- It’s normal to spend the first few weeks of a relationship believing your partner is perfect
- Still, it’s important not to let infatuation cloud your judgment
- Here are some red relationship flags you should never ignore
It’s normal to only see the best in your partner, especially in the early days of a relationship. Still, it’s vital that you think closely about anything your partner says or does which might set alarm bells ringing.
Sure, there’s no need to cut ties just because you argued once or because you disagree on some things. But if you’re noticing certain patterns in their behaviour that leave you feeling uneasy, it may be worth quitting while you’re ahead.
Here are seven red flags to watch out for.
1. They guilt-trip you
Speaking to Refinery29, psychotherapist Brynna Pawlows explains that guilt-tripping is when your partner makes you feel bad for cancelling plans for a legitimate reason. Pawlows says that a guilt-tripper might say something like: “You know I was really looking forward to that dinner and now I have nothing to do. You should have planned for this disruption.”
Guilt-tripping can also manifest as your partner making you feel guilty for spending time with your friends or spending any time without them at all. Clearly, this isn’t a healthy or sustainable approach to a relationship.
2. They don’t communicate
Another red flag is when your partner can’t or won’t communicate.
Speaking to Insider, dating coach Erika Ettin says: “All couples have disagreements. That’s perfectly normal and healthy. But it’s how you handle those disagreements that can really make or break things. Does your partner walk away? Shut down? Place all the blame on you? Throw a tantrum? These are all red flags.”
“In a good relationship, a couple can and will talk through issues, listening to the other person’s point of view and expressing his or her own,” she continues. “No one needs to win or lose. It’s about expressing how something makes you feel and being heard. Communication is key.”
3. They disrespect your boundaries
Ettin also warns: “Run from anyone who attempts to cross a boundary that you have set.”
This could manifest in different ways. Perhaps they keep pushing you to see them on a day where you’ve already specified that you’re not available. Maybe they insist that they should move in with you despite the fact you’ve already said that you’re not keen on the idea.
In a healthy relationship, your partner should listen to and respect your wishes – if they keep pushing when you’ve already laid down legitimate and fair terms, that’s not a good sign.
4. You feel like you’re losing your grip on reality
If your partner makes you feel as though you’re losing your grip on reality, reevaluate the relationship. This is often caused by gaslighting, ie behaviour which results in you doubting your memory or judgement. If your partner is a gaslighter, they might consistently talk over you; deny your version of events ever happened; or even tell you that you’re ‘going crazy.’
“This might be used as a form of manipulation, to make you feel guilty, or as a way to control you,” therapist Clare Faulkner tells Cosmopolitan. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse, so don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you need to.
5. They’re entitled and selfish
It’s not a great sign when someone feels as though they’re entitled to your time.
“I think [it shows] when we ask somebody for help because we’re tired, or we’re overwhelmed, or our plate is too full, and that person says, ‘Yeah, I’ll get to that,’ and never does,” therapist Shannon Thomas tells Insider. “Or the person says, ‘Well, I can’t right now,’ when they’re not really that busy.”
She continues: “If you use somebody, you don’t really care about them, or their well-being, or their overall happiness in life. It’s a habitual pattern. It’s almost like life is there to meet their needs and people are just commodities to get that done.”
Although you shouldn’t be keeping score, a relationship should feel balanced. If you feel as though your partner acts entitled to your time yet never does anything for you – it may be time to reconsider the relationship.
6. You only spend time with each other
It’s important that you don’t limit yourself to only interacting with your SO. If you find that your partner is uncomfortable with the idea of you spending time with your friends without them, it could be a sign of controlling behaviour.
“We all need external influences and support in our lives,” counsellor Holly Roberts tells Cosmopolitan. “So if you’re only talking to your partner, that sense of isolation from others and an over-dependence on each other can be really toxic in a relationship – and it can leave you feeling vulnerable if something goes wrong.”
7. You have a feeling that things aren’t quite right
It sounds obvious, but you really shouldn’t ignore it if you’ve got a gut feeling that things aren’t quite right.
“The initial signs that a relationship isn’t right can be quite subtle,” Roberts explains. “But if you have a niggling feeling that you just aren’t ever happy and there’s no joy shared between you and your partner, then it might not be the right relationship for you.”
Speaking to Refinery29, Pawlows adds: “In general, anything that feels ‘icky’ early on in a relationship can be a red flag – especially anything that takes from an individual’s right to self-determination. New relationships should be full of happiness and that dreamy honeymoon stage feeling!”
Sometimes, the best thing to do is trust your gut. If your relationship is making you feel stressed and anxious instead of happy and relaxed, it may be worth cutting your losses.