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19 Red Flags in Relationship to Watch Out For

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Red flags in a relationship can be tricky. It’s often difficult to know when things are going wrong and even more challenging to know what to do about it. 

Usually, it starts with a gut feeling that something isn’t right. You notice how little behaviors or things your partner says begin to add up and bother you.

Before long, you start to feel disrespected, unimportant, or even invisible in the relationship. How could this happen? Every single day, we interact with the people we love and care about. Indeed, if we noticed red flags, we would pick up on it immediately, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. We can become so wrapped up in our day-to-day lives that we don’t always notice when things start to go sour. And by the time we realize it, the damage has already been done.

Your intuition is a powerful thing. If you start to feel like something is off, it probably is. We often ignore these little red flags because we don’t want to believe that the person we’re with could ever hurt us. But the truth is, anyone is capable of pulling us if we let them.

This article will explore 19 of the most common warning signs in relationships. If you see any of these signs, it’s time to have a serious conversation with your partner about where things are going.

Red Flags VS. Anxiety

Red Flags in Relationship

Before we go deep into the list of red flags, it’s important to note the difference between a relationship that is healthy and one that is unhealthy. Often, our anxiety can distort reality and cause us to see things that aren’t there.

For example, if you’re constantly worried about your partner cheating on you, your anxiety might be causing you to overanalyze their every move. This doesn’t mean that they’re cheating. It just means that your anxiety makes it hard for you to trust them.

If you find yourself obsessing dating red flags or reading too much into what your partner does, try to take a step back and assess whether your fears are rational. If they’re not, it’s time to start working on your anxiety, so it doesn’t control your relationship.

On the contrary, some issues are warning signs of something wrong in the relationship. If you notice any of these, it’s essential to talk to your partner about it.

They’re Act Too Withdrawn

What’s your red flag? If your partner suddenly seems distant or uninterested in spending time with you, it may be a warning sign that something is wrong. They may tell you that they need personal space or that their independence is their priority.

However, if you find yourself suffering from this in a relationship that should bring you joy and happiness, it may be time to take a closer look at what’s happening. If your partner is frequently unavailable or unwilling to communicate, such red flags could signify that they’re not as invested in the relationship as you are.

It isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s essential to be honest about what you’re looking for in a relationship. If you’re not getting what your partner needs, it may be time to move on.

They’re Inconsiderate of Your Feelings

If you’re looking for relationship red flags, ask yourself: do they regularly make plans without checking with you first? Do they plan at the last minute, leaving you scrambling? Do they cancel plans or stand you up without any explanation? These are all signs that your partner is inconsiderate of your feelings. 

Think about a time when they made a significant decision without consulting you first. How did you feel? Angry? Betrayed? Disrespected? If your partner regularly makes decisions without considering how you think, it’s one of red flags  that they’re not valuing your opinion or considering your feelings. 

It can be just as hurtful when they cancel plans at the last minute or stand you up altogether. This sends the message that you’re not a priority in their life and that their time is more important than yours. 

They Don’t Take Responsibility for Their Actions

Think about infantile red flags in a guy. Do they always have an excuse for why things went wrong? Do they blame you, their friends, or circumstances beyond their control? Do they take responsibility or look for someone else to shoulder the blame when something wrong happens?

A relationship is a two-way street. But sometimes, you might feel like you’re the only one giving and never receiving. If your partner constantly blames you, it might be one of the red flags in men. They might do this by gaslighting you, making you question your reality and whether your feelings are valid.

This is a major warning sign, as it’s inconsiderate of your feelings. Furthermore, if they always have an excuse for why things went wrong, it shows they’re unwilling to take responsibility for their actions. This lack of accountability is one of red flags and a recipe for disaster in any relationship. 

They’re Inconsistent

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One of the biggest red flags in a guy is inconsistency. If your partner regularly says one thing and does another, it’s time to start paying attention. They may make promises they don’t keep or cancel plans at the last minute.

This isn’t just frustrating – it’s also a sign that they’re not respecting your time or commitments. In addition, inconsistency can be a sign of serious underlying issues. If your partner seems to have a different version of events than you, it may be because they’re gaslighting you. It’s one of the common red flags.

Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse where the abuser deliberately tries to confuse and manipulate the victim. If you’re in a relationship with someone who is gaslighting you, it’s essential to get out as soon as possible.

They’re Jealous or Controlling

Jealousy and control are two different things, but both can be red flags in a relationship. A little bit of jealousy is standard, especially early in a relationship. But if your partner constantly accuses you of cheating or flirting with other people, even when there’s no evidence, it’s a problem.

My colleague Sarah had been dating John for about six months when she noticed he was getting jealous. He would accuse her of talking to other guys, even when she wasn’t, and he would get angry if she talked to another man so much. That’s one of the clear red flags examples.

It got to the point where Sarah was afraid to speak to any man, even her father, in case John got jealous and accused her of something. Ultimately, she ended the relationship because she couldn’t handle the constant jealousy and accusations.

If your partner is exhibiting these behaviors, it’s best to confront them about the red flags and see if they’re willing to change. If not, then it might be time to end the relationship.

They’re Never Wrong

What are red flags in serious relationships? You’ve started dating a confident person, which is excellent. But it’s a problem if your partner never admits when they’re wrong and always has to be right. This rigidity usually indicates that your partner is insecure and deeply afraid of being seen as flawed or unworthy.

Unfortunately, this can lead to all sorts of relationship problems. For example, your partner may become defensive and combative when you try to assert yourself, and they may have difficulty hearing your perspective.

Over time, these red flags can create an unhealthy power dynamic in which you feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells. If you’re in a relationship with someone who can’t admit when they’re wrong, it’s essential to have an honest conversation about your concerns. Otherwise, this issue is likely to cause severe problems down the line.

They’re Always Critical

If your partner is constantly critical of you, it may signify the biggest red flags in a guy. Whether they’re picking apart your clothes, your job, or how you eat cereal in the morning, constant criticism can take a toll on your self-esteem and make you feel like you’re never good enough.

If this is a pattern in your relationship, it’s essential to talk to your partner about it. Otherwise, constant criticism can erode your relationship and lead to resentment and frustration on both sides.

If you’re unsure how to broach the subject of the red flags, consider speaking with a therapist or counselor who can help you navigate this delicate conversation. However, if your partner is unwilling to address the issue, it may be a sign that the relationship is not meant to last.

They Withhold Compliments

One of the relationship red flags is when one partner withholds compliments or positive reinforcement from the other. This can make the partner not receiving the compliments feel invisible and unimportant.

If you’re in a relationship and your partner never has anything nice to say about you, it might be time to talk about how important words of affirmation are to you. But, on the other hand, there may be other reasons for relationship red flags and why your partner isn’t complimenting you as much as you’d like.

Maybe they’re afraid of coming off as insincere, or they could simply not realize how essential compliments are to you. In any case, it’s essential to communicate with your partner about your needs in a relationship.

They Disrespect Your Boundaries

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What are early red flags in relationships? Firstly, it’s important to have boundaries in any relationship. These boundaries can be physical, emotional, or even mental. Regardless of what type of boundary it is, your partner must respect it.

If your partner regularly ignores or steps over your boundaries, it’s a sign that the relationship isn’t healthy. Not only does it show a lack of respect, but it also shows a lack of understanding for your needs. If your partner can’t or won’t respect your boundaries, it’s clearly one of the red flags.

Boundary-respecting partners will listen when you say no, they’ll give you space when you need it, and they won’t try to control or manipulate you. Conversely, if your partner can’t respect your boundaries, the relationship will not likely be healthy.

They See You as the Only Source of Their Happiness

Think about hidden red flags in a relationship with a man. Happiness is not a one-person job. A partner who expects you to be the sole source of their happiness is placing an unhealthy amount of pressure on you. This type of partner will likely become clingy, needy, and dependent on you. They may also start to control or manipulate you to keep you close.

A healthy relationship is built on two people who are each independently happy and then share that happiness. If your partner depends on you for their happiness, it’s one of the saying I love you too soon red flag.

If your partner is constantly unhappy, it may be a sign of suffering from depression or another mental health issue. You should encourage them to seek professional help if this is the case. Depression can be severe, and getting help is essential if your partner is struggling with it.

They Belittle or Make Fun of You in Front of Others

If your partner regularly belittles or makes fun of you in front of others, it’s one of the major red flags in a relationship. This behavior is entirely unacceptable and signifies a very toxic communication. If you’re being treated this way, you must speak up and tell your partner that their behavior is inappropriate.

It’s also essential to ensure you’re not putting up with this type of behavior by laughing along or making excuses for your partner. This will only enable their bad behavior and make it harder for you to stand up for yourself and confront them about red flags.

If you’re in a relationship where you’re regularly being made fun of or belittled, it’s time to reassess the situation and decide if it’s something you’re willing to put up with.

Your partner should make you feel good about yourself, not someone who puts you down in front of others. This kind of treatment can be very harmful to your self-esteem and can cause you to doubt yourself instead of noticing the red flags. No one deserves to be treated this way, and you deserve to be with someone who will treat you with respect.

They Refuse to Communicate Openly About Important Topics

Can you identify red flags in a relationship? One of the key components of a healthy relationship is communication. When partners can openly discuss both the good and the bad, it helps to create a stronger bond.

However, when one partner consistently refuses to discuss important topics, it can signify that they are unwilling to work through complex issues. This may be due to fear of conflict or simply not wanting to deal with the issue at hand. 

To spot relationship red flags, ask yourself if your partner is genuinely open to communication. Do they avoid difficult conversations? Do they get defensive when you try to talk about sensitive topics? If so, it may be time to reconsider the relationship.

Hoping your partner will change their communication style is typically not a fruitful strategy. In most cases, it’s best to move on and find someone more compatible.

They Are Excessively Critical of Your Appearance

Red flags in women and men are similar, especially regarding criticism of the partner’s appearance. Do they point out your flaws regularly? Do they try to control your appearance or tell you how to behave? If so, this is a definite red flag.

Sure, we all have our flaws, but it’s not healthy if someone is constantly pointing them out to you or trying to control your appearance. A good partner won’t show you these red flags and appreciate your unique qualities.

If you feel like you’re constantly being compared to other people or that you can never live up to your partner’s standards, it’s time to have a serious conversation about your relationship. Excessive criticism is not only unhealthy, but it’s also a sign of a lack of respect.

A good relationship should make you feel supported, not attacked. If your partner regularly makes comments that hurt your feelings or make you think about red flags in a relationship, it’s time to speak up or walk away.

They Try to Manipulate You with Guilt Trips

One of the most unhealthy red flags in a relationship is manipulation. If your partner regularly tries to control or manipulate you with guilt trips, it’s time to have a serious conversation about your relationship. Guilt trips are a form of emotional manipulation in which your partner tries to make you feel guilty to get what they want.

For example, they may say, “If you really loved me, you would do this for me.” Or, “I can’t believe you’re not more grateful for all I do for you.” Guilt trips are unhealthy red flags because they create an imbalance of power in the relationship and put the manipulator in control.

If your partner frequently attempts to manipulate you with guilt, it’s essential to talk to them about it. Explain how their behavior makes you feel and why it’s unacceptable. If they’re unwilling or unable to change, you may need to consider ending the relationship because of the dangerous red flags.

They Are Always the Victim

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One of the manipulative relationship red flags is playing the victim card. This is when your partner seems always to be the one who’s been wronged, even when it’s not the case.

For example, they may make you feel guilty for being busy at work by saying things like, “You’re never around when I need you.” Or, “I can’t believe you would choose your job over me.”

Victimizing behavior is one of unhealthy red flags because it creates a dynamic in which your partner is always needy and dependent on you. Of course, it’s important to be supportive of your partner, but you should also maintain boundaries, so their behavior doesn’t start to control your life.

If your partner frequently tries to make you feel guilty, it’s a red flag that should not be ignored.

They See Your Friends as a Threat

What are scaring red flags in a guy? Your partner should be your biggest cheerleader and supporter, not someone who’s always trying to undermine your relationships with other people. If they constantly try to come between you and your friends or family, it’s toxic behavior that can erode the trust and respect in your relationship.

It’s normal for couples to have disagreements about how much time each person spends with their friends, but if your partner is constantly attempting to control who you see and how often you see them, it’s one of red flags. This behavior is usually a sign of insecurity and jealousy, neither of which are healthy emotions in a relationship.

If you find yourself being pulled away from your friends more often because of your partner’s demands, it’s time to have a serious conversation about what you both need in the relationship.

They Flirt with Other People, Even When You’re Together

While a little harmless flirtation may not be a big deal, it can be one of the relationship red flags if your partner is constantly flirting with other people, even when you’re together. This can signify that they’re not fully invested in the relationship and are looking for attention elsewhere.

Some people are naturally flirtatious, and it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not interested in you. However, if you’ve expressed how you feel about this behavior, and they continue to do it, these red flags are worth considering whether this is a relationship you want to be in.

Of course, you may calm down after a while, but if you’re constantly feeling jealous or insecure in your relationship, it’s worth considering whether this is something you hope to continue.

They Lie to You About Small Things

They lie to you about small things, and it’s a red flag meaning. It’s one thing to white lie to avoid hurting your feelings, but it’s another to lie about significant things. If you’ve caught them in a lie, pay attention to see if it happens again. If it does, it could be a sign that they’re not being truthful with you about other things.

Lying is a form of deception, and if your partner is deceptive about small things, likely, they’ll also be deceitful about bigger issues. This can create more red flags in the relationship, as you’ll never know if you can trust what they’re saying.

If you’re worried that your partner isn’t being honest with you, talk to them about it. Open communication is key in any relationship and can help resolve issues before they become bigger problems. However, if your partner is a pathological liar, it might be time to end the relationship and forget the pain caused by the red flags.

They Don’t Celebrate Your Successes

What are evident red flags? A relationship should be a partnership, which means supporting each other’s successes. When your partner is happy for you and celebrates your accomplishments with you, it creates a stronger bond between you.

But if your partner isn’t supportive of your successes, it can be a warning sign. This lack of support can come in many forms of red flags. Maybe they belittle your accomplishments or make you feel like you’re not good enough. Perhaps they’re outright jealous of your successes, or try to take credit for them.

Whatever the form, a lack of support from your partner is a sign that the relationship isn’t as strong as it could be. If your partner can’t be happy when things are going well, these red flags are worth considering whether the relationship is right for you.

I'm Alana Wade, a psychologist with over five years of experience working with relationships. I've dedicated my career to helping couples and families create lasting, meaningful connections.