Avoiding Mr. Wrong: 9 Gay Dating Red Flags to Look Out For

Even if you’re happily single and love playing the field, dating can still be a pretty frustrating experience. For every great guy you’re happy to have met, there seem to be twenty that in hindsight were waving huge red flags. At times, the sheer frustration of it all is almost enough to make you want to throw in the towel altogether.

Don’t swear off men altogether just yet though. It’s more than possible to spot a guy that’s not worth getting involved with before your relationship goes on too long and you find yourself emotionally invested. You just have to know what the red flags look like. Do you find yourself excusing the same bad behaviors over and over again? Do any of the following sound familiar or remind you of your own Mr. Wrong?

1. He lies and exaggerates all the time.

Most of us are guilty of stretching the truth every once in a while. We exaggerate the magnitude of a work achievement to impress someone cute we’re flirting with or sugarcoat feedback on a fashion choice to avoid hurting a friend’s feelings. However, there’s a big difference between that sort of thing and constant, habitual dishonesty – especially when it comes to things that really matter.

Red flag on beach

If a guy you’re dating is a habitual liar or exaggerator, you already know it. Maybe he told you he was a high-ranking executive at his place of business only for you to find out later on that he’s only a bottom-rung salesperson. Perhaps you’ve even caught him bragging about achievements or accomplishments that don’t exist in any way, shape, or form. Whatever the case may be, run far away from that waving red flag. You can’t trust someone that plays fast and loose with the truth and trust is essential in any relationship no matter how casual.

2. He constantly reneges on promises and commitments he makes.

Speaking of trust, you don’t want to waste your time on anyone you can’t count on to keep a promise. Does the guy you’re seeing constantly break commitments he’s made at the last minute, often leaving you high and dry? Does he apologize for being late again and swear it’s the last time only to repeat the behavior the very next time you get together? It’s a giant red flag, get rid of him.

When someone truly respects you and sees you as a priority, they also do everything in their power to honor the commitments they make to you. If someone you’re dating constantly lets you down, especially when they know you’re counting on them, it’s time to stop listening to their excuses. Never waste your time on someone you can’t count on to keep their word.

3. He’s a train wreck financially speaking.

It’s easy to be swept off your feet by someone that loves treating you to expensive dinners out or loads of extravagant gifts, especially if you’ve dated a lot of tightwads in the past. However, it’s important to realize that generosity and financial irresponsibility can look a lot alike. Make sure you know how to tell the difference.

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Does this guy also make a habit of borrowing money that he somehow never gets around to paying back? Does he wear expensive clothes and drive an awesome car despite frequently being behind on his rent or bills? If so, you’ve got a financial train wreck on your hands. Cut the cord fast before he winds up ruining your finances as well.

4. He’s clearly not over his ex.

If you’re dating someone that’s just gotten out of a serious long-term relationship, you’ll want to be on your guard, especially if you’re ultimately looking for something serious yourself. There’s a good chance that he’s not emotionally available or ready to date again even if he really thinks he is. Again, the trick to telling the difference is to know what the red flags look like.

Does he spend entire dates talking about his ex or frequently tell you that you remind him of his ex? Is he coming on way too strong and talking about getting into a serious relationship with you despite not really knowing you yet? He’s not over that relationship, meaning that at best, you’re a rebound. You deserve someone that wants you, not a fast and easy replacement for some other guy.

5. He’s rude to service people and wait staff.

This is a dating red flag almost everyone, gay or straight, has heard before and with good reason. It’s an excellent indicator as to what kind of person your date really is deep down, so pay attention. The way he treats the staff at the places you go, as well as other people in general, is pretty similar to how you can expect him to treat you down the line after he’s become 100% comfortable around you.

Does he seem to like to order other people around or fail to say “thank you” and “please” when interacting with others? Is he quick-tempered, blowing a gasket over even little, inconsequential things? Forget it. This guy has zero respect for other people and he’s not a nice guy. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll somehow be an exception or that you can change him either. You’re not and you can’t.

6. He’s completely self-centered.

When you’re first getting to know someone, especially if you’ve literally just met, it’s normal and natural to want to talk about yourself. After all, how can you expect the other person to get to know you if you don’t chat a bit about your job, your interests, your family, and so forth? The problem comes when someone just keeps on talking about himself, especially if he also shows little to no interest in getting to know you in return.

If you just met him, did he fail to ask you much about yourself or seem like he was barely listening when it was your turn to talk? If you’ve known him a while, are you constantly made to feel like his needs, opinions, or values are more important than yours? You’ve got a self-centered guy on your hands and you’re better off giving him his walking papers sooner rather than later.

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7. He overdoes it when it comes to alcohol.

Drunk man in shower

Naturally, “overdoing it” is a subjective term. Even perfectly normal drinking can seem excessive to someone that rarely drinks, but use your best judgment. Whether you’ve known the guy a while or just met him, how does his drinking pace register to you? Is he knocking back shot after shot or glass after glass of wine at a speed that makes you uncomfortable? Does he pressure you to do the same?

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a few drinks now and then, but you don’t want to wind up stuck with someone that needs to be completely trashed in order to function or have a good time. The same goes for guys that show up for your date already high or buzzing, that talk constantly about their party-centric lifestyle, or that never seem to want to go anywhere there won’t be alcohol or drugs.

8. He brags about how “straight” he acts.

Gay man on bed

As a gay man, you should always be concerned if you hear another gay man describe himself as “straight acting” or brag about how “not gay” he thinks he seems. The same goes for single gay men that talk about how much they hate others gays that present as more flamboyant. He’s probably dealing with internalized homophobia, something that should definitely give you pause and make you take a second look at your choice to date him.

You’ll also want to run for the hills if he tells you he’s confused about his sexuality. The same goes for men that seem to be really devoted to religious beliefs you know conflict with a gay lifestyle, that rigorously support anti-gay candidates, or that give you any other reason to think they’re not as comfortable with their identities as men should be if they’re going to be dating other men.

9. His eyes won’t stop wandering.

This is a red flag that’s ignored more often than it really should be, especially now that gay hookup culture, non-monogamy, and open relationships are more acceptable socially. If you’re out on an actual date with a guy, it’s just plain rude for him to be openly checking out other guys or flirting with everyone in sight the entire time.

Sure, there’s a chance he’s just trying to impress you with his confidence and attractiveness, but it’s actually a lot more likely that he just doesn’t like you that much. A guy that’s worth your time will actually give you their full attention. They won’t spend the entire date looking at their Facebook feed or playing with a dating app. They won’t seem like they’re already on the look-out for their next conquest either. Save your energy for someone that respects you enough to give you their full attention. Ultimately, you’ll be glad you did!


Rob West

Rob West

I worked with Matt to build several hookup apps for gay men, including Guyhop.

I've been in the scene for several years now. Eternally single until I find "him".

My background is in marketing and psychology, which gives me a unique perspective on the LGBTQ dating and hookup scene.