No, I’m not talking about countries like Iran or Canada… I mean RELATIONSHIP red flags, as in red flags in relationships. Not the relationship that countries with red flags have with each other. Although, now that I think about it, are they in some kind of WhatsApp group, and is there one for each colour of the rainbow? And is there some kind of competition at the end of the year, where red house goes up against blue house?
That said, we’re not here to debate that, even though everyone knows that yellow house always comes last. Our focus today is on relationships, so all you single pringles should please excuse us. Thank you as you comply.
What are relationship red flags?
Do a quick internet search for relationship red flags, and you’ll be quick to find things like bad grammar and not eating beans as important items. And I concur — if you don’t know the difference between I’m and am, lightning, lightening and lighting, and you wage a war against Phaseolus vulgaris, then you are undeserving of human companionship.
And don’t even get me started on ladies who know how to service a generator. Or should I call you bros?
Jokes aside, though, there are some legit red flags that should not be ignored when it comes to relationships. Yes, compromise and sacrifice are required to maintain any relationship, but it should not be at the cost of personal happiness. Relationship red flags are those early warning signs that indicate unhealthy traits that could potentially damage one or both relationship parties. They are those signals that when you see them, your inner voice frowns and goes, “This thing is wrong naa.”
ALSO READ: 10 signs of a controlling partner
However, during those first few months when the love is still shacking, these red flags can be notoriously easy to miss, even if they are clear as day. Some even see them but choose to ignore, because love don cloud their eye.
It should also be noted that, apart from the universal relationship red flags that sit in the realm of abuse, toxic and/or controlling behaviours, red flags are usually subjective to each person and don’t necessarily have to do with their individual preferences. They are instead more with the behaviour, character, emotional maturity and availability in the relationship.
Red flags can also evolve, and what constitutes a relationship red flag for someone today might not be one tomorrow, and vice versa.
There are also yellow flags, warning signs that an issue may develop from a difficulty, difference, or area of struggle. A yellow flag may be that your partner doesn’t spend enough time with you, and it could either be a circumstantial situation (probably due to work) or turn into a longer-term problem that indicates that they cannot prioritise you or the relationship.
Relationship red flags that should not be ignored
They make you second-guess their feelings toward you
Regarding relationships, there should be no maybes or perhaps about the feelings involved. If it is not so clear that your partner is into you or they use it as a game, then that is a serious relationship red flag that warrants a serious conversation.
Yes, in the beginning, your partner may go out of their way to show their love for you, and this might wane off as time goes on and you both settle into the relationship. However, you still should feel comfortable and secure with your person, and there should be no second guesses.
They make you feel bad about yourself
Everyone deserves to date someone who treats them like royalty, period. So, if your partner wants you to change (maybe change your circle of friends, dress differently or change the kind of music you listen to), then it might be a sign that they don’t really like you for who you are and are just looking for someone they can tailor to their specs. Which means you deserve someone better.
Also, if your partner constantly puts you down or makes you question your self-worth, it’s time to say goodbye. An ideal relationship will not knock you down but lift you up and make you feel good.
They don’t listen to you
I mean, what’s the point of dating someone who doesn’t pay attention when you’re talking to them? This can signify that they’re not emotionally capable of showing you the kind of love you want in the relationship and meeting your needs.
You cannot expect them to recall your conversations word for word, but if they keep pressing their phone while you’re talking without offering any thoughtful input other than the occasional “hmm” and “ehyah”, especially when you’re upset or stressed, then this is a relationship red flag.
Sure, their eyes are allowed to glaze over when you start raving about Slipknot’s new album (oh, sorry; that one is mine), but anyone worth your time will show genuine interest in you and your life, even when they’re not naturally interested.
ALSO READ: 10 reasons you fall for the wrong man
Controlling or jealous behaviour
A little jealousy and possessiveness here and there is expected in a relationship since you’re supposed to belong to each other.
However, suppose your partner starts becoming too possessive, to the extent that they start controlling your plans, who you hang out with, what you wear and even isolate you from your friends and family. In that case, this is emotional abuse and a serious relationship red flag. You should get out immediately.
The relationship is all about them
You hang out at your partner’s place when their schedule allows it, and you eat bread and egg all the time because it’s their favourite food, but your interests or likes and dislikes are never considered. This is a relationship red flag.
As said above, relationships are all about compromise, both on the big and small things. It is supposed to be an even exchange with ebbs and flows depending on life circumstances. There must be parity so that both parties can generally feel equally satisfied.
Your friends don’t like your partner
If a friend is concerned about your relationship, it is important to listen to them, even though it may be hard to hear. You might not necessarily agree with their views since your friends don’t fully grasp what is going on in the relationship, but if they are expressing certain concerns, then it is probably coming from somewhere.
You might be quick to conclude that they just hate on your partner, but real friends care about you and your well-being and notice unhealthy patterns in your relationship that you’re missing, what with the cotton wool of love over your eyes. And when more than one friend approaches you, probably with the same issue, then this is definitely a relationship red flag.
We probably should have started with this since gaslighting is a hot topic in modern dating right now, which everyone has probably heard of. But then, the number seven is pretty unique, and it should be honoured to be associated.
Basically, gaslighting means blaming you for something they did or holding you responsible for how they reacted to a situation. You hear things like, “why did you hiss at me? Now you made me introduce my palm to your face”, and then you also agree that you’re at fault for hissing because it is disrespectful, so they were within their rights to discipline you.
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that leaves you feeling insecure and questions your sanity. Unfortunately, it is easy to miss; it is like the Fuschia of relationship red flags. So if your gut tells you something feels wrong, trust it and leave the relationship.
The gut is never wrong!
They switch from saying ‘we’ to ‘I’
Everyone rolls their eyes when their friends get into a new relationship and turn into “we”… we were having lunch, we were watching a movie, the rain beat us. It might be annoying, but it is important because it shows that both parties see their lives as intertwined and consider themselves on the same team.
ALSO READ: How to deal with an insecure partner
However, if a partner who has crossed that relationship milestone reverts to using “I”, it might indicate that they may also be having a change of heart. It may not be the brightest relationship red flag, but it could lead to something more serious.
Extreme emotional reactions
Someone who displays unmanageable and irrational emotions and easily flips out is waving a huge relationship red flag. Responding with silent treatment or uncontrollable rage could point to abusive behaviour, whether emotional or physical, down the line.
On the other hand, a lack of empathy could mean they’re devoid of care and emotion. You want someone whose emotions are in control and appropriate for the situation.
You’ve never met their friends
You’ve spent six months together and heard countless stories about Dapo the Casanova, who once hit on a female soldier (and got her contact), or Titilayo, who can outdrink anybody she meets. Yet… where are they? My dear, you’re either dating Jeffrey Dahmer or Dracula’s sister; either way, this is a relationship red flag. Run for your life.
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