Eight Red Flags You Should Learn to Spot in Relationships
July 5, 2020
As the old saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. In other words, when you look back on a situation, such as the negative outcome of a relationship, it’s easier to see all of the warning signs that eluded you before. Sometimes they’re so obvious now that you feel like kicking yourself!
But you don’t have to self-flagellate. You probably did notice the troubling behavior as it was happening. You just didn’t know what to make of it at the time. The only way to associate certain issues with negative outcomes is to notice the signs and experience the problems.
This makes hindsight fairly unhelpful when you’re in a situation and trying to avoid future issues. Sometimes your intuition simply won’t be enough. It helps to realize what motivates a Mr. Wrong and learn to spot the red flags that if let unheeded will doom a potential relationship. You’ll recognize and correctly interpret the sign, and have enough time to get away.
Here are eight red flags that are nearly always warnings of serious issues in a relationship:
He tells you you’re perfect.
Yes, you read that right. It may feel really good to be idolized by your partner and treated like royalty. What could possibly be wrong with that? Well, a guy who sees you as perfect isn’t seeing the real you. He’s created an imaginary version of you, and is falling in love with that version of you. That means he’s in love with something inside himself, and the role you play there. This isn’t sustainable because he’ll certainly realize that the real you can’t measure up to his perfect image of you.
So, truly get to know each other, flawed as you are, before you let each other into your lives and your hearts.
He tests and pushes all of your boundaries.
Dating a “bad boy” who doesn’t know the meaning of the word “no” may be exciting at first. But a man who doesn’t really respect your limits or your rights may be crossing the line into emotional and physical abuse. Does he continue to “tease” you even after you ask him to stop? Does he disregard what you tell him and keep trying to get whatever it is that he wants from you? Does he touch you or force you to hug him even if you’re clearly communicated that he needs to knock it off? He’s disrespecting your feelings and your opinions, and these tendencies could easily devolve into physical and emotional abuse.
He acts as though the whole world is out to get him
Are all of his exes “crazy”? Did every person he ever met somehow wrong him? Maybe he’s merely suffering a string of bad luck. Or, maybe he’s become a pro at playing the victim and never admits blame for his mistakes. It’s easier to blame his exes that it would be to work on growing up, accepting who he is, and achieving his goals. As with anyone else, he is the only one who’s responsible for how his life will turn out. Beware of a man who doesn’t own up to his responsibility in anything!
He has unusual attitudes toward your family and his.
Pay attention to how families factor into your relationship. If he’s never interested in spending time with your family, and only seems happy when he talks about relocating far away with you, he doesn’t want to share you with anyone else and is positioning himself to gain control over your life.
An intense dislike for his own family is a clear sign that he doesn’t respect anyone. At some point, he’ll direct his wrath toward you.
He oscillates between lofty highs and deep lows.
If his attitudes toward things drastically fluctuate, his feelings toward you are apt to change just as significantly and suddenly. He may fawn over you and say he loves you one moment, but act in an exceptionally cruel and heartless way the very next. His lows may or may not involve physical abuse, but will often include loud and destructive tantrums or threatening and frightening verbal bullying.
Note that these behaviors may be a symptom of a significant personality disorder, such as bipolar, borderline, or anti-social If this is the case, his behavior will only get worse as time passes.
He manipulates you so he always gets his way.
This type of manipulation seems strange, but not dangerous, at first glance. But a relationship with a passive-aggressive partner will quickly get old. He’s basically a selfish bully who will punish you with the silent treatment, moody fits, or deliberate embarrassment in front of other people. He uses these manipulative tactics to get his way, instead of negotiating equal rights as couples in healthy relationships would do.
You always doubt your perceptions around him.
Gaslighting is an insidious form of emotional abuse in which the abuser twists an innocent victim’s perception of reality so the victim feels insane or doubts her memories. A partner who gaslights wants you to always doubt what you witness or feel. Not only is gaslighting dishonest, but it also demeans your perspective and neglects your feelings. In a healthy relationship, partners respect each other’s opinions and feelings even when they disagree.
He betrays your trust.
Ridiculing a partner’s vulnerability in any way is another form of personal betrayal and a significant relational red flag. When partners trust each other, they expect respect and support in return. This is why betraying trust is so serious. If you can’t trust him now, you probably won’t be able to trust him later, either.
If you notice any of these red flags in a relationship, be on high alert. Formulate an exit strategy and be ready to deploy it. Now that you know the issues and can spot these warning signs, you can avoid losing years of your life with Mr. Wrong!