13 Questions That Are Possible Red Flags If Your Partner Won’t Answer Them

Over the course of your relationship, there will be plenty of topics that’ll make you and your partner uncomfortable. Things like money, or whether or not to move into together, can be tough to chat about — and even a little bit awkward. But that doesn’t mean your partner should ignore your questions, if you ask. And if they act strange when you want to know about finances, or get all weird when you ask about their past, it could certainly be considered a red flag.

As Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW, a NYC-based therapist, tells Bustle, “Communication and trust are two of the most important areas of a relationship. Getting answers to important questions helps build the foundation for a healthy relationship.” That’s why, if your partner shuts down during certain conversations, it’ll begin to shut down the relationship over time. And that’s definitely not OK.

That’s not to say that you two need to be complete open books. In fact, there are plenty of things you don’t have to tell each other, Hershenson says, like how many people you’ve dated in the past, or even problems you’ve overcome that no longer impact you. (Because the past in the past, right?) For the most part, though, you should feel comfortable talking openly and honestly about most things, or at least having a goal for yourselves of heading in that direction. With that in mind, read on for some questions your partner should almost always be able to answer. Because if they can’t, experts say it may not bode well for your relationship.

1. “How Did Your Last Relationship End?”

If your partner can't tell you how their last relationship ended, it can be a red flag.


If this topic comes up over the course of a conversation, it might be a red flag if your partner shies away from saying exactly how their last relationship ended. And that’s because, as Hershenson says, “it’s important to know about what went wrong for your partner in the past and if [they are] still continuing the same behaviors.”

So it isn’t so much about digging up the past, or getting juicy details about what went wrong, but instead about making an effort to not repeat old patterns. If things blew up due to cheating, for example, it’ll be good to know so you can watch out for yourself.

“Perhaps they are the reason things ended and they don’t want you to judge them, or the wound is still fresh and they aren’t fully over it,” Kate MacLean, resident dating expert at Plenty of Fish, tells Bustle. “Either way, you have a right to know the basic details.

2. “Can We Talk About Our Health Histories?”

Everyone’s entitled to keep their health history private. But if it’s something that could affect your relationship, you have a right to know. Not only can their health impact your health, but knowing what they’ve been through in the past can shed light on what they might struggle with in the future.

For example, knowing if you know they’ve experienced depression, anxiety, or substance use is important because it will give you an indication as to what potential triggers might be for [them],” Hershenson says. If they don’t want to share, you can’t help. And that’s not going to make for a healthy relationship.

3. “Can You See Us Ever Moving In Together?”

If your partner can't make future plans, it might be a sign they don't want the same things as you.


While it can be tough to talk about big, relationship-y things that might happen in the future, it’s important to do it anyway so you can make sure you want the same things. So go ahead and ask your partner about things that matter to you, such as moving in together, and see how they react.

“Remember, there are no right or wrong answers to these questions,” Suzanne Casamento, a dating expert, tells Bustle. “The problem is when someone cannot answer them at all. When you’re in a serious relationship, ‘I don’t know’ can be a red flag or it could be an opportunity to find out more.”

You kinda want to be with someone who knows, even if it is that they don’t know right now. It shows they’re being honest, and this can open the door to having more conversations down the road, once they’ve figured it out.

4. “Do You Want To Get Married?”

You might also want to check in with other big things, like whether they see marriage in their future, if that’s something you want. Remember, though, that it’s not necessarily about your partner’s answer, as much as it’s about their willingness to talk about things that are important to you.

As Hershenson says, answering Qs about marriage “gives you an indication as to whether there is even a future with your partner.” If they can’t tell you one way or the other, it means they’re either hiding something or they don’t know what they want. And neither situation is one you’ll want to deal with.

5. “Would You Ever Go To Therapy With Me?”

If your partner doesn't want to go to therapy, it can be a sign they won't be able to successfully work through problems, should they arise.


If your partner seems to react poorly to the idea of seeking couples therapy, it could indicate some underlying problems, as well as a certain level of immaturity that might not do your relationship any favors down the road.

As Dr. Fran Walfish, a Beverly Hills-based family and relationship psychotherapist, tells Bustle, it can also mean they aren’t willing to work on themselves. And when they aren’t willing to work on themselves, it’ll be impossible to work on your relationship.

“You have to be willing to work on yourself first,” she says. Without that effort from your partner, you two won’t be able to create a committed or healthy situation.

6. “Can You Tell Me What’s Going Wrong?”

If you two are having issues, it’s not a great sign if your partner can’t seem to articulate just how their behavior is impacting you, which is why you might want to go ahead and see how they answer this question, the next time you’re having a a disagreement.

As Walfish says, if you ask your partner what’s wrong and they just say “everything” or say things are “bad,” that’s not enough. They should be able to describe the depth of the issue, she says, or at least attempt to do so. If they can’t, it either means they don’t feel anything about the relationship, that they don’t care about the situation, or that they lack communications skills, and that can all be a problem down the road.

7. “How Do You Define Trust?”

Being able to talk about trust is the first step in establishing boundaries in your relationship.


Apart from healthy communication, relationships are built on trust, which is why your partner should be ready and able to talk about it at length. “Questions about trust and safety are important,” Brandon S. Ballantyne, LPC, NCC, CCMHC, licensed professional counselor, tells Bustle. “How does your partner define trust? Does it match your values and expectations of trust? How does your partner define safe boundaries? And does this conceptualization of safe boundaries provide the safety you are looking for?”

While you don’t need to question them rapid fire and get all your answers at once, take note of their willingness to chat about these things, as well as whether or not you can live with what they say.

8. “What Really Scares You?”

In the name of being vulnerable in front of each other (which is, of course yet another important aspect of a relationship) your partner should be able to spill the beans when it comes to what scares them.

“A partner who refuses to tell you their fears should also raise a red flag,” Dr. Joshua Klapow, licensed clinical psychologist, tells Bustle. “The idea that they are afraid of nothing or will not share that information is another emotional barricade. It keeps you from understanding them at a much deeper level.”

If they can’t talk about tough topics these things right away, try to be understanding. Not everyone has an easy time opening up or admitting their “flaws.” But it is something you should work towards together, if you want a solid relationship.

9. “How Do You Want To Handle Money?”

It's essential that you're able to talk about money with your partner.


While it’s not exactly fun to talk about, you should never get the cold shoulder when asking about money. “Finances are a very important factor in relationships,” Stef Safran, a matchmaking and dating expert, tells Bustle. “Whether finances are plentiful or not, you might find that if your partner won’t discuss them, that you might not be on the same page. Too many marriages fail because one person is in the dark about how the other person manages money.”

Not to mention, “if they get defensive or closed off, there may be a bigger issue like credit card debt or credit score issues,” MacLean says. “If they are committed to improving their financial situation, then you can openly discuss a finance plan for paying down debt and improving their credit score. If they aren’t open to improving their financial situation, you’ll need to decide if this is a dealbreaker.”

10. “How Are You Feeling Right Now?”

If it’s obvious your partner is struggling with an issue, it’s perfectly OK to give them space. But if you ask what’s wrong and they push you away on a regular basis, take note. “A partner who refuses to talk to you about what they are feeling is a partner who you will never be able to grow with,” Klapow says. “Emotional expression is absolutely critical to a relationship.”

There are, of course, plenty of things people don’t have any easy time sharing. But again, this isn’t about what your partner says, as much as it’s about their willingness to talk. If they are going through a tough time, offer support. And maybe even see if they’d find it helpful to go to therapy, so they can begin to manage whatever’s holding them back.

11. “Do You Still Talk To Your Ex?”

While it's OK if they talk to an ex, your partner should be able to give you details, if you want them.


Everyone has a different arrangement when it comes to how they handle their ex. If your partner talks to theirs, it’s likely nothing to worry about. But if it bothers you in any way, they should be able to cough up some info.

“If your partner refuses to give you a straight answer about whether or not they are still in contact with any of their ex-lovers then this may be an indicator that they don’t trust that you can handle them staying in contact with an ex, or that they are interested in keeping certain aspects of their past life from you,” Weena Cullins, LCMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle.

It could also mean they aren’t fully over their ex, or willing to break off communication with them, should you ask. Either way, Cullins says it’s all a red flag, and is something you’ll need to learn more about before moving forward with the relationship.

12. “Do You Have Any STIs?”

The sooner you can talk to your partner about their sexual health history, the better, including whether they have any STIs. There is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to STIs, and talking about it openly can help remove the stigma.

“It can be an uncomfortable topic for some partners, but it’s important to ask this question before you get into the heat of the moment,” Cullins says. “If your partner refuses to give you a straight answer about their comfort level with using protection, then this is a red flag. Knowing in advance who will take responsibility for safety during sex could prevent a sticky situation down the road.”

13. “What Are Your Boundaries?”

It's important to be open and honest about boundaries if you want your relationship to work.


It’s important to set up healthy boundaries in your relationship. So take note if your partner isn’t down to talk about what they want, or if they aren’t willing to listen to what’s important to you.

“Maybe they have never been asked, maybe they are inexperienced in relationships, or maybe their feelings are really nuanced and complex,” therapist Shadeen Francis, MFT, tells Bustle. “These circumstances are benign and can be workable. It is a red flag, though, when folks are clear with themselves about their boundaries but are unwilling to share them with you until you have made a ‘mistake.'”

It’s much better to be honest from the get-go about dealbreakers so that you can have a healthy level of respect for each other, and create a solid connection.

That’s why, if your partner can’t answer these questions, you need to know why. You deserve answers to the things that matter most to you, as well as a partner who is willing to talk openly — all in the name of creating a secure relationship.


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Internet Dating for the Middle Aged Person

Don’t get me wrong.

I am trying to focus on Rebecca and Kita.

I know. It’s a lot.

But without the encumbrance of a girlfriend, and any traditional norms, I am free to do what I want.

I am trying with Rebecca. Her song draws me like a ship to the coast. Her charm breaks me and builds me in the same breath.

Kita…. I love her too. Soooo pretty, and cute. I love my power over her, in a respectful way. A fun way. We both know it’s a game. It means nothing. I just hope it has no long-lasting effects on her.

Then I’m swiping on Tinder for no reason but just to get fodder for this blog. I don’t even want to date anymore. I don’t even want a girlfriend.

But somehow because of phicklephilly, I keep going. It’s not an addiction, it’s simply a need to create.

Tinder has new things. Now they give you 8 girls you can super like and all you have to do is pick one. I figured this was another bullshit move on this shitty dating site. This site that promised hope for so many people.

All of these 50 something women, that love to travel, and have two great grown kids, and love the outdoors, and Go Eagles, and concerts and music and anything by the water,…. it’s all lies. For whatever reason their marriage failed. Probably for the same reasons everybody else’s marraige failed and now they are sadly trying to replicate that very relationship again hoping it will be “the next chapter in their pathetic life”

No fucking way.

Game over ladies.

Seeing profiles of women my age on Tinder, Bumble and OkCupid  may have well be pictures of old guys in wigs.

It’s over.

Not just for you, but for me too.

What the fuck are you doing on here?

You met your husband 30 years ago in a bar or at your sister’s party. Do you really thing at your age you can go on something like Tinder or Bumble and think you could meet somebody that is even a fraction of what your shitty husband was. It’s all leftovers and losers on internet dating now.

It’s over.

You’re too close to the camera, you’re cropping out your ex, the only reason I pause because I pray your daughter in the picture is the target.

I keep swiping and then it’s your old face and not your hot daughter.

Don’t hate me.

I’m a dad. I have a daughter, but don’t put pics of you and your daughter on a dating site.

Leftovers and losers.


All of you. Lovely old women who love to travel, and have two great kid, and your friends, and sports, and concerts, and museums, and marathons, and outdoors, and hiking, and anything near water, and vacations….

You’re all running from the same thing…

That the shit your parents drilled into you is a lie.

And here you are with your career and your grown kids that your ex husband shelled out $200,000 in child support and you are left with nothing but cash and an empty soul.

What will you do? Retreat to the only thing you know, and try to replicate the failed relationship you just got dumped from. How sad is that? All of your dating profiles are the same. All of you. Looking for the next new chapter? the next long-term relationship? LTR. No hookups. No one wants to hook up with you, so don’t worry. You’re shot.

It’s over.

Go ahead. Kick me in the teeth for my words. But I’m just being honest about not you… but me. I know it’s over. You’re all kidding yourself if you ever think you can go again.

You’ve punched your card and won all of the fun stuff. You’re divorced.

It’s over.

I’m going to keep swiping for sport to support this blog, but I have learned that it is over for all of you girls my age.

It’s over for me too.

The sooner you accept that you just need to hang with some good people and give up on the hope of some great romance the better you’ll all be.

You can never go back.

It’s over.

Playing on these dating apps is a waste of your time.

Don’t be the leftovers and losers I talk about.

Do you want to be a 55-year-old lady hoping someone swipes right on you? Think about that. I know you’re lonely and you’d love some romance in you life now that the man you built your life and family and entire reality with is gone except for a check every month,

Fuck you. Get out there and meet some real people.

That’s what I’m doing. I’m as lost as you are. We need to find our way in this new world. Let’s use what we’re good at and meet REAL people in the real world and make some new connections.


Think of my life, I was in a loving relationship with Michelle that ended because she wanted marriage and kids, so did the one after that, then there was Cherie,… don’t even get me started.


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Wildwood Daze – The Dead End Kids

“The greatest, and most beloved bar band ever.”

Spring, 1980 – Wildwood, New Jersey

The family had been moved to our house in North Wildwood in the summer of 1979. My sister Janice had graduated from Frankford High in Philly and was off to college in the fall. The rest of us enjoyed the summer and I was enrolled in Wildwood High for my senior year. I could write a whole blog about that painful transition, but that’s not what this piece is about.

You can read about that here:



In the Spring of 1980, I was walking to school with my best friend Wolfie. We called him that because of the way he combed his hair back, the drummer in our band said he looked like Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolfman. Wolfie was the lead guitarist and an accomplished player. But more than that he was an enduring friend.

We were walking to school, I think it was June. We were down on Pacific Avenue and one morning we saw this guy. He was on the other side of the street and looked like a scruffy skinny rock star. But it was 8 am in the morning. We were on our way to school and he was coming home from who knows where.

“That dude looks like Steven Tyler.”

“He does!”

So I decided to yell over to him. “Hey, Steven Tyler!”

The guy replies: “No. Dead End Kids.”

We had no idea who he was or what the dead end kids meant. We would occasionally see him on our way to school.

One night early that summer my sister Janice had come home from a night out with her friend Louise. She was a year older than me and the drinking age back then was 18 in Jersey. (I know, right?) They loved going out in the late ’70s to dance in the clubs. Disco was all the rage back then. (Much to my chagrin)

“How was your night out? Where did you guys go? I know the Fairview’s your favorite.”

“Yea, we went to the Fairview but didn’t stick around. They changed the place. There’s some punky band playing there now, so we have to find some other place to dance.”

Yea… she described them as punky.

So one night later that week, my friend Wolfie and I decided to check out the scene on Pacific avenue. The street had nightclubs and bars on every corner. We were in a band so we liked to check out other bands that were playing in the bars on the strip. Oh, Wolfie was 15 or 16 years old and I was 17 going on 18. We both carried fake ID’s but Wolfie rarely got carded because he looked older than me.

The London Ale House was a nice place to have lunch or dinner. It was the first bar/restaurant on the strip around Poplar avenue. The best band on the island played there at night. I guess they would clear out the tables and make space for the folks to come in and watch the band. That band was called Witness. All great musicians. I remember the singer was Billy Spence, a great singer, and showman. The other personality that stands out in my memory was the lead guitarist, Steelman. Everybody loved Witness because they played, Springsteen, Billy Joel, and Jethro Tull among other popular hits of the day. They were a spectacular cover band that was so good, they actually expanded the London Ale House to accommodate the crowds that would come to see them each night. They not only played great but put on an amazing show that was funny as well as entertaining, performing spot-on renditions of many great hits in the top 40. They would go to Florida in the winter and play down there and then come back every summer to jam in Wildwood.

But we were looking for something new. We headed downtown on that warm summer night. The street is alive with all of the sights and sounds of a typical evening at the shore. We came upon the Fairview and decided to check out the ‘punky’ band my sister had mentioned. The smell of stale beer and cigarettes hangs in the air. But something is definitely happening here. Something new.

I can’t find any good pictures online so you’ll have to settle for this sorry-looking photo.

On Avenue with Many Closings, Nightclub Owner Plans Reopening ...

Wait! Just found this one from an old photo album I was looking through!


We get inside and it’s going. It was still early so the place wasn’t packed yet. The band is rocking out on stage. The Dead End Kids. 

Let me attempt to describe what was happening. First of all, Wolfie and I are in a band. We rock out, but we’re in high school. We’ve played some gigs and we’re a good band.

But these guys are rockstars. I don’t use that word lightly. People describe people doing their job at work or some other dumb shit as being a rockstar. Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, The Rolling Stones. They’re rockstars. Kelly James and George Rumbol of the Dead End Kids are Rockstars.

They play ferocious rough house rock, with all the spit, sweat, and attitude of the greats. They’re playing on this stage tonight as if their lives depend on it. Sure the singer, the bass player, and the drummer are all fine musicians, but Kelly and George ARE The Dead End Kids. They are living this life. I can see it. I can feel it in the first few minutes of seeing them play live. I want you to understand what I’m seeing and hearing. They rock hard and wear cool outfits, and look like they’re already at the next level.

The band Cinderella stole their act. The Dead End Kids were Motley Crue… before there was a Motley Crue.

There is nothing like this anywhere. They’ve replaced their guitar straps with seat belts from old cars. Why? Because the material is durable and slick. Why would you want that? So you can flip your guitar around your body. Literally fling it from the headstock so that it spins around your body and then you catch it, and keep playing. Original and incredible showmanship. I had never seen anything like it.

They played Wasted by a band no one had even heard of yet. That band had one record out. That band was called Def Leppard. They played Midnight Moses by the Alex Harvey Band. I had never heard of it before. It was spectacular. The band Dead Daisies does the song justice now.

The Dead End Kids are burning down the stage. George puts on a Bowie show that is so good, if you closed your eyes, it was as if David himself was there playing with some kick-ass hard rock band. heir version of Moonage Daydream better than Bowie’s! I’ve never seen anything like it. We’re a couple of teenagers. These are men. Men who make kick-ass rock and roll. Shit kickin’ hard rock.

Rough House Rock!

No photo description available.

I had the opportunity to chat with Kelly at the bar one night. I told him about our band and how I was focusing my energy on writing original songs. Kelly advised me that I was on the right path. “Keep writing your originals, man. That’s what’ll set you apart from other bands. Sure, you gotta play the covers to get paid, but the real future is in original songs.”

“Thank you Kelly James!”

(These newspaper clippings from the Wildwood Leader are framed and hang on my wall)

Seeing the Dead End Kids play on a regular basis was like going to church for me as a young musician. I loved them and everything they did. It solidified the idea that I needed to go to California and try to become like them.

One night I was down front with Wolfie and we were rocking out to the kings. We were both half in the bag from pounding dollar Miller beers. These two older hot girls came up to us and started hanging with us. One was blonde and the other had raven hair. We asked them their names.

“I’m Trigger, and this is Flash.”

“Do you girls turn back into horses at dawn?”

We totally made out with them that night. Kelly looked on from the stage nodding with approval.

We went to see them all summer long at the Fairview, and at The Hurricane East in 1981. Those were unforgettable times. I’ll never forget those guys.

Image may contain: 1 person, night

Years later, when I was married in the 1990’s I saw Kelly and George playing in a small bar in Westville, NJ as the Dead End Kids. I went to see them that night wearing my old Dead End Kids T-Shirt. I brought my guitar and they even let me come on stage and play one song with them.

Some wonderful wishes are actually granted.

I will always love The Dead End Kids and those incredible summers in Wildwood growing up. It was a perfect life. None of us even probably realized that we were living the very best times of our young lives. Summer days filled with fun in the sun and surf, but the nights were reserved for Things that go Rock in the Night.

Thank you, gentleman. Thank you for the joy you brought to me and to so many other people during that magical window of time that only opens once… but closes forever.

Here are some videos I found online. Enjoy!


Kelly James update 5/12/18…..

Well, folks, I hate to be the one to deliver the bad news but the Neurosurgeon just informed Kelly James that it is indeed cancer and is spread throughout his entire body including his bones….started as lung cancer and spread…They may discharge him Monday…Chemo is the plan for him. Please continue to pray for a miracle… Kelly is of course a much-beloved guitarist from the legendary band “Dead End Kids“. Please send your prayers, and love out to Kelly, as well as his original band members Bill Mattson and Georgie Rumbol

Join The Group Here: Kelly James We Love You
Kelly James is battling aggressive cancer throughout his body. Please join the group, and tell Kelly how much he’s loved, and respected. Kelly needs our support. Kelly is of course a much-beloved guitarist from the legendary band “Dead End Kids”

*This was a post that Kelly’s good friend Shawn Cahill (Lickey Rifferson) posted….

Ray Koob – Jacky BamBam – Mike Vagnoni – Jeff LaBar

Image may contain: 1 person
Sadly, we lost Kelly James a month later. Rest in Power, my friend…
Long Live the King!

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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