For a man to continually grow and exist, he needs a companion to grow with, love, and be loved. No man is an island, after all. Intimate relationships are one way to obtain psychological growth, mental development, and professionalism. But things don’t remain as they are. They change and so do people. 

They become toxic which would lead to a bitter and unhealthy relationship. And soon, the relationship fails. One plausible reason could be ignoring red flags in a relationship. You could have rectified the relationship had you noticed the signs at the outset.

Here’s a guide to identifying red flags in a relationship. 

List of red flags in a relationship - image 1 - couple fighting
Photo by Timur Weber

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Red flags in a relationship meaning

Red flags are deal breakers. These are those warning signs that blink when some things are not right. Red flags seem tricky as they are not easily recognizable. Once they are left unchecked, they’ll worsen and become more dangerous.

You may be experiencing one at the moment but haven’t realized or recognized it yet. If some things are making you feel uncomfortable and anxious, perhaps it’s time to pause and re-examine your situation. 

Red flags are everywhere. They come in various forms and sizes. The following is a list of red flags in a relationship that is common. 

Examples of red flags in a relationship

Know that they are not exclusive as there are other red flags out there that are not so evident. Thus, one must be vigilant to identify and catch one.

1. Having trust issues

To foster a stable relationship, trust is needed. Without it, all hell breaks loose. People who lack trust in their partners often question their activities. They ask where they are and who they’re with every now and then. They keep tabs on you.

This may not be easily seen or noticed at the outset of a relationship. Lack of trust is sometimes perceived as attentiveness. But if this happens constantly and you feel uncomfortable and suffocated, you might be experiencing one of the red flags in a relationship. 

2. Immature and irresponsible attitude

Family and cultural backgrounds could somehow affect one’s relationship. Some people just lack basic skills such as financial planning and respecting others’ personal space. 

Partners think that if you’re in a relationship, there shouldn’t be any boundaries. They overstep and are careless of others. Some of them may even disregard the importance of self-care. 

Their different lifestyle affects them that they sometimes lack the time to spend with you. It makes you question if you can even rely on them. 

3. Cheating history

Past is past, true, and it would seem unfair to even use them against your partner. But this is something you can’t ignore. If you don’t want to waste your time and you’re willing to invest in a relationship, then you’d better consider this.

History of infidelity rings the warning bell. It is one of the red flags in a relationship. Ask yourself if you are willing to go all the way with this person. If you are doubtful of the future of your relationship, then think twice before pursuing one.

4. Tendency to control

Wanting to keep tabs on your partner seems harmless. Perhaps, this is just a show of concern and wanting to know that you’re safe. Or, it could be a red flag telling you to step back and rethink your relationship. 

A controlling partner can affect your mental health. They are likely to criticize your fashion, attitude, and the way you act. They even manipulate you into doing what they want. Those behaviors could eventually isolate you from your friends. Know that it is also important to have friends outside your relationship.

5. Abusive behavior

Abusive behavior comes in many forms. It may be in a form of emotional or physical abuse. Partners who have abusive behavior tend to blame you for something they didn’t like. 

They even shame you for being yourself. They could be dismissive in an argument. Instead of listening, they make excuses saying they have no time for such nonsense. Worse, they neglect physical contact.

6. Rude to people in the service industry

Rude behavior is a major turnoff, most especially if you’re in a restaurant. The way you deal with servers says so many things about you. Some people say that to know the person you’re dealing with is to observe how they treat service crews. 

You would know when they’re trying to impress you or whether they’re being sincere. If they treat servers impolitely, that’s one of the red flags in a relationship you can’t pass over. You can’t date someone who thinks he’s entitled to be treated well but can’t even treat others the same way.

7. Unresolved past relationships

Image from Ivory Mix

There are people who cannot seem to let go of their pasts. They find themselves remunerating – thinking about what could have been. Had they done better, they could have been a better partner. They are still experiencing the emotional trauma of their past.

To forget about this, they engage in a new relationship even if they haven’t really moved on. The thing here is that a new relationship would now become a rebound. The partner might feel shortchanged. This could be one of the red flags in a relationship telling you that you’re dealing with someone with an unresolved past.

8. Gaslighting

Gaslighting usually takes place in an abusive relationship. People who have gaslighting tendencies are considered habitual liars. This can be manifested in lines such as “You might be seeing things” or “Come on. You’re just making things up.” They aim to make you second-guess yourself.

When you deal with someone who doesn’t acknowledge your feelings, you may begin to feel isolated and withdrawn. You start to question yourself and think that you might be going crazy. Things like these are manifestations of gaslighting.

9. Comparing you to their exes

When things go rough, comparison happens. People can’t just help themselves but compare their current partner to their past. They say things such as “You know, my ex did this or that.” They even go as far as saying “My ex is better at this.”

This kind of partner hasn’t obviously let go of their past relationship yet. They’re still growing up. They keep bringing their past into the equation. It’s perhaps okay if it happened once but twice is not. No one wants to be compared with another after all. 

10. Mismatched goals

Compatibility matters for a long-lasting and happy relationship. While others believe that the opposite attracts, that might be different for some. What happens then if your goals are different from your partner’s? It could result in a positive outcome or a negative one. 

Disparities between a couple could be seen in their mismatched goals. One has bigger goals and is focused on achieving them. While the other could just be relying on faith – believing that tomorrow takes care of itself. For someone who is invested in planning, this is a big no-no. 

11. In need of constant reassurance

Feeling of insecurity is normal. It happens to anybody most especially in a relationship. The constant need for reassurance may have stemmed from previous toxic relationships. Cheating may cause someone to constantly seek reassurance.

People with low self-esteem and trust ask for validation. They need to be constantly reminded that you love and adore them. They do this to the point of clinginess. In effect, their sense of self-worth depends on their partner.  This is another red flags in a relationship you need to can’t ignore.


12. Jealous streak

Most relationships are ripped apart due to the green-eyed monster known as jealousy. Jealousy happens due to a sense of possessiveness. 

A jealous partner is one who feels fearful of losing someone that is important to them. He brings up things such as your lack of time for him or you’re spending too much time with your friends. He might be keeping tabs on you or that you’re not as intimate as it was. 

That seems like a knee-jerk reaction because he really does care about you. But things could go out of hand if this is left unchecked and unresolved. 

13. Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a well-known red flags in a relationship. It could really take a toll on someone’s relationship. An alcoholic partner is likely to become abusive verbally and physically. 

Heavy drinking, if not treated and minimized, could sour the relationship that you have been doing your best so hard to build. Worse it could bring forth financial troubles, constant arguments, and the most unfortunate, domestic violence.

14. Narcissism

Narcissism connotes too much self-importance. A narcissistic partner thinks the world revolves around him and your attention should be zeroed in and only on him. Narcissistic partners make you feel disconnected and manipulated.

They excel at blaming others for whatever misfortunes they experience because of the belief that it couldn’t have been their fault. They believe they’re flawless and infallible. Most of the time, you seem to be walking on eggshells – worried that you might do something that would make them explode.

This is one of the red flags in a relationship you cannot deny

Some red flags in a long distance relationship

Image from Ivory Mix

Lack of Communication

A healthy relationship requires communication. One must be open to the other for them to have a better understanding. 

If you come across a situation where your partner is unusually silent or distracted, this is a warning that some things are not adding up at the moment. Lack of communication should not be ignored as this could escalate to something bad especially if it often happens.

Unwillingness to compromise

Each partner has his own needs and desires to be considered. If your partner seems to be ignoring these things, be cautious. 

If your partner seems hesitant to compromise so both of you could do things together, this is something you have to reconsider. Relationships are not one-way streets. It is two-way. 

What are financial red flags in a relationship?

Red flags can be found in the financial aspect of a relationship too. And if they are ignored, they won’t do good in the long run. One of the main reasons for a couple’s divorce is money problems. So don’t ignore these financial red flags in a relationship.

Not talking about money

Talking about money is undeniably hard but not talking about it at all or refusing to talk about it is a red flag in your relationship. Being vulnerable about your spending habits, credit card debt or personal loan, and financial goals can be hard but this means that you are taking your relationship seriously.

Secretive about your spending habits

Keeping secrets about your spending habits, including your credit card debt derails your relationship. Especially when you are working together and having a joint account saving for the future.

Sharing is Caring

Avoid these red flags in a relationship and have a healthier relationship.

A relationship thrives if both partners are equally invested. Part of this growth is the ability of the parties to recognize and identify a red flag in their relationship. Again, red flags can’t and shouldn’t be ignored. They must be addressed immediately. 

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  1. kushigalu

    October 1, 2022 at 1:53 PM

    Very useful tips to have a good relationship with your partner. Thanks for sharing

  2. Anosa Malanga

    September 24, 2022 at 8:32 PM

    This is a good read. I don’t have any relationship at the moment but this goes for all relationships I guess. Trust is really important.

  3. Blair Villanueva

    September 21, 2022 at 11:36 PM

    Some people know that these red flags exist in their current relationships, but choose to turn a blind eye because they are more afraid to start a relationship with another all over again, or worst be single again. However, if a person knows their self-worth, love, and are confident in themselves then they will choose better.

  4. knycx journeying

    September 21, 2022 at 4:26 PM

    They are all valid and it’s heartening to know that two people are stuck in situations where they don’t trust each other anymore. I guess communication is the key. – Knycx Journeying

  5. Fransic verso

    September 21, 2022 at 8:07 AM

    We are building trust and developing it every day. Great things to avoid to have a good relationship with your partner.

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