Love is blind, they say. When we’re in a new relationship, we tend to overlook some big *neon* signs and red flags in a relationship that really help you see who your partner is. And if they are a good fit for you.
After a relationship ends, we always think about the red flags in a relationship we saw but completely ignored. Did he hate your friends? Never met your parents? Did she manipulate you to get her way?
It’s always easy to look back and see the big lightbulb flashing over your head, where you go “oh, I knew this person was bad all along!” But somehow, we don’t see it when it matters.
When we start liking someone, it’s easier to ignore the relationship red flags and continue living a lie in your head. After all, they’re just tiny nothings, right? It’s not a big deal if they have a tiny flaw, is it?
But if you do want to be happy in love, you should keep your eyes out for the most important red flags in a relationship, and focus on them even if everything seems rosy and picture-perfect in your new romance! These are definitely non-negotiables you should never ignore.
Ignore these red flags, and you’re only wasting several months *or even years* staying in a relationship that’ll only leave you feeling far worse and broken.
[Read: The 9 non-negotiables in a relationship that will break any relationship]
Let’s get some things straight. What is the meaning of a red flag in a relationship? Relationship red flags are subtle signs we notice in someone we date that trigger a bad feeling about your future together.
It doesn’t have to be all bad *not everyone is a serial killer, after all* but sometimes, it’s a matter of compatibility. For example, you want to have kids sometime in future but the person you’re dating has absolutely no interest in ever having a baby or taking care of one. See? It’s not a bad thing, but it is a red flag because you both are bound to hit this crossroad at some point. [Read: 50 important relationship questions to test your compatibility instantly]
Chewing with your mouth open or wearing socks with holes aren’t red flags. They may be your pet peeves, but they don’t hold power to emotionally and mentally harm you *unless you really can’t stand socks with holes*.
Though you may know of the more common red flags like physical abuse, many red flags are camouflaged and tricky to spot right away. Of course, you end up realizing they’re red flags months or years into the relationship, and it just makes things harder.
[Read: How to know when a relationship isn’t working with these 15 revealing signs]
It’s always best to spot the red flags nice and early to avoid the painful process of going through a breakup. If you’re in a new relationship and are having some doubts about it, then it’s probably for a good reason.
But what are the red flags? Good question. We have you covered. These relationships red flags are the ones you need to look for and not ignore. Don’t be love-blind!
Unless you’re 18, this is not a good thing. Especially if all their relationships in the past were friends-with-benefits or one-night-stands. Short-term casual relationships are fine if that’s something both of you want.
But if you’re dating someone who’s never defined any of their previous relationships, you’re either dating someone who’s too immature or someone who doesn’t want to commit to anyone. [Read: When they’re not ready for a serious relationship just yet – Should you wait or walk away?]
It’s cute when they text you asking you where you are. And then after the fifth text, it starts getting a little too much. If they’re constantly asking what you’re doing, who you’re with—this is a relationship red flag, especially early into the relationship.
This behavior only becomes worse, and may result in them prohibiting you from seeing certain friends and family members. [Read: 23 early warning signs of a possessive man and the best ways to fix it ASAP]
In a healthy relationship, you’re going to have to compromise. But your partner refuses to meet you in the middle. Instead, they stand their ground and refuse to find a happy medium for the both of you.
What happens is you end up doing everything they want to do without getting your needs met. [Read: How to make your partner better… can it actually be done?]
You’re always the one who plans everything. Whether it’s a movie night at home or dinner out, you always need to make the first move. Making plans isn’t easy, it takes effort.
If you’re the only one putting in the effort, this is a problem. Your relationship is one-sided. [Read: The hidden signs of a one-sided relationship we all want to ignore]
Everyone has their own personal boundaries, and the people who know us respect those boundaries. But if this person oversteps the line and doesn’t care when you express your concern, they simply aren’t interested in making you feel safe and secure.
Or they may be trying to push you to see if you’ll push back. If someone does something knowing it’ll hurt you or offend you, it clearly shows they’re trying to play a game of who gives in first. And you should never be with someone who shows this kind of a red flag in a relationship. [Read: 15 signs of a lack of respect in a relationship you should never ignore]
Is your significant other going out with their friends without inviting you? Of course, we all need time to hang out with our own friends. But if you’ve never met them within a month or two of dating, that’s a red flag.
If they like you and are sincere about dating you, they should be introducing you to their friends and showing you off.
There are a couple of reasons for this behavior. They either do not want to show themselves as in a relationship or they feel that their friends and family will not approve of you. Either way, you deserve better treatment than that.
You have been dating for a few months, and you feel the relationship can be something more than just “hanging out.”
But every time you bring up the conversation to define the relationship or ask “what are we,” your partner deflects the conversation or doesn’t want to label the relationship as anything. Not a good sign. They’re not going to commit to you. [Read: When to define the relationship – 20 signs it may be right now]
In healthy relationships, you need to be open and honest with your partner. No one should be keeping secrets and lying to one another.
So, if you’re finding out they’re hiding important things from you or straight up lying to your face, that’s a solid red flag in a relationship. [Confession: The biggest lessons I learned after being lied to for five years]
Do they expect you to do something for them to prove your love for them? Or do they tell you that you should do something because they’re your partner?
Guilt-tripping is one of the worst red flags in a relationship. And if you stay in this relationship, you will age fifty years in a very short period. [Read: 10 guilt-free ways to handle guilt trippers in your life]
There’s a reason why people don’t have any friends. If they’re shy and have a very close circle of friends, that’s different.
If the only people they socialize with are their grandma and uncle, this is a clear sign something is wrong with their socialization skills. This could mean they’re highly codependent or unable to form healthy relationships. [Read: How to spot codependent behavior early on and regain your identity]
Sometimes, your friends and family won’t like your partner for reasons that shouldn’t be a problem, such as race or religion.
But then there are times when your family and friends simply don’t like your partner for their behavior. If this is the case, they’re seeing something in this person that you’re not able to see because you’re clouded by love.
There’s an old saying, “How a man treats his mother is how he will treat his wife.” This applies to both genders and is absolutely true. Meet the parents.
You’ll be able to see how their relationship is and whether there is mutual respect within the family. If they don’t treat their own parents nicely, you’re not special. They’re not going to treat you nicely either.
You don’t feel there’s equal power between you. Instead, there’s a severe power imbalance, where your needs aren’t being met. You feel more submissive, and your partner has become controlling. [Read: How to pull back in a relationship when you’re giving too much]
It’s been months of dating, and you have yet to appear on their social media. Now, some people aren’t active on social media or have an account and never go on, that’s one thing.
But if they’re frequent on social media and you’re not in any photos or posts, that’s a little odd. It doesn’t sound like you’re a long-term option.
All your partner’s exes are crazy? Every. Single. One. Isn’t that just a little weird? How can they all be crazy? If all their exes were described as “crazy” then you know who the “crazy” one is—they’re sitting right across from you. So… run.
This is a huge red flag as it shows they have never self-reflected or acknowledged their own behavior within their past relationships. They love to play the victim card.
We have all said some things during a heated argument that we wish we didn’t say. However, if your arguments with your partner are filled with extremely hateful and negative phrases and names—this is not okay and is one of those big relationship red flags.
Name-calling only gets worse as time goes on, and shows a clear disrespect towards you. This name-calling can also turn into more physical behavior. [Read: 30 questions for a new relationship to help build a bond early]
Gaslighting is dangerous and can seriously affect the way you see reality and your own world. After all, when someone you trust as a lover manipulates you with your own words, can you trust anything at all? [Read: How to spot gaslighting in a relationship and shut it down right away]
When you’re talking to your partner, do they seem to make you second-guess yourself on things you’ve said in past conversations? They’re messing with your head and altering your reality. This is extremely dangerous and will only get worse. [Read: 16 signs your lover is messing with your mind by gaslighting you]
This one is usually not a good sign. If your partner is rushing into the relationship, you need to ask yourself why. What happened in their past? This could be a rebound or the case of serial monogamy.
Either way, you don’t want that. You want someone who wants you, not someone who just needs to be in a relationship for the sake of it.
Do they ever ask you how you’re feeling? How was your day? What do you feel like doing today? These may not seem like big questions, but they are. They show you that this person cares about you.
But if your partner never asks you about yourself, are they really interested in you?
We can tease and poke fun at our partners, family, and friends, but there’s a line between doing it with a light heart and purposely insulting someone to bring them down.
If they’re publicly insulting you and try to mask it with “you’re just being sensitive,” we have a problem. [Read: How self-respect affects you and your relationships]
Now, if a stranger did something towards you that was harmful, and then they were angry, that’s one thing. But if this person is simply rude and disrespectful to your waiter or your Uber driver for no reason, that’s not a good sign.
If they can treat someone they don’t know with such disrespect, you’re not going to get treated much better. [Read: How to read the signs of self-centered people and learn to avoid them]
You’ve never really heard them say sorry, and if they do, it’s not genuine. If they can’t apologize for something they did towards you, that’s a huge problem. Not being able to take responsibility for oneself isn’t a quality you want in a partner.
You may not think this is a big deal, but this is a major relationship red flag. The inability to apologize essentially shows they do not take any responsibility and ownership for their actions.
Every fight will be your fault. Anything that goes bad, will be because of you. It’s not worth it, arguing with them is like running in a circle. The best thing to do is stay far away from people like this. [Read: 13 traits of toxic people that can hurt or damage you]
Maybe they saw a picture on Facebook of you and a friend of the opposite gender and got a little jealous. However, when someone accuses you of cheating on them, especially when they have no evidence, they may just be projecting their actions onto you.
Usually, those who are extremely defensive are so because they have done it themselves. Their accusations might be manifestations of their guilt and paranoia of you finding out the truth. [Read: 18 ingenious ways to catch a cheating partner]
Not everyone who cheats will always be a cheater—everybody has their reasons. But, if you’re the one they cheated with, most likely, you will be cheated on and this is one of those relationship red flags you just can’t shove under the carpet.
This behavior shows they have never actually been alone and had time to process any breakup. Moving from relationship to relationship without going through the breakup aftermath is not a good sign.
Relationships are built on mutual respect. If you’re the one doing all the cleaning, cooking, and activity planning, this isn’t a relationship, it’s called parenting.
This also shows they are not fully invested in the relationship and are looking more for a free ride. So, kick them to the curb, they can find someone else to be their slave. [Read: 12 subtle signs you’re being manipulated by your lover]
If you have a couple of extra pounds around your tummy and they’re aware that you’re self-conscious about it, they should just never bring it up, or they should help you to embrace it.
If they’re calling you names and shaming you, this is a method of control and manipulation. That behavior has no place in a healthy relationship and will continue to get worse over time. [Read: We accept the love we deserve – Why aren’t you worthy?]
Okay, it may be early in the relationship, and their life’s ambitions, goals and work ethics don’t matter right away. However, what happens if this relationship turns into a long-term one? Do you see this person jump from one job to another? Or do they just slack all responsibility off onto someone else?
You need a partner with a similar work ethic to you. If you have a strong work ethic and your partner is more relaxed, what will happen is you will end up taking on most of the responsibilities.
Remember a relationship is based on two people being involved, not one person doing most of the work while the other is on the couch. [Read: 21 big signs of emotional abuse you may be overlooking]
If they don’t like you the way you are, there’s the door. This relationship red flag is a tricky one because many people do not notice their significant other changing them.
This requires manipulative skills which should never be used within a relationship. They may suggest you change your look, cut your hair in a different way, or change the way you speak.
Most people will listen to their partner, but eventually, you look in the mirror and see a completely different person. Is that what you want? Is that what love is? You know it’s not. [Read: 12 signs it’s time to jump ship and leave your partner]
No means no. Has your partner refused to stop doing something after you’ve asked them nicely to stop? If your significant other is constantly pushing your boundaries when you’ve clearly stated no, this shows they will continue to do so until the situation may turn violent.
They clearly don’t respect you, and want what they want, even if it means they have to manipulate you. This is a big red flag in a relationship you shouldn’t ignore. [Read: How to set boundaries in a relationship – 15 rules for healthy love]
Many people may be thinking, “Oh, this is obvious.” But when you’re in a relationship, it may be hard to notice certain types of abusive behavior. If they call you names, shame you, act manipulatively, or make you cry—this is abusive behavior. You must leave the relationship.
Violence isn’t always physical, and can take many forms. The end goal is to break you down, physically or mentally, and if they’re trying to do that, it is abuse! [Read: 21 big signs of emotional abuse you may be ignoring]
It could be something small at first, like your partner feeling uncomfortable with your daily routine. And then it’s a friend of yours they don’t like. And then they try to convince you your best friend or your parents are only using you or taking advantage of you.
You may not realize this at first and assume your partner is only helping you. But if you do see signs where they’re trying to get you to cut off friendships or isolate you from everyone you love in your life, chances are, they’re not trying to help you. They’re trying to isolate you so you have to depend on your partner for everything!
[Read: 18 emotions you shouldn’t feel in a healthy relationship]
While physically controlling partners are easy to recognize, the emotionally controlling partner is the worst there is, because you won’t EVER recognize them, not at least at first!
They’re totally vulnerable and place you on a pedestal at first, and just as you start to believe you hold the reins in the relationship, they cut your feet from under and control you completely. [Read: 23 subtle signs of a controlling boyfriend most girls have no idea about]
At first, they appreciate what you’re doing for them. But in no time, this appreciation turns into expectations and demands. Within a month or so of dating each other, they expect you to answer their phone call no matter what, or text back immediately, or plan all the dates.
What starts off as gratitude turns into demands, and no matter what you do, they’re never grateful for it, they just expect you to do it because it’s your “job” to please them.
A partner who flakes on you is untrustworthy and a bit of a user as well. If you’re dating someone who seems to change plans at their whims and fancies, they don’t love you. They love the idea of having you as a backup to spend time with, when they have nothing better to do.
If you’ve made plans together, a person who loves you would be happy to spend time with you even if it means a walk in a park or a quiet night at home. But if they ditch you for their friends every time you don’t have anything exciting planned out, walk away because this is a relationship red flag that will only hurt you and leave you feeling used.
It’s never easy to notice these red flags, especially when you’re in love with someone. After all, this person could seem like a perfect catch in every other way – they’re attractive, interesting, great in bed, and what-not.
If you notice even ONE of these red flags, that’s a sign that this person will always make you feel bad. And remember, love is a beautiful thing. And love is not supposed to make you feel bad.
[Read: 15 signs of a bad relationship you should never ever tolerate]
No one wants to look for red flags in a relationship early on, but you should. The last thing you want is to invest your time and energy into someone who’s not right for you.
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