Dating can be pretty dicey. Sometimes your significant other turns out to be a jerk, or a nutjob, or a plot mechanism specifically devised to move the story forward. Now, those first two things are pretty easy to identify, but the third? Not so much. Don’t worry. We’ve got your back. Here’s how you know:
1. They don’t seem to have any personality traits of their own, but they sure are making your previous significant other jealous.
2. They’re your best friend’s brother or sister. You know you shouldn’t. And yet…
3. They tend to swoop in at the last minute whenever there’s a day that needs saving, disappearing immediately after, which makes it hard to schedule dinner dates.
4. They have a past they are strangely reluctant to talk about.
5. They explain things. A lot of things. In fact, they seem to have a wealth of knowledge about many things, and they tend to pop up whenever things are unclear.
6. Conversely, they don’t actually know anything. They pose all the questions you hadn’t thought to ask.
7. Their tears have magical healing powers.
8. Sometimes they say things that later take on a strange significance.
9. They are the heir to a throne, desperate to avoid a loveless political marriage. You are a stable boy with no money or prospects.
10. They’re acting just conveniently suspicious enough for everyone to suspect that they are the murderer.
11. Their character development is scant at best.
12. Their untimely death (yikes! Sorry about that) ultimately spurs you into further action.
13. They keep getting kidnapped by your arch-nemesis, requiring you to rescue them.
14. They are your second romantic interest. Not your first, obviously. That’s over. Well, it’s mostly over.
15. You’re not entirely sure, but you strongly suspect they might represent something larger than themselves.
16. They’re good at hand-to-hand combat. Like, really good. Disturbingly good. When did they learn this?
17. Their presence kickstarts a chain of events.
18. They don’t seem to actually have any friends of their own, which is weird.
19. You were looking for love in all the wrong places, and then you guys found each other.
20. You were living one day to the next as a boring husk of a human being until they found you and gave your life new meaning.
21. They always look really, really good, no matter the circumstances. Almost like their presence is pandering to an uninvolved third party.
22. They were the one that got away. But now they’re back, and things will be different—you’ll see.
23. You begin to suspect they are only here to serve as a foil to one of your other love interests.
24. They’re a lawless ruffian with a heart of gold, and you just know you can fix them.