24 Relationship Red Flags That Scream ‘Run’
Most of us have made dating mistakes. Almost everyone has that ex that makes them wonder, “What was I thinking?” It’s easy for these errors to make us afraid to commit, but you don’t have to stay single for the rest of your life.
Good and bad relationships tend to follow similar patterns. If you know what to look for, it becomes easy to spot signs that indicate the good, the bad and the downright ugly. Here are a slew of red and green flags to look out for and help you determine if you’re with the right partner. Good luck!
Red Flags Mean Run
Some individuals are damaged, and you might want to rescue them. Save yourself instead.
If you spot the following red flags, you’re probably in for heartache down the line.
They Make You Feel Second Best
A partner who puts you down, makes fun of you or generally takes personal swipes at you in the early stages of your relationship is bad news. It’s a sign that they have low self-esteem. They put you down to make themselves feel superior.
News flash: It’s not going to get better. You should really choose someone who treats you like you’re special.
They’re Sending Mixed Signals
“‘Cause you’re hot then you’re cold. You’re yes then you’re no.” We all know the lyrics to Katy Perry’s “Hot N Cold” because it’s an all-too-common tale — one minute they love you, the next, they’re indifferent.
Generally speaking, this is a sign of someone playing games. It’s a way to keep you off balance. But someone who truly loves you won’t subject you to this emotional rollercoaster ride.
In a mature, healthy relationship, it’s normal for relationships to go through ups and downs, but it’s not normal for you to never know where you stand. A good test is to ask yourself if you can rely on the other person. If the answer is no at the beginning of the relationship, it won’t improve down the line.
They Ignore You
We don’t mean that they never visit. What we’re referring to is more subtle. It’s consistently texting someone when they’re with you. It’s not listening to what you say or giving you thoughtful feedback or advice.
It’s normal for your partner to switch off once in a while. If that’s the norm, however, what are you getting from the relationship? What happens when things get tough, and you need assistance?
They Never Support Your Aspirations
If you have dreams, your partner should want you to achieve them. They should support you no matter what, even if the goal seems too ambitious.
It’s a red flag if they laugh at your aims and tell you you’ll never make it. A supportive partner will look into ways to help you achieve what you set out to do. They might have doubts, but they’ll raise those constructively. Instead of saying something like, “You’ll never pass your exams,” they’ll try to help you study.
So, if your partner tries to sabotage your goals, run. It’s a sign that they feel insecure and will do anything to hold onto you. That’s not loving; it’s pure selfishness.
They Want to Move to Sex Before You’re Ready
Most of us like hooking up. There’s nothing wrong with a partner hoping that the two of you will knock boots. A red flag is when you’re not ready, but your partner doesn’t want to wait.
If they try to pressure you or guilt you into it anyway, there’s no future with them. This action shows a fundamental lack of respect for you and your boundaries.
Everything’s About Them
A good relationship is a two-way street. If you’re the one compromising all the time, you’re not in a respectful relationship. When your partner expects you to do all the work, or if everything is always about them, find someone else.
Someone who’s too self-absorbed to show interest in you at the start won’t be there for you when you need them down the line.
They Don’t Compliment You
There’s a difference between insincere flattery and showing your approval of someone. If your partner never tells you that you look great or compliments on anything, like your cooking and so on, be wary.
Why would someone be in a relationship with someone if they don’t see anything useful in them? If they do see something good in you, why aren’t they bolstering your self-esteem once in a while?
They’re Not Interested in Your Family or Friends
If your friends and family are important to you, they should be important to your partner. We’re not saying that they have to be best buds, but they should try to get along. They should want to make a good impression.
If they don’t want to get close, it might be because they want to isolate you from your support structure. Make a point of introducing your partner and your family and friends. They might see things that you don’t.
Your Friends Hate Them
If mentioning your partner to your friends causes a fight, it’s time to re-evaluate the relationship. Find out why your friends dislike your partner so much.
Sometimes, it’s jealousy, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, your friends don’t approve of the way your partner treats you.
They Don’t Introduce You to Their Friends and Family
This is one of the most suspicious signs if you’ve been dating for a while. At best, it means that they’re embarrassed of you. At worst, it means that they’re hiding you because they’re already with someone.
When people are in love, they want to integrate you into every aspect of their lives. Maybe they’re not that close to their families. That’s OK. But take care if they don’t introduce you to anyone else in their lives.
They Tell You You’re Nuts
Occasionally teasing you and saying, “You’re nuts,” if you say you’re ugly, is acceptable. Saying, “You’re crazy,” when you call them out on their behavior isn’t. It’s a way of invalidating your feelings and your experiences. They’re not mature enough to own up to their part in the conflict, so they aren’t worth dealing with any further.
An excellent way to tell early on is how they describe their exes. If they say every ex was crazy, take a step back. There’s seldom just one person involved in trashing a relationship. You deserve someone who’ll take ownership of their role.
They Have a Roving Eye
You don’t expect your partner to ignore the hottie in the corner thoroughly, but you do expect them to bring their focus back to you. If they look like they’re always on the prowl, they probably are. When your back is turned, you can be sure that they’ll be after that hottie’s digits.
Even if they don’t plan to cheat, it’s disrespectful because it leaves you feeling bad about yourself.
There’s never an excuse for cheating. The basic agreement in a relationship is that it’s the two of you in it together. If you could restrain yourself, you have every right to expect the same from your partner.
Keep in mind that if they’ve done it once, they’ll likely do it again. Even if they don’t, it’ll be difficult to rebuild trust.
They Keep You Waiting When You Message
You don’t expect your partner to answer you immediately all the time. That’s not reasonable. If you find that you’re always waiting for them to get back to you, even though your responses are prompt, they’re not that into you.
Speak to them about it. It might be that they don’t see the texting in quite the same way as spending time with you. If they neither text nor want to spend time with you, run.
Jealousy may make you feel loved initially, but excessive jealousy is a warning sign. Signs of extreme jealousy include:
- Your partner doesn’t want you to spend time with anyone else.
- Someone looking at you sets them off.
- You must account for every minute of your day.
- They pull the, “It’s not that I don’t trust you, I don’t trust them” excuse.
- They tell you not to dress provocatively.
They Bring Past Experiences Into Your Relationship
OK, if they’re jealous because of being burned in past relationships, we get that you might be able to move past it. Being cheated on previously may make it challenging to trust in the future.
That’s understandable, but people who’ve experienced this hurt must take steps to deal with it. It’s not reasonable for your partner to be excessively jealous because someone else cheated on them.
They’re Never to Blame
Here we’re dealing with someone who might border on having a narcissistic personality disorder. A well-adjusted person will accept blame when they’re at fault. Someone who never takes responsibility for when they’re wrong is fighting serious insecurities of their own.
If this is coupled with lying, putting you down or telling you that you’re crazy, it’s time to move on. These are all signs that the person could be a narcissist. They’ll consistently work to break you down and may not even realize that they’re doing it. Eventually, you’ll do something that makes them end the relationship. Save yourself the heartache and leave.
They Keep on Threatening to Break Up
A loving relationship is two people working toward a common purpose. If your partner threatens to break up with you regularly, they’re manipulative.
You deserve better because they’ll repeat this behavior whenever they don’t get their way.
They Let You Down Often
Missing the odd date here and there is normal. If your partner keeps canceling on you last minute, they’ve got something better to do. They don’t respect you or your time.
Remember: If your partner loves you, they’ll want to spend time with you. They won’t want to let you down.
You Never Go on an Actual Date
Your partner doesn’t have to take you out to fancy restaurants all the time. However, if you always hang out at home instead of going out in public, be careful.
Even if money’s an issue, you can spend time at parks and free museums. If you get the feeling that your partner is hiding you, listen to that instinct. If you’ve never met their friends or parents on top of that, it’s a sure sign that you’re not their only partner or they have serious commitment issues.
They Make You Feel Bad About What You Like
Our partners often tease us about things that we like when they disagree. There’s a difference between good-natured ribbing and making you feel like you’re an idiot.
No one says that your partner has to love everything that you do. They do, however, have to respect that there are things that you love.
You Never Discuss the Long-Term
We’re not talking about discussing wedding plans on your first date. If you’ve been together for a few months, and your partner won’t make holiday plans with you, you must be careful.
Why don’t they want to make plans? Is it because they’re not as invested in the relationship?
You Feel You Must Make Excuses for Your Partner
It’s normal for your partner to act out once in a while. If you frequently find yourself making excuses for their behavior, it’s time to get out. Examples might be them being rude to your friends or staying out drinking all night.
The point is that you shouldn’t have to apologize or rationalize a grown adult’s behavior.
You Feel Stressed All the Time
Seventy-four percent of us have felt stressed to the point we feel overwhelmed.
If your relationship leaves you feeling overwhelmed most of the time, it’s time to break the cycle.
Should You Leave?
Now that you know what the red flags are, should you leave? If you see one or two of the signs, you could speak to your partner about it. They might merely be acting because they don’t know better.
If you see a combination of many of the signs, or your partner ignores you when you raise the issues, we’re going to have to suggest that you cut the cord.
Green Flags Mean the Relationship’s a Go
Now that we’ve covered the red flags, let’s look for those green flags that mean your partner’s a keeper.
Yes, there are some!
You Are Yourself
It’s normal to emphasize your best features when you start dating. The test of a real relationship is how your partner reacts to your true self.
If you’re able to be yourself and not afraid of your partner to see you at your worst, you have a keeper.
You Are Content
It’s easy to be blissfully in love at the start of a relationship. When that euphoria wears off, and you still feel content, it’s a great sign.
If seeing your partner leaves you feeling happy, then keep the good times rolling.
They Respect You and Your Boundaries
Someone that respects you won’t push you to do anything you’re not comfortable with. Respect goes beyond just sex.
They’ll also appreciate your aspirations and do what they can to support them. They’ll be there for you emotionally when you need them and listen to what you say.
You Have Similar Values
While it’s true that opposites attract, there must be common ground on which to build a relationship. Your values should be similar. Think of it this way. If you’re a vegan and your partner’s a hunter, how will you reconcile your differences?
You should have similar outlooks in terms of important things like honesty and kindness. Work out ahead of time what values are most important to you. You may disagree on many things, but you shouldn’t compromise on these key ones.
You’re at the Same Life Stage
If you have a shared vision of the future, it’s far easier to build toward it. You can adjust the idea as you go along, but it’s easier to agree on the fundamentals from the start.
If you’re both ready to settle down, or both want children and have similar goals, it bodes well for the future.
Your Partner Inspires You to Be the Best Version of Yourself
It’s a green flag if your partner believes in you and wants to help you achieve your dreams.
If the two of you inspire each other, you’re in a great position moving forward.
You’re Willing to Make Some Compromises
All relationships involve some compromise. Being part of a team means making some sacrifices.
If both of you are willing to compromise something to work toward your goals, it’s a good sign.
Are You in a ‘Forever’ Relationship?
There’s no way to answer this for sure. Now that you know what the signs are, you’re better able to assess the relationship’s health.
There’s nothing wrong with not being with “the one” right now if it’s not what you want. Just be honest about what your motives are, and work toward building the relationship that you deserve.