Dating Red Flags: If He Seems Too Perfect, He Probably Is #atwys

Article Roundup! Gather round, chickens!red_flag_warning

Yesterday, this went up on The Frisky. Here’s an excerpt.

Dinner was delicious and the night was going well, so I wasn’t at all surprised when he asked if I wanted to watch a movie, which is usually code for Let’s Take Our Clothes Off. I was prepared for something physical to happen, and quite frankly, I wanted it to happen. The true test would be whether or not he seemed respectful of the fact that I wasn’t willing to sleep with him just yet, and whether or not he would want to keep seeing me after that. I wanted to make sure Scar Twin was as interested in commitment as he says, and wasn’t just looking for easy sex. So, like clockwork, halfway into the shitty movie, things started heating up on the couch and we headed into the bedroom. For starters, I would like to say that Scar Twin is hella generous. I’m talking very, VERY giving and communicative, which I love. He went above and beyond the call of duty, which was a luxury I’ve missed. As expected, at some point during our hookup sesh, sex was on the table and I told him that I wanted to wait. He completely understood and didn’t let that hold him back from making sure I was happy. When he was done, I returned the favor because I wanted to, not because I felt like I had to. We have great sexual chemistry, which is always a relief when you’re testing the waters with someone new. Afterward, we hung out naked in his bed for a while and talked like we we’d done it 30 times before. And then he muttered this:

“I’m not sure if I should tell you this,” he said, looking at me and smirking, “but…”

OH. MY. GOD. Does he have a girlfriend? Does he have herpes? is he going to break things off? So many thoughts were going through my head, and not one of them was comforting.

“But WHAT?!” I barked.

“But that was probably the fastest anybody has ever made me come,” he said laughing. “I’m genuinely impressed. You just keep getting better and better.”


My new favorite GIF

We will first address her admission that she was going to fool around with him but not have sex with him as a test. We’ve talked about this: most guys don’t see the difference between oral sex and intercourse. At best you’ll achieve the goal of making the guy think you’re immature by pulling this. Don’t confuse the fact that a guy doesn’t kick you out of bed for not putting out with him “completely understanding” why you’ll blow him but not sleep with him. The whole reason he made dinner for her was to get laid. He didn’t. I assure you, he was a teensy bit disappointed and annoyed. Guys know what this stall tactic is. They’re not stupid. The younger ones put up with it, especially the ones that have to. The older ones have zero time for that nonsense. But that wasn’t the true take away for me in the post.


Dater X is looking for red flags. I’m going to be servicey and point them out. Here we go:

1. The “let me make you dinner on our third date” red flag – This isn’t so much a red flag as it is a tired ploy. It’s a way to get sex, and most people know that. For some reason, many women look at that gesture and assume, “Oh, he REALLY likes me because he’s cooking for me and inviting me to his apartment.” This schtick is as old as fire. He’s trying too hard to impress her.

2. Their dates feel scripted or planned – If you’ve been following along, everything about their dates is…cute. Two great initial dates, flirty banter, and then the third date at his apartment. To me, their dates all seem to follow a pre-meditated pattern. Nothing feels organic.

3. The “Nobody has ever made me come that fast!” red flag –  Any guy who says something like this and then follows it with, “I’m genuinely impressed” is a douche. I’m not even sure this line is real or if the author was just trying to be sly about humblegragging about what great head she gives. Either way, that whole exchange felt weird to me. Personally, I think he just ejaculated too quickly – and often does –  and was embarrassed about it. But that’s just me. Also? Side eye to just how generous he was in bed. If I were someone who had performance issues, I’d be making sure I made up for that, too. Or she’s just had really bad lovers in the past and so he seems awesome by comparison.

4. She’s been down this exact same road before – As I told her a few weeks earlier when she wrote a post defending herself and her choices thus far, the problem isn’t that people don’t like her. I’m sure she’s very nice. The reason why so many people are skeptical of her stories is that she hasn’t displayed the best judgement up to this point. This has happened to her before, and every time the bottom falls out after 2 dates or 2 months. Your picker doesn’t magically become more attune. That takes work and focus. If you have a string of disappointments the way she has, a little introspection is necessary. She also gets ridiculously invested in guys very quickly. These behaviors are all problematic. Sometimes we’re the red flag.

5. The fact that he took down his profile after their fourth date – This is the biggest red flag of all, and of course I got all the side-eye for suggesting it in the comments. If this guy is so perfect and so available and so great in bed, how does he not have women banging down his door to commit to him? If he did, he would not be giving that up so quickly. Sorry, all you fairy tale lovers, but this simply doesn’t happen. We want to believe that someone could be this ideal and this interested in us and this prepared to commit this quickly, but the reality is that most times it just doesn’t happen that way.  She may be reading too much into that, too. He could have just taken it down because he’s focusing on her and doesn’t want to date anyone else WHICH IS NOT THE SAME THING AS COMMITTING.

My opinion is that there’s something is either critically wrong with this guy that has gotten him kicked to the curb or he is in some kind of rush to settle down and whomever comes along will do until they don’t.


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31 Responses to “Dating Red Flags: If He Seems Too Perfect, He Probably Is #atwys”

  1. QuietCompany Says:

    The dialogue in all of Dater X’s columns sounds completely made up to me. I read it and think NO ONE talks like that.

    • ATWYSingle Says:

      The dialogue does sound contrived, but you have to remember that she’s writing these stories from her perspective. Unless she’s taking dictation on these dates, she’s not capturing what these guys are saying word for word. She’s taking creative license. I definitely thought her last relationship with the short guy was grossly embellished because she needed something to write about. Especially how he broke up with her. I believe the one off bad date stories, and I believe that she goes out with guys a couple of times, sleeps with them, and then gets blown off because that’s so common. But this guy reads as fictional to me.

  2. LostSailor Says:

    I don’t follow DaterX or the Frisky, so there’s that.

    But I don’t really agree that there are all these red flags. Maybe yellow flags.

    First this: The whole reason he made dinner for her was to get laid. He didn’t. I assure you, he was a teensy bit disappointed and annoyed. Guys know what this stall tactic is. They’re not stupid.

    Well, they didn’t have intercourse, but the definitely had sex. It’s not really “nonsense” because some women work on different timetables. DX may have done it in a calculating way, but he got off, and that’s probably good enough for the present.

    As for the red flags Moxie detailed, I don’t really agree with most of them.

    * I’m a good cook and cook every day, so the home-cooked dinner in a natural for me. If it’s a prelude to getting laid, fine, but it’s not a play.

    * After you’ve been doing this online dating for a while, dates do become a bit “scripted.” It’s only natural. They don’t all have to be novel experiences. As for being “planned,” well, yes, smart guys tend to plan the first couple of dates. Is that “organic”? No, but “organic” comes later as thing progress, if they progress.

    * The “you made me cum fast” is a bit hokey, but it doesn’t, even in concert with him being conscientious with getting her off, mean he has some kind of problem. The first time, anyone wants to make a good impression. But maybe she just has had bad lovers. I always try to make sure my partner gets off. That’s not a sign of a performance problem; I always thought it was a sign of a good lover.

    * If DX has a consistent pattern of behavior or outcomes, that’s on her, not a red flag on him.

    * I agree that taking down his profile isn’t a commitment, but it’s a trivial thing to do, not the “biggest red flag.” Perhaps it’s a player move, but perhaps not. He can revive the profile at any time.

    I find the criticism of this guy a little two-faced. Men are jerks if they don’t plan dates, players following a script if the make dinner because they just want to get laid, have performance problems if they put forth effort in bed, and are flawed or hiding something if they take down a profile a few weeks in. In other words, if a man puts forth the effort to date well, they’re suspect of being “too perfect.” If they don’t put forth that effort, they’re pathetic losers.

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    Is “Scar Twin” playing DX? Maybe. But then, DX is playing her own games by having sex without having intercourse. Is DX falling too fast for a “too-perfect guy”? Maybe. Then again, maybe he just likes her, in which case her over-analyzing could back fire (as would taking Moxie’s red flag advice).

    What I don’t buy is the idea that by making the right dating moves, this guy is really a “critically wrong” loser who is over-compensating or he’s a different kind of loser who is in a rush to settle down such that he’ll throw standards to the wind for whomever he can get (until something better comes along? Right).

    I guess guys just can’t win in this modern dating game…

  3. HammersAndNails Says:

    “most guys don’t see the difference between oral sex and intercourse. At best you’ll achieve the goal of making the guy think you’re immature by pulling this.”

    100% agreed. I’d honestly probably just guess it was a bad time of the month and not think any deeper into. It is a little ridiculous to think of someone over 20 holding such a silly juvenile belief.

    • HammersAndNails Says:

      *but oh yeah, he knew for sure it wasn’t a matter of timing.

      Eh… I guess it’s a pretty harmless quirk, but it’s still a bit bizarre. The guy got off and knows sex is right around the corner.

  4. D. Says:

    Goofy column by Dater X as usual. I don’t follow her stuff, but every time I’ve read it, it just felt contrived. More on that in a second.

    Re: Moxie’s red flags/points.

    1. I don’t think dinner on a 3rd date (or 4th or whatever) is “trying too hard.” Some people genuinely enjoy cooking a meal for someone else, particularly if they fancy themselves a good cook. Plus, it can be economical for guys if the stuff you make doesn’t cost a ton. Certainly it can be cheaper than taking her out to dinner. I just see it as part of a natural progression in dating. You’re gonna see their place at some point anyway, so why not have dinner there? I just don’t see where this is “trying too hard.” I mean, if the guy made, like, some recipe that took literally all day to do, yeah, that’d be a bit extravagant, but shit, it’s just chicken cordon bleu.

    2. I suspect the dates feel planned/scripted mostly because of how Dater X perceives her world, and how she writes. It all seems like RomCom style interaction…but I think that’s just because of the writer’s filter. I think all her writing (that I’ve read, anyway) sounds contrived and fairly “dramatized.”

    3. Re: “Nobody has ever made me cum that fast” To my way of thinking, the real issue here is in the comparison, rather than in the general “Wow, that was awesome!” sentiment. Her “OMG he was SO GENEROUS…if you know what I mean…wink wink” but was more eyeroll-inducing to me. But again, that goes back to her writing style and the way it seems she perceives the world.

    4. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that she is completely lacking in introspection or the capacity to engage in any kind of effective self-examination/evaluation. I think she lives in her own universe where she’s the plucky heroine of a romcom, and omg, all these bad dates and nefarious dudes keep happening to her. Whenever I see stuff like this, I think of the sequence in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off where Charlie Sheen says “The problem is you.” I think either her articles are total bullshit, or she really just lives in this fantasy-world, and it constantly impacts her dating life.

    5. Him taking his profile down is pretty neutral to me. Maybe he’s super-duper-ooper into her. Maybe he’s tired of dating and figures “If it doesn’t go well with her, I’m just fucking DONE for a little while.” Maybe it’s something else. Who knows? What’s more telling is her interpretation of it and the fact that this only means something positive, which, I assume, means she’s already filling up a Pinterest board with engagement ring photos.

    I guess when this one implodes like the rest, we’ll see the inevitable follow-up that demonizes him for somehow manipulating her. All that said, I don’t really see red flags from the guy, so much as I see red flags in Dater X’s reaction TO the guy. The guy’s just a guy. I don’t get a vibe of intentional manipulation from his actions in and of themselves. But the way Dater X responds to these guys…I dunno. I have a feeling she’s gonna be writing this column for a long time.

    • fuzzilla Says:

      **All that said, I don’t really see red flags from the guy, so much as I see red flags in Dater X’s reaction TO the guy.**

      I can see that. I don’t really see how cooking and fooling around on a third date are just, OMG, so cliche and so red-flaggy. Seems like a pretty normal behavior to me.

      I generally agree with Moxie’s advice, but sometimes it veers into analysis paralysis. I really liked that comment someone made the other day about, “I know you love your hammer, but not everything is a nail.” If her point is that Dater X is interpreting fairly normal/typical dating behavior as proof that “OMG, this guy is soooooo into me” – well, I guess I can see that.

      • D. Says:

        Yeah, in that sense, I absolutely agree. None of what this guy is doing is necessarily indicative of his level of interest other than “I’m interested enough to keep dating you.” The way Dater X describes it, though, is again all flowery romcom sweeping moments. To me, that’s the biggest red flag of them all: she doesn’t look at this stuff from a grounded perspective. She’s looking at it as if it’s a story where she’s the protagonist. Approaching dating from that perspective may in some way make you feel like you’re in control of the situation, because it’s following some predictable pattern, but more likely than not, the predictable pattern will end with “And then I got way too attached, we stopped seeing each other, and my self esteem took yet another thrashing.”

    • Nicole Says:

      “I think either her articles are total bullshit, or she really just lives in this fantasy-world, and it constantly impacts her dating life.”

      Whenever I read personal dating blogs I wonder if it’s all totally made up. Especially when it’s something like Dater X, who gets presumably gets paid to write this stuff. I mean, she basically has to have a miserable, drama-filled love life in order to get readers… No one wants to read about someone’s fulfilling and uneventful long term relationship.

      I like to imagine Dater X is really a 40-something suburban mom who makes a little spending money and relieves boredom at the same time by writing total crap for the Frisky. These stories being someone’s real life, that’s just too depressing to contemplate.

      • D. Says:

        Yep. And it also would explain the total lack of insight into what she does wrong. Insight doesn’t pay. Repeated shitty experiences (when written about) do.

  5. Yvonne Says:

    I can be as cynical as all get-out, but frankly, I see nothing wrong here, IF this mean is truly looking for a relationship. I’ve had men invite me over for dinner on the 3rd date. It’s not that big of a deal and it didn’t always lead to sex (although it did lead to making out). I see his taking down the profile as a good sign SO FAR (and not necessarily a sign that he’s a loser), but it doesn’t mean that much YET. Sorry, but the jury’s still out on this one.

  6. NASHWC Says:

    Moxie, other than your generally negative assumptions about men’s intent and the supposed ‘red flags’ (all of which could just as easily originate from a good reason as a bad one), one of your statements really stood out to me: “If this guy is so perfect and so available and so great in bed, how does he not have women banging down his door to commit to him?” .. This kind of thinking assumes that women KNOW when they meet a guy with all of these qualities. I say ‘meet’ because a woman could never find out these things without investing allot of time with a man. And to do this requires that he pass all of her “shit tests” along the way. Oh, but even before all that, he must pass the initial “8 second rule” of initial impressions (I’ve seen it called this but the total seconds varies slightly from person to person) which is essentially the time span in which a woman decides whether or not she will EVER let a man proceed past initial greetings (and always expires before he can finish his first sentence to her). All that being said, here’s another way to put it. My empirical observation as a man over the last few decades reveals a particular attraction trait among women has been so consistent that I now consider it relatively absolute: “A man is never as attractive to a women as when he already has another woman on his arm”. As I see it, these are all the reasons why this guy (assuming he’s “so perfect and so available and so great in bed”) doesn’t have women banging down his door to commit to him.

    • LostSailor Says:

      Nicely put. And that’s really the main thrust of Moxie’s comment: Men who are attractive as well as funny, considerate, good cooks, good in bed, etc., etc., by women’s reasoning should have women falling in line to snap up this catch.

      Which leads to two forms of “there has to be something secretly wrong with him.” Either he’s got some major hidden flaw just waiting to reveal itself that has repelled the many women who have flocked to him (perhaps he has suits made of the skin of his many victims hidden in the basement or Dorian Gray’s portrait lurking in the attic) or he does have scores of women waiting in the wings and he’s just playing her for a chump and will shatter her heart.

      I don’t know. Maybe the “if he seems too good to be true, he probably is” thinking is something else. Possibly “if he seems too good to be true, why the hell is he interested in me?”

      • NASHWC Says:

        True. A good example of the difference in thought processes between the genders goes something like this: When a man is dating an unattached high-value woman, his first thought is typically “I gotta find a way to lock this woman down (she’s relationship/wife material)”. When a woman encounters the same scenario, she is typically thinking “There must be something seriously wrong with him (shields up! I gotta ‘shit test’ this one!)”. It is for this and other reasons I am a firm believer that the vast majority of problems/disappointments women have in the dating arena derive from their own (esteem) issues, misconceptions and misunderstanding of men. But we men love you anyways, ladies! Flaws and all! :)

      • NASHWC Says:

        Reminds me of a well-known joke about women’s thought processes regarding finding a good man :)

      • D. Says:

        The alternative analysis is that, again, because of the filter through which Dater X perceives the world, she’s building these guys up. Either that’s because she feels she has to (e.g., “I have to be with a perfect guy, or else I’m settling.”) or because she gets all swept up in the pageantry of dating and how it fits her romcom narrative, so naturally, every good date is with a perfect guy.

        Or, put another way, the men she dates are either perfect or total losers, and some of them transition from one to the other (rather abruptly, too) to suit her narrative. In reality, these guys run the gamut of quality/desirability. Maybe SOME are 10s who are “just slumming,” but most of them are probably just regular dudes with some good qualities and some bad ones. But because she’s desperately trying to shoehorn everyone she meets into her (Dater) X in the City narrative, they’re either the next Mr. Big, or complete shlubs.

        I mean, hell, you can already see where this latest one is headed, in that she prefaces the entire discussion with a statement of how having a really good connection initially can blind you to obvious flaws. So, this article is all about the “good initial connection.” In another week or three, it’ll be about the crippling flaw she ignored which split them asunder. And then in another week or two, the cycle will repeat itself.

    • C Says:

      Good point.

      Somewhere along the way, every amazing guy was single. And every time an amazing guy was single, there was a woman wondering “Whats wrong with him?”

  7. The D-man Says:

    The fact that he took down his profile after their fourth date

    Not sure about this one. I take mine down when I have a few people I’m interested in. It can get hectic scheduling dates, plus it removes temptation.

    • Snowflake Says:

      How about a little thing called self-restraint. There are many ways to just do this without doing the grandiose gesture (eye rolly) of taking down the profile especially after only four dates. For me I just delete the App off my phone and have the notification emails go straight to junk/trash. Out of sight out of mind. I have dated guys for 3 – 6 mths without even looking at my still active profile in that time. Until two people have a convo down the road of seeing each other doing this is just… weird.

      • C Says:

        A man preferring to get to know one woman at a time being seen as a sign that he is lacking in impulse control is….sad.

      • The D-man Says:

        It’s not a “grand gesture.” I just turn it off. I don’t bother to tell anyone I’m seeing because that would be, I don’t know, annoying?

        Note that in the original story he didn’t tell her either. She only found out when she wanted to show his profile to a friend.

      • LostSailor Says:

        the grandiose gesture (eye rolly) of taking down the profile

        It may depend on the site. On OKC, “hiding” your profile is just a click of a single button and can be reactivated with a single click. Sounds like a lot less effort than deleting a phone app, setting email settings, then reloading an app when you want to start again…

    • Nicole Says:

      I did the same thing, sometimes even when it was just one guy I was really into. Partly to remove temptation (checking your messages is addictive) but also to avoid the “missed connection” of having some great guy message me, get no reply because I was focused on someone else, and then ignore me if I tried to contact him a couple of weeks later. That happened a couple of times and I didn’t blame the guys… No one wants to feel like second choice.

      As for whether it’s weird to tell someone you’ve taken your profile down… Maybe, but it’s also really common. As in, the vast majority of guys I went out with said something about it after a couple of dates. I think it’s so common now that it’s no longer a grand gesture or trying too hard or… anything, really.

      Like Moxie said, taking down your profile or even agreeing to stop dating other people is a step, but it’s not the same as truly committing to someone.

  8. CoolDude Says:

    I don’t think this dude’s a bad guy. Maybe trying too hard, sure, but seems alright to me even if his lines are kinda corny at times. DaterX sounds like one of those girls that guys put in the “rent” category. She sounds kinda good-looking, severely annoying and without any self-awareness which means most guys may just to want to bang her and bounce. Call me an asshole all you want but a lot of people fall into the “rent” category (maybe even myself).

  9. Chester Says:

    I read the article and it looks like she withheld intercourse on their next date as well! I’m not sure what she is trying to achieve with the “Oral sex but no intercourse”.
    As others have said he seems like a normal guy and if there are any flags, they rest with her.
    I think the takeaway is that too many women really search hard for a “red flag”, and since men are not perfect, they will always find a flaw. Sometimes they are imaginary. This is a very self-defeating attitude in dating.

    • The D-man Says:

      Yeah, and even if you find these supposed red flags, what are you supposed to do, confront him?

      Take a look at all the things in bold that Moxie listed, and imagine someone you’re dating saying “we need to talk” with that as her agenda. I’d wonder if she’s manipulative, prone to see signs in everything and passive aggressively retaliate.

  10. AC Says:

    There is a lot about this post that leaves me scratching my head. Dater X’s narrative appears to be either contrived or embellished. Regardless, I agree with the other posters about several of the red flags:

    1. The “let me make you dinner on our third date” red flag.

    As Lost Sailor points out, some men like to cook and are good at it. If this gets the woman to your place on the third date, all the power to you.

    2. Their dates feel scripted or planned –

    Men who don’t properly plan dates are viewed as weak. So by this logic, we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. We really can’t win, can we?

    3. The “Nobody has ever made me come that fast!”

    He said something stupid after sex. It happens. He doesn’t deserved to be burned at the stake.

    This sounds like a classic case of looking too hard to find problems where there may not be any.

  11. Donnie K Says:

    I’ve been reading this blog for a year and gotten some great advice from it. IMO, this type of over analysis can lead to online dating burnout and fatigue. Case in point:

    The inviting a woman over and making her dinner date is proven winner but God forbid we do this on date #3 or we’ll be labeled a player?

    As for the “their dates feel scripted or planned” red flag – Really? Please describe an “organic” date. It’s as if there’s no pleasing some women.

    I agree that the “Nobody has ever made me come that fast!” comment was dumb on his part, but to assume he doesn’t on a regular basis – that’s a stretch. Truth is, we have no idea.

    Online dating is challenging enough that overanalyzing behavior and seeing a “player” behind every tree doesn’t help matters.

  12. Kym Says:

    I think all of these are red flags that Dater X is making this guy up. The first date conversation where they compare scars is something I’ve seen in movies and on TV. Every guy she dates more than once talks exactly the same.

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