Red flags and healthy relationships do not go hand in hand. Of course, you want to find a perfect match for you when you start dating. Someone who will love and respect you for who you are. And, someone you who will qualify for your love and respect.
After exploring the dating scene, you come upon someone who you think is a perfect match for you. Clearly, they too arrive at the same conclusion and thus, your relationship begins.
As you get to know each other better, you find out that they are not who you thought they are. The red flags keep popping up like blisters on a hot sunny day. You try to ignore the first few ones thinking it is your mind playing tricks on you.
But you find it hard to disregard them as they keep on coming like bugs out of the woodwork. You find yourself in a predicament not knowing whether to try to fix it or confront your partner or walk out of the relationship.
The first step clearly in the right direction is to identify the red flags. If you are aware of what to look out for, you may even be able to spot them before you commit to a relationship. Even if you have gone past that stage, the earlier you know the flaws in your partner, the easiest it will be for you to find a resolution.
This article attempts to list the red flags in a relationship. Besides the common red flags, you will also find here specific red flags for men and women.
What are the red flags in a relationship?
A red flag usually denotes a warning of danger. In the context of a relationship, a red flag has a similar meaning. It is a warning sign that something is not right in the relationship. And that you are in an unhealthy relationship. Most probably, it is regarding the partner.
A relationship red flag usually tells you that your current partner is not right for you. The reason for this can be many – they don’t love you as they claim to be or they are not as supportive as they projected about themselves earlier. Or their mental health is not up to par and can cause harm to you.
The red flags in relationships can be classified into three main categories.
- Your partner’s behavior, beliefs, values, and personality traits are not in agreement with yours. Due to this, they may treat you badly or unfairly. Abuses can be physical or emotional.
- The interaction and communication in the relationship are not healthy. The absence of good communication can lead to unnecessary confusion and misinterpretations. Avoidance of sensitive issues and frequent arguments are not conducive to a healthy relationship.
- The condition of your own mental health. How has the relationship affected your emotional health? If you are feeling more depressed, anxious, or stressed, it is not a good sign. Have you lost touch with your friends? Do you feel separated from your support system? Has your physical health deteriorated? If the answers to any of these questions are yes or even “maybe”, then it is a red flag for sure.
Relationship red flags to be aware of
The typical red flags that can pop up in any relationship are listed here for your easy reference. You can make use of this red flag list to avoid partners who can be harmful to you.
Lack of trust:
When your partner wants to know where you are every minute of the time you step outside your home, it is definitely a red flag.
When your boyfriend/girlfriend makes decisions for you, even though you are capable of doing that on your own, it is an attempt at checking and controlling your freedom. This is not a good sign.
Refusal to walk the middle path:
When two people come together in a relationship, disagreements are common. It is how it is resolved that can make all the difference. When your partner refuses to budge an inch from their stand, it is not a good sign.
You feel uncomfortable being your true self:
Many partners will have ideas about how you should behave, talk, or dress. This will make you reluctant to be your original self. This is not healthy.
Your well-wishers point out harmful traits in your partner:
You need not accept the opinion of one or two people. But when the chorus is getting too loud to ignore, you should take notice. What did you miss in your partner that is prompting others to voice their opinions?
They walk all over you:
You may have your own dream about what you want to do and achieve in life. But after you met this person, you forgot about your intentions and goals. You meekly surrender and concede to their viewpoints and opinions and leave your pursuit of goals.
Inability to share your feelings:
The reasons for this are varied. Communication is always difficult and strained. Or you are unable to express your feelings as you are scared of your partner’s response.
You lost touch with your friends’ circle:
Coming together of two people to form a relationship doesn’t mean the individuality of the two people involved needs to be sacrificed. Your close friends and family form your support system and keeping you away from them is not good for your mental health.
Pressurized to move on to the next step:
You met recently. You liked each other and decided to hook up. That doesn’t mean that you are ready to move ahead to the next stage of the relationship. Such as, moving in, or meeting parents and friends, or even marriage. When your opinions and preferences are not heeded and if you feel the pressure to go ahead in the relationship, it is an obvious red flag.
Any kind of abuse:
It can be physical, emotional, verbal, financial, or sexual. Gaslighting is also a kind of abuse. Often abuse is disguised as caring, loving, or being concerned. Whatever excuse is given, abuse still remains an abuse. It should not be tolerated.
Red flags in a man
Your boyfriend can be egotistical and controlling in his behavior. Often in the initial days of dating, these defects in behaviors are hidden to give a good impression to the partner. As your relationship gets underway, you come to realize the true character of your boyfriend.
- He doesn’t value your opinion.
- He belittles others including you.
- He is fond of talking about his ex-girlfriends.
- He openly flirts with others.
- He doesn’t value your interests, dreams, opinions, or values.
- He disregards others’ opinions.
- He ridicules everyone else except himself.
- He frames different rules for you and him.
- He ignores people who are important to you.
- He doesn’t give you financial freedom.
Red flags in a woman
These are women-specific red flags that men should look out for preferably before entering a relationship. If you are already in one, you can use this list to ensure that you do not end up with the wrong woman.
- She lies.
- She is manipulative.
- She is selfish.
- She is rude and overbearing.
- She is adamant about comparing you with everyone else.
- She mocks and deprecates you.
- She often digs up the past.
- She is stressed and full of tension.
- She is no longer interested.
- She doesn’t respect you.
Though you recognize them as red flags, often you do nothing about it by making excuses for your partner. The reasons are numerous for this. You are head over heels in love with your partner that can make you blind to them. Another reason for ignoring the red flags is wishful thinking. You want your relationship to be perfect and you ignore anything contradicting it
Moreover, like most of us, you have a hard time accepting that you chose the wrong person. You can doubt your judgment or argue that the red flag is nothing serious. So, no action is warranted.
Red flags are there for a purpose – your survival.
You may also want to look at our guide on couples communication exercises to communicate with your partner the right way.