If these relationship red flags pop up, run.
By Susie & Otto Collins — Last updated on Jul 26, 2023
Photo: Netpixi / Shutterstock
“Is it normal that my husband…?”
Have you ever wondered whether or not something your partner just said or did is normal and okay? Many of us second-guess ourselves.
You feel insulted, rejected, or maybe even betrayed, but are conflicted about what to do and whether you’re just making a big deal out of nothing.
You worry that bringing up the offending words or behavior will heighten tension or start a fight, but the hurt and confusion remain.
The way your partner is acting seems like a huge red flag.
It can be tough to know when to speak up and ask your partner to make a change, and when to just let it go. We all have bad or “off” days once in a while, and you may just blow off how annoyed or offended you feel.
Our advice to you is to stop ignoring your partner’s upsetting words and actions. Just because you look around at other people’s relationships and see the very same behaviors, this doesn’t mean you have to put up with it and suffer in silence.
Do not normalize these 10 relationship red flags:
1. He tells you that you’re fat
Even if it’s disguised as a joke, if your partner criticizes your weight or certain parts of your body, you don’t have to grit your teeth and listen. Even if you could stand to lose a few pounds, that is your decision to make — not his.
2. He ignores you
If he consistently tunes you out, refuses to talk, or is constantly distracted by the game, his phone or anything else, this could mean your relationship is in the danger zone. No matter how busy your partner is, you shouldn’t have to jump up and down trying to get his attention.
3. He says one thing and does another
When your partner nods and says “yes, dear” only to do the complete opposite of what he just agreed to, this is not okay. Watch for observable examples of whether or not his words match his actions.
4. He yells at you when drunk
We all lose our cool occasionally. If your man screams and yells at you when he’s drunk and then blames it on the booze, this is no excuse.
5. He forbids you from contact with friends or family
Nobody has the right to tell you whom you can talk to or spend time with, and this includes your partner. If he has a jealousy problem, stay calm and set boundaries. If he’s truly concerned for your well-being, listen, and consider his words but know that this is your choice to make.
6. He sleeps around when drunk
“I was wasted; it meant nothing,” is not a valid excuse. Cheating is cheating and needs to be acknowledged and addressed.
7. He lies and breaks promises
Even “white lies” or “little” broken promises are bad for trust. Make sure that you’re creating an environment that promotes honesty and follow through but do take lying seriously.
8. He puts you down
There’s a difference between a suggestion or helpful critique and a comment that is disrespectful and puts you down. Take a moment to really think about the words your partner said. Was he putting you down or were you hearing what he said through your own self-negative filter?
9. He is abusive
Whether it’s physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional, abuse is never okay. It’s not healthy for you, and you don’t have to subject yourself to it any longer. Make your safety and well-being your top priority.
10. He refuses to commit
This one is tricky, and it mainly applies to non-married couples. It’s always your partner’s choice whether or not he will commit to your relationship in the way you want him to.
He’s not wrong about it. But, if you are firm about wanting to be monogamous, to move in together, to get engaged, have children or to get married and he refuses to make that kind of commitment, this is a problem and a sign that you two might not be a match.
As you decide whether or not something your partner says or does is okay with you, remember a few things. It doesn’t mean the situation is all his fault. It doesn’t mean you should threaten to break up with him (unless you really do it).
It doesn’t mean he “owes” you and it doesn’t mean that you should punish him in some way.
When he does something that’s not okay, it means that it’s time for you to take a second look at how things are in your relationship. It’s likely that whatever is going on is not beneficial for you, and it’s probably not healthy for your relationship either.
Decide what your next move will be. Will you create agreements with him to put changes in motion? Will you consider whether or not it’s wise for you to stay in the relationship at all? Will you make some internal changes that could significantly affect his behavior?
The choice is yours to make. Remember, you deserve to be treated with respect, kindness, and love.
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Susie and Otto Collins are relationship coaches and authors who help couples communicate, connect and create the relationship they desire.