Spotting Red Flags

How to spot red flags when dating:

  1. A hard relationship with their family. If the person you’re dating seems to have a noticeably strained relationship with their mother, father, siblings or children, there might be an issue. Ask about their family values, how close they are to family, their fond memories of their childhood, etc. How someone was raised and how they view family is engrained into the person they become. Dating someone who is not close to, or at odds with, his or her family might be cause for concern.
  1. A lack of manners. He doesn’t open doors. She doesn’t ask before she takes a bite of your food. She/He is snappy with and condescending to wait staff. She/He doesn’t dress appropriately to meet your friends or family and doesn’t bring a bottle of wine to a house party. These small things could all lead to much bigger reflections of who they are as a person.
  1. An abusive pattern. Verbal abuse may not be as obvious as you think. It doesn’t always have to be profanity. In fact, a lot of the time it isn’t. Being manipulative and/or finding ways to end up making you apologize for something you don’t need to be apologizing for, are big red flags. Pay close attention to how your new love interest speaks to you.
  1. A competitive nature. Many people are competitive. It can actually be a great quality unless someone you’re dating is consistently competitive toward you. Whoever you’re with should not actively strive to outshine you or one up you on a consistent basis. They should support you and build up your strengths as often as possible. If they seem to constantly combat what you do or say, this could be a sign of insecurity and a generally unsupportive partner.
  1. They can’t keep a plan. Some people can’t help that they’re always running late. It’s a trait we love to hate about friends and family. However, if you begin to notice the person you’re dating is constantly taking a rain check or changing long-standing plans at the last minute, be weary. An unreliable person is a one-way ticket to an endless stream of frustration and aggravation.
  1. They can’t just relax and hang out. Meaning the person you are dating has to constantly be doing something. For example…not once have they suggested staying in with you on a Friday night and just watching a good movie. They have a fear of missing out on being social and can never refuse their friends’ invites to dinner, the bar, whatever. Quality time is not something they cherish. This could be a good sign that they are emotionally unavailable and lack the capacity for true intimacy.
  1. Something in your gut is saying NO. I can’t stress this enough. If someone you’re dating does or says something that doesn’t sit right with you for whatever reason, even if you can’t clearly articulate that reason, always go with your gut. Trust your instincts, always.
  1. Lack of communication. Some individuals find it difficult to talk about issues or express how they feel. They distance themselves emotionally, leaving their partner hanging, or having to deal with a situation on their own when they may need them most. Often, whatever is “communicated” is expressed through moodiness, and sometimes the dreaded “silent treatment.”
  2. Irresponsible, immature, and unpredictable. There are individuals who have trouble mastering basic life skills—taking care of themselves, managing their finances and personal space, holding onto a job, and making plans for their life and future. Small crises surround their daily lives and may take up a lot of time and energy. If so, there may be little time for you and your needs. These people may still be attempting to grow up. In other words, it may be hard to rely on them for almost anything.
  3. Lack of trust. A person who doesn’t hold himself/herself accountable for their actions lacks integrity and lacks respect for their partner. When your partner/date lies to you about who they are or about important matters in their lives, walk away. If you value trust and honesty, past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior so don’t take a person’s lies/deceit aside lightly.
  4. Controlling behavior. A partner may attempt to “divide and conquer,” driving a wedge between you and other significant people in your life. They may be jealous of your ongoing relationships with these people or simply feel the need to control where you go and who you associate with, limiting your world to allow in only what is important to them. On occasion, they may make you choose them over others as an expression of your devotion to them. Controlling behavior is a dangerous sign that they may become verbally or physically abusive in the future.
  5. A dark or secretive behaviors. If your partner/date is involved in illegal activities or has addictive behaviors that haven’t been resolved and continue to affect your relationship, these are obvious red flags.
  6. Still hung up on their Ex. These include not just intimate relationships but those with family members and friends. If a person is unable to evaluate why past relationships haven’t worked out or consistently blames other parties for all of the problems, you can bet that the same may happen with your relationship.
  7. The relationship is built on the NEED to feel needed. These red flags reveal insecure, controlling and/or emotionally unavailable individuals. There are two main styles you need to know. The first style is all about your partner. They consistently expect you to do things to make them feel secure and satisfied. Possibly you need to check in with them on a constant basis, they continually need you to tell them how much you care about and adore them, expect you to do things to make them feel important, drop things last minute to accommodate them, etc.

The second scenario is a partner who feels needed by constantly fulfilling your needs at nauseam. This style is all about you. They dote on you every moment, they want to take care of you and coddle you like you aren’t self sufficient, they buy things and/or are constantly doing things for you to make them feel desirable, important and happy.  If the dynamic is YOU as the main focal point of a relationship, there may be little room for real growth, individually or as a couple. These people are usually emotionally unavailable and feel validated by constantly taking care of you, spoiling you, etc. They are incapable of opening their heart and showing deep emotion and true intimacy.

In Conclusion:

Many people see the red flags but think they will be the “special” one to change an individual. If you see several of the warning signs listed above, the question isn’t if you will be the One to change this person’s behavior. The question you should ask yourself is if this is the style of relationship you desire in your life. What are you willing to give up long term to have a partner who isn’t fully capable of a healthy relationship?

Keep yourself alert and attuned to what is going on before, during and after your dates, so you will be able to weed out the good partners from the bad ones. This leaves the door open for you to date only those people who meet your standards for desirable behavior in a relationship.

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