A number of women have asked me about whether specific behavior would scare men away or not. Being lazy, I figured that rather than answering their questions individually, I’d compile a list of the things most likely to drive men away.

5. Sex

If there’s one thing you can count on to cause trouble, it’s sex. Doing it too quickly, wanting to wait too long, being absolutely terrible at it – they’re only a few of the ways that sex can quickly and effectively end a fledgling relationship.

If what you’re looking for is a long term relationship, the best thing to do is to wait at least a few weeks of dating, and be prepared when you decide you want it. Moving too quickly gives off a strong sign of being “easy”, while not being prepared can lead to inconvenient accidents. And let’s face it, a pregnancy scare is not a good way to start off a relationship.

Of course, in the end, what matters most is doing what you want and feel comfortable with. Just remember, know when to say no.

4. Lack of interest

Lots of books on dating will tell you that pretending not to be interested is the way to go. They’re wrong. Some men might like a challenge, but most prefer knowing where they stand over chasing a seemingly unwilling woman. In fact, there’s a word for men who chase women who aren’t interested in dating them: they’re called stalkers. As for the rest of us, we simply give up when we think a woman isn’t interested.

So if you’re interested in a man, give him signs. Obvious signs, like returning phone calls and text messages. That way, he’ll know he’s on the right track. And if you’re not interested, tell him so.

3. Demands

You have standards, and that’s fine. But what’s not fine is starting off a date by listing the things you expect from a man. A date is not a job interview, and you shouldn’t treat it like one. Even if a man meets all the criteria you’ve set for “Mr. Right”, actually telling him about those criteria will scare him off even quicker than telling him that you were born a man and haven’t had the sex change surgery yet.

Unlike what some women appear to believe, the reason demands are such a turn-off is not that we’re afraid we won’t meet your standards. It’s that being forward (or abrasive) about what you expect from a man means you’re likely to be high maintenance, arrogant, and filled with a false sense of entitlement.

2. Ex-Boyfriends

When you start talking about ex-boyfriends on a date, there really is no possible good outcome. If you’re negative about them, it will make you sound bitter. If you’re positive about them, it will make it seem as if you’re not over them. So don’t bring up the subject of your exes on dates. It’s common sense, really.

1. Moving too quickly

It might be common in films, but in real life love at first sight is quite rare. On the second date, we’ll be thinking about whether you’ll ask us in for a cup of coffee at the end of the night, not whether we should move in together. Love, marriage and children are all words that won’t even enter our minds in the first few months of dating.

So if you’re interested in a man, take it slowly. Give him the time and freedom to figure out how much he likes you. Don’t overwhelm him with an avalanche of attention, just spend time with him while also recognizing you both have separate lives. To most men, commitment is a lot less scary when they don’t feel they are being pressured into it.