9 Red Flags to Look Out For in a Relationship

Photo by Henri Pham on Unsplash

We’ve always had that one friend or family member that’s in an obviously toxic relationship, and you’re just sitting back wondering why in the hell they’re still with that person.

You may or may not be the friend, either way, it’s important to realize that when a man gets emotionally caught up in a toxic relationship with his partner, it can be hard for him to realize just how toxic the relationship is, and even harder to end that toxic relationship.

Being blinded by love can cause a man to stay in an unhealthy relationship despite there being warning signs that he shouldn’t be entertaining the relationship.

Researchers at the University College London using MRI machines had found that, “feelings of love lead to a suppression of activity in the areas of the brain controlling critical thought. It seems that once we get close to a person, the brain decides the need to assess their character and personality is reduced.”

Romantic love for a person suppresses our critical thinking and the feel-good chemicals and hormones that we get from being in love, like oxytocin and dopamine clouds our judgement.

This can make love a dangerous game for a man. As you’re caught up in what feels like a drug-like high, it can cause you to overlook a woman’s bad behavior, that should otherwise be checked, or the reason that you walk away from a relationship in the first place.

You’ll trick yourself into thinking the situation isn’t as bad as it seems, and that the relationships issues are not that big of a deal and can be worked on. Many people in toxic relationships have a misperception that they can change a person, after starting to experience bad behavior from their partner.

What usually happens is that the red flags only start subtly in the beginning, but will get worse and be amplified over time. One of the main reasons that you won’t notice the red flags in the beginning of the relationship is because women are usually on their best behavior when you’re getting to know them. Most times out of ten, the first 3 months of getting to know a woman, you’re not really getting to know her, you’re getting to know her representative.

The bad thing about dealing with a woman that demonstrates behavior is that her behavior is likely to worsen over time. You can’t change the negative behavior patterns that a person has. It’s all up to them whether or not they’re willing to do the work to improve the parts of their character that is flawed.

One of the reasons that romantic relationships will begin imbalanced and not work out is because men typically fall in love faster than women do. Dr. Gad Saad from Psychology today was a consulting editor of a paper published that revealed that men said ‘I love you’, first before women did at a rate of 64% to 18.51%.

The bottom line is, men are usually more vulnerable in the beginning stages of romantic relationships, while women have a little more stability with maintaining their emotions and are more apprehensive with allowing their feelings to get caught up in the beginning stages of a relationship (or the talking stage).

So it’s important for men to think with their hearts AND their heads, to keep themselves from unknowingly going down the destructive path of an unhealthy relationship that can eventually be hard to step away from, especially if their goal is to have a successful marriage or long-term relationship.

So the question is at this point is, what exactly should you be looking for as far as red flags? Although every man may have a different set of behaviors and issues that they deem as red flags or deal breakers, psychologists and marriage experts have came up with some specific red flags that every man should look out for in a romantic relationship. Most of which will likely (not definitely) lead you into a troubled relationship down the line if some of these patterns are present in your partners behavior.

Relationship experts advise men to take romantic relationships nice and slow, since women are usually on their best behavior at the beginning of the relationship. Marriage expert Dr. John Van Epp, who is the author of, How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk, says that it’s usually around the 3 month mark that deep-seated patterns start to manifest themselves. I’d say to be on your p’s and q’s for at least about 6 months into the relationship to play it safe.

Here are some of the most common red flags that researchers and therapist recommend that you look out for in a romantic relationship.

#1 She likes or loves drama

A woman that loves drama is one of the biggest red flags that the relationship is destined for destruction. Drama Queens will always look to keep the action going by starting some shit with you or the people around her even when there isn’t a need to have drama. Over time you’ll realize that she has to turn just about everything into a fight, leaving you to wonder why in the hell she’s so attracted to drama.

Drama Queens tend to have impulsive behavior and are attracted to always being the center of attention. A girl that is a drama queen may not just have a character flaw, for some people there’s a psychological disorder called histrionic personality disorder, in which much of the symptoms contain elements of being a drama queen.

It might seem cool or even cute at first when a girl is a drama queen, especially when you’re younger, but as you get older and wiser, you learn more and more the importance and benefits of having a woman that brings you peace. If you haven’t experienced it, I promise you’ll love it.

#2 She’s inconsistent

Everyone understands the importance of trust to allow for a strong and healthy relationship, and it’s hard to trust someone who is inconsistent. It’s important to be observant of her behavior and patterns in all aspects of her life, from her employer, family, friends and especially you. Does she continuously break promises (especially with things that are typically easily done)? Is there a consistent lack of effort from her with the things that you want and need from her in the relationship? Does she continuously say one thing at one moment, but tells a different version of her story at a later time? By any means is anyone perfect, but a woman that reveals herself to continuously be inconsistent is a red flag that you will have an untrustworthy partner to deal with further down the line.

#3 She treats strangers like crap

You might’ve heard about the Waiter Rule that suggests that part of a persons true character is exposed and is dependent on how they treat staff or service workers like waiters in a restaurant. Basically, you can get important insight on a person by the way they treat other people. She may be nice to you now, but if you observe her treating other people bad, she’s likely subconsciously exposing her bad behavior, not knowing that you’re paying attention to and scrutinizing what it is that she’s doing. The waiter rule was one of William H Swanson’s 33 Unwritten Rules of Management, copied from Dave Barry‘s version “If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, they are not a nice person.

#4 She expects to be treated like a princess

An entitled woman (or person in general) is definitely a red flag in a relationship. If she feels like her wants and needs always come first and makes little to no effort in satisfying your wants and needs, you’re basically dealing with a finesser and she’s only there to use you.

You might feel manly providing all of the things that she requests, but eventually you’ll go into a state of contempt knowing that your girl is only with you for what you can do for her. The worst part is that when you eventually complain about it, that’s likely going to cause her to act dismissive towards you or break up with you and move onto the next guy.

#5 You’re always arguing

Arguing and conflicts in a relationship are normal and is actually healthy, but when it happens all the time that’s a problem. Research has found that for a marriage or relationship to be healthy and happy, the ratio of positive to negative interactions has to be 5 to 1. Two doctors who did a 9 year study on understanding the difference between happy and unhappy couples had came up with the magic 5 to 1 ratio which basically says that for every negative interaction during a conflict, a stable and happy marriage has five (or more) positive reactions.

Over the 9 year course of the study, the doctors were able to predict which couples would stay together and which would divorce with over 90% accuracy. If there’s a lot of drama early on in the relationship and you’re not on point with the conflict resolution, you’re likely heading down the road of a lot of headaches.

#6 She Never apologizes or takes accountability for her bad behavior.

Psychologists calls the ability to recognize and take accountability for bad behavior conscientiousness, and it’s an important character trait to have in order to maintain a healthy relationship.

A person that has issues with admitting when they’re wrong and being remorseful about their wrongdoings has issues that they probably need professional help (therapy) for.

Marriage expert Dr. John Van Epp says, “What you want to see is a partner who quickly admits to wrong because the feelings of guilt register without much defensiveness or denial. Long arguments where you have to convince your partner that he or she was wrong or should feel guilty are a definite reason to worry.”

#7 She’s not flexible

Marriage and relationship experts point out that flexibility, the ability to go with the flow of things and be able to adapt to changing circumstances, is an important attribute for relationship success.

If it’s all about what she wants and when she wants it and she’s never willing to compromise, you’re dealing with a selfish individual and there’s bound to be constant conflict down the line in the relationship.

A good girlfriend has patience and understanding. If plans so happen to change, she should be willing to roll with the punches and do her part with making things work. If she typically starts to act funny and refuses to participate in activities when things change or don’t go as planned, that’s a red flag to look out for.

#8 You don’t share any core values or life goals

Regardless of how much you love each other, if you and your girl aren’t on the same page when it comes to certain values or life goals, it’s going to be hard for that relationship to work out. 

Research supports this notion, implying that couples who share many of the same values and life goals are happier and have stronger relationships than couples that do not.

#9 She’s violent

It’s completely normal to argue with your girl in a relationship, but if she’s arguing with her hands, feet and fists, it’s time to get up out of that situation, that’s a big red flag.

A woman that is violent is showing signs that she’s an emotionally unstable person that has deep rooted issues that she needs to resolve within herself. Regardless of how passionate either of you may get or be about the relationship, there’s no excuse for a woman to put her hands on you, and the same thing applies to a man towards a woman (unless you’re defending yourself from great harm or in a deadly type of situation).

More that 200 studies have found that women are at least as likely, and at times even more likely than men to initiate domestic violence. What’s worse is that when an abused man calls the police, the police are more likely to arrest him than to arrest his abusive female partner. 

There’s not much good that’s going to come from getting in or staying into a relationship where your partner is violent.


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