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Red flags in relationships are a sort of warning signal or marker that may flag deeper problems or issues that come up later on. As we are all trying to impress early on in relationships, red flags may appear in a much more diluted form when they are first noticed, when they could be symptomatic of a bigger problem underneath the surface. Naturally people who have been hurt in the past, and people searching for relationships in general tend to have an interest in picking out and knowing red flags early on, so they can pick if the person is right for them or not. Noticing red flags matter because it can help us feel safe, and filter out people whose values don’t align with ours early on. For example if on a date, the person across from you makes a racist comment, and you are someone who is against discrimination passionately, this tells you that it may be an unfavourable long term match for you.
There are many types of red flags, which include but are not limited to:
- Doesn’t like your family or friends and puts them down
- Always thinks they’re right
- Love bombing in the beginning
- Subtly insults you
- If your friends/family don’t like them
- If they get jealous easily and question who you’re with
- They blame all their problems or feelings on other people eg. “you made me mad”
- Disrespectful to the waitress, retail clerk, or random people
- They don’t respect your boundaries, or what you need to do to feel safe
- You fear their reaction to things you do and say
- Are incapable of being without you, wants to see you constantly every day if they could
- Use alcohol or drugs heavily
- Compare you to former partners, or talk about ex’s too much
- Are always angry at someone or something
The thing is though, you can know all the red flags and you can have all the latest knowledge, but still let these things slide in relationships. Often even the most informed of us, may let red flags build until it is too late and we’re in too deep with someone who may be abusive or not right for us. But why do we do this, even against our better judgement?
Often we are finding reasons to justify or compensate for the red flag, because we want the relationship to work or feel indebted to the person for some reason, we can convince ourselves this person will change or see the other person as a victim who couldn’t help it due to their circumstances.
Have you ever told yourself these things?
So..what do we need to do to have better quality relationships? the answer is not to know all the red flags but instead to TAKE ACTION. Once a red flag has been noted write it down, work out if it is a dealbreaker for you. If it is, take the action required to end the relationship or connection. If you know he doesn’t want kids but you do, and this is a dealbreaker, end it right there. Do not stay the course hoping he will change his mind, this will just lead to you falling for him harder and potentially spending precious time with someone who can never give you what you need.
What do I do if I struggle to take action when I see red flags? Use the three strikes rule. Sure any great guy may have one accidental or past red flag, but three? A person you will probably not get along well with long term will have three. Three strikes, and you’re out, end the relationship.
This may sound cold to some of you, ending it so quickly that nothing comes of it, but this doesn’t make you a bad or judgemental person, this makes you a person of high self worth and value, with high standards of their relationships. A high quality person is going to get rid of the riff raff quicker, and not waste time on people who are maybes. They are going to move through to the right person faster because they let go of the wrong ones quicker. To have better quality relationships we need better quality standards of what we put up with. This is your call to action.