought I threw money away)

I was stressed and told my ex to tell his mom stop doing that, and he just ignored my request. Finally I moved out, ended that marriage. He had a new wife later but didn’t work out because his mom did the same thing as she did to me


The occasional bad hygiene, a bit of an obsession with Nazi history.


He went through a lot of different jobs and seemed to need me to make him feel better when he was down. I felt flattered then but now it’s exhausting.


I refuse to parent a full grown man.


How much he was on his phone and on his gaming system.

It literally was something at the time I saw as a red flag and just ignored it. It's taken 9 years to get us to a point where he has timers for his gaming, and I still have to tell him to put his phone down.

We're in therapy, and he's really trying. He just grew up way different than I did, I had limited access to the internet and no gaming, and he used gaming and the internet to get away from his abusive family.


Silent treatment


Inability to resolve disagreements. I sadly felt with couples counseling my ex husband and I would be able to work through this, but it never happened. There was a lot of gaslighting. I continued to work on myself in individual therapy, I struggled with thriving due to the lack of support from my spouse.


Being the sole mommy caregiver and saying women are nuts.


He was a gun loving republican….


My ex-husband punched a hole into the closet door next to my head while we were dating. I grew up in an abusive home so this definitely meant he was so angry bc he loved me so much…he escalated. Pushing, etc. We divorced only a couple years into it. His now wife of about 18 years recently contacted me bc he’s actually whipped her a*s and no one believes her. She had a feeling I would. She’s figured out also that so much of what he’s told her is lies. She’s leaving.


Will not talk about stuff


He watched porn.


Poor money management


The one I married started with white lies here and there.
but also had minor mental health problems and would ask me to come over to his when he needed help with a bad day...
then after we married he turned into a compulsive liar, then a thief to me, thief in stores, stopped taking his meds, wouldn't get a job.
then he wanted me to give him an 'allowance' from my PT minimum wage job because "I don't get to leave the house all day, you do so I need money to go out". I only went out TO WORK.
Then he started abusing me, gaslighting etc etc.
July 2020 was AWESOME in only one way - he started divorce proceedings ?


Cheating. Being way too attached to mommy. Being a filthy slob. General laziness. Inconsiderate attitude towards others. Narcissism.