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Ray Rice’s Elevator Gate may be one of the worst scandals to happen in a long time, but it’s also making women more aware of the domestic violence threats that could be lurking around them. Could the man you met in line at Starbucks be dangerous? Is a hot temper a bad sign? Luckily, there are ways to tell if a guy might have an anger problem — even over dinner. They’re not all signs that you should bail right now, but they are a good heads up that you should be keeping an eye out for signs of verbal or physical abuse — before it’s too late.

His Job Involves Violence

Did you know that forty percent of police officer’s families experience domestic violence?

That’s four times the rate of the rest of the population. It’s not a reason to ask for the check, but you should keep an eye out for any warning signs.

He Shares “Colorful” Stories About His Ex

She was crazy, she drove him nuts and she made him put his hands on her. Chances are she was sitting in that same seat thinking that those things would never happen to her either.

But the chances are that a man who hit one woman will hit another and you could be the “crazy” one a few months down the line.

He’s Drinking. A Lot

He could just have a bad case of the nerves. However, drug and alcohol abuse could also be a sign that he’s self-medicating a major anger problem. That goes double if most of his drinking stories involve punching holes in walls.

He’s Rude to The Waitress

She did get your order wrong, but did he have to call her dumb? Men that abuse people who they see as beneath them aren’t always just jerks. And if he can’t control his temper in this early dating stage, it could get worse as the relationship goes on.

He Thinks Ray Rice Deserves A Break

Anyone who can “sort of understand” why Ray Rice punched his fiancee in the face is handing you a bright red flag. It’s time to ask for the check.

He Tells You He “Has A Temper”

If this is one of the first things that he says about himself, it’s probably more than just a little “temper” problem.

Ask him a few more questions. If they lead to stories about anger management class (thanks to a “misunderstanding”) or an arrest (not his fault if you hear the whole story) it might be time to leave.

There Was A Moment When You Were Actually Afraid

Showing you his gun collection and pulling the trigger, asking you to pet his barking pit bull and driving so fast you have to ask him to stop are more than just first date horror stories.

Fear is a way that some abusers assert their dominance and abuse their partners. And if he does this on a first date, it’s only going to get worse from here.

He Accuses You of Checking Out the Waiter

Jealousy is never a good sign on a first date. And if he can’t control himself now, he could escalate to checking your phone, following you to work,   and making you afraid to leave the house.

You Manage to Make him Mad Before Dessert

You made a joke, he took it the wrong way and now he’s fuming on the other side of the table. If he can’t handle a little first date humor, he could be dealing with some anger issues that he needs help with before he’s ready to date.

He Orders Your Food For You

…without asking. That kind of controlling behavior that early could be a bad sign that his domineering ways could get out of control.

He’s In Love Before Dessert

It could be love at first sight. But one common pattern among abusers is to come on really strong at the beginning — and get stronger. It’s the kind of intense love that makes you afraid of what he’ll do if you try to leave the house.

He Badmouths Your Friends

You complained about what your BFF did earlier that day and he says she sounds like a real B-I-T… He could just have poor people skills, but it could also be a prequel to a pattern of verbal abuse.

Isolating you from you friends and family is a way that abusers leave you dependent so it’s much harder to leave when things get rough. If he never has anything good to say about your friends and family, he’s the one you should be cutting off.

He Has Major Road Rage

It’s only 10 miles between your house and the movie theater but he’s honked the horn six times, cut two people off and flipped one old lady the bird. If he has the same anger impulse control in other areas of his life, it could be directed at you one day.

He Teases You

…and it kind of stings. Everyone says dumb stuff when they’re nervous, but if those jabs get right to the heart of your insecurities, you could be dealing with a verbal abuser.

He’s Dr. Jeckyl and M. Hyde

On the first date, he was Mr. Perfect. But on the next one he’s Mr. Stormy Weather. If his mood swings continue to be severe, it could be a sign that he suffers from a mood disorder that could turn on the abuse even when he doesn’t mean to.

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