Ever looked back on a relationship and thought “How did we get here?”? Maybe you felt like your partner completely changed, or that they did something you never thought they’d do. Well, maybe you just missed the signs. Often, there are red flags that occur ever since the relationship began, but either we didn’t notice them or we aren’t aware that they were red flags. There are countless red flags but here are five of the most common, and very important to spot, red flags!
They need to feel needed.
A common red flag is when your partner always needs to be needed and seen. They may keep away their knowledge about something from you so that you have to ask for it. You’ll slowly purposely ask for their help, and nobody else’s, just to make them feel important. You may also notice yourself pretending to be clueless about something to make them feel seen. This is unhealthy because they shouldn’t be placing their worth on how helpless you are without them. A healthy partner would encourage your independence and instead of helping you for their own sake.
They are often defensive.
During a disagreement, many red flags can arise. All of them root back to the idea of hurting and/or degrading you. Some of the common behaviours would be constant interruption, assuming your perspective and turning tables. Other behaviours can appear more passive like walking away or giving you the silent treatment. It’s normal to have disagreements in a relationship but it is not normal to disrespect someone just because the person is upset.
You justify their mistreatment.
If you find yourself ignoring solid facts and inclining more to false positive explanations to their mistreatment, this is a major red flag. The false explanations can include: using their life experience to justify their behavior, or self-blame. You could also tell yourself that ‘they will realise their mistake and change’ often without seeing an effort for them to grow. You would know deep down when something doesn’t seem right, so trust your gut. Nobody is perfect but it’s about their ability to listen, accept accountability and grow.
They are very secretive.
You may find your partner being very secretive about multiple aspects of their life. This can be because they have difficulty being honest with themselves and do not like being held accountable for their actions. They often hide something that would bother or hurt you, or something that isn’t right that they refuse to let go of. Having personal space is everyone’s right and it should be respected, but hiding parts of themselves on purpose because they have no intention to improve is a red flag.
They overstep your boundaries.
This can be through invalidating your boundaries or mocking them or pretending like they weren’t aware of them. It can sound like ‘But why?’, ‘If you loved me, you would do this’, or ‘This seems unnecessary’. They also almost never take no for an answer and think they are entitled to your time, body, and personal space. This red flag can be spotted through less serious situations like when you reject a meal or ask for some personal space. If their reaction was aggressive, mocking or pushy, then that is a red flag.
If you have noticed any of these red flags in your relationships, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself. The first option is to end the relationship, if that’s possible. If it’s too dangerous to do so, then you can set boundaries until you can safely leave. Boundaries can be an extremely effective strategy when done right. If you aren’t sure how to do so, you can check out our article How to Effectively Set Boundaries here.