Red flags are actions or words that you hear from people that you are involved with that give you insight into major problems that will come down the road. They are important to pay attention to because if ignored, they lead to major issues that can cause stress and anxiety, or end the relationship down the road.
Without significant insight, most people tend to ignore the same red flags over and over (If this has been your pattern, please read my article
7 Things You Can Do To Stop Choosing the Wrong Partner). For those people it is important to not only to think about the issues that continue to plague their relationships, but also keep in mind the behaviours people display that are indicative of those future issues.
It's important to keep in mind that a red flag is not necessarily a deal breaker - some red flags just indicate issues that need to be discussed and worked on depending on the couple. Others are ones that should be an indication to you that the relationship should not go further.
1. Lack of Integrity
Okay, this one is huge. And while some red flags are ones that you can weight out and examine to see if they fit with you, this should not be one of them. Being in a relationship with someone who has a clear lack of integrity is a break up waiting to happen. Unless you are also consciously challenged, its inevitable that the behaviours they display will eventually impact you.
Behaviours that exhibit a lack of integrity
They treat people badly
They keep your relationship a secret
They won't allow you to use their phone
They tell lies or half truths
They refuse to talk openly about their life
They say one thing but do another
They excuse other peoples bad behaviour
They are secretive
They delete all their texts
2. Poor Communication Skills
On the surface, this seems like a minor issue, but over time it can create some really serious problems in a relationships. Relationships take emotional connection, and if a couple have a difficult time communicating with each other, the chances that both are emotionally available is slim. The good news is that unlike integrity issues, communication -once the couple realize it is an issue can be worked on. Reading books, attending seminars or going to counselling are all excellent ways to work on improving communication skills.
Behaviours that exhibit poor communication skills
They are not interested in what's going on in your life
They don't bother to, or take forever to return calls or texts
They have a hard time comprehending other points of view
They have a hard time talking about difficult issues
They don't see their part in fights
They use ultimatums
3. An Inability to Control Their Emotions
Again, this issue may or may not be a deal breaker depending on the person. Being highly/overly emotional may be an indication that someone is feeling overwhelmed or going through a difficult time in their lives. Or they may be the type of person who cries easily and often. This type of behaviour might be too much for someone who has difficulty dealing with emotions, but for someone else who is nurturing and sensitive it may be no issue at all. However, someone not being able to control their emotions may become a deal breaker if the person has anger issues, is highly volatile, or is passive aggressive.
Behaviours that exhibit poor emotional control
They disrespect you
They cry incessantly
They loose their temper easily
They have a difficult time maintaining friendships
They are frequently fighting with a family member
4. Poor Relationships
A good indication that your partner won't value your relationship is that they have often taken for granted other relationships in their lives. People that are flippant about others, don't understand that things that make relationships last, and refuse to practice even basic things that lead to long lasting relationships should probably be avoided. What might end up happening eventually is that they end the relationship because they don't value it, or you end it because you feel you are the one sustaining it.
Behaviours that exhibit poor relationships
They don't get along with others
They often discourage you from having good relationships with others
They take advantage of others
They speak negatively about most people
They are often in a fight with someone
Your family or friends don't like them
They have poor relationships with their family
5. Immature Behaviour
Immature behavior is another one of those issues that may seem to be insignificant at first, but can become a major issue as the relationship progresses and there are more joint responsibilities. It may seem cute their your partner needs you to remind them to do their taxes, or book their doctors appointment, but when you're married, and have children this just adds an extra burden on you. If you are the type of person that is good at putting up boundaries, this may be a manageable red flag. But for those with a history or codependance, or poor self care this red flag might be a deal breaker.
Behaviours that exhibit immature behaviour
They are never able to help you with your problems
They don't take responsibility for wrong doings
They don't learn from their past mistakes
They often throw adult temper tantrums
They behave excessively silly or childish
They exercises poor decision making
Avoid, avoid, avoid, avoid, avoid. Being in a relationship with someone who never recognizes or cares about your needs will become draining and stressful very quickly. The relationship may work for a time if you are an extremely passive person, but even then the long term health problems that will arise from being in such an unhealthy relationship will not be worth it. If you tend to be the type of person who draws selfish narcissistic people into your live, both you and your partner should seek counselling. But since you can only really change yourself, better to throw that fish back into the water and work on you.
Behaviours that exhibit selfish/narcissistic behaviour
They don't care about what you want
They don't stop to consider how their actions affect you
They pretend they don't understand how their actions affect others
They don't acknowledge your needs
They take more than they give
They often put their needs ahead of yours
They often expects you to make unnecessary/unfair sacrifices for them
This is another issue that should ALWAYS be a relationship deal breaker. No one deserves to be in a relationship where they are put down, disrespected or oppressed emotionally, financially, sexually or physically. Period.
Behaviours that exhibit abusive behaviour
They yell frequently
They hit, push or are physical in any way
They text, call, and/or check up on you constantly
They minimize their abusive behaviour
They attempt to isolate you from others
They control your money
8. Bad Decisions
Bad decision making is another issue that can be worked on if both parties recognize it as a problem and are willing to make changes. If unchecked, this type of issue is one that will not only destroy a relationship, but the lives within the relationship as well. In this instance, we are not talking about one off issues as much as a pattern of poor decision making that has lead to current unnecessary difficulties.
Behaviours that exhibit bad decision making
There are always money issues
They are seriously in debt
They have lost multiple jobs
They move often
They often need to borrow money
They have irresponsible friends
They're life is significantly far away from where it should be at this point in their lives
They have strong addiction issues
9. Inability to Delay Gratification
This is similar to bad decision making in that it often leads to problems in the relationship that can also affect the lives of both people involved. An inability to delay gratification can lead to issues such as severe debt, loss of a home, and affairs.
Behaviours that exhibit an inability to delay gratification
They shop excessively
They spend a lot of money on things they don't need
They often take the easy way out
They start things and don't finish
They move the relationship too quickly
They want to skip significant relationship behaviours such as getting to know you before having sex, before being exclusive, or before moving in together/getting married.
10. Poor Boundaries
It's important to keep in mind that boundaries need to exist for both people. In order for someone to respect your boundaries, you have to be clear about what they are and communicate them. Once you've done your part in expressing them, its up to the other person to respect them -if they don't this can cause major issues in the future.
Behaviours that exhibit poor boundaries
They give too much attention, too quickly
They initiates physical intimacy very quickly
They push for sexual contact that makes you uncomfortable
They don't respect when you say you feel uncomfortable
They ask for favors that are inappropriate
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