In our last relationship related blogpost, we discussed green flags to look out for in dating and relationships… today we’re discussing RED ones!
By Fiona Williams
*Trigger Warning, abuse*
Red flags are the negative behaviours or traits you really want to avoid in a person. No one is perfect, of course, and some red flags (such as lack of communication) can be worked on. Some, on the other hand, shouldn’t be tolerated at all (abuse). Sometimes people ignore red flags in the dating stage and that can end up being the reason for the downfall of the relationship, but it’ll save you the heartache if you avoid them from the start.
Examples of red flags include toxicity, manipulation, gaslighting and abuse. There are many others but I’ll expand on a few.
A relationship with several red flags is draining and will significantly impact the quality of your mental wellbeing, which is why awareness of these flags is so important.
Abuse can be both verbal and physical, either one is a red flag. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please do not suffer in silence and speak to someone that you trust. Anyone can be a victim, and abuse increases the risk of developing a mental health disorder. An apology isn’t enough if the behaviour keeps recurring.
If you are in an abusive circumstance, please seek help. You can contact the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free on 0808 2000 247
Lying, no matter how big or small is a red flag. This may start off small but become a bigger issue later on and can actually be very dangerous depending on the lie. Lies cause distrust in a relationship and makes it difficult to truly form a bond with each other.
Someone may be manipulative to gain control within the relationship and feel like the bigger person. This is a form of emotional blackmail and shouldn’t be tolerated at all. To eliminate manipulation, express to your partner when they are doing it and how it makes you feel. If you are the manipulator, identify and acknowledge your behaviour - stop yourself. Attending therapy as a couple or individuals can help identify manipulative patterns that need to be worked on. Saying ‘sorry’ but making no changes can be a form of manipulation as the person is trying to make you believe they are genuinely remorseful to gain your trust and forgiveness.
Unhealthy addictions can be a sign that someone lacks self-control, which can have a negative impact on other areas of their life. Addiction harms not only your partner, but hurts you by seeing them in that state. It can also lead onto greater issues such as financial problems, if it worsens. If children are involved in your relationship, it can cause negative psychological and emotional effects.
5. Disregarding your feelings
A partner that dismisses how you feel about something, especially something that upsets you is a red flag. Your feelings are valid and someone that tells you that your feelings are “not that deep” can cause denial and have you second guessing if you should feel how you do. Express how such comments make you feel to your partner and if they still continue to devalue your thoughts and feelings, maybe it’s time to rethink if that’s who you want in your life.
Like mentioned above, some of these red flags can be worked on but the person must be willing to identify and acknowledge the problem, then make a change otherwise it’ll be the same cycle. When faced with someone constantly displaying red flags, ask yourself - is this as good as love gets for me? What qualities and traits do you want in a person? If you are the one displaying red flags, ask yourself if you would accept the things you’re doing.
Above all things, make sure your well-being the priority.