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relationship red flags

8 relationship red flags you shouldn’t overlook

Not all relationships have a ‘happily ever after’. Sometimes, relationships end sooner than we imagine. While the reasons for this abrupt end elude us, we wonder what we missed, what went wrong, and what we could have done differently. Even as we play out every possible scenario in the mind, we miss, what relationship experts refer to as, relationship red flags.

What are these relationship red flags? As dating psychologist Madeleine Mason Roantree explains, a red flag is “something your partner does that indicates a lack of respect, integrity or interest towards the relationship”.

In the early stages of a relationship, red flags can seem subtle. Even though they are there, they are overshadowed by feelings and emotions. As time passes and the flame of romance simmers down, these red flags start to become obvious. But, what if you have come a long way in your relationship and have a family together? That’s why it’s important to catch these ‘warning signs’ before it’s too late.

Here are 8 relationship red flags, which, if caught in time, can either help you work on your relationship or save you from an impending heartbreak.

Lack of communication

Communication is the key to a happy relationship. It helps partners understand each other, share their fears and concerns, and iron out the wrinkles in their relationships. But not everyone prefers to exchange words when the going gets tough. Many opt for silent treatment or shoving the problem under the rug to avoid confrontations. With this approach, you can spend a few weeks running away from a problem, but not years, let alone, the entire life. Such an attitude can poison the relationship in the long run.

If there is a lack of communication in your relationship, you should express your feelings to your partner. Be honest and open. Use words such as “we” instead of “I” or “you” for a healthy talk.

Insecurity and jealousy

Nothing breaks a relationship as hard and loud as insecurity and jealousy. While insecurity springs from the lack of mutual understanding and self-confidence, jealousy can creep into a relationship when a partner lacks trust and emotional maturity. Many partners overlook these two red flags when they first occur in a relationship. And this is why emotional distance and fights begin to unravel between two people.

Low self-esteem, dependency on your partner, and excessive emotional attachment are some of the reasons researchers have linked with insecurity and jealousy. Talking to a therapist or communicating your fears to your partner can help you deal with insecurity and jealousy. But before anything else, accept the problem. If you ignore the issue and do nothing to address it, it can cripple your relationship before it could blossom into something beautiful.

Estranged relationship with the family

How one behaves with their family affects their relationships with others. Their attitude towards their partners is often a reflection of the atmosphere they had experienced at home or the relationship their parents had. If one has a considerate and thoughtful relationship with their family members, they are more likely to bring the same energy to the table for their romantic partners.

relationship red flags

Anger is one of the most dangerous red flags that can destroy even the strongest of relationships.

Taking each other for granted

A relationship is a two-way street. It should be mutually enjoyable, mutually beneficial, and mutually enriching for both partners. But when one starts taking the other for granted, a relationship loses its ground and becomes unstable. It happens when one partner stops putting effort into the relationship or both stop appreciating each other. In such cases, there is no balance in a relationship—where you only give but hardly receive. To deal with the issue, you need to first identify it.

How to tell you are taking your partner for granted?

– You rarely compliment them.

– You don’t thank them enough for what they do for you.

– You don’t appreciate them for who they are.

– You don’t make plans to spend time together.

What can you do to not take your partner for granted?

– Help them in chores.

– Apologise when you make mistakes.

– Thank them for their love and care.

– Plan getaways to celebrate your relationship.

Keeping secrets from each other

Sometimes, partners keep secrets from their better halves about certain things in their lives. These are personal and private details that they prefer keeping to themselves. But when it comes to serious relationships, such an attitude cannot work. It is a big red flag when you keep your concerns and fears a secret from your partner. It shows a lack of trust and it weakens the very foundation that holds two people together.

There should be a level of trust in a relationship. If you trust your partner, you don’t have to hide anything. And if you don’t, then there is no relationship to begin with.

No accountability and responsibility

Like everything good in life, healthy relationships take time and effort to bear fruit. It takes sacrifices and compromises from both partners to build a relationship on trust and respect. Where things go wrong is when one partner stops taking accountability and responsibility for their actions. They refuse to own up to their mistakes and pass blames on their partner. This red flag stems from two other flags, lack of communication and taking your partner for granted. Such relationships cannot withstand the test of time because of the flimsy foundation.

To make your relationship last, you and your partner need to work on the basics. Make sure the expectations of both sides are clear, there aren’t any communication gaps, be open about what you like and dislike about your relationship, and listen to each other without any judgments.

Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic that a person uses to brainwash someone. As unbelievable as it may sound, gaslighting is quite common in relationships. These days, the term is so much in use that Oxford Dictionaries named it as the most popular word of 2018. Through gaslighting, a partner manipulates the other, challenges their beliefs, and tries to change them by telling lies.

Anyone can be a victim of gaslighting, as it is done gradually over the years by a narcissist or an abusive partner. For this reason, it is one red flag that is difficult to catch too.

If you are unsure whether you are getting gaslighted by your partner, talk to a friend you trust. You can also seek guidance from a therapist.

Having a short-tempered partner

Anger is one of the most dangerous red flags that can destroy even the strongest of relationships. Bear in mind that experiencing anger is not an issue per se. It’s a natural emotion that everyone experiences. But how you deal with anger and respond to it makes all the difference. After all, it’s the thin line that separates a healthy relationship from an abusive one.

Unlike other red flags, anger is easier to detect. If your partner yells at you, even in public, and does little to change their actions, you cannot overlook this unhealthy pattern. In the long run, anger can turn into something more ugly, which will not only affect you but everyone else around.

Couples therapy, meditation techniques, spending time together, and treating each other with empathy can help couples deal with anger issues.

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