The start of a relationship is such an exciting and happy time. Everything seems brighter, you have a skip in your step and your heart jumps every time you hear your phone ‘ding’ in the hopes it’s your new love messaging to tell you they’re thinking about you. Nawww. I love the way relationships start in this beautiful and blissful time. But as your relationship evolves, you there are some relationship red flags you need to be aware of.
The point of being aware of a red flag in a relationship isn’t so you can get out of there and run as fast as you can (although, it needs to be said that domestic violence, whether physical, verbal or emotional isn’t just a red flag, it’s a ticking time bomb waiting to go off and you do need to get out). Being aware of these red flags means you know what to look for, what could potentially lead to something being a bigger issue and may indicate that you aren’t actually that compatible.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, and just because something on the list resonates with you, doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed. It means that there’s a red flag in your relationship that you need to pay attention to and address.
These red flags don’t go away on their own. It’s not a ‘head in the sand’ kind of situation where if you just forget about it you’ll move on. They need to be addressed and worked through otherwise they will keep coming up and can potentially snowball into much, much bigger issues down the track.
Or it could just mean that the two of you aren’t on the same page with this relationship and you are better off finding someone who is a better match for you.
Be sure to keep an eye out for these red flags in your relationship:
1 – You Don’t Really Talk Much…
Communication is essential in every relationship. It’s cliche because it’s true. Maybe your relationship is more physical than it is talkative, and that’s okay, but you need to accept it for what it is and that it cannot work in the long term.
My first serious relationship lasted almost 5 years and we never discussed any serious life issues or talked about our aspirations, what we wanted to do or where we wanted to be. We were too scared that they wouldn’t align and that it would mean our relationship was over. Such typical ‘young love’.
A relationship that doesn’t involve communication is immature and cannot possibly grow. If you’re finding you don’t talk much, or you once did talk and communicate well, but you don’t anymore, this is a relationship red flag and you need to address it, even if it does make you feel uncomfortable.
2 – You Haven’t Met Any Family or Friends
You know that feeling when you’re in a relationship and you can’t wait to ‘show off’ your new partner to the world? Being Facebook official isn’t enough, you want them to hang out with your friends, be part of your family and just ‘fit’ in your world? This is totally normal.
If you haven’t met any family or friends, and they can’t give a really, really good explanation why, then this is not normal. (And by really, really good explanation I mean that their parents are trekking in Nepal with limited internet and their friends with them…).
When someone is happy and excited to be in a relationship, they naturally want you to be part of their world. If you find they are making excuse after excuse, this is a big red flag and you need to find out what the deal is.
3 – They Make You Feel Like You Can’t Spend Time With Your Family or Friends
At the start of a relationship, you want to spend a whole heap of time with your new love. You have added another dimension into the mix when it comes to dividing your time between work, friends and family, so naturally, you’ll spend a little less time with friends and family than before.
Maybe you’ll go away for weekends together, when you would have previously spent time with your friends or had dinner with your parents. It’s okay, you’re wanting to nurture this new relationship and your friends and family should be totally understanding (albeit they may give you a little grief).
The issue arises when you completely cut off your friends or family because your new partner makes you feel like you need to spend all of your time with them.
This one can be a sneaky issue that crops up without you even realising and is often disguised in loving gestures. They may book in a date night when they know you already had plans to meet friends, they’ll pull you back in for cuddles and say they just want to snuggle when you’re getting ready to leave to meet with your family. Or they will come up with reasons why your friends and family don’t like them.
Anytime you bring the issue up they make it seem like all they want is to spend more time with you and can make you feel guilty for not wanting the same. This is a dangerous zone to be in because you start to feel confused and you might even start to modify your behaviour because you don’t want to upset them.
Cutting you off from your friends and family are traits of a narcissistic personality and is a major, major red flag in a relationship. You may find to address this issue properly you need the help of a relationship counsellor who can help you identify whether the issues are based around insecurities and can be improved upon, or are issues with a narcissist.
4 – You Feel Like You Always Have To Justify or Explain Yourself
A lot of women naturally feel like they have to explain their actions, but if you feel like you have to explain or justify everything you do, or anything in your past when you’re in a relationship, then just watch that red flag rise up.
Be mindful this is different to explaining when telling the story of our past, or telling the story of our actions. If we feel like we can offer the information freely, without judgement or without feeling like we need to modify the story in case we upset the other person, then that is totally different.
This is something that often comes up when discussing past relationships. Insecurities start to show (from both sides) however we need to remember that each person in the relationship had their own lives before the relationship and they do not have to justify any of their decisions or actions.
If you are finding that this is something that has continued into the present tense, and you feel like you need to justify everything then keep in mind this is something you need to discuss with your partner and work out why you feel this way.
It may not even be the ‘big’ and obvious things like explaining why you spent the night out with your friends, but even why the dishes haven’t been done, or being asked ‘what did you do all day?’
Anytime you feel like the justification is required to satisfy the other person, then you need to ask why this is happening.
5 – You’re Sad More Often Than You’re Happy
All relationships have their ups and downs, and as people, we have our ups and downs too. Stress gets to us, emotions run high, hormones, commitments, expectations… it can all build up and it’s okay to have sad days. It’s okay to have sad weeks. It’s okay if you need to let it all out and not feel like you have to put on a happy face.
But… if your relationship is making you sad more often than it’s making you happy then this is a red flag.
Often when we are in relationships that do make us unhappy, we try to protect ourselves by not thinking about it and passing it off as just a phase. But a truly happy relationship comes when you can reflect upon yourself and your relationship and honestly ask yourself if the relationship makes you happy and fits in the life you want to live.
It’s not easy to do, and requires self confidence and self esteem, but you deserve to be happy and you deserve to be in a relationship that makes you happy more often than not.
6 – You Fight… A Lot
Keep in mind, there is a big difference between fighting and arguing. If you have a big personality, and you’re in a relationship with someone with a big personality, then chances are you’re going to argue, and that’s okay. I know plenty of people in happy and successful relationships even though they have regular heated discussions because they do it in a respectful way and they understand how to communicate effectively with each other.
But, if you find you are fighting a lot in your relationship (yelling, name calling, feeling scared or put down, personal attacks, actual threats, determined to be ‘right’) then chances are you’re ticking the box for more than just one red flag on this list.
Fighting does not mean the end of a relationship, sometimes fighting happens when we don’t know how to communicate effectively and our default is to fight. But this does take a lot of work to get through and you need to make sure you are both committed to doing it (and if it’s you that’s instigating the fighting then you absolutely need to address it, because it will come up again and again in your relationships).
7 – You’re Not On The Same Page When Talking About Future Ideas and Aspirations
You want to travel, he wants to stay and build his career. You want to save money for your future, he wants to spend it all on the latest gadgets and toys. You want to wait until your 30’s to have kids, he is pushing you to commit to making a family now. You want to get married, he doesn’t ‘believe’ in marriage and doesn’t care that it is important to you.
You don’t have to be on the exact same page on every single topic when it comes to your future, but you should at least be on the same book.
Even if you do want different things, that’s okay. You can compromise and support each other in achieving your goals. However, if you find there’s no room for compromise, there’s no support given only support expected and if you feel like you’re giving up everything to make your partner happy, then this is a sign your relationship may not last the distance.
Not all relationships need to be future based, and sometimes you may find (especially if you’re younger) you do grow together. But you will know deep down if this is the case or not. You will know if you have support from your partner, or if they want you to change everything for them. You’ll feel it. You may not want to admit it, but you’ll feel it. Trust your gut.
Relationships are difficult and unique to everyone and there’s not a one size fits all model. As long as there is respect and love in a relationship, most obstacles can easily be overcome.
If any of these red flags are present in your relationship, and you can address them and discuss them in a respectful and loving manner then that is amazing. Sometimes you may need outside help, and that’s okay too.
A red flag doesn’t mean the end of a relationship, it simply means you need to pay a little more attention to particular areas.