Sure, you've had some shaky relationships in the past—some ex-girlfriends who were a little too high maintenance—but nothing's worse than being played. If you nabbed the girl who's out of your league, but have a hunch she's lying, maybe even cheating on you, take a look at the most common signs a woman's got you wrapped around her finger (in all the wrong ways), according to Paulette Kouffman Sherman, Ph.D, psychologist, relationship coach, and author of The Book of Sacred Baths.
Take note of these red flags. They might mean you're her back-up plan, side guy, or just a short-term diversion.
It's infuriating. It's rude. It's disrespectful. If she's super flaky and dips out on dinner plans often, drop her. "If she doesn't honor your time or feelings or make you feel important, then you might want to ask yourself why you want to start a serious relationship with her," Sherman says. If you're not a priority in the beginning of the relationship, that sets the precedent for how things will continue.
"It's as important to look at a person's actions as it is to listen to his/her words," Sherman says. If she says she's being exclusive to you, but you catch her chatting up other men at every available opportunity, that's a red flag. And if she's constantly flirting in front of you—with the waiter, or worse, your friends—that's a sign she isn't looking to settle down any time soon.
If you've been seeing a girl for over a month and you've never been to her place, meanwhile she's been to yours a dozen times, there's a reason. "Ask yourself: 'Is she messy? Does she have roommates? Is she hiding something?'" Sherman says. There's a good chance that "something" she's hiding is a someone if she scrambles to come up with an excuse why you can't come to her apartment. "The only way to know for sure is to ask. If she says no, see if she gives you a reason why." If it's substantial, like her younger brother is staying with her for the summer before he goes back to college, great; if she has nothing to say, you might be her side guy.
There could be a number of reasons she doesn't want pictures of the two of you. But it all comes down to the context of the situation. If she doesn't want a trail on her social media, it could be because she just got out of a relationship and doesn't want people bombarding her with questions about this new guy in her life. Conversely, she might want to keep you under wraps if she's currently in a relationship or wants to keep her options open so she's free to date whomever she wants. "Don't assume this, but if a number of things point to her being non-committal this could be a piece of that puzzle," Sherman adds.
"Some people think you should wait a while to introduce a date to family, but if you've been together for a few months normally you'd expect to at least meet a few friends," Sherman says. Haven't met either? If she's hesitant, implore. She might not know how to explain your relationship to friends and family—especially if you haven't had a chat about exclusivity. Ask her to introduce you to some of her closest guy and girl friends, first. If she shoots the idea down, there's a good chance she doesn't see this as a long-term relationship and doesn't want to complicate things.
If you happen to notice your name in her phone is something entirely different, or worse, a girl's name that's a straight up red flag. You don't need to panic if she has a nickname or a joke from the first time you met—like Sir Sweats A Lot if you met at the gym. "But you'd think someone would only have an alias for a date if they were hiding that person from someone else," Sherman says. Ask her about it. But know going in, if she's lying about being with you, she probably won't have a hard time lying to your face, too.
You've seen it half a million times in comedies. The guy has a taxi ordered for the girl before she can get all her clothes back on. If this feels like a real-life scenario for you, and she's always running for the door, there's a chance she's only in it for the physical. "Sometimes if a person is not that serious about a relationship, they don't want to stay and cuddle after sex or spend a lot of time together," Sherman says. "This keeps things light." If you want more, then a conversation needs to happen to determine if you're on the same page.
"If there's no title and you've been together for a while now, it could be because you aren't exclusive or she wants to keep her options open," Sherman says. If she introduces you as her "friend" after a few months and it bothers you, then it's up to you to say something. "If you want more and she clearly doesn't, you may choose to move on to someone who wants the same kind of relationship you do," she adds.
One minute she's all in, asking you to go on vacation with her six months out; the next, she's putting major distance between you and saying things were never serious. "Often when people are hot and cold, they're confused and unsure what they want, so their behavior reflects this," Sherman says. To make a complicated situation simple: Find someone who's consistently into you, and happy to be all in. It's not fair for her to pull you back and forth.
You don't want your new chick of three weeks mapping out your life together, but if you've been together for close to a year and she never talks about making plans two or three months out, you may want to investigate. "Sometimes when a person you're dating never talks about the future, it can be an indication that this is just fun, in the present, with no strings attached," Sherman says. Maybe she doesn't see you in her future or she doesn't know what her future holds. "Either way,if you see a future and want a relationship that's moving forward, you may need to clarify whether your visions are even in the same ballpark," Sherman adds.