All relationships have their stumbling blocks. And that’s a good thing! How you and your partner resolve conflict is an important indicator of the long term viability of your relationship.
There’s a difference, however, between forgivable mistakes and bright red flags in a relationship waving in front of your face, saying PAY ATTENTION TO THIS!
Wondering what are red flags in a relationship? They are warning signs, that are sometimes very apparent and sometimes not so much, that can indicate if you are compatible in a relationship or not.
Here are some early relationship red flags that you should not ignore, as they may be signals that this relationship could be circling the drain.
1. Talking badly about an ex
If your partner goes on and on about how horrible their ex was, you have to ask yourself why a person would stay in a relationship that was so awful?
Either they were too weak to leave a dreadful situation, or they enjoyed being treated like dirt. Either way, you deserve a person who doesn’t feel the need to denigrate their ex.
Thisred flag in a new relationship also gives you an insight into what you can expect from your partner if you are separated in the future.
2. They practice a scorched-earth policy when you are fighting
It’s natural for things to escalate in the heat of an argument. But an early red flag in a relationship is if your partner goes from zero to 60 in 30 seconds, becoming livid as soon as you try to bring up a sensitive subject, or turning and leaving the room immediately, watch out.
A mature person enters a dialogue, even one that is unpleasant, with reflection and respect towards the other person, even if it is to disagree.
3. They are chronically moody
One day your partner is coming home with a bouquet of roses for you; a few hours later they sweep them out of the vase and throw them in the trash, blaming you for “ruining the mood.”
Don’t stick around to watch them swing back. The pendulum will just keep bouncing from left to right and there is nothing you can do to stabilize it. This is a very obvious red flag of an unhealthy relationship.
4. They tell you they love you, but their actions say otherwise
A day doesn’t go by that you don’t receive a text message, an email or a phone call where they are telling you that they love you. But in real life, it’s a different story.
They forget to show up for a date or they are constantly late. That promise to help you paint your apartment? Sorry, something else came up.
When you tell them you don’t feel like a priority to them, they point out all the messages of love they send to you. It’s easy to say you love someone, less so to show them with your actions.
Don’t ignore such red flags in relationships. Dump them and find someone who understands love is a verb.
5. You aren’t on the same page regarding fidelity
You think monogamy is essential in a long-term relationship. Or you don’t and wish to open up your couple to include other people. Whatever it is, you both need to be in agreement on this one, or someone is going to be unhappy.
Another distinct red flag in a relationship when dating is when you and the other person have different views about what fidelity means in a relationship.
Never disregard such red flag warning signs in a relationship as they would only end up hurting either one of you.
6. You hold differing views towards managing your finances
You live for your spreadsheets, allocating your monthly salary to exacting categories, never spending what you don’t have.
Your goal is to own a home in a few years, so you put aside enough each month for a future down payment. Your partner doesn’t want to “be tied down to material objects” and loves to “live off the grid.”
They are happy being a renter for life and frequently maxes out their credit cards because they just “had to get away to Hawaii” to clear their head. Don’t stick around; they aren’t going to change.
Find someone that shares the same outlook towards their personal finances, and you can start building your nest, and your nest egg, together.
Having immensely different financial goals is also a red flag in new relationships to look out for.
7. You want to marry, they want to stay single
They’ve told you from the start that they are against the institution of marriage. But you have your love-glasses on and are convinced you can change them.
After all, you’ve seen this happen with your best friend’s relationship (even though that marriage seems to be on the rocks). Listen! They told you from the beginning where they stood on formal commitment.
When a person shows you who they are, believe them. If a wedding is important to you, you need to walk away and find someone to whom this is also important.
If you don’t, you are condemning yourself to a relationship where there will always be this little piece of you left unsatisfied.
8. They use threats to coerce you
Remember that bully in fourth grade? The one that said if you didn’t fork over your lunch money, he was going to beat you up?
If your partner is using threats to get you to do something (like stay with them), this is the adult version of that same bully, only more dangerous. This type of controlling behavior is not healthy, and you can’t serve as their therapist.
Research shows that victims of violence in relationships often cite a multitude of reasons why they stayed despite being harassed, including a damaged sense of self-worth, fear, desire to be a savior, isolation, financial constraints, and more.
Do yourself a favor and break it off (even if they say they can’t live without you—that’s a threat, itself). They will do just fine without you, but if you stay, you will certainly suffer, mostly likely physically.
9. They’ve ceased being curious about you
They don’t ask you anything about yourself anymore. The conversations center around them. You walk away from your dates feeling invisible and unheard. Not a good match. Go find someone that wants to know every single detail about your day.
10. There are addiction issues you aren’t comfortable with
Addiction doesn’t necessarily mean drugs or alcohol (although it can). Your partner may be addicted to Candy Crush or sitting in front of Netflix all weekend long. It might be non-traditional things, such as food or shopping.
Whatever they use to soothe themselves or take themselves away from reality, if it is not a shared passion, it disrupts your connection. In the long-term, you are going to resent the object of their addiction.
Your choice is clear: either you pick up the same addiction, or you find someone whose idea of how to spend time together is more aligned with yours.
Proactively looking out for these red flags in a relationship can save you from a lot of heartaches later. You may think that you are in love and a few things can be forgiven because no relationship is perfect but there should be certain dealbreakers about stuff that is just not acceptable since it can cause major problems later in your relationship.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.