15 Relationship Red Flags and How to Spot Them

Relationship red flags

It’s happened to all of us at some point. We’re dating someone, and we start to see red flags popping up. Maybe they’re always late for dates, or maybe they never seem to want to spend time with us. If you’re seeing these red flags in your partner, it might be time to re-evaluate whether or not this is a healthy relationship for you. In this blog post, we will discuss 15 common relationship red flags and how to spot them.

Red flags, when it comes to relationships, are defined as warning signs that would indicate manipulative or unhealthy behavior. This behavior can often appear relatively innocent at first, and that’s exactly what makes it so dangerous. This post will help you to identify any red flags in your relationship, and how you can identify them in order to protect yourself.

15 Relationship Red Flags and How to Spot Them

1. They’re always late for dates.

“What’s so bad about being late?” I hear you ask. Well, this goes further than simply not being able to leave the house on time. If someone is continually late it shows a level of disrespect for you and your time.

Being late a handful of times in a relationship can be unlucky, but consistently making you wait for them can be an indication that they don’t care about you or your time.

2. They don’t introduce you to their friends.

It’s perfectly normal to want to wait a little while before you introduce someone to your friends in the early stages of a relationship. However, denying your partner the opportunity to meet your friends after you’ve been seeing each other for a long time and have been showing commitment to them in other ways, gives mixed messages.

It can easily begin to feel as if they are hiding you away from their friends, that they are ashamed or embarrassed by you, or that they aren’t committed to moving your relationship forward. This also applies if you are hesitant to introduce them to your friends.

Maybe there’s a deeper reason as to why you think your friends won’t like them? Or perhaps you think that they will view it as a sign that the relationship is getting ‘serious’? Either way, it’s not a good sign.

3. They’re rude to service people.

For me, the way that people treat others is a reflection of them as a person and who they are. How someone treats others, when it doesn’t benefit them, is extremely telling. Receptionists, wait staff, and taxi drivers – is your partner dismissive or rude? This could be an indicator of a bigger issue.

Maybe they see themselves as “above” others, or they have a heightened ego and sense of self. Whatever the answer is, if someone shows this kind of behavior, it’s time to grab a taxi home!

Relationship red flags: controlling concerning behaviour

4. They want you all to themselves.

This is a behavior that can so often be misconstrued as “loving.” Your partner wants you to stay in with them instead of going out with your friends? Not as cute as you might think. Do they text you incessantly when you do eventually go out and see your family? This is not normal behavior.

Taking time for yourself in a relationship is crucial, and if you are with someone who wants you to have minimal time to yourself, then this is worrying behavior. Possessiveness can so often be disguised under the cover of adoration, but don’t be mistaken. This is indicative of deeper insecurities and jealousy. What could start as something small can quickly grow into isolating you from your friends and family.

5. They rush into the relationship.

You know the story. You meet someone who seems to tick all of the boxes. It just feels right, and they’re ready to move in tomorrow and walk down the aisle next week. It might seem romantic in some ways, but if someone is suggesting these things when you’ve only known each other for a few weeks, this could be a warning sign.

This relationship red flag is bigger than just saying “I love you” after five dates. This is when they’re saying, “They can’t live without you,” and you’ve got a bad feeling about the speed at which things are moving. When someone is moving you into their flat after 2 weeks, or they’re talking about spending their life with you after a few dates, whilst showering you with presents and canceling all of their plans to be with you, they can often expect the same level of commitment from you.

Don’t fall into this trap. Listen to your gut, and if things feel too fast then there must be a reason. Pump the breaks, and don’t be afraid to express the need to take things at your own pace.

6. They describe all their exes as “crazy.”

If you’re ever on a date and you hear those dreaded words, “all my exes are crazy,” then believe me when I tell you to run. Dramatics aside, this can be another behavior that is often brushed under the mat.

You meet someone, and they seem so great, so kind, so funny. Then you start to talk about your past relationships, and they tell you that their exes have been “crazy”. You can’t possibly believe that this is anything to judge your partner on because they seem so great! Before you look past this kind of comment, ask yourself who the common denominator with all of those “crazy exes” has been.

If someone can’t talk about their past break-ups without a degree of self-reflection or acceptance of their involvement in the relationship breakdown, then be very wary. It could only be a matter of time until you end up as one of the “crazy exes.”

Relationship red flags: "crazy exes"

7. They make you feel bad about yourself.

This one seems obvious, but it can often be disguised as seemingly innocent. A backhanded compliment here or there? Saying, “Oh that’s a very funny thing of you to say; I didn’t expect that of you!” or “That dress looks really good on you even though it’s quite revealing”.

It might not be obvious at first, but if your partner’s words are making you feel bad about yourself, then it could be time to cut them loose. Anyone who makes you feel crazy, unloved, or that you’re the problem is not worth your time.

8. You feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells around them.

Do you feel like you have to watch your words? Or are you always trying to make sure you do everything “right” to avoid them having an outburst? If so, this is a major relationship red flag. Everyone is allowed to feel frustrated or fed up at times, but if you feel like you’re responsible for your partner’s moods and feelings, then this could be a sign things have gone too far.

It’s not the other person’s responsibility to ensure their partner doesn’t have outbursts or extreme mood swings. This toxic behavior can wear away at someone’s self-confidence and identity over time.

9. They gaslight you.

Gaslighting is a word thrown around in the media a lot in recent years. But what exactly is it? The term is described as “to manipulate (someone) by psychological means into doubting their own sanity.” This could be anything from saying, “You’re being too sensitive,” to “You’re overreacting,” to “You’re being paranoid”. If someone continually trivializes or minimizes your thoughts and feelings to the point where you start to believe that you are the issue, then you might be being gaslit. This kind of behavior can lead to a loss of confidence, and the more you are led to believe their words, the more you feel a sense of confusion between what is real and what is not.

Relationship red flags: gaslighting

10. They rely on you as their sole support for serious mental health issues.

Leaning on your partner when you’re feeling down is a perfectly natural and healthy part of any relationship. However, if your partner is dealing with serious mental health issues and their only coping strategy is relying heavily on you, then this can lead to serious issues for both parties in the relationship.

When someone says they can’t function without you, or that you’re the only thing keeping them going, it can come across as love and devotion. But where this begins to tiptoe into relationship red flag territory is when you feel responsible for someone’s well-being entirely.

This isn’t to say that people with mental health issues can’t have healthy and loving relationships. It’s more about having the self-awareness needed for both parties to discuss the impact on the relationship and on both of you as individuals. Are they seeking some kind of treatment to be able to try and heal? If the answer is no, then it might be time to have some serious words.

11. They express jealousy in unhealthy ways.

Jealousy is a natural emotion that we’ve all felt at some point in our lives. When felt in the right situation, to the right extent, and in the right way, it can actually be helpful to us as humans. But if your partner gets jealous on a regular basis or over small things, it’s a cause for concern, and then it’s a serious red flag in a relationship.

If they are jealous of your exes and want you to delete all of your old photos, or they’re anxious about other men, so they want you to wear something less revealing, then it’s time to have a serious conversation.

It’s not on you to reassure your partner every time they have these feelings. They need to work on themselves and express their thoughts in a healthy, measured manner without exerting control over you and your actions.

12. The way they express their anger scares you.

Everyone acts differently when they’re angry. Some cry, some vent, and some people scream into their pillows. But if your partner shows their anger through more aggressive and unhealthy forms (such as punching walls or breaking things), then you might need to re-evaluate things.

Punching a wall can very quickly escalate into more serious abusive behaviors, and breaking things out of anger can become aggression directed toward you before you know it. If you spot these behaviors at any stage of your relationship, it’s time to hit the road. And don’t look back.

Relationship red flags: scary when angry

13. They exhibit narcissistic behavior.

Narcissism is defined as behavior and thinking that is self-centered or arrogant. Narcissists often display a lack of empathy and compassion for others. They have an excessive need for admiration, and more often than not, they can’t accept any form of criticism. It can be difficult to spot this relationship red flag as narcissists are often extremely charming.

But once that facade goes away, you’re left with someone who acts as if they are better than others, who wants you isolated from your friends, and who needs constant reassurance and compliments. Take it from me: don’t make excuses for any of this behavior, and most importantly, know your worth. This is exactly the kind of behavior that wears away at your self-esteem over time.

14. They try to control you.

If someone is more concerned with what they want instead of listening to your needs, then it’s a cause for concern. At first, you might just think that they want to be in charge of the planning, but what starts as deciding where you go and what you do can end up as far more controlling behavior.

This can be anything from wanting to choose what you wear, who you text, and who you see to refusing to acknowledge your point of view and constantly criticizing you until you rely on them entirely. Controlling behavior of any kind is not something you should accept.

Boundaries are an incredibly important element of any relationship and if your partner shows any disregard for this, it’s time to have some serious words.

15. They blow hot and cold.

One day, it’s all roses and chocolates, and the next day, they won’t answer your calls. Withholding affection is a tactic used by abusive partners in order to get what they want. This is often combined with the red flag we spoke about when they “love bomb” you.

When it’s good, it’s really good, and you feel like the luckiest person in the world, and then that’s all taken away from you, and you’re left feeling confused and desperate to get back to the good times. This is a tactic used to gain control. If your partner exhibits this behavior, you need to let go of the “good times” and get out of there.

However, if someone blows hot and cold, it’s not always a sign that they are actively trying to manipulate you. It could also be that they are prioritizing other things in their life. But still, this isn’t the kind of person you want to be spending your precious time and energy on.

Relationship red flags: hot and cold withholding affection

How to handle relationship red flags

So there you have it! These are 15 red flags to look out for in your relationships. With each of these behaviors, it’s important to realize that there are some you can discuss and work through with your partner. On the other hand, others need to be taken more seriously and should be considered clear dealbreakers.

If you recognize any of these red flags in your relationship, and you’re wondering whether any of them are serious enough to consider leaving, then this section is for you.

Not every red flag has to be the end of a relationship, but it can’t hurt to listen to your gut. Are you feeling safe and secure with this person? Do they make you feel good? It’s easy to bring your past traumas and insecurities into your new relationships and sometimes this can lead to projecting onto your partner. The most important thing is to listen to your instinct to really gauge if something feels right or wrong.

There are some things that are non-negotiables and some things which you can work through. Deciding which red flags you are willing to work through and which you won’t stand for is up to you. It can be helpful to take a step back and think about the relationship as a whole. Are there other “green flags” you can account for? Do they support your dreams? Do they listen to you? Do you have common values? Do they express their feelings clearly (or at least are working on it!)? If so, great!

Maybe, for the most part, your relationship is healthy and loving, and your partner is supportive. Perhaps the majority of the time, they make you feel valued, and the issues are small enough to be worked through. If your partner is willing to listen to you, respects your feelings, and agrees to work on those issues in order to make you feel happier, then there’s hope.

You’ll know if there is hope for your future if you can bring these concerns up with the other person and they respond in a respectful manner. If they are willing to work on it, and they follow through with actions, then this is a great sign.

The most important thing is to keep your support system close. If you’re worried or concerned about any of these red flags, then talk to your friends and family. They know you, and they will be able to help lend an outsider’s perspective into what sounds like acceptable behavior and what you shouldn’t stand for.

Relationship red flags in short

In conclusion, no relationship should ever make you feel bad about yourself. We all need to accept that we have flaws and insecurities we need to work on, and relationships provide us all with an amazing opportunity for self-reflection and growth.

However, if you recognize any of these relationship red flags with your partner, and you don’t feel safe enough to bring them up, or they aren’t willing to hear you out, then it’s time to remember your worth and find someone who will treat you with the love and respect you deserve.

If you enjoyed this post, then why not check out How to Know When You’ve Met Your Personality Match or Here’s What Reddit Relationship Advice Can Teach Us About Love?

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