Has anyone ever explained relationship red flags to you? If so, how young were you? I am going to bet that many of you never received that talk. I would also bet money that this conversation occurred in the late teen years if it did occur.
No worries if no one ever had that conversation with you. I am here to explain.
You shouldn’t be wondering how your partner is going to behave any given day. Your partner should be fairly consistent in mood and behavior. With that, you shouldn’t be extremely concerned with how your partner is going to react to situations. Plans change, accidents happen, and your partner should navigate those situations calmly with you.
2. Lack of Communication
I understand sharing one’s feelings can be challenging, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t essential. You shouldn’t be guessing what your partner is thinking. We are too old to be accepting the silent treatment from our partners.
3. Past Relationships Issues
We all know past relationships can be complicated. We often carry scars from past commitments. On the other hand, these past wounds should not be an issue in your current relationship. They shouldn’t be using past experiences as an excuse to treat you poorly. For example, they shouldn’t be flirting with other women because their ex-girlfriend didn’t mind. They should not be controlling with you because they experienced an ex cheating on them. I could keep naming examples, but I think you get the idea. You are not their ex.
4. Controlling Behavior
This is an especially important topic. Controlling behavior tends to increase minimally over time. Before you know it, you are not yourself anymore. This could start as asking you who you are going out with. Then, they might say they don’t like one of your friends. Afterwards, you are not allowed to hang out with that friend. Then, they don’t like what you are wearing out. You are not permitted to wear certain clothes anymore. Then, they get extremely upset or jealous that you are not spending time with them. After that, you’re not allowed to go out at all. It is a small progression; you might not even notice it. Situations like these rarely end well. The sad reality is these patterns of behavior often lead to physical abuse.
5. Abusive Behavior
I hate that I have to explain this. Abuse comes in several different forms: physical, sexual, emotional, verbal. By no means should any one coerce, hit, scream, or neglect you. This is not just a red flag, this is your sign to leave.
Many of you might have felt these topics personally. Maybe some of you did not realize your past or current relationships are unhealthy. I want you to know that this is normal. I do not want you to blame yourself or start thinking about “what if.” Relationship trauma takes time to heal, but educating yourself on what to avoid is a great step to finding the love that you deserve.
I wanted to explain these red flags because I have realized young women have not been educated on these issues. Young women are dating sooner and sooner these days. Many first relationships begin in the 6th grade. Therefore, this information needs to be taught in elementary school. That might seem extreme to some individuals, but middle school is far too late to begin this conversation. In order to protect our young women from relationship trauma, we must empower and educate them.
If you are experiencing dating violence or abuse in any form, please consider using the Domestic Violence Hotline. Or, read more about other forms of relationship abuse at One Love, an organization focused on bringing awareness to unhealthy relationships.