If your prospective spouse exhibits any of these behavioral "warning signs" to a significant degree, take heed.
These personality characteristics often indicate "trouble ahead". This list of "warning signs" was compiled by asking numerous divorced men what kinds of behaviors in a potential spouse they would consider to be "red flags"- personality characteristics to be wary of.
As you read through these warning signs, bear in mind that nearly everyone exhibits these kinds of behaviors to some degree. Where these kinds of behaviors start to become liabilities, however, is when they approach or exceed the "normal" incidence of frequency and/or severity found in the general population.
In other words, when any of these behaviors has a significant and negative effect on a person's interactions with other people, it can be considered a "genuine" warning sign.
Warning sign: Do they become overly emotional about issues that don't seem to be that important?
Significance: Simply put, people who routinely engage in histrionics, extreme emotional displays, or who "create a scene" may not be stable. Be aware that this behavior is also present in some personality disorders.
Warning sign: How many long-term friends does this person have? ("Long-term" meaning five or more years of acquaintance)
Significance: An inability to maintain long-term friendships is a very bad sign. It's a reliable indicator that she is unable to maintain stable interpersonal relationships, a key foundation in any marriage. In short, if they doesn't have at least a few long-term friends, be suspicious.
Warning sign: Do they have frequent conflicts with your friends and/or family? Have you stopped seeing certain people because of problems between them and your prospective spouse?
Significance: This is a classic sign of trouble to come, especially if you answered "yes" to the second question. Systematically alienating your friends and family through "manufactured" conflict is a classic sign of jealousy and insecurity.
Warning sign: Do they have a history of seriously strained or conflicted relationships with their parents or siblings?
Significance: The presence of troubled or dysfunctional relationships with family members is an indication that they may have difficulty sustaining personal relationships. This is especially so if their conflict (for example, not speaking to certain family members) has gone on for an extended period of time.
Warning sign: Is their personal and/or professional life characterized by frequent "crisis" situations?
Significance: An endless stream of crisis events is a sure sign that this person simply cannot "keep it together". It may also mean they have a need for this kind of constant "drama" in their life. Marrying this kind of person means that you will undoubtedly become part of their "support system". You'll also get to deal with their endless supply of "crisis" situations.
Warning sign: Does their employment history include an abnormally large number of different jobs? Do they change jobs frequently, and if so, why?
Significance: Having a large number of jobs over time is another possible indicator of an unstable personality. Many times, the reason for the changes in employment will involve personality conflicts with co-workers, although this may not be disclosed to you (for obvious reasons).
Warning sign: Do they have a history of starting things but rarely finishing any of them? (For example; schooling, personal projects or goals, etc.)
Significance: This is another strong indication of a basic inability to commit to things, whether it be school, relationships, or a career. This kind of person is extremely dangerous to enter into marriage with. Often, the "reason" for quitting before the goal is reached will be a "crisis" situation, as mentioned earlier.
Warning sign: Do they "fight fair", or do they resort to yelling, name-calling, door-slamming, leaving, or other similar behavior? Can they discuss touchy or uncomfortable issues without becoming upset?
Significance: Someone who can't discuss issues rationally is going to be a hard person to work on a marriage with. Problems will come up, and you need someone who will be able to work constructively on these issues with you.
Warning sign: Do they use ultimatums to get their way?
Significance: Ultimatums are a sign that this person cannot (or will not) or negotiate fairly for what they want. This means that you'll have a difficult time reaching agreements with them on issues that come up. When someone uses ultimatums, what they're saying, in effect, is "I come first. What you think, feel, or want doesn't matter. I'm going to get what I want, even if I have to destroy our relationship to do it."
Warning sign: Do they have credit problems or are they currently in debt? Have they been in debt often or continuously in the past?
Significance: A lack of credit-worthiness or a history of credit problems often indicates a low level of personal responsibility or accountability. It may also demonstrate an inability to fulfill their end of a contract....such as marriage.
Warning sign: Are they unreasonably inhibited or prudish as regards sex or their sexuality?
Significance: Repressed sexuality often accompanies other, deeper psychological or personality problems. Repressed people are at much higher risk of having difficulties in other parts of their life, especially in interpersonal relationships.
Warning sign: Have they ever withheld sex to punish you or to "get their way" about something?
Significance: This is childish and disturbing behavior in a relationship, and almost invariably gets worse after marriage. Be prepared to have this used against you with increasing frequency.
Warning sign: Do they often harbor suspicions about their current friends and/or co-workers, and do they voice these suspicions?
Significance: These suspicions, which are usually groundless, will eventually turn towards you. This kind of behavior may stem from a Paranoid Personality Disorder.
Warning sign: Do they try to structure your life so that they are the center of your existence?
Significance: Asking you to stop being involved in certain activities (typically activities they can't can't or won't participate in) is a way to isolate you and monopolize your time. They may also accomplish the same thing by "scheduling" every minute of your day, or by insisting that you participate in their activities to the exclusion of all of your pastimes.
Warning sign: Is she used to "getting her way" by using her looks?
Significance: Some women who are used to getting by on looks may be emotionally shallow and insecure. They may also be unable to "pull their own weight" within the confines of a marriage. Be very careful, these women aren't used to working for what they have. They may in fact have an "entitlement" mentality.
Warning sign: Do they pay an excessive amount of attention to makeup, clothing, or fashion?
Significance: Again, this may indicate an extreme shallowness of personality, if her concerns with superficial considerations like makeup and clothing are excessive.
Warning sign: Do they often act impulsively, without thinking (or worrying) about the future or the consequences of their actions?
Significance: This is a bad sign, and one often goes hand-in-hand with credit problems. This one personality characteristic alone can be the cause of more trouble than you can imagine. People like this will do and/or say anything on the spur of the moment to get whatever it is they want at that moment, without regard to what happens next. Be very, very, careful.