No one walks into a relationship knowing their partner is wicked, vile, or mean. They all seem admirable at first; however, give them a couple of months or more, and they’ll unveil their true selves right in front of you; pouring out all those little imperfections they’ve been trying to conceal. That is to be expected though, as none of us are perfect and a relationship is all about being open-minded and accepting of our significant other’s flaws. Sure, you might not appreciate some particular quirks in your partner’s behavior, but most of the time, those quirks are not dealbreakers; they’re just things you have to accept as part of your partner’s persona.
However, that’s not to be confused with red flags, which you definitely should pay attention to if they appear in your relationship. It’s hard to distinguish between red flags and behavioral quirks, which is why, before talking about red flags, we first need to have a clear understanding of what a red-flag actually is.
By definition, a red flag is an early indicator (think of it as a warning) that things will probably go south in the long run. It’s that moment you find yourself feeling uncomfortable in the relationship or when you feel something is just off between the two of you. It may be something incredibly subtle, like how your partner never posts a couple’s shot on their social media even though they used to post a lot about their ex. Or it might be a bit more straightforward, like how they suddenly seem snappish and ill-tempered with you.
From always criticizing you to guilt-tripping you into doing what they want, there are always red flags that you can spot in a failing relationship before it reaches its inevitable demise, and here are some of the more subtle ones:
1. They always badmouth their previous relationships
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve personally had a toxic ex before, and I like a good ol’ nameema session as much as the next guy, but if every single one of your partner’s exes is allegedly crazy, shouldn’t this give you some pointers on who really is the cuckoo out of the bunch? Chances are, they’ve blamed their exes for the downfall of the relationship and have victimized themselves in the process, which is probably exactly what they’ll do when you decide to end the relationship as well.
2. They randomly criticize you, your friends or acquaintances, your body, etc.
They might brand it as “constructive criticism” or advice or whatever bullshit they want to call it. Still, at the end of the day, if your partner isn’t supportive and always makes you feel flawed, they feel insecure about themselves and don’t think they’re good enough to be with you, which is why they’re quick to point out any flaws you have to try to prove to themselves that you’re no better than them, and that is just prime toxic behavior. If you find this relatable, then trust me when I tell you that you should dump their ass right now. A partner is supposed to be supportive; it’s supposed to be you and them against the world, and you honestly deserve a whole lot better than that.
3. They refuse to make your relationship public.
Some people don’t want to make a scene out of their love lives. I can understand that, and living in the middle east is even more reason to keep your relationship status limited to close friends only, but that’s different from full-on denying the relationship and being forced to not tell any of your friends, pretending you don’t know each other that well in front of others and much more. Your relationship will be limited to car dates and secret facetime calls at night when everyone’s sleeping, you’ll have to constantly lie to everyone you know and, to add insult to the injury, you’ll always have that nagging bit of your brain question the authenticity of your relationship.
4. They want to rush things.
A relationship isn’t a race; you shouldn’t be pressured to do stuff you’re not comfortable enough to do yet. A partner who is trying to rush things or is constantly trying to test your boundaries even after you’ve specifically told them not to is probably not relationship material. If you don’t think that’s a red flag, I honestly don’t know what to say.
With all that said, it might seem as though red flags are obvious. Yet, people still choose to ignore them. The red flags might be right in front of us, but we decide to turn a blind eye anyways; but why?
Why do we choose to ignore clear warnings that explicitly hint that our partners are not relationship material? It’s because we’re social creatures. We try to ignore things that might pose an obstacle to our relationships’ futures. We compromise for the sake of the relationship’s continuity, hoping that whatever the problem is, it’ll magically go away. We keep excusing our partners in hopes of them changing and everything going back to normal one day.
But that’s not right, they’re called red-flags for a reason. We must face the problems in the relationship to either work on them or to choose ourselves and walk away. Otherwise, they’ll build-up, and the next thing you know, they’ll be creeping onto you, slowly making it more intolerable to be in the relationship, leading you down the misery spiral till you can’t take it no more and break.
In conclusion, while it is important to acknowledge the red-flags you might notice in your relationship, it doesn’t mean you should cut ties once you find them. Everyone is flawed, and they might be oblivious to their behavior. A good initial response would be to talk about the issues you face with your partner civilly and try to resolve them together, and see how things go from thereon. If they get all defensive or aggressive towards you, it’s maybe time you end the relationship; but if they’re willing to grow, then why not give them a chance?