Entering a relationship can be an extremely exciting process. You meet someone, you get to know them, you have a real connection. From there, things can progress quickly and blindly. After all, you’re basking in the glow of something beautiful! Unfortunately, however, even relationships that seem happy on the surface can have deeper issues. It’s important to look out for unhealthful and even dangerous relationship red flags
What Are Red Flags?
Truthfully, you may think you know someone, but people can change for the worse or may simply take a little longer to show you who they really are. Put simply, a “red flag” is a warning or a sign of something negative approaching. When applied to a relationship, a red flag is generally negative or unacceptable behavior that threatens the integrity of the coupling.
If you notice red flags popping up in your relationship, address them as quickly as possible, especially if they are causing emotional distress. This helps you to determine whether the relationship can continue or whether the red flag behavior can be changed, allowing you to move forward and work things out.
Lack of or Poor Communication
Though poor communication isn’t always a sign of anything dangerous, it is a common early warning sign that something isn’t right. Do keep in mind that some people naturally find opening up difficult. They may also be introverted and lack confidence.
A past emotional trauma can be the culprit behind any type of communication problems and even cause distressing behavior that goes beyond just not talking. This can create emotional distance and leave a partner feeling left out or unloved. Couples or individual therapy may help this type of roadblock.
However, if your partner has been open in the past and suddenly clams up and isolates him or herself from you, take heed. Do what you can to find out what’s happening. He/she may have something to hide or be ashamed to speak up. Again, this isn’t necessarily something dangerous or threatening to you. It could be simply a money or health issue that is embarrassing to talk about. That said, if communication ever becomes demeaning or forceful, it could be a sign that you’re dealing with an abusive person.
Lack of trust can stem from a variety of issues. A partner may not trust you because they themselves are not trustworthy and assume that everyone acts in a similar manner. Also, consider if you’ve given him/her any reason to mistrust you.
Paranoid and obsessive behavior, however, may be a warning sign of deeper emotional problems or conditions. If
Unless you are involved in some sort of BDSM, sexual role-playing fantasy, or a delightful snowball fight, violence in a relationship is simply not acceptable. Unfortunately, physical abuse and violence in intimate relationships are more common than you think. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), 15% of violent crimes are committed against an intimate partner.
Domestic violence can take on various forms and vary in extremity. From a shove or overly harsh grip on someone to the extremes of hospitalization or worse. If any type of behavior hurts you physically or isn’t something you want, it’s your human right to remove yourself from that situation. This is the most dangerous red flag of all because it is usually not a one-time thing. Violence often progresses and worsens with time and acceptance. Take a look at this Guide to Stopping Violence Against Women for more information and support.
Another extremely dangerous red flag in relationships is controlling
Most of these demands in a relationship might initially seem harmless, especially if they are early on in the “honeymoon” phase. In fact, they might just be suggestions to help you grow or reach your potential. Honestly, it really depends on the context of communication and how it is delivered. For example, maybe you have said that you want to pursue another type of career and your significant other tells you to quit your job. This isn’t necessarily “controlling” but maybe a way to motivate you.
However, if the other person is making you uncomfortable or seems to have another agenda, pay attention. This behavior could be a sign of dangerous things to come. Seek advice from a trusted friend, family member, or counselor if you feel your human rights have been violated in any way. And, always leave a situation if you are in danger of harm.