Red Flags In A Relationship: What Are They And How Should You Deal With Them?

Red flags” has become a popular term when discussing relationships. Red flags are small signs early on that could provide indications to trouble later on in a relationship. While it is important to be aware of these signs, they can often be entirely generalized and therefore not useful to individuals. Red flags aren’t always going to be as obvious as “Mark tells Gracie she can’t hang out with anyone but him” (though this definitely is one). A lot of times they are so small and miniscule we can’t identify them till it is too late.  

But if they are this hard to spot, how can we be expected to find them before it is too late?

And the answer to this isn’t that simple.

The early warning signs a relationship is on its way to becoming toxic can be the smallest (even the most normalized) pieces of conversation.

Maybe he doesn’t say you aren’t allowed to hang out with your friends, but he mentions how weird he finds Lisa.

Maybe he doesn’t hit you, but he mentions how violent he can get sometimes.

These small things may not seem like a big deal at first but they can grow and evolve to a scary situation that you struggle to get out of. Being more critical and aware of the actions of those we attach ourselves to is so important. Once a weed invades your ecosystem it can be hard to rid yourself of it.

According to the CDC, almost 32 million women and twelve million men are impacted by Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) during their lives. This is defined as “physical or sexual violence, stalking, and psychological aggression by a current or former intimate partner.”

These are staggering numbers that only continue to rise. While it can be difficult to step back and really evaluate those in our lives, it is so necessary for our physical and mental safety.

When in a relationship you have no obligation to mentally take on the distress of your significant other. If they are constantly using you to talk about serious issues such as depression, suicidal thoughts or any other heavy topics that branch out beyond the normal scope of conversation, you are allowed to take a step back and let them know that while you care deeply about them, you are not their therapist.

A relationship should be about you both growing as individuals, not someone dragging you down with them.

If your partner ever threatens to hurt themselves if you were to leave them, this is a form of emotional abuse and it is okay to leave. It can be really scary, of course you care for them and don’t want to see them hurt, but you also have to make sure that you are safe as well.

Subtle red flags can be anything from your friends showing clear distaste towards them or them pressuring you to move into the relationship way too fast. Rose colored glasses can often blind us to manipulation and warnings, being aware of what is going on is so important.

If you notice a friend has seemed more distant in a new relationship or they only seem to discuss the negatives of it, reach out to them. Ask them if they are okay.

And if you believe you may be in a relationship that could soon turn ugly, don’t be afraid to either address the issues then and there or to just leave. Again, you are not emotionally responsible for healing your partner. You have to make sure that you are doing well too.

And if you are in a relationship that has already turned bad, please reach out. To a friend, a family member, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1- (800) 799 - 7233.

It can be hard to leave those we care for but sometimes it’s absolutely necessary for your own health and safety. Don’t be afraid to put yourself first, you don’t deserve to be treated badly.