You’re probably here because you’re unhappy in your relationship. Or you might think you’re happy and that none of the following will apply to you. Perhaps you’re here to gain reassurance. Or, like me, you may have only thought of the red flags after the breakup.
Let me tell you, it’s very easy to be in a relationship and miss the red flags that are right in front of you. That happened to me.
The following is a list of all the red flags I missed in only one of my relationships- yup, every single one of these combined in one person. I was blind to all of them. And the worst part is, I thought I was happy.
Knowing these red flags will help ease the pain of a recent (or upcoming) break up or help you achieve the awareness you need to take a step towards building a healthy relationship. In either case I’m here to help you.
I’m about to get personal here.
Let’s get started.
A final note before we get started…
You will see in many of my posts that I rely on writing to get information out of your brain. This is because I believe the brain is such a vast, unexplored organ. There’s still so much we don’t know about it and for all I care, it could be tweaking information that I store in it.
You will notice that with writing things out, they suddenly become way clearer to you.
I’m sure there is research to back this up- but I don’t want to get into that.
Imagine you can’t choose between options A and B in your head. You write them down, and you immediately say, of course option B is better- duh. This exact scenario happened to me. So, trust me.
So please, grab a pen and a blank notebook and dedicate it to your relationship. We have lots of writing to do.
Now, let’s get started. For real this time.
1. Never talking about the future
This one came to me as an epiphany after the breakup. In the middle of all the crying I suddenly stopped and thought to myself, ‘Wait a minute! How come we never talked about the future?’ It felt like he never intended for me to be a part of his.
I know many of us dread asking our partners, ‘Where is this relationship going?’
A simpler way of approaching this is by talking about your values and plans and seeing if they match.
Or you could ask your partner, ‘Do you see me in your future?’ -I love this one. It’s so simple. The answer to it is a simple yes or no, and it carries less pressure than the question above.
2. Most of the effort is one sided
Is it always you who initiates conversations, phone calls, or wants to meet?
If yes, then you are most likely putting in more effort than your partner. Not only is it not fair to you, but you will be exhausted sooner or later.
It is best to have a conversation with your partner and see why they aren’t participating.
Remember to never compare your efforts to theirs. Why? Because you chose to put in the effort- no one made you do it.
3. Low physical attraction
Are you physically attracted to your partner? I mean, when you see them, does your heart skip a beat? This may be too much, but you get the idea.
Personally, I wasn’t physically attracted to my partner.
I tried to look past it, thinking it’s the person inside that matters- which is true for the most part.
But let’s be real! Physical attraction is just as important! Forget the heartbeat. You gotta like looking at your partner at least.
4. Haven’t healed from their past relationships
This, for you, could be that your partner is still thinking about their ex.
My situation was different. My partner wasn’t thinking about his ex, but he was left with a very deep emotional wound that hadn’t yet healed.
I know… You would think that he’d remain single until he figured things out. But no. Unfortunately, this meant a heart break and a wound for me.
The cycle has to stop somewhere. Let it stop with you.
5. Emotionally unavailable
We see this phrase everywhere, but what does it really mean?
In a nutshell it is the inability to create and sustain emotional bonds.
Which is okay for new relationships as feelings don’t start flourishing so fast, at least not for everyone.
But it is concerning if it persists.
I will cover this topic in greater depth in another post- stay tuned!
6. Not taking responsibility for their decisions
Very early on in my relationship, I told my partner about some facts that could have been deal breakers for him.
I said them early on because:
- He had to know them
- That way he could have a chance to leave
- No one would get hurt
He saw this as a sign of integrity and wanted me even more because I was honest with him.
Skip ahead to the part where we broke up. He brought up the facts I had shared with him that day and said he was never really okay with them. He blamed me for this and used it as an excuse.
When you take responsibility for your decisions, you blame yourself and no one else if something goes wrong. Being incapable of that is a big, bold sign of immaturity.
Oh, the millions of excuses.
When it’s time to break up, or during an argument, do they mention excuses that seem to be popping out of thin air with no background whatsoever? Are there many of them?
There is an underlying issue here. Something bigger is bothering them.
If you are invested to keep the relationship, stop and talk about what could be wrong. If not, let it go.
8. Not wanting to be seen in public together
There could be different reasons for this. But I’ve witnessed a recurring pattern.
Several of my friends have had this issue where their partners didn’t want to be seen with them in public. It always turned out they had one motive.
They were just afraid they would run into their other partners together.
I didn’t remain in my relationship long enough to see what his underlying motive was. It’s usually very hard to tell.
Be cautious and trust your instincts.
9. Not wanting to introduce you to their friends
I want you to remember that this point and the next do not apply to new relationships. It takes time to get to a level where you and your partner feel comfortable to be introduced to friends and family.
But let’s say that you have been together for a while and they still refuse to meet your friends or don’t want you to meet theirs.
That’s a red flag.
As with most of the problems mentioned, the solution is to talk about it.
10. Refusing to involve the families
Please take your time with this one. Don’t get excited to meet their family or for your partner to meet yours. Take the time to make sure they are a keeper. Things get serious after this.
If you have been with your partner for a long time and there is no sign of ever meeting the family, you should question if this relationship is going anywhere. This takes you back to my first point: Do they see you in their future?
11. All the excitement, and then nothing!
In the beginning we all have what I like to call the ‘newcomer excitement’.
You’re into each other, wanting to know everything there is to know about your new partner.
That’s normal. And eventually it will die off into a more stable feeling of companionship. That’s a great place to get to.
But what if you never get to the companionship part? You get to a point where nothing really happens. It feels like you’re stuck.
Something is off- talk to your partner and figure out how you ended up here.
12. Mixed feelings or uncertainty
It’s not a good feeling when your partner isn’t sure about you, meaning they are uncertain if they want to be with you or not. Unfortunately, I know exactly how it feels and I must say: Ouch! It hurts so much.
If they have mixed feelings, if they need time to think what they want, that is your cue that they are out. Don’t second guess yourself. They just don’t know it yet, or are not communicating their true feelings so as to not hurt you.
But is that really fair to you? No!
Don’t you deserve to know the truth so you can decide what to do? Absolutely!
13. Unable to communicate
If they can’t communicate their feelings with you, they are wasting both your times. That’s fair to no one.
It doesn’t matter what the intentions are behind a lack of communication. They could be good: not wanting to hurt you. Or worse, deliberately trying to hurt you. Goes without saying that this isn’t any good either.
Some people find it hard to communicate. What is the solution?
Ask them to talk to you. There is no better way of getting what you want than asking for it.
14. Lack of honesty
Dishonesty isn’t just limited to lying (saying things that are untrue). It’s bigger than that.
It also includes hiding the truth. Which could have good or bad intentions behind it but that doesn’t matter. It’s still lying. I want you to remember that.
In my experience, my partner was pretending everything was okay between us when in fact he was feeling uncertain. That, to me, is lying. In fact, any kind of pretence is lying.
15. Inconsistency in behaviour
This is mood swings that extend into behavioural changes.
One day they care for and pamper you, another day you don’t even exist for them.
They could be just having a bad day. But the problem arises when these ups and downs persist. Watch for long-term patterns in their behaviour.
Wow, we covered so much!
You have all this information about red flags- now what?
The next step I want you to take is to grab a pen and your blank notebook.
I want you to write down any of the above red flags you’ve seen in your relationship. If you can think of more, write them down and please share them in comments too for others to see. I’d love to hear from you.
Once you write them, put the notebook aside. We have more to do.
Before taking any action, it’s important to remember not to solely focus on these red flags.
I have compiled a list of some green flags to help you see the good in your relationship as well, because we have to be fair. You can read about relationship green flags here.