Article By Jessica Wang Jessica Wang@imjesswang_
From money to your argument style, a top divorce lawyer shares the major relationship pink flags that could hint a new date won’t go the distance
~ DECEMBER 2021 ~ The cousin of the infamous red flag – obvious, glaring signs that the person you’ve chosen as your significant other should be knocked off that pedestal – the phrase ‘pink flag’ is the latest term to be added to the dating dictionary.
While a red flag might be a clear indication the person you’re seeing is not for you – their values clearly oppose yours, they’re rude or put you down – a pink flag is more like a compatibility speed bump.
In this case, they can be a pre-emptive sign that leads you to glaring red flag roundabout, bye they may also provide you with an opportunity to communicate, discuss or reassess your values with the other person.
For example, a pink flag could be a difference in texting patterns. Picture: istock.
That’s what divorce lawyer, conflict resolution specialist and relationship coach, Anne Marie Cade says. She describes a pink flag as that bit after the emotions and dopamine hit of a new relationship wears off and you begin to see behaviours or signs which causes you “a little bit of apprehension” or “makes you question things”.
“Maybe there’s a disconnect,” she says. “It gives you something to worry about and maybe you don’t want to discuss it with your new partner.
“But if it’s something that’s important to you and needs to be addressed, my advice is to nip it in the bud because communication is the key to getting through that issue.”
It’s the last bit that’s most important to the pink flag puzzle, says Ms Cade. We ask her to share the most common pink flags she sees in couples and how to tell if they’re an inevitable spoiler alert for pending heartbreak, or just cause for communication.
Pink flags to watch out for
The pink flag: Not reciprocating affection
This might look like someone who is hesitant when it comes to publicly displaying their affection or being open about your relationship. As a pink flag, this may mean your affection isn’t reciprocated, however it can also lead into a bigger issue related to commitment, or a lack of “emotional security” within your relationship.
“It can turn into a red flag as it shows that they may be comittment avoidant, emotionally unavailable or just want a friends with benefits thing,” says Ms Cade.
While everybody has different needs when it comes to how much affection is needed or how it’s expressed, it’s important to be on the same page. Picture: istock.
Ms Cade is careful to add that this could also come down to a difference in love languages. Referring to a concept developed by Gary Chapman, the talk show host found that people express and receive love in five different ways: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch.
“It comes down to having that conversation at the beginning and getting an understand of the other person’s wants and needs and they’re love language – I think that’s quite relevant,” says Ms Cade.
The pink flag: Your interests, personality and opinions don’t align, at all
While opposites may attract, things like opposing levels of introversion / extroversion, a desire to stay home or go out, or difference in opinions can cause arguments later down the track.
“This turns into a red flag if there’s that refusal to discuss or come to some sort of compromise,” she says.
Concerning, red flag behaviour may also look like someone who tries to change how you think or criticises what you like.
The pink flag: Your attitudes to money are very different
Working as a divorce lawyer, Ms Cade has seen situations were attitudes towards money has created big rifts between couples. A pink flag could refer to how closed someone is about discussing money, or their attitude on sharing finances.
“This is a really big one. Maybe you start of with splitting the bill but you’re paying for more as things go on, or you try and have a conversation about money and they’re really closed off,” she says.
“If someone is resistant talking about finances or bigger picture things, it could be indicative that later on issues will arise and it’ll be there way or the high way, and that’s a recipe for disaster in my opinion.”
The pink flag: You don’t like their friends
It’s natural to adopt your partners friendship circles once your relationship progresses but problems can occur when you realise you dislike their friends.
“This can turn into a red flag if your significant other is always around these people and you find you need to take some time to meditate every time you hang out with their friends,” says Ms Cade. “This can become super hard and can be difficult to talk about.”
If you find their immediate friend group is insufferable, it may be a sign your social circles aren’t compatible. Picture: iStock.
The pink flag: Your methods of resolving conflict don’t match
This refers to how you and your partner work to get to the bottom of conflict, how you react to a disagreement and whether there’s a resistance to discussing conflict.
While this may be a skill you both can learn during the course of a relationship, there may be cause for concern if someone is dismissing or fails to acknowledge your feelings.
“If that tends to occur more often than not, that can be a problem,” says Ms Cade.
So, what happens if you start noticing pink flags?
Working as someone who regularly meets with and councils couples approaching the end of their relationship, Ms Cade understands conflict.
While all relationships will go through a disconnect at one point or another, “keeping the lines of communication open” is imperative, she says.
“If you don’t communicate, you don’t say things when something happens and we don’t ask the question as to why it happened, or make the person understand why we’re hurt, then they don’t understand what you’re expectations are,” she says.
“It’s important to address these things to happen as soon as they come up. Say ‘this is how I view this situation, what is your perspective?’.
“However, make sure to not shut their perspective down, or try to persuade them to see it from your pespective – try to listen and understand them.”
Compromise is also essential.
“It’s really very important to have an understanding of how you’re going to meet halfway as it were,” adds Ms Cade.
Whether it’s a difference in your idea of fun or a difference in opinion, open communication is crucial, says Ms Cade. Picture: istock.
Question to ask yourself before dating
Whether you’re someone who’s a regular on the dating apps or you’ve made the commitment to start dating more, Ms Cade says one of the most important things you can do is to set some time aside and properly understand what you want to achieve before you arrive on your first date.
The relationship coach advocates people to write down “exactly what they’re looking for in a partner”. This is important because “different people want different things in a relationship or from a partner”.
“Sometimes when you write things down, that makes it more real. Write down what you want and what you don’t want and that way when you’re dating someone and see these pink, or red flags show up, you’ll know straightaway.
“I think getting clear on what you want is really important and understanding that you can only control yourself.
“If they’re not doing the things that really make you happy, just remember that you can’t change other people.”