The Biggest Red Flags At The Start Of A Relationship

By molly atherton 4 months ago
Embarking on a new relationship is like setting sail on an uncharted sea – thrilling, full of potential, and occasionally sprinkled with a few storms. As you navigate these unexplored waters, it's essential to be on the lookout for red flags that might hint at rocky shores ahead. In this article, we're going to be your relationship navigators, highlighting some of the biggest red flags that can emerge at the start of a blossoming romantic journey.

1. They Bad-Mouth Previous Relationships - can it always be someone else's fault?

If your love interest is always speaking negatively of their exes, this is a common red flag.  Playing the victim is their way of getting loads of attention from you and making you think what they say is the absolute truth.  Resentment is normal behaviour but tarring all their exes with the same brush is not a good sign.Original content sourced from Femanin.comImage source NBC NewsWhile some level of resentment is natural after a breakup, if every ex is portrayed in a uniformly negative way, it's a potential red flag that warrants careful consideration. After all, a nuanced perspective on past relationships is often a sign of emotional maturity and self-awareness.

2. Love Bombing - lavishing you with love but for a reason!

The purpose of love bombing is to make you feel appreciated so you are more receptive to them.  They can get you to spill intimate details of your life and later use that stuff against you.  I'm afraid it sounds like they are setting you up for long-term manipulation and abuse.Image source RedittLove bombing might seem amazing at the time but that's just to reel you in - beware! The excessive displays of affection, compliments, and attention are designed to create a sense of euphoria and dependency, making the targeted person more susceptible to manipulation.

3. They Want To Know Your Every Move - early red flag!

The difference between healthy and unhealthy is a fine line.  If your new partner keeps checking up on you to se where you are, you may feel protected and loved but, if you don't respond or they don't like what you're doing, you can guarantee it's not going to stay the course.Image source LovePankyWhile occasional check-ins can be a sign of concern and care, constant monitoring and a lack of respect for your independence can quickly tip the scale toward an unhealthy dynamic. Trust and mutual respect are crucial components of a successful relationship.

4. They Don’t Respect Your Boundaries - invade personal space

Everyone has different physical, mental and sexual boundaries. With someone new, it's about exploring those boundaries and respecting the other person for their views and limits.  When your other half tries to (even gently) pressurise you, you should stick to your guns.  Giving in will only open the flood gates to having your personal space invaded.Image source QuoraPressuring someone to go beyond their comfort zone can lead to discomfort, resentment, and a breach of trust. In a supportive relationship, both partners should feel free to express their limits without fear of judgment. Upholding these boundaries ensures a sense of safety.

5. YOU Have To Justify THEIR Bad Behaviour

Your relationship shouldn't consist of apologising to family and friends about your partner's behaviour.  First of all, they need to take responsibility for their own actions and secondly, what gives them the right to be outspoken to YOUR friends.  It's disrespectful to you and you need to ask yourself if that is acceptable.Image source Psych CentralIf your partner is consistently outspoken or disrespectful towards your friends, it's important to address the issue and communicate openly. A supportive and respectful partner should understand the importance of maintaining positive relationships with those close to you.

6. Your Family And Friends Aren't Keen - could they be right?

If you generally respect the opinions of your family and friends, have a proper think about whether they can all be wrong about disliking your significant other.  You should be open to their words and try to look at them objectively.  It doesn't mean you have to instantly split up from your partner, but ask yourself if you are truly happy or happy because you are finally in a relationshipImage source The Zoe ReportOpen communication with loved ones and self-reflection can provide valuable insights into the dynamics of your relationship and help you make informed decisions about its future. It's important to prioritize your well-being and happiness above societal expectations or external pressures.

7. They Don't Like Apologising - a sign of things to come?

If your partner won't ever admit they were wrong or won't apologise for something they definitely did, then this may be a sign of a bad relationship. Some people have a hard time admitting fault and this can make your relationship's future more complicated than it should be.Image source RedditHow can the two of you grow as a couple if one refuses to admit their flaws? A willingness to acknowledge mistakes and apologize is not only a sign of maturity but also an essential element in fostering mutual respect and understanding which is super important.

8. They Want You To Prioritize Them - at the detriment of your friends

Early on, it's a good idea not to spend too much time with someone you’re just starting to get to know. If they ask you to hang out more than a few times a week, this could be a sign of either their insecurity or they are greedy with wanting your undivided attention all the time.Image source HealthlineThis behavior could be a red flag, as it may lead to feelings of suffocation or the potential for an imbalanced dynamic. Setting clear boundaries early on helps foster a relationship built on mutual respect and consideration for each other's individual needs and space.

9. They Make Fun of You - that's not funny

It can be an early romantic red flag if someone you've started seeing is making offhand comments about you, even if they say they’re only joking. This could be everything from your choice of clothes to more serious issues such as career paths.  If you feel hurt by their control, it's highly unlikely they will changeImage source QuoraEven if they claim it's all in good humor, consistent hurtful remarks can be a red flag. If you find that your partner's comments are controlling or diminishing your self-esteem, it's important to address these concerns early on. If the behavior persists, it's unlikely that they will change.

10. Frequent lying - what are they hiding!

These can be white lies, small untruths or giant whoppers - none of them are acceptable.  Being lied to over and over again can make it extremely difficult to build a solid foundation in the relationship or destroy one that you've built up, which can lead to a shaky future,Image source Daily ExpressHonesty is crucial in any relationship, and when you notice a pattern of lies—whether they're small or significant—it can be a red flag. Constant deception erodes trust, making it challenging to establish a strong foundation or undermining the one you've already built.

11. They’re Jealous - their insecurity becomes your issue

Jealousy is a combination of anxiety, anger, fear and insecurity. These toxic emotions often come out with people who lack confidence in themselves.  Why would they be green with envy about you if they had feelings for you?  Something doesn't add up here.Image source RedditIf your partner displays signs of jealousy toward you, it raises questions about their true feelings and the overall health of the relationship. Healthy relationships are built on trust and confidence, and ongoing jealousy can indicate underlying insecurities that need addressing for the relationship to thrive.

12. All of Their Exes Were Dumped - is that true?

In this red flag example, whenever they talk about their past relationships, they make  themselves out as the victim every time and that they had no choice but to end it.  Besides speaking badly of them, they may concentrate on telling you how hurt they were - so it's all about them.Image source Daily MailWhat happens if you two split up?  Will you be discussed as being the baddie? This victim mentality raises questions about their ability to navigate and sustain healthy relationships, as well as the potential for a similar portrayal if the two of you were to part ways.

13. Your Friends Warn You Off Them - protecting you

Your friends are your friends because of their qualities, interests and values.  If your pals are warning you off this new liaison because they get bad vibes about them, you shouldn't brush it off without having a deep think.  Surely, there is a reason why they all seem to have a problem with the newbie.Image source RedditIgnoring their collective caution could mean overlooking valid reasons for concern. It's worth taking a step back, listening to your friends' perspectives, and considering whether their insights align with your own observations. Friends often have your best interests at heart!

14. They Pressure You To Get Physical - that can't be right

Choosing to hook up or have sex is a big decision.  There's absolutely no reason to rush into it until you are ready.. The right person will respect you by listening to your boundaries and taking things at a pace that suits both of you.  If your partner is putting it at the top of their list as it's what they want, ask yourself why they are with you.Image source RedditIf your partner prioritizes sexual activities and seems impatient, it's crucial to question their motives and evaluate whether they value the connection beyond physical aspects. A healthy relationship involves mutual understanding and a shared pace too.

15. They Cheat On You

The response to being cheated on is subjective.  Some individuals forgive and some can't see a way forward.  Unless you are in an open relationship, being faithful to each other is part of the glue that sticks you together.  At the end of the day, cheating is a betrayal and could turn into a pattern.Image source News IndiaThe aftermath of infidelity can be a complex and challenging period for the couple. The betrayed partner may grapple with issues of self-worth and may question the foundation of the relationship. Whether the relationship can recover from infidelity depends on various factors.

16. They threaten To Break Up With You - make you reliant

This is manipulative behaviour and very unhealthy.  If your partner is keeping you hanging on a thread, despite their threats to leave you, you are going to feel emotional a lot of the time.  Instead of building a relationship you will be constantly thinking about trying to stay in in.  It's not going to end well.Image source The Guardian

This kind of manipulative behavior can erode trust, stability, and emotional well-being. It puts the other partner in a constant state of uncertainty and anxiety, making it challenging to build a healthy as well as a mutually supportive relationship.

17. They Don’t Have Other Strong Relationships - sounds fishy!

It can be concerning if they don’t talk about other close people in their own life, whether family or friends.  Can you have a good, healthy and strong relationship with someone who doesn't mention important peers from their past or at the present time?  Having all their attention on you could end up suffocating you.Image source Best LifeFeeling suffocated in a relationship can occur when one person becomes the sole focus, and a lack of external connections or support systems can contribute to this dynamic. It's crucial for individuals to maintain a healthy balance between their romantic relationship and other aspects of their lives.

18. They Don’t Have Many Friends - there must be a reason

So there may be a reason why your partner does not talk about their family members but when they are lacking in even a couple of friends, you will have to accept they may be a loner and they may want you to drop all of your loved ones, to give them the same amount of time and attention.Image source Strong Marriage NowA healthy relationship typically allows for both partners to maintain their individual identities, including connections with friends and family. If your partner expresses a desire for you to prioritize them over your own loved ones, it could signal a potential issue with boundaries or control.

19. They Aren’t Very Motivated - can they hold on to their job?

Does your new partner try new things, hobbies etc., to give up after only a short time? Do they want to go to the same pub on the same night every week because it saves them thinking about new ideas?  A lack of motivation can have a very negative impact on the other person and would it extend to putting off commitment?  Doesn't sound great.Image source The MirrorIn a relationship, shared experiences and mutual growth often contribute to its vitality. If one partner is more resistant to trying new things or lacks the motivation to pursue personal development, it may lead to a sense of stagnation within the relationship.

20. They’re Hot and Cold - no stability for you

Benching is when somebody you've been dating stops agreeing to meet you in person but wants to continue to contact you over WhatsApp instead.  Bread crumbing is when they lead someone on but have no intention of ever meeting in person or building a real relationship.  Not a very positive start and you might not even know when it has ended!Image source GraziaThese behaviors can be emotionally challenging for the person on the receiving end, as they may be left wondering about the other person's true intentions and commitment level. It's essential to be aware of these patterns in the dating world and whether you are experiencing them!

21. They Never Initiate - too lazy to make an effort

We are talking conversations, dates and intimacy.  Does your partner have to be pressed into talking to you, go out on dates or even initiate a bit of loving?  You should reflect on how many times you have initiated conversations in the last few weeks. Were you always the one reaching out?Image source Prevention.comIf they are too lazy and leave it all to you, remember that one-sided relationships don't often work out. When one partner consistently puts in more effort, whether it's in terms of planning activities, initiating communication, or addressing issues, it can create an imbalance...

22. Excessive Alcohol Usage - not sounding good

There's nothing wrong in enjoying a drink; it's sociable and part of many people's lives.  Over-use of alcohol, however, can have a negative impact, both on the user and to those around them.  If your partner drinks loads, whenever you are out, you might notice a change in their behaviour.Image source Daily MailAnd more seriously, it could lead to a violent streak, which they don't have when they are sober.  This is a big red flag so watch out. Alcohol abuse can contribute to strained communication, unpredictable mood swings, and even jeopardize the safety and well-being of those involved.

23. You Have a Bad Gut Feeling - go with it

Trusting your gut is not to be sniffed at and is especially true regarding dating.  Dating is all about getting to know someone and seeing if you’re interested in building a relationship with them.  It's about honesty and trust and if you are starting to having niggling feelings,  that could be your gut telling you the truth.Image source Project LifeIf you start experiencing persistent, niggling feelings or an intuitive sense that something might be off, it's crucial to listen to those signals. Your instincts often pick up on subtle cues and underlying feelings that may not be immediately apparent.

24. You’re Scared to Have the Relationship Talk - worried what they'll say

Have you found yourself in a situation where you are scared to define the relationship? It's known as a situationship and means it's a romantic relationship where no future plans are made.  This can be fine during the first few weeks or months of a partnership but both of you should be comfortable in discussing how it's all going.Image source The GuardianIf you're scared to ask the question, is that person for you? Consider what you're looking for in a relationship and whether the current situation aligns with your desires. It's essential to prioritize your emotional well-being and ensure that you're in a relationship that meets your needs.

25. You're Keeping Exciting Stuff To Yourself - 'cos you might not get reaction you want

If you don’t immediately run to tell your partner great news you've just received, fair enough but if you always confide in others first or leave your significant other in the dark all together, red flag?  Is it your worry you won't be supported as this has been the past pattern?Image source Self.comIf you consistently find yourself confiding in others or hesitating to share good news with your significant other, it could raise a red flag. This behavior might indicate a lack of trust or a concern that you won't receive the support you desire from your partner.

26. They Make Solo Plans - how important are you?

In healthy relationships, couples don’t have to do everything together but if your partner heads out to social events without you or without telling you, that can't be considered an oversight.  Do they want others to think they are single and what's going on in their head.Image source Reddit

This behavior might prompt questions about why your partner is choosing not to involve you in their social life. It could be an indication of a desire for independence, a need for space, or even a potential issue within the relationship. Open communication is crucial in understanding each other.

27. Their Little Quirks No Longer Endearing - you feel irritated

If minor habits you used to feel indifferent to, or even found quite endearing, start annoying you and you feel irritated by them, then chances are you are becoming unsettled in your relationship.  Remember, these small irritations can end up turning into full scale, unhealthy rows.Image source Hack Spirit

When seemingly minor habits that were once neutral or even charming start to grate on your nerves and cause irritation, it could be a sign of growing unease in the relationship. These small irritations, if left unaddressed, have the potential to escalate into more significant issues.

28. Spotting Changes In How Partner Spends Money - can it be innocent?

If your other half starts shelling out money, left, right and centre and it's totally out of character for them, they might be dealing with some emotions or stresses that they’re not telling you about. Even if it's not related to you and your relationship, you deserve to know the truth.  Another negative sign to contend with.Image source The GuardianWhile these financial decisions may not necessarily be linked to your relationship, it's essential to foster open communication and ensure transparency. Uncharacteristic spending habits can be a red flag, suggesting that your partner might be grappling with personal issues or emotional challenges.

29. Their Body Language Is Different - fidgeting or mannerisms

Something like a stressful week could have your partner more fidgety than normal but differences in their mannerisms could also indicate that they are not comfortable in the relationship.  You need to sort your concerns before anything untoward escalates.Image source Best LifeStressful situations can impact individuals differently, and some may exhibit signs of unease or restlessness as a coping mechanism. Nevertheless, if these changes persist and seem linked to the dynamics of your relationship, it's essential to open a dialogue.

30. Substance Abuse - when it's never been part of them before

Substance abuse is a clear red flag, especially if the person doesn't drink or use drugs.  There is so much negativity surrounding a relationship with a substance abuser that can cause it to fail before it ever really gets going. Using this unhealthy coping strategy is a sign that they struggle with self control and emotional regulation.Image source MentalHelp.netApproaching the situation with empathy and open communication may unveil the root causes of this behavior. Encouraging your partner to seek professional help, such as therapy or counseling, can be a constructive step toward addressing these challenges.

31. They Refuse To Go 'Facebook Official'

It may seem like a simple thing, but if your partner is active on social media all the time, then the refusal to change their status to 'in a relationship' may prove their hesitant about not only making a commitment, but having other people see that they're making one.Image Source / eHarmonyWhile some individuals may prioritize privacy and choose not to disclose personal details on social media, the discrepancy between their online presence and their commitment in real life could be a cause for concern and could raise serious red flags!

32. Never Willing To Discuss The Future

You have to talk about the future at some point in a relationship otherwise what's the point. If it's not casual, then you need to know it's going somewhere. So if you have a partner who point blank refuses to discuss the future, it's a red flag.Image Source / BuzzFeedOpen communication about future plans, whether they involve personal or shared goals, is essential for the health and progression of a relationship. A partner's unwillingness to engage in these discussions can create uncertainty and leave the other person questioning the relationship's direction.

33. Only Communicating On A Surface Level

Talking about inner thoughts and feelings as well as emotions is extremely important. It's more about the willingness to do so, too. A person could struggle to talk about their emotions but still be willing to try, whereas if you're dealing with someone who never, ever talks about their feelings and refuses to, it's a red flag.Image Source / Healthline
It's essential for both partners to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings without judgment. If a person consistently avoids these conversations, it's crucial to address the issue and explore ways to foster open communication for the well-being and growth of the relationship.

34. Refusing To Talk About Feelings Whatsoever

In the same vein, if your partner refuses to talk about their feelings in regard to anything, ever - not even just you and your relationship - this is a worry. If they won't talk about their feelings about past experiences, what they enjoy or other people, it could be a sign they're hiding something or trying to cover up a problem.Image Source / Integrity Counseling & WellnessThis lack of transparency can hinder the development of trust and understanding in the relationship. It's essential for partners to feel comfortable sharing their emotions, even about non-relationship-related topics to create a deeper connection.

35. Not Introducing You To Their Parents

You never have to rush into parent introductions, and they're not doing anything wrong if your partner isn't quite ready. But if it's been a very long time and they're showing reluctance to ever make it happen, it could mean they're not really in it for the long haul and unwilling to make that commitment, as well as not being bothered about you knowing important people in their lives.Image Source / NetflixMeeting each other's parents is often seen as a symbol of openness, trust, and a willingness to integrate important aspects of each other's lives. If a partner is hesitant or avoids taking this step altogether, it might indicate a reluctance to deepen the connection or make a more significant commitment.

36. They Bad Mouth Their Parents

Not everybody has a good relationship with their parents, but it's a very worrying red flag if you're partner is constantly calling them names, bad mouthing them all the time to others or revealing a pretty toxic relationship with them. It sounds like there's a lot of drama, and also you only have their side of the story.Image Source / POPSUGARMoreover, when a partner shares a one-sided and consistently negative portrayal of their relationship with their parents, it raises questions about their ability to handle conflicts and communicate effectively. It's essential to remember that every family dynamic is unique.

37. They Don't Give Two Hoots About Your Past

If you care about someone, you want to know about their past and their experiences, like where they grew up or what got them to this point. It's all part of the 'getting to know you' conversation. So if you partner hasn't ever asked a single question about your past, and doesn't seem to care, it's a red flag that you're just a 'person in the moment' for them, like a fling.Image Source / HerGamutThe "getting to know you" phase is crucial for building a deeper connection, understanding each other's backgrounds, and creating a foundation for a meaningful relationship. If your partner shows no curiosity about your past, it might suggest a lack of investment in the long-term aspects of the relationship.

38. If You Explain To Them Your Needs Aren't Being Met, You're Just Whining

First of all, the fact that your needs aren't being met anyway is a huge negative sign. But secondly, if you're actually trying to explain your feelings and how you feel like you aren't happy only to have them tell you to stop whining, well - that just speaks for itself.Image Source / LinguahouseA healthy relationship involves both partners actively listening to each other, validating each other's feelings, and working together to find solutions. Dismissing or belittling your partner's concerns can lead to emotional distance and create a toxic dynamic within the relationship.

39. They're Different Around Other People

Your partner might be utterly charming and liked by everyone when they're in a group, whether that's meeting new people, with work colleagues or friends. But behind closed doors, you might see them change, become less friendly and treat you differently to everyone else.Image Source / UnsplashThis inconsistency might be a sign that your partner is not being authentic or genuine. It's crucial to have open and honest communication in a relationship, and feeling like your partner is a different person in private can create confusion and erode trust.

40. Taking Ridiculously Long To Answer Calls Or Texts

People get busy and it's not always possible to answer messages straight away. But your relationship is going to suffer if you find it impossible to ever get a reply out of a text or phone call until hours later. Even if they're busy, they still don't make the effort to get back to you on their break or when they've finished work and only answer you long after you've given up caring.Image Source / Alex Wong Copywriting
Additionally, delayed responses may be indicative of broader issues, such as disinterest, lack of engagement, or unresolved conflicts. Open dialogue and mutual understanding are key to addressing these concerns and building a relationship based on trust and effective communication.

41. Or Not Answering Them At All!

This is obviously worse. If you don't ever get a reply to a message or phone call then all that is saying is that you're not even worth replying to, in their eyes. Even if they're extremely busy, in this day and age even a quick "will reply soon!" is always possible.Image Source / Winkgo. It goes beyond just being busy; it can indicate a lack of consideration or value placed on the communication and connection with you. In a healthy relationship, partners usually make an effort to acknowledge each other, even if briefly, to maintain a sense of connection.

42. They're Always, Always Sarcastic

Sarcasm can be funny every once in a while, especially if you and your partner painfully tease. But there's nothing more than a person who constantly condescends you using sarcasm - it can hurt, it can make you feel teased and it can easily become draining.Image Source / Web Designer DepotContinuous use of sarcasm to belittle or demean a partner can create an environment of negativity and insecurity. It's essential for both partners to be aware of how their words impact the other and to foster an atmosphere where both feel valued and supported.

43. They're A Pro At Stonewalling

Stonewalling is when you completely shut down and don't budge in your refusal to communicate. It can often happen during arguments which means you just get absolutely nowhere. If your partner is a pro stonewaller, this definitely isn't a good thing.Image Source / BetterHelpWhile playful banter and teasing can add humor to a relationship, a consistent pattern of condescending sarcasm can erode trust, lead to hurt feelings, and create an unhealthy dynamic. In a healthy relationship, communication should be built on mutual respect and understanding.

44. Constantly Attention Seeking

Attention seeking is never good, no matter who it is, but in a relationship it can be the worst. If your partner is just constantly seeking attention and praise from anybody and everybody, it's exhausting and also hints at insecurity they might be masking.Image Source / A Lust For LifeInsecure individuals may seek validation from others to boost their self-esteem. It's important for both partners to communicate openly about their needs and feelings. If attention-seeking behavior becomes disruptive or causes distress, it's time to do something about it!

45. You Don't Have A Single Hobby In Common

You definitely don't need to have every single thing in common with your partner, and you can certainly enjoy different hobbies separately. But if you don't share any common interests whatsoever about how you like to spend your time and you have nothing to bond over, it's going to be a problem over time, so it's something to pay attention to.Image Source / BicyclingIf partners find that they have few or no common interests, it may be worth exploring new activities or trying to find mutually enjoyable experiences. This doesn't mean sacrificing individuality but rather finding a balance that allows for both shared and independent interests.

46. They're Suddenly The Busiest Person On The Planet

Your partner is suddenly so busy that they don't have time to answer messages and barely have time to see you. It could have happened out of nowhere, or been a gradual thing. You could notice the little things, like you always message to say good morning but now it's just stopped because they 'forgot'.Image Source / NBC NewsIf your partner's busy schedule is impacting your connection, it's essential to express your feelings and discuss how you both can navigate these challenges together. Understanding each other's commitments and finding ways to stay connected, even in small ways.

47. You Feel Like You Have To Lie To Them

If you feel like you have to lie about where you've been in case you upset your partner, or you lie to them about feeling fine when actually you're worried about something, all of this is a huge problem. You should never have to feel like you have to keep things from your partner, and especially not to placate them.Image Source / LooperHonesty is the foundation of a healthy relationship, and feeling the need to lie can indeed be a significant red flag. If you find yourself concealing information or altering the truth to avoid upsetting your partner, it may indicate underlying issues in the relationship.

48. They Treat Customer Service Or Hospitality People Badly

You can tell a lot about a person based on how they treat others, naturally, but one big indicator is serving people in particular, like waitresses, till-operators or hotel receptionists. How polite your partner is with this people will be a good indicator of the type of person they really areImage Source / Bored PandaIf they barely look at them, don't say thank you or treat them like dirt if something goes wrong, this is all a whopping big red flag. Politeness, patience, and respect toward waitstaff, cashiers, or other service professionals indicate a person's empathy and consideration for others.

49. They Treat Animals Or Pets With Disinterest

It's definitely not a red flag to simply not be a big fan of pets, or certain animals, but you can also tell a lot about a person's nature for compassion when it comes to how they interact with animals or pets - especially if they have one themselves but show it very little interest. Worse, they might even be neglectful.Image Source / POPSUGARHow someone treats animals can be a significant indicator of their empathy, compassion, and overall nature. If your partner has a pet and shows little interest or neglects them, it could be a red flag. Pets often become part of the family and are cherished.

50. They Disrespect You In Front Of Friends

This could be their friends or your friends. One of the most hurtful things a partner can do is disrespect you, but to do it in front of other people is a whole new level. He could speak to you disrespectfully, call you a disrespectful name or let a door slam in your face behind him as you enter a house party. Pay attention to words and actions!Image Source / LovePankyPublic disrespect can be damaging not only to your self-esteem but also to the perception others have of your relationship. Healthy relationships involve mutual respect, support, and positive communication, even in challenging situations - someone should never put you down in public.