When we first start dating someone, it’s easy to get lost in the moment, and the exciting feelings we get in the initial stage. It’s important to keep in mind that when you start getting to know someone, everything might seem happy and carefree. Your days might be filled with fun dates, laughter and a lot of intimate moments. This so-called honeymoon phase can be quite intense, and it’s easy to ignore the red flags popping up, as we are too caught up in the blissful moments. However, if we keep ignoring what our gut feeling is telling us, this might cost us a lot in the long run.
Here are 5 common red flags which should not be ignored if you want to avoid toxic relationships:
1. Inconsistent behaviour and communication
The first thing you start to notice when you are getting to know someone, is their communication style. When someone is emotionally stable and truly interested in you, you can feel it, and it makes you feel safe opening up your heart to them. They show genuine interest in getting to know the real you and embrace your authenticity. You notice that they ask about your day, your plans, your goals and are genuinely interested in what you like and dislike to have a better understanding of who you are.
On the contrary, if someone starts alternating between showing a lot of interest in you, and then ghosting you for hours and ignores your messages, it’s already a sign that they are inconsistent. Of course this doesn’t mean that you have to be glued to your phone 24⁄7, it’ extremely important that you don’t lose yourself along the way and continue growing as an individual. Disregarding you for hours however is a different story.
2. Disregarding your needs and your boundaries
If you find yourself in a situation where you express yourself, and show that you value certain things in a relationship, but the other person does not even acknowledge them, it’s not something that you should ignore. These behavioural patterns don’t just disappear, they get worse over time.
When someone truly cares about you, they respect your boundaries and values, and if they are aligned with you, it should not cause issues in your relationship. If they hold different values, and you sense that these clash with your core principles and with who you are, it means that you are not a good match. If you try to change and convince yourself that these values do not matter to you anymore, you are not being true to yourself.
By doing this, you are being submissive and allowing them to step over your boundaries from the very beginning. It’s wiser to walk away and wait until you meet someone who holds the same principles and shares the same values, otherwise you will not be happy in the relationship.
3. Acting selfishly
Being in a relationship requires compromise and attending to each other’s needs. If you notice that a person is self-involved and shows minimal interest in being involved in your life, don’t fight for them to stay. This could be a bit confusing for some people as when you date someone who is self-centred, they will show you that they want to meet you and spend time with you, however only when it is convenient to them.
To build a healthy and fulfilling relationship, both parties need to be wanting it. So if you find yourself craving their time and attention, it’s a sign that they are not ready to commit. Most people take this a sign that they are not good enough. They get caught up in a vicious cycle where they keep chasing the other person and trying to win them over. If you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you have to beg and fight to get some affection and attention, end the relationship before it gets harder to leave.
4. Controlling and manipulative
This can be quite tricky as most often we think that when someone is trying to control us, we interpret it as being protective over us because they want us so much. It also goes hand in hand with respecting your boundaries and yourself as a human being. For example, you might be dating someone who seems lovely and considerate, but flips out when you show interest in going out with your friends or something he or she disapproves of.
Respecting each other’s boundaries is one thing, but being possessive and suffocating is unhealthy and not sustainable long term. Moreover, if you do something which raises concern to your partner, they should be able to communicate it in a healthy way and discuss it with you, rather than causing drama and throwing tantrums. Giving ultimatums to abide by their terms is also quite common, and a lot of people become submissive because they fear losing the other person. If you find yourself giving up doing the things you love, or behaving in a certain way to make someone else happy, you are giving away your freedom and your own right to live a joyful life.
5. Justifying their behaviour
This is a HUGE red flag which most people seem to overlook. When you find yourself justifying their behaviour, and trying to think of valid reasons as to why they are making you feel unhappy, it means that you should RUN AWAY.
Unfortunately, when we are strongly attached to someone, we idealize them and keep hoping that they are the perfect soul mate we have been waiting for. We end up making excuses for them when they ignore our calls or cancel on our plans. The first time that they snap at us just for asking a question, we justify it and blame other reasons for that reaction. Maybe it’s because they’re going through a hard time, or they’re stressed out and have too much on their mind.
Excuses are excuses, and we keep thinking of every possible reason to blame, because we don’t even want to entertain the idea that maybe this is just who they really are. It is painful to accept the fact that the image of the person you had in your mind is unreal. But it will be much more painful if you dig your head in the sand and ignore all the red flags telling you to run away as fast as you can.
Keep in mind, that a person’s reaction to things and behavioural patterns, are an indication of their personality. How they react to external situations and different scenarios is in itself a part of who they are. So it’s important not to mistaken and interpret the reaction as being caused by the scenario or external stimuli. People react differently to different situations, it’s what makes us who we are. The scenario or situation is never the cause of the reaction, the reaction comes from within.
How to deal with red flags in a relationship?
When your intuition is telling you that something is off, don’t ignore, and listen to it. Accept things as they are and move forward with your life, don’t sell yourself short or settle for someone who doesn’t reciprocate what you are putting in the relationship. If you want to build healthy and fulfilling relationships, it is essential to be true to yourself and make the right choices, even if it might feel uncomfortable.
When you know that it’s the best choice for your own happiness’s sake, you will feel empowered and proud of yourself for making the right choice according to what’s best for you. If someone isn’t able to recognize the value in you, make space for those who will.