Being in a relationship is hard–especially when they’re long term. For some, they form their identity around their partner, making it hard to spot things that they perhaps once believed to be a deal breaker. Not just that, but seeing those waving red flags is even harder when you’re so invested in another human.
And for new relationships, we’re all well-aware of those stylish yet toxic rose-coloured glasses that make everything appear as if they were sunshine.
What also makes it hard to notice red flags in a relationship is the fact that society has a history of normalising unhealthy behaviour. And let’s not mention the level of romanticism we see in TV and films concerning emotional abuse.
7 Relationship Red Flags
At the end of the day, it’s important to recognise red flags and to become more in-tune with ourselves so that we don’t tolerate behaviour we don’t deserve.
For a lot of people, staying with someone who is not good for them is the easier route, as so many individuals have such a fear of being alone that they stick around and endure.
Now is the time to reclaim your power and trust your gut instinct! Because if you’re experiencing one or more of these red flags in your relationship, you deserve better!
What is a ‘Red Flag’?
A red flag, in a literal sense, signifies a reason to stop. Think about what happens at sports games when a red flag is waved. The game is halted because of a foul, or the conditions are too dangerous to continue. Think about traffic lights. Red too means stop.
Figuratively, a red flag in a relationship is something that lets someone know that their partner is probably incapable of having a healthy partnership.
There are a lot of different red flags, some are more noticeable than others, and sometimes, it may take time to recognise a relationship red flag. Listening to your gut feeling and trusting your intuition, however, goes a long way when identifying different behaviours in a partner.
Here are 7 relationship red flags to look out for, whether you’re in a new partnership or a long term one.
1. Ex Bashing
We can tell a lot about a person by the way they talk about their exes. When someone continues to bash their ex or exes, it shows a lot of disrespect towards them. And while no relationship is perfect, watch how and when your partner talks about their previous relationships.
Do they use the word “crazy” to describe one or more partners? Or do they have a softer tone in which to describe a ‘bad’ relationship, such as saying: “Things didn’t end well, but I wish them all the best”?
Ex-bashing is a big red flag when they continue to talk ill of past partners, and there’s clearly unhealthy lingering feelings of anger and resentment.
2. One-Sided Attention and Entitlement
Whether it’s plain ol’ narcissism or they’re displaying a lack of interest in what you have to say, one-sided attention means that you’re not getting the attention you deserve.
Things to look out for would be if they continue to interject while you’re speaking, constantly talk only about themselves, and feel anxious when it’s their moment to listen to you.
You could also look out for their lack of self-accountability, a lack of empathy, and their ability to make everything about them.
3. Excessive Compliments
It’s always nice to hear a compliment. And during the honeymoon phase, words of affirmation and adoration are usually rife. But there is a red flag most likely to be found if your partner continuously tells you how perfect you are.
By doing this, they could either be buttering you up so that you melt, or they’ve created this seemingly flawless image of you in their head–an image that isn’t human (or both!).
This kind of behaviour could mean that they don’t really see you as you, and any imperfection could cause them to shatter.
4. (Subtle) Acts of Control
There are so many ways that someone can manipulate and control another, and many of these ways can be so subtle that they’re hard to recognise.
They may start guilting you when you want to see friends or family, saying something like you’re choosing another over them.
Another act of control could be them demanding that you either deactivate all your social media accounts, or give them all of your passwords so that they can monitor who you’re talking to.
Remember: you are 100 percent entitled to autonomy and privacy.
5. Hiding the Relationship Status
There’s a difference between someone who simply does not want to spill their personal lives on social media and beyond, and someone who actively hides or refuses to make their relationship status public to anyone.
What are they keeping secret? Well, perhaps you are the secret.
With today’s technology, it’s easy to let out pieces of personal information. And when a partner doesn’t want you to post photos of you two, tag them, or to list yourself as “in a relationship” with them, it can definitely be considered a relationship red flag.
If they’re especially shady about telling their friends and family about you after dating for some time, be cautious.
6. Violent Tendencies
We all have the capacity to get angry, doing things like punching a pillow out of frustration. But there is a fine line between letting out excess irritability in a healthy way, and violence.
If your partner is showing you violent tendencies, such as destructively hitting walls, getting into physical fights with others, or even showing violence towards animals, this is a major relationship red flag.
This could mean that they haven’t developed a healthy way of channelling their emotions, or it could mean that they lack empathy for others. This is not to say that they will ever be violent towards you, but this kind of behaviour is something to be concerned about in dating.
7. A Lack of Friends
When a partner has no friends, they may struggle to build and maintain relationships, and to connect with others. Soon, you may realise that they often lack personal culpability or a sense of drive, which may result in the same treatment towards you.
Not only that, but it’s healthy for partners to have their own friends and social lives apart from each other.
When one partner continuously relies on you to be their everything, you may experience misery, resentment, and even a feeling of suffocation.
While there are so many more relationship red flags, it would be simply impossible to list them all here.
We are incredibly complex human beings, but the main thing to remember is to always listen to your inner voice and know your worth. Settling could set you up for a lifetime of unhappiness, and we all deserve much better than that.