10 Relationship Red Flags: Ignore Them At Your Own Risk

relationship red flags ignore them at your own risk

No one is perfect in this world, so the concept of a “perfect relationship” doesn’t exist as well. But, ignoring relationship red flags can be a blunder!

Most of us will have at least one, if not a few, significant relationship during our lifetime. Our first intimate encounters may be more difficult or challenging because we’re new to the experience of forming an intimate bond with another person, and may not really know what we’re doing and what to expect. But time and experience should help us navigate through future relationships in a much better way.

It’s essential to get to know yourself in every possible way before you move into a committed relationship. Often, individuals go in search of a relationship without this essential knowledge.

But how can you ever hope to know another individual if you don’t know yourself first? How can you address another’s needs and desires if you’re disconnected from your own?

As obvious as these issues may appear, and as much as you may feel you understand them intellectually, it should come as no surprise that what initially seems unimportant may take on greater significance as insights occur over the course of the relationship. In retrospect, individuals are often baffled about their own behavior and expectations in a relationship.

A really good exercise I ask my clients to do is to write down every partner they’ve had a significant relationship with, and then, for each, answer questions such as: What attracted you to this person initially? Did the attraction last? Was your fantasy about this person—what you imagined or assumed to be true—validated in reality? How long did the relationship last? Did revelations during the course of the relationship change your mind? What was the deal-breaker? Do any patterns, similarities from relationships to other relationships, emerge?

Learn to ask the hard questions out of the gate, the first or second time you meet someone before opinions are solidly formed. Most of us seem to do much better when we have no real expectations of someone because we hardly know who they are and are not yet trying to impress them.

Related: 48 Deep Conversation Starters To Know Someone Better

And watch for red flags—indicators that something needs to be questioned or otherwise validated. Often these are clues that something may be trouble in the future.

Here Are 10 Key Relationship Red Flags To Look Out For:

1. Lack Of Communication. 

communication relationship red flags
Relationship Red Flags

These individuals find it difficult to talk about issues or express how they feel. Often, when it would seem most important to be open and honest, they distance themselves emotionally, leaving their partner hanging, or having to deal with a situation on their own. Often, whatever is “communicated” is expressed through moodiness, and sometimes the dreaded “silent treatment.”

Related: Why Good Communication Is Actually Good Emotion Regulation in Disguise

2. Irresponsible, Immature, And Unpredictable. 

Some people 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 surrounding the way they live their daily life may take up a lot of time and energy. If so, there may be little time and energy left for you and your issues. These people may still be working on growing up. In other words, it may be hard to rely on them for almost anything.

3. Lack Of Trust. 

When a person has difficulty being honest with himself or herself, it may be hard for them to be honest with you. Some of this behavior may not be calculated and malicious but simply a learned way or habit of coping.

However, being out-and-out lied to is a no-brainer. A person who holds himself or herself unaccountable for their actions lacks integrity and lacks respect for their partner. You may feel, and rightly so, that there are a lot of “missing pieces,” so much that you don’t know or that is purposely hidden from you.

Related: 3 Stages Of Rebuilding Trust In Your Relationship After An Affair

Watch this video to know about healthy and unhealthy love:

Relationship Red Flags

4. Significant Family And Friends Don’t Like Your Partner. 

If there is something “off” about this person that seems obvious to those who know you so well, you may need to listen to what they’re telling you. Often, in the throes of a new relationship, hearing criticism about your new “beloved” may not be welcome, but others may see things more clearly from an outsider’s perspective. At the very least, hear these people out.

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Abigail Brenner M.D.

Abigail Brenner, M.D., is a psychiatrist in private practice. She received her B.A. from New York University and her medical degree from New York Medical College. After completing her internship and residency in psychiatry at New York University-Bellevue Medical Center, Dr. Brenner served as an attending physician at the NYU-Bellevue Adult Mental Hygiene Clinic and as an Assistant Clinical Professor at New York University Medical School. A board certified psychiatrist in practice for more than 30 years, Dr. Brenner is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Her work has focused on understanding change and the challenges and opportunities afforded by change in relationship to major life transitions. She is the author of Transitions: How Women Embrace Change and Celebrate Life, SHIFT: How to Deal When Life Changes, and co-author of The Essential Guide to Baby's First Year, published by Alpha Books, a member of the Penguin Group.View Author posts