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7 Red Flags in Relationships

And what to look out for instead

You may be the most rational person in the world, yet when infatuation hits you, it becomes hard to see clearly. After all, ‘when you look at someone through rose-colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags.‘ You exaggerate the goods and find excuses for the bads of the relationship, locking yourself in a vicious circle. And then there’s some anxiety and fear of abandonment to top it off. Yeah, not that pretty as in romcoms.

But there’re hope and solutions! And the first step to breaking the cycle is evaluating your partner critically and detecting the disturbing signs. So to guide you through this love labyrinth, we have collected seven red flags of a toxic partner. Also, you’ll discover alternative green flags to search for in a potential significant other and cultivate in yourself. And before we start, remember — you always know what’s best for you, so listen to what your gut tells you before all.

Now let’s get to it!

1. They are overly jealous and don’t trust you

Your following list becomes a stack full of cases for arguments, and your messages become the most desirable thing to read. Moreover, your partner is not just jealous of old friends or new people in your life — your exes also become a hot topic. You just get no trust when there are no objective reasons to cause it, although everyone is entitled to total privacy no matter what.

Instead: An emotionally mature person trusts their partner, respects their privacy and boundaries. They are confident and secure; therefore, they don’t see everyone as a threat to their relationship.

2. They treat everyone poorly, but you

“All my exes were crazy,” “You’re not like other girls/boys,” and such stories apply to this genre. It might seem flattering when your partner puts you on a pedestal, but it won’t be long before the hormones wear off, and they will treat you as badly as others. So pay extra attention to how they interact with other people, especially their subordinates.

Instead: You can’t adore every person. However, being tolerant and respectful towards others despite their differences is a trait we should all strive for.

3. They have no friends

It’s a distinctive red flag when a person can’t maintain long-term friendships that have no objective benefit. Even more so, if they then expect you to fulfill all their emotional and social needs, it’s just a bomb waiting to explode.

Instead: Look out for a self-sufficient person who will not put all their eggs in one basket, i.e., you. After all, a healthy relationship is not about two halves that complete one other. It’s a union of two unique personalities who complement each other.

Did you know? Mature adults seek only about 25% of their needs from their partner. The other 75% they get from self, friends, family, career, and hobbies.

How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving by David Richo

4. They gaslight you

Shortly, gaslighting is a way of emotional manipulation when a person makes you doubt your reality, memory, feelings and twists the truth. They can call you names, disregard you as overly emotional or too sensitive, deny that some of their actions happened. And even if you confront them with factual proof, it might end up in a classic “Believe what you want” or other ways to discredit you. So if such behavior rings a bell, there goes your red flag.

Instead: Your s.o. should be your greatest supporter and believer, especially when it’s you doubting yourself. You deserve to feel like your opinions are valid and not questioned all the time.

5. They don’t apologize or compromise

The ability to apologize is one of the pillars of healthy communication because conflicts are inevitable. And if your partner never admits to being in the wrong, it’s a bad sign. Especially if the only form of apology they’re capable of is “I’m sorry if I hurt you” or “I’m sorry that you feel that way.”

Another red flag is the inability to compromise. Especially if it involves replying to all your concerns with such manipulations as “Why don’t you just break up with me then” without considering your requests.

Instead: There’s no healthy relationship without a genuine “I’m sorry” and a change that follows. Your partner should not only say the magic words but own up to them and compromise when a situation calls for it.

6. They are hot and cold

Yet another manipulation to form a codependent relationship. When your partner gives you regular rides on an emotional rollercoaster of pulling away and coming back, starting dramatic conflicts, and then showering you with love, it’s a bright red flag. Such behavior gets you addicted to the highs that follow those hurtful downs, making it hard to leave an abusive relationship.

Instead: This might seem like a disappointment, but a healthy relationship is rather boring. Thus, it’s easy to see stability as a lack of passion. But long-term, you’d want to come home to a safe haven and not a fighting merry-go-round.

7. They are possessive

‘This 60-40 isn’t workin’ I want a hundred of your time, you’re mine’.

If your partner guilt-trips you for having other priorities and social life outside of the relationship, that’s a good old example of controlling behavior. Such people tend to isolate their partner from others to own them. And this red flag would be your cue to run from such a person.

Instead: Let into your heart those who respect all your life priorities and don’t try to have you only to themselves. Such a partner will understand when you take a rain-check and not turn it into a fighting match.

How to find that green-flag partner?

When you move from one red-flag partner to another, it is easy to get discouraged and declare yourself a loner. The matter is, a healthy relationship takes a lot of work and is nurtured, not just found. Thus, to form a bond with the green-flag person, it’s vital to work out your own shortcomings in that area. And that’s exactly what you can read about in How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving by David Richo_._

In this eye-opening book, David Richo sheds light on a new and realistic perspective on love. In addition, he provides insight on becoming that perfect match yourself, which lays the foundation of a mature and healthy relationship. By the way, you can read or listen to this book’s summary on the Headway app in just 15 minutes and get all the key information quickly. And what can be better than this in such a fast-paced world we live in?


Another effective way to work out your own red flags and become savvier in the love matters is Headway’s self-growth challenge, Healthy Relationships. Fourteen summaries, one for each day, and by the end of the challenge, you’ll become a better and new you. And after that, there will be no anxious googling about red flags.

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