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Red Flags to Look For in a Relationship

red flag
Via Paolo Bendandi on Unsplash 
Each relationship you find yourself in is a unique experience. This is a good thing because it allows us to grow and learn in our journeys of life. However, we can oftentimes find ourselves so caught up in the other person that we ignore obvious red flags. Healthy relationships are important, so it is important to recognize red flags and make a decision to either fix them or cut the other person out.

Red flags come in so many forms that many people don’t even know what a red flag may be. Red flags can be different for everyone but for the purpose of this article we can define a red flag as anything your partner does that shows a lack of respect, integrity, or interest towards you or the relationship. Noticing red flags as early as possible is important in having a healthy relationship, however, they can still develop overtime.

Remember that red flags can show up in any type of relationship. Whether it be a romantic partnership, platonic friendship, familial relationship (such as between a parent and child) or a relationship between a mentor or mentee, any kind of relationship can have red flags that may be a sign it is time to either change or end the relationship. So, what are some examples of a red flag? Here are some, in my opinion, red flags to look for:

They constantly belittle you 

If someone is constantly belittling you, they are trying to make you seem unimportant. They may do this by acting as if you are stupid, putting down things you enjoy such as music, hobbies, and other interest, and overall just putting you down instead of lifting you up. This person is unsupportive and definitely someone you do not need in your life. 

They don’t respect your beliefs 

The general rule of life you may hear is: “you should respect everyone’s beliefs”. While this gets a little tricky to follow or agree with from person to person, it is an important part of  a healthy relationship with somebody. This can be religious beliefs, morals and ethics, and anything else you may believe in. For example, my partner and I have different religious beliefs but we respect each other’s beliefs and perspective because we each have the same core values. If this person does not respect what you believe in, they are definitely someone you shouldn’t be around.

They are controlling 

You are free enough, at least as an adult in a relationship with another person, to make your own decisions. As soon as you are not free to make certain decisions or any decisions, that other person is controlling. If they want to control where you are going, when or with who, this is an example of a controlling person. Being controlling is a HUGE red flag and something you should always try to pay attention to. 

They are too clingy

How much  of someone is too much? You will know. If somebody wants to be around you to an extent that makes you uncomfortable, you may want to have a conversation with them. We all need our space from somebody else from time to time. Clinginess may look like constant and frequent phone calls, always being around, and needing your constant attention. While some of us may enjoy this, some of us also don’t. There is always such a thing as too much. 

They are manipulative

If you ask most people, this may be one of the biggest red flags. I would consider manipulation any thing somebody does to try to control others in a way that is unknowing to the other person for their own personal gain. Some of the red flags I mentioned earlier could be signs of manipulation, but just because one is present does not mean they are trying to manipulate you and is usually unintentional. Gaslighting,  a way of making somebody question their own memories, sanity, or perception of reality, is an example of manipulation. This is because they are trying to make it seem as if you are wrong or crazy and it is something you definitely look out for!

These are just my examples of Red Flags that could be in a relationship. However, that are many other actions and traits ―such as keeping secrets― that can appear as a red flag in a relationship. It is important to be aware and set boundaries for yourself in relationships. It is also important to recognize red flags so we can establish happy relationships. It can allow us to see how these behaviors could negatively affect us and decide we do not want them present in relationships with romantic partners, parents, or friends. 

Red flags, while unhealthy in a relationship, do not mean dangerous! Many red flags are minor and good communication and a willingness to grow and change can result in a good riddance of unhealthy behaviors. However, some things that may start small can become more serious and dangerous offenses in the future that could possibly lead to abuse. This is why it is important to notice red flags and talk about them as quickly as possible to either fix the situation or leave it altogether. 

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