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11 Major Relationship Red Flags You Should Not Ignore

Relationships are an integral part of our lives. Positive or healthy relationships include those relations wherein the couple supports each other relentlessly, shows empathy, and treats the other person with respect. It includes the relationships wherein both individuals are willing to give and take. These relationships are not always perfect. But in these relationships, if the couple has disagreements, they work it out in a mutually satisfactory way and not play the blame game.

Toxic people do not show the negative side or hurting side early in the relationship. They are often seen as extremely charismatic, romantic, ideal, or exemplary partners. One gets to know the true colours after a while when they turn into someone completely unknown and one could not even imagine that behaviour.

Relationships utilise a lot of the mental and emotional space and when they don't work out, it causes a lot of emotional damage.

Signs or red flags in a relationship can take months or even years to unfold. A red flag is considered a good intuitive image to help you process what you’re feeling. At the end of such an unhealthy relationship, people are often found saying, “He (or she) told me who he (or she) was at the very beginning, but I just wasn't able to comprehend. Such signs include:

  • Isolation- The toxic person puts a lot of restrictions on the other partner so that there is limited social support which in turn increases dependence in the particular relationship.
  • Ongoing disagreements and arguments- It is widely seen in relationships that there are minor disagreements, but toxic relationships are just based on disputes. In unhealthy relationships, there are constant blame games and lack of respect for each other.
  • Jealousy and dishonesty- There are accusations, casual flirting, or even having affairs outside of relationships. Sometimes, the controlling or toxic person may actively and openly engage in these behaviours. 
  • Denial and gaslighting- There is complete denial when confronted about a behaviour and the person also indulges in manipulation. Often the blame is put on the other person and there are constant attempts to gaslight the other person. They are made to think that they are the ones who are wrong and overreacting.
  • Giving in on everything- If you find yourself willing to take, give and do all the compromises ranging from moral to personal, this clearly shows you are in an unhealthy relationship. You are the one that has to compromise on everything ranging from big to small things.
  • Lack of communication- You feel you two are not comfortable communicating openly and clearly. Often, when it would seem most crucial to talk it out, either they distance themselves, or leave the partner hanging having to deal with a situation on their own. Often, there is a lot of moodiness and often the silent treatment.
  • Holding a relationship hostage- When one person has just one simple criticism or complaint but instead threatens the whole commitment of the relationship. For instance, if someone feels like you’ve been cold to them, instead of saying, “I feel like you were being cold to me that day”, they will instead say, “I can’t date someone or stay with someone who is being cold to me all of the time.”
  • Buying the solutions to relationship issues- This happens when a major conflict or issue comes up in a bond, instead of solving it, you cover it up with enthusiasm and happiness. They either indulge in buying something or arranging for a vacation. Not only does this brush the real problem under the rug, but later on will always re-emerge, and even worse the next time.
  • Controlling behaviour- A lot of times the patterns exhibit like “divide and conquer,” which creates major havoc in your life. They may be jealous of the ongoing relationships in your life or often feel the need to control wherever you go. This often includes limiting your world to allow in only what is important to them, or serving their best interests. A lot of times, they make you choose, which often includes choosing them over others in the name of love.
  • Non-resolution of past relationships-These includes not just intimate relationships but those with others too, including family members and friends. If the person is unable to evaluate why past relationships haven’t worked out or are brushing the topic, or consistently blames the other party for everything. It is a major sign that this same thing could happen with your relationship.
  • Any form of abuse, from the seemingly mild to the very obvious ranging from verbal, emotional, psychological, and certainly physical—is not just a red flag but a huge banner telling you to immediately let go of the relationship. 

There are a lot of times when the person shows change when communication happens and that changed behaviour acts as a small glimmer of hope. Rather than accepting the reality of the situation, you may believe that by changing your behaviour, by becoming a ‘better’ you, you can finally make the relationship work. But changing yourself to a completely different person is not the correct answer. If you can not be yourself and find yourself to be the one compromising and adjusting to everything, take a step back and evaluate.

These situations are certainly overwhelming. It is always helpful to speak to a professional and vent your feelings. You can use HappiCHAT to drop in a message to an expert and gain perspective. You can get access to self-help tools or book a session with a therapist to help you work on your emotional wellbeing and broader domains. If you, or anyone you know, is dealing with unhealthy relationship patterns or a partner, don't hesitate to reach out to us.