red flags waving in the wind

How to Spot Relationship Red Flags

In the dating world, you will most likely have already come across the notion of red flags in relationships. 

But what exactly are red flags, and what do you do if you think you’ve spotted red flags in your date’s or partner’s behaviour? 

As it can sometimes be difficult to identify red flags, we’ve pulled together some of the most common warning signs and what to do in such situations.

Beached boat with a lot of red flags in it

What are the red flags in a relationship?

Red flags are often defined as behaviours that are toxic and cause harm to individuals and the relationships they are in. Typical red flags tend to involve repeated behaviours that have a negative impact on you and leave you feeling uncertain. Sometimes such behaviours can be super obvious, other times they are very subtle which is what makes them difficult to identify. You might also find that initially, some toxic behaviours can feel extremely flattering, but with time turn out to be manipulative or even harmful.

It’s for all these reasons that it’s important to understand what red flags are, how they make you feel and how you can identify them.

Common red flags

Identifying red flags is often easier said than done, especially if you’re just at the beginning of a new relationship. Many red flags involve actions that make you think twice about a situation and what the other person just said or did.

To help you in identifying some red flags, here are a few common signs to keep an eye out for:

  1. There’s a lack of communication from your partner – whether it’s about how they’re feeling or what their plans are.
  2. You feel like you’re having to continuously adapt to their needs and wants, with very little to no compromise coming from them.
  3. Controlling behaviour and jealousy are common themes in your relationship.
  4. You feel like they are gaslighting you. This is manipulation in its most basic form and is a trait often associated with narcissistic behaviour.
  5. Narcissism – Narcissists are very ego-driven and only care about themselves and how everything relates to them and their feelings. 
  6. Any form of abuse (physical, mental and emotional).
  7. Ongoing addictions and substance abuse.
  8. They often have extreme emotional reactions concerning minor inconveniences or changes.
  9. Friends and family don’t get along with them and vice versa.
Man rubbing his temples looking stressed

Approaching red flags

So, you’ve identified some behaviours that you think are red flags – how do you address the situation and talk about them?

Although it may make you feel uncomfortable, never ignore a red flag, especially when your needs and safety are involved. Seek out help from friends, family or a trained professional, such as a therapist, to help you if you need more support in addressing the situation and keeping you safe.

If you’re in an intimate relationship with someone who has one or a few red flags, you may find it quite difficult to accept these behaviours as red flags, especially if you feel like everything else in your relationship is going well. Communicating your discomforts and discussing them openly with your partner will allow you to learn from the situation. You may even find that your partner isn’t aware of how their behaviour is making you feel or that they’re already trying to work on it. If this is the case, maybe you can start to work on it together. 

Whether you break through or break up will be up to many different factors, with one major one being your safety and whether your needs are being met in a healthy way. A red flag doesn’t have to mean your relationship has to come to an end. If the other person is willing to work at it, then that’s great! However, ensure that your communication is strong and that you establish a healthy level of give and take.

The key takeaway is to listen to your gut feeling and not ignore the red flags. Seek support if you need it and communicate openly with your partner and your support network.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to build healthy relationships in your life, whether with your friends, family or intimate partner, sign up to the Lovedoc waitlist where you will receive the newest updates for the app’s launch.

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