Before getting in too deep in any relationship, it’s important to keep your eyes open for alarming signs that might be revealing themselves.
Whether your romance is brand new, far along, or on the brink of marriage, it’s never too late to start analyzing if your partner is exhibiting red flags (via Insider). It’s vital to proceed with caution when taking note of any of these potential problems, because if you go about things in a way that’s too harsh it could lead to disaster.
According to BetterUp, healthy relationships help you connect with your partner and improve your mental health. This means that if you’re struggling as a couple, it can be incredibly detrimental to you on an emotional level. Some red flags can be minor, which doesn’t necessarily mean your relationship is doomed. Other signs are incredibly toxic, dangerous, and scary, which means a breakup could be inevitable.
Most couples go through highs and lows, and that is completely normal. Many experience disagreements every now and then as well. The way these disputes are handled is what matters the most in the end. If you notice that your partner’s red flags start flaring up whenever you aren’t naturally aligned on something, you might have a bigger issue on your hands.
You are being love bombed
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If the person you’re dating started showering you with love in an overly intense way within the first few weeks of dating, it’s possible that you were being love bombed. According to Today, love bombing is a potentially harmful practice that’s usually implemented by narcissists and sociopaths. Your partner might act incredibly attentive, emotionally attached, and playfully obsessed with you at the beginning.
They may offer you huge grand gestures like dozens of roses, expensive dates, or extravagant gifts in order to pull you in and grab your interest. Love bombing might feel a tad overwhelming when your partner goes overboard with romantic behaviors, actions, and compliments from the very start (via Healthline). It’s important to keep in mind that love bombing is a manipulation technique that might feel good at first, but doesn’t typically last for long. Eventually, a partner who love bombs you likely won’t be able to keep up with the facade.
You’ll begin to notice that a love bomber is the type of partner who requires your undivided attention and commitment in all areas of life. They won’t be too pleased if you try to set boundaries or slow the fast-moving rate of your romance. No matter how good it might feel to be on the receiving end of love bombing at the start of a relationship, you have to look at your partner’s actions on a serious level before it goes too far.
Your partner has no solid friendships of their own
If your partner has no friends or hobbies of their own, it can start to weigh on you in your relationship. If you feel like you are the person taking on all of the emotional baggage from your partner — that should be spread out among their own friends and loved ones — you will begin to feel overloaded and possibly resentful.
There are plenty of people in the world who have tons of acquaintances without going out of their way to cultivate deeper and meaningful friendships, per Strong Marriage Now. Having endless pals without real connections can feel like an empty existence to anyone.
Making friends as an adult can seem daunting at first, but people need to put themselves out there to make it happen. According to NextTribe, seeking out friends can be as simple as keeping your eyes open at the gym, on hiking trails, at church, or a local coffee shop.
If your partner still chooses not to make any effort to form friendships, you should consider this to be a red flag. You should feel comfortable going out with your buddies on a Friday night without having to worry about your partner being stuck at home alone.
Your partner has no hobbies to focus on
Aside from friendships, everyone should naturally have a hobby or two that they’re interested in. According to HuffPost, if your partner lacks hobbies, they might become too needy.
These activities are important because they give people a chance to have something to look forward to in their free time while reducing everyday stresses. If your partner doesn’t have any pastimes, they might struggle to find a sense of purpose outside of their professional career and relationship with you.
People who are antisocial don’t have to force uncomfortable hobbies on themselves if they don’t want to (via Divorced Girl Smiling). No one is forcing your unsociable partner to sign up for dance classes, group sports, or acting lessons. Instead they can get into meditation, fishing, talk with a therapist, hit the gym, or choose other relaxing activities to soak up their free time.
There’s really no excuse for someone to say they aren’t interested in finding a hobby, even if they hate social interactions. Worst of all, it makes it challenging for you to enjoy your own friendships and leisure activities if your partner doesn’t have any friends or hobbies of their own. Dating someone who requires all of your time and attention can become an incredibly draining and negative experience.
Your partner lacks empathy
Having a partner that doesn’t know how to show empathy is probably one of the biggest red flags to watch out for. This means that if you’re going through a hard time or a traumatic experience, it is unlikely that your partner will be able to comfort you since they don’t know how to be empathetic.
According to First Things First, it’s normal to expect your partner to be understanding and thoughtful when you share your feelings. You’re really not asking for too much! When your partner isn’t capable of doing that, it makes sense that you would end up feeling alone.
When empathy is lacking in a relationship it is only a matter of time before it becomes problematic, per Marriage. Whether the downfall of the relationship happens early on or later down the line, it’s inevitable. Both people in a couple should be willing to put themselves in each other’s shoes to better understand and care for one another.
If your partner has no interest in trying to understand your side of things, you’ll end up feeling like you have to get through the most difficult moments in life on your own. Being in a relationship should automatically mean that you’re going through the highs and lows of this human experience with a partner who can support you through it all. If your partner is unwilling or unable to show their empathetic side, you could be in for a world of hurt.
Your partner is attempting to fully depend on you financially
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If your relationship is still pretty new and you notice your partner expects you to pay for just about everything, this is a scary red flag to be aware of. According to Marriage, if your partner is showcasing their interest in expensive items, acts entitled, and refuses to share paying bills they might not have the most authentic intentions with you. If they’re interested in indulging in an extravagant lifestyle, they give off jealous vibes about your financial status, or they’re always inquiring about the numbers in your bank account, you might be dealing with someone who cares more about what you can do for them monetarily than romantically.
Anyone who enters into a relationship just because their partner is well-off financially can be labeled a gold digger, per WebMD. If you can sense that your partner’s attraction to you has more to do with your income rather than anything else, you might want to walk away. No one wants to feel like they’re being used for their money when relationships are supposed to be filled with romance, excitement, and mutual respect.
This means that if your partner is unemployed or unwilling to bring anything to the table financially, you’ll likely end up carrying the weight of the monetary burden. If you allow this to become normal behavior in an ongoing pattern at the beginning, you can expect that the rest of your relationship will remain that way.
Your partner is jealous of your friendships
Jealousy is an unattractive emotion to see, coming from anyone. When you date someone who comes across as being jealous of your friendships at the start of a relationship, you should run in the opposite direction. A partner who genuinely loves you will be happy for you when they see you spending time with people who care about you. If your partner really cares, they’ll be grateful there are other people in the world who love you too.
According to Psychology Today, romantic jealousy usually always stems from insecurity. When your partner wants to be the only one receiving attention from you, they’ll be angry to notice you focusing on others. You might unintentionally make your partner feel excluded by saying certain things or leaving them off the invite list for events. It is important to include your partner when possible and help them feel secure in your relationship (via Mental Help).
Regardless, your partner’s jealousy is something they need to work on. They do not need to be included in every single aspect of your life. You should feel comfortable spending time at social events without them breathing down your neck. If they try to twist the situation around on you in a manipulative way, you can remind them that your entire life doesn’t revolve around them and that having friendships is healthy.
Your partner insists on going through your phone
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Consider it a red flag if your partner insists on looking at your phone in front of your face or behind your back. According to Thriving Center of Psychology, 60% of people can agree that the content on your partner’s phone is off limits. They also added that 38% of couples who violated each other by searching through phones ended up arguing or ending their relationship. The need to go through your partner’s phone typically stems from trust issues, insecurity, low self-esteem, or the inclination that your partner might be cheating.
If you suspect that your partner is messing around on you, there are better ways to find out the truth outside of snooping. Outright asking your partner to their face and looking them in the eye is your best bet. Unless they are a secret sociopath, you’ll most likely be able to see the truth in their eyes. After all, hiding something that makes you feel as guilty as infidelity is incredibly difficult.
You aren’t the problem if you have an issue with a potential open phone policy your partner might be trying to implement, per GoodTherapy. If you are more comfortable maintaining a sense of privacy, your partner should be willing to respect those boundaries. If they continue to insist that you allow them to go through your device, or they secretly go through your phone, this is a sign of deeper issues that can ultimately lead to a devastating breakup down the line.
Your partner needs constant validation and reassurance
Dating a partner who needs constant validation and reassurance is a massive red flag. Their persistent need for acceptance is typically linked to their strong desire for attention (via Health Shots). They might eventually turn into someone who showcases unintentional and subtle signs of abuse. They often fish for compliments, strike up controversial conversations to provoke reactions from others, exaggerate and embellish personal life stories to either pull in sympathy or praise from others, or worse.
According to Ideapod, one of the best ways to help a partner who seeks constant validation is to empower them and help them feel valued. Instead of feeding into the cycle you should only make yourself available to them when it’s important.
If you’ve done your best to motivate your partner to make progress by learning how to validate themselves but they aren’t willing to change, it’s a sign that you need to walk away. Dating someone who always needs to be reassured will start to weigh on you because you’ll feel like you have to solve all of their problems, always be a shoulder for them to cry on, and always be positive with your feedback for them, even when it’s dishonest.
It’s better to be with someone who you can praise at your own pace in a way that’s true, honest, and authentic. Consistently forcing yourself to validate an emotionally needy partner is exhausting.
Your partner is overly sarcastic
If your partner turns everything into an overly sarcastic joke, you have to ask yourself what they are trying to hide from emotionally. Sarcasm is an easy way for people to hide from their emotional downfalls. According to Hindustan Times, occasional and playful sarcasm is fine, but if your partner is using it to put you down, you have a real problem on your hands. When it comes to this type of ridicule as an attempt at humor, certain people forget to draw a line between what’s meant to be a joke and what they seriously think of you.
Sarcasm in relationships can be incredibly damaging since it generally points out a partner’s flaws rather than appreciating their good traits, per Marriage. It can cut deeply like a knife ruining a sense of intimacy between two people. If the nature of your relationship is already filled with sarcastic joking that goes both ways, it’s typically fine to continue with that pattern. But if one person doesn’t feel comfortable with these types of jokes and snippy dialogue, that’s where it becomes a red flag.
When your partner uses this form of humor to shame you, lay thinly veiled insults on you, make you feel demoralized, or try to weaken your sense of confidence, you have every right to call them out for that behavior. If it is in their blood and it’s not something they’re willing to let go of, this is a red flag you should pay attention to before you continue your relationship.
Your partner is showing signs of substance addiction
Dating a partner who is showing signs of addiction is an extreme red flag. It is very troublesome if your partner is hooked on prescription drugs, street drugs, or something that’s legal like alcohol (via WebMD). According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 27 million people over the age of 12 used illicit drugs in 2014. Substance abuse can negatively affect relationships because addiction is often linked to financial problems, legal conflicts, and other forms of relationship abuse.
If you’re involved with someone who’s showing signs of substance abuse, you have to do everything in your power to avoid behaviors that might enable them. Making excuses for them, neglecting your own needs to take care of them, and allowing them to repeatedly disappoint you are some of the ways you might be enabling them.
If your relationship is still pretty new and you’re noticing signs of addiction, you have every right to walk away. Some of the signs you can look out for in addicts are abrupt changes in their personality, bloodshot eyes, frequent bloody noses, slurred speech, body shakes, random changes in their daily routines, a lack of concern for their hygiene, an unusual need for money, lack of motivation, and irritable behavior.
Your partner is showing signs they could turn physically abusive
It’s time to end your relationship right away if you notice red flags that your partner might become physically abusive with you. According to The Healthy, you may be dating someone who will eventually become aggressive with you if they force you into decisions without regard for your feelings, act in an alarmingly controlling manner, or make you feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells.
Jealousy, possessiveness, blaming others for their problems, and unpredictability are other signs to look out for in your relationship, per The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. If they are regularly forceful during sexual activity, verbally abusive in any way, or treat animals in a cruel way, you need to end the relationship.
Dating someone who explodes in anger often from unknown or confusing triggers means you’ll be tiptoeing around their emotions for the duration of your relationship. If you feel like you’re the one who is always wrong in every argument or dispute, your partner is extremely jealous, or you’re starting to feel fearful for your safety, then your relationship has gone past the point of anything healthy.
The way your partner acts when they are under the influence of alcohol is also a huge indicator of whether or not they might become physically abusive down the line. If they turn into an angry drunk, enjoying social nights out on the town with friends can turn into something harmful and violent rather than something lighthearted and fun.
If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support attheir website.
Your partner talks about themselves a bit too much
You might be dating a narcissist if your partner is obsessed with talking about themselves. According to Healthline, people who overshare too much might have delusions of grandeur. They are preoccupied with wild fantasies about unlimited success, power, or brilliance. They’ve convinced themselves that they’re beyond unique and special in ways that can only be understood by people with regal statuses.
People who talk about themselves nonstop have an excessive need for admiration, a natural envy of others who are doing better than them, arrogant attitudes, a sense of entitlement, and worse. Those with narcissistic personality disorder are often riddled with indecision, a lack of self-confidence, and deflated self-worth, per Foundations Counseling. If you notice early on that the person you’re involved with can’t help themselves from talking about their own interests at every chance they get, you should probably run in the opposite direction.
Dating someone who talks about themselves too much will start to turn you off, despite the fact that they probably started off as incredibly charming at first. They might’ve pulled you in with an enchanting and delightful likability, but it wasn’t long before you noticed it start chipping away. In any healthy relationship, conversations are designed to go both ways. If your partner dominates every conversation talking about how wonderful they are, it might start to make you feel like you’re simply not important to them.
Your partner is rude to service staff
It’s incredibly unattractive for anyone to be rude to service staff. Restaurant servers, Uber drivers, cleaning staff, and gardeners are a few examples of people who have jobs that provide a service to others. According to Editorial Today, it is simple enough to use interactions with waiters and other service staff members to evaluate whether or not you’re dating someone you can see a long-term future with.
If the person you’re dating treats service staff like they’re less than human, you probably don’t want to go on more dates with that person in the future. Being rude to waiters is one of the worst things people can do when it comes to dining etiquette. “When it happens to a complete stranger, being rude can be viewed as completely uncalled for and disrespectful,” marriage and family therapist Omar Ruiz tells Well + Good. “If they can treat [another] person without regard, what will stop them from treating you the same way?”
It is important to take a mental note of how inappropriate your partner acts with strangers. If they are comfortable being impolite to someone they’ve never met before, it’s probably easy for them to eventually be rude to someone they’ve been dating for a while.
Your partner criticizes all of their exes
If your new partner tries to fill your head with stories about how all of their exes were to blame for everything that went wrong, you might need to take a second to reevaluate how honest they are being. According to Psychology Today, you should be cautious of anyone who makes the claim that their exes were the problem because they might be trying to deflect from their own wrongdoing.
It’s also important to pay attention to how someone speaks about their exes in the first place. Being in a relationship means you’ve invested time, energy, and emotion into a person. If your partner can’t speak about their exes respectfully after parting ways, there might be darker issues at play. Anyone who insults all of their exes might have their own emotional challenges and lack understanding (via The Good Men Project). What’s even worse is that meeting someone who calls their exes names means you could be interacting with someone who enjoys drama or doesn’t have compassionate empathy.
Your partner gives you the silent treatment
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If your relationship is brand new and you’ve already noticed that your partner relies on giving you the silent treatment when they’re upset, this is your sign to end the relationship.
“Excluding and ignoring people, such as giving them the cold shoulder or silent treatment, are used to punish or manipulate, and people may not realize the emotional or physical harm that is being done,” psychology professor Kipling Williams tells Hey Sigmund. While your partner might think that they’re being the bigger person by taking the high road and leaving you in silence, they’re actually making things way worse.
Silence is often compared to abusiveness in a relationship, per Medical News Today. If your partner starts using the silent treatment on you, it’s their manipulative way of trying to control the situation and take charge of the narrative. Being on the receiving end of this behavior will leave you feeling lonely and lost. If you want to work things out with your partner, but they’re ignoring you with no opportunity to communicate, they’re simply proving to you that they aren’t mature enough to be in a relationship. Healthy couples that last for a long time consist of individuals who know how to talk to each other comfortably and honestly.
Your partner gaslights you
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The unfortunate truth about dating someone who isn’t as emotionally mature as you is that they’re probably going to end up gaslighting you at one point or another.
“Gaslighting is a psychological tactic used to make another person believe they are losing their mind,” psychologist Joshua Klapow tells Insider. “It is literally a manipulative attempt at making another person think they are losing their ability to think, remember, and be rational.”
It leads to an erosion of your confidence and the loss of trust in your own instincts, per Health. Dating a partner who’s comfortable gaslighting you means you’re in a relationship with someone who is fine telling you bold faced lies while looking straight into your eyes. It also means you are dating someone who is going to start shutting you out whenever problems arise. A gaslighter will somehow convince you that all of their mistakes are actually your mistakes by placing all of the blame on you. It will feel like a no-win situation all the time.
Your partner shuts down when you show emotion
An important factor that must come into play with long-lasting, healthy relationships is great communication. Without solid understanding, it’s difficult to have trust and love. Dating someone who shuts you out whenever you show emotion will ultimately make you feel alone. According to GoodTherapy, this type of behavior is described as stonewalling. When your partner ignores you or responds to you negatively with body language you are being stonewalled.
Being shut out by your partner can seem as though they’re taking you for granted, per Psych Central. These emotions don’t contribute to building relationships that are lasting. When two people are emotionally mature, talking things out until you both reach a mutual agreement comes naturally and feels good to do. When you’re involved with someone who isn’t on the same level as you emotionally, you might eventually experience getting shut down by them whenever one of you is upset.
Once again, If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.