Real Stories

4 Dating Behaviors You Should Never Accept: This Is Not A Drill

I need you to know that even in the murky area of dating that there are “right” and “wrong” ways of treating people – and some dating behaviours you should never accept. Sometimes there are no excuses and no justifications; sometimes your heart needs to hear a strong message: get out, stay safe and avoid anyone who shows up in your life and treats you in this way.

Some days I wish I could walk back to my old classroom, take the slinky or pogs out of my 9-year-old hands, look myself in the eyes and tell myself everything I know now about what behaviour is OKAY and what is DEFINITELY NOT OKAY.

I think as young women we are often given useless and intangible messages around love. From a strange osmosis of Disney, pop songs and phrases we hear other people saying it is too easy for women to grow up with a skewed view of love. Whether that’s waiting for their Prince to come, or not getting rid of said Prince when he behaves in an uncool way.

Women are often taught that love is…

  • Something’s that’s destined to happen to you ONE DAY. With no intervention we are guaranteed that one magical day, we will meet “The One.”  The universe owes us.
  • That we have ONE true love (only after separating with a number of “the Ones” do you usually realize there this is a really bad deal…)
  • That we have to fight for love. It is effort, tears, it is a struggle to show him how devoted we are, how we will stand by him, even when he appears and disappears like a rabbit in a hat.  Even when he is cruel, or he hurts us.
  • That we have to love a “him.”

I believe the messages we receive as young women often set us up to accept some unacceptable behaviours in relationships. This is why I wanted to write for Harness about four dating behaviours you should never accept. My name is Hayley Quinn. I founded www.hayleyquinn.com to teach dating skills to men and women that are female friendly.

Today I want to tell you about four dating behaviours you should never accept – and if necessary I want you to stick this list to your fridge or save it to your smart phone because your happiness isn’t a drill and I need you to recognize toxic (or as I would say in London “dodgy”) relationship behaviours that spell trouble.

1. Ghosting – I know we live in an age where just disappearing on someone you’ve been dating is nearly as common as a handshake. To me there are a few actions in the world of dating that show as little respect as a disappearing act. Short-term, this leaves the other person confused and self-critical. Long-run, the act of having someone you intimately cared for disappear off the face of the planet leads to suspicion and doubt. I have two messages I want you to take from this. Firstly, if he has just GONE don’t blame yourself. His inability to articulate a goodbye and take responsibility really is a reflection of his character rather than yours. Secondly, don’t pay into this whacky dating ecology by ghosting anyone (unless your personal safety is at risk to the extent cutting contact is the only safe option). I know you may worry about hurting someone but the temporary hurt of being upfront with someone is a lot less painful long-run than the confusion that ghosting leaves.

Also be warned that if you’re ghosted – ghosts have an uncanny habit of coming back from the dead. Treat this as you would a zombie invasion: bar your doors and don’t let them back in.

2. Excuse central – One step down from ghosting but in the same area of bad dating behaviours is when instead of someone keeping a commitment to you they become evasive and unable to fulfill on what they promised. This could be constantly pushing back on a date with you because “work got hectic” or saying they’d love to see you but never quite making time for it. Always be cautious when you don’t see words backed up with actions. Actions are what counts.

3. Putting it back on you – Often if someone is being a bit slippery about meeting up or fulfilling on a commitment they made to you, you may feel like you want to call them out on it. This can be a hard thing to do because if the person your dating’s work really has been “super hectic” you may feel guilty for even mentioning about the three dates with you they missed. To save you worrying about this, I can tell you now that anyone worth engaging with will listen to you and will communicate to find a middle ground. If you calmly tell someone that you feel upset that there’s been a few occasions you’ve noticed recently when they haven’t come through and you get a whole lot of hostility back, then this is a great signal to walk away. In a relationship where you are respected, the other person will listen to what you have to say and seek a resolution. In a relationship where someone is trying to avoid personal responsibility, they will turn the tables on you.

Simply put if you walk away from that conversation feeling small or worse – leave.

4. Control – A person you’re dating being unable to listen to what you have to say without becoming disproportionately angry is one way they could be exhibiting controlling behaviours over you. Their anger here sends a message to you that you better not challenge them again. They talk you down. Control can manifest in a bunch of ways. It could be dismissing your feelings as “needy,” it could be quibbling about you going out with friends or the content you put on Instagram.

You want a partner who will make an effort with your friends, take a picture for your Instagram and listen to what you have to say. Bare minimum.

To make sure you’re also communicating as fairly as possible with him I also want you to focus on stating actions/facts and talking about your feelings. Not just blaming him.

DO NOT say, “you’re always ignoring me”

DO say, “I’ve noticed there’s been a few times we were supposed to meet recently where you couldn’t make it at quite late notice; this made me feel undervalued.”

If you talk this way and they answer with anger, this is a pretty good indicator that this person, today, is not able to have the respectful, equal relationship you need.


Love may not be like the fairytales, but it shouldn’t be a nightmare either.

The people you keep in your life treat you fairly, speak to you respectfully and communicate.

To learn more about dating behaviours you should never accept (and how to become a powerful communicator yourself) head to www.hayleyquinn.com/club

Or send me your question on Instagram; I’m @hayleyquinnx.


Author: Hayley Quinn
Email:  [email protected]
Author Bio: Hayley Quinn is founder of  www.hayleyquinn.com - that teaches her signature new female focused philosophy on love and dating. Her HQ Club is a space for women to learn dating skills and find a community of likeminded, powerful women.

She is a TEDx speaker, broadcaster and soon to be author who has been featured on BBC, The Telegraph and ELLE magazine.

Her aim is to make the world of love and dating female friendly by teaching dating skills training to both men and women that are ethical, empowered and progressive.
Link to social media or website:  http://www.hayleyquinn.com


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