Red flags

When we’re in the bubble of new love, we are blind to the other person’s faults and potential problems in the relationship. After a few months, we start to see some of our new partner’s weaknesses and they start to see our faults. For those who have been previously hurt, seeing these faults may trigger a strong desire to run in an attempt to avoid further pain. For others, the weaknesses are either glossed over or accepted as part of a normal relationship.

But when is a perceived weakness a red flag? When should alarm bells start to ring and how do you know if you’re just being too picky or too fearful? Every relationship is obviously different, but I believe that there are some red flags that can’t be ignored. It doesn’t mean that the relationship has to end. But when alarm bells ring, stop and listen and confront the issue before going any further.

Typical red flags include:

  • Jealousy – If your relatively new partner continually accuses you of breaking their trust without reason, stop and think.
  • Possessiveness – If seeing friends and family on your own is discouraged, ask why and make a stand.
  • Aggression – If your partner’s reactions to you or others is aggressive, let those alarm bells ring.
  • Intensity – If you’re asked for a commitment in the very early days, tread carefully.
  • Unavailability – If the new love of your life hasn’t quite finished with their last partner, leave them to it.
  • Clashing values – If you don’t like the way they treat others or you bristle at some of their opinions or prejudices, be aware that you might not be on the same page.
  • Changes in you – If being with this new person brings out your insecurities or triggers behaviour you don’t like, see that red flag waving.


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