Red flags in a relationship signal behaviors, attitudes or dynamics that indicate unhealthy, abusive or incompatible patterns – warning signs that something is amiss no matter how attracted you feel. They suggest an unwise match even early on. Examples include controlling tendencies, unreliability, extreme moodiness, disrespect, excessive jealousy, manipulative behavior, anger issues, dishonesty, lack of empathy, addiction issues, rigid expectations of gender roles.
They contrast green flags which indicate nurturing behaviour that bode well for a caring, mutually supportive partnership. As shared by Dr Chandni Tugnait, a Psychotherapist, Life & Business Coach, and Founder-Director of Gateway of Healing, here are 7 red flags to look out for in a relationship.
While you may think your new relationship is great, don’t hurry through critical milestones. This may indicate impulsivity if your partner encourages you to move in, get engaged, or meet their family within the first few weeks. Impulsive people frequently struggle with commitment later in life. Take the time to understand someone properly before making any long-term commitments.
Peter Pan Syndrome:
This manifests when someone refuses to grow up or take responsibility. A relationship should be a dynamic journey of growth for both people involved. A red flag appears when only one partner is committed to growth and self-improvement while the other remains stagnant and unchanging. This imbalance can cause misalignment in perspectives, values, and life goals, resulting in a chasm that grows increasingly difficult to overcome over time.
Avoidance of Vulnerability:
Vulnerability is the foundation of strong emotional connections. If one or both partners regularly avoid revealing vulnerability, preferring to keep feelings under wraps and maintaining a constant mask of indifference or strength, intimacy and trust will not develop. Such avoidance may indicate underlying concerns of rejection or a deeply held belief that one’s genuine self is unworthy of being seen or loved.
Controlling or Demanding Behavior:
This could include things like telling you how to dress or act, wanting constant check-ins, isolating you from friends/family, insisting all time be spent together or making all the decisions. A controlling partner undermines personal autonomy and growth. Reconsider anyone who doesn’t respect your independence.
Manipulation and Lies:
Gaslighting, pathological lying, guilt trips and similar manipulation erodes self-confidence over time. Second guessing your perception of reality tears at mental wellbeing in harmful ways. Though we all make mistakes, repeated dishonesty destroys relationship foundations.
The Illusion of Perfection:
While it is natural to admire one’s mate, seeing them through the lens of constant perfection is a warning sign. Idolizing a spouse to the point where their imperfections are fully overlooked or dismissed can indicate a fear of facing reality in the relationship. This illusion of perfection hampers genuine connection by placing an unrealistic expectation on the partner to embody an ideal rather than being appreciated for who they truly are.
Different Core Values:
Relationships based on shared basic values are more likely to last. If you see significant disparities in your worldviews early on regarding finances, family planning, spirituality, or lifestyle goals, this indicates long-term incompatibility. Do not disregard gaps in the hopes that someone will change. Even after marriage, core values and beliefs tend to remain steady.