Dating can feel like an endless game. Whether you spot each other across a crowded bar or take a chance and swipe right, we all begin by flying blind into the unknown.
At first, it’s a game of first impressions. You take an inventory of their outfit, make a note of their drink order, and use every piece of information to paint a picture of who they are. After a couple of dates, the walls start to crumble and we begin to really learn about our new crush.
Dubbed the ‘honeymoon phase’, these early weeks of dating are all about testing the waters and seeing if you both are truly compatible. Exhausting, right!
Once you’ve landed yourself a new partner, the real work begins. It means getting creative with date night, actively listening to your other half, and maintaining a thriving network of besties and friends to keep your social life balanced.
But, what if things don’t feel quite right? If you’re unsure about your new relationship, read on to discover the seven relationship red flags you should never sweep under the rug.
1. Lack of communication
After a hard day at work, we all need to let off some steam. And sharing our concerns with our partner is a healthy way of processing stress and building connections.
When it comes to communication, we all want to share our thoughts without reservation. If your partner seems absent, dismissive or unresponsive, this is an important red flag to take notice of.
Lack of communication can mean important conversations go unspoken. When we aren’t able to speak openly and honestly about how we feel, we can feel ignored and, ultimately, resentful of the other person. In fact, these small annoyances can grow and spell disaster for your relationships in the long term.
2. Dislike for your friends or family
This next red flag can be very subtle, but it’s an important one to be aware of. How does your partner speak about your loved ones? Do they resent coming along to family get-togethers? Maybe they don’t take the time to get to know your best friends? Or perhaps they avoid socialising with your friends and family all together?
If you feel a disconnect between your partner and your social network, it can be difficult to sustain a healthy romantic relationship. Why? Because sharing time with our friends, family and partner shouldn’t happen in isolation.
In some cases, this can also be an early warning sign of controlling behaviour. If you notice your partner withdrawing from your network, start a conversation to understand their reservations and what you can both do to address them.
3. Innocently pushing physical boundaries
Respect is the foundation of every successful relationship. When we feel valued by our partners, we’re able to build stronger and more meaningful connections. However, when the opposite is true, this can spell disaster for our relationship.
How does your partner react when you tell them to stop tickling you? Do they invade your personal space or jokingly poke you like a sibling, even when you’ve told them no?
Respect begins by acknowledging and honouring each other’s boundaries. If you notice your partner doesn’t listen to your requests, this could be an essential red flag to watch out for.
4. Describing their exes as ‘crazy’
We’ve all had terrible partners and relationships that were destined to fail. It could have been your first high school fling or that crush you had when you started university.
Whatever the case, we all encounter people that just aren’t the right fit for us. However, if you notice your new partner speaking badly about their past relationships, this is something to take notice of.
When terms like ‘crazy’ start to be attributed to multiple previous partners, it could be time to consider whether your partner is representing their dating past accurately. In many cases, they could lack the self awareness to realise they were, in fact, part of the problem.
5. Refusing to make your relationship public
PDA (or public displays of affection) can be a divisive topic. For some, walking hand in hand comes as second nature. For others, they avoid displays of physical intimacy at all costs. Whatever camp your relationship falls into, it’s a wise idea to consider what is motivating this decision.
Do you notice your partner’s behaviour change when you’re around his mates? Does his social media presence appear as if you’re not together? Has he avoided ‘putting a label’ on your relationship? If your partner is keen to keep things a secret, this could be a warning sign that your relationship might not be as open and honest as it first seems.
6. Difference in values
We all have our own unique priorities. The stuff that matters most to us. It could be things like honesty or compassion, or more specific values like savings habits and big-picture parenting goals.
Although you might not always see eye to eye, sharing core values are key to long term relationship success. Does your partner play off dishonesty as ‘little white lies’? Do they make decisions without factoring in your plans or point of view? What is their relationship like with their parents and siblings?
If you are noticing clear patterns of conflicting values, this could be a good indication that you might struggle to remain compatible over time.
7. Incapable of apologising
Arrogant, entitled, and patronising behaviour should never be ignored. However, when we’re falling hard for a new fling it can be difficult to see situations clearly. But, learning how to identify negative behaviours early in a relationship can prevent you from getting stuck in a toxic dynamic.
If your partner constantly refuses to apologise or admit they’ve messed up, it’s important not to ignore this. Although this might seem like an insignificant personality trait, it can indicate your partner may have an inflated sense of self-importance. Because let’s be honest, no one wants to date someone who can’t say sorry.