In the beginning, we tend to see the partner through rose-colored glasses.
He or she is everything we’ve dreamed of—intelligent, talented, beautiful, our perfect match.
All these things might be right about our partner. But to avoid a lot of emotional suffering—for ourselves and the other person — we should evaluate their positive and negative sides.
Unfortunately, a lot of people prefer illusions over the truth. And for them mentioning any red flags which indicate serious relationship problems are sour points no to be discussed. Such an attitude is by no means wrong. It could lead to serious and traumatic consequences that involve being stuck in an unfulfilling, abusive relationship.
That is why below we have listed five red flags which might tell at an early stage that you are in a dead-end relationship.
All of them are based on the opinions of experts.
1. You can’t communicate with your partner about problems.
The first and foremost reason for a break up is the inability of the partners to handle issues together. Here is how Erika Ettin, a dating coach who founded the dating site A Little Nudge explains the problem:
“I’d say the one major red flag in a person’s behavior that may indicate that the relationship won’t work is the unwillingness to talk through issues, big or small. All couples have disagreements. That’s perfectly normal and healthy. But it’s how you handle those disagreements that can make or break things. Does your partner walk away? Shut down? Place all the blame on you? Throw a tantrum? These are all red flags.”
The problems hardly ever can wreck the ship of our relationship. What actually can is whether or not we talk about them and how we solve them.
According to Erika Ettin:
“In a good relationship, a couple can and will talk through issues, listening to the other person’s point of view and expressing his or her own. No one needs to win or lose. It’s about expressing how something makes you feel and be heard. Communication is key.”
2. Your partner shows narcissistic personality traits.
Catenya McHenry, a journalist who wrote the book “Married to a Narcissist,” explains the narcissist’s nature:
“Narcissists are void of empathy. They don’t believe they are wrong about anything, and they will constantly feel victimized, accusing you of attacking them when you’re just expressing your feelings in a situation.”
Here is what she says about having a relationship with such an individual:
“One major red flag in relationships is when everyday life, events, conversations, and basic interactions are frequently about that person — where there are constant manipulation and abuse of power over you.”
“For instance, you could confront the person you’re dating about something they did or said that hurt you. Rather than listening to your concern and apologizing, they will manipulate and flip the conversation, telling you all the things you’ve done to hurt and upset them. This scenario shows signs of narcissism, and things only get worse the more time you spend together. They don’t care about you and your concerns; they only care about themselves. ”
And who needs a partner like that?
3. They don’t respect your boundaries.
That is a tricky one. Very often emotional abusers try to justify their actions with the differences in your and their character. But this is just an excuse. Should anyone starts disrespecting your boundaries and abuses you, you’d better leave them:
Here are some examples that Lisa Aronson Fontes, a psychologist, gave in her book “Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in Your Intimate Relationship.”
- “You are not ready to have them meet your family members or friends, but they push you.”
- “He or she pushes you to date exclusively before you are ready.”
- “They want to move in or get married or set up a bank account before you want.”
- “He or she tries to change the way you wear your hair or your clothes or anything else about you that feels like ‘you,’ and it makes you uncomfortable.”
4. They are too critical of their previous partners.
Elinor Greenberg is a psychologist who wrote the book “Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations: The Pursuit of Love, Admiration, and Safety.” Below is a short extract of the book. It explains this issue perfectly:
“Whatever people have done in previous relationships they are likely to do again. That means that if you listen carefully to how your new lover describes his or her essential past relationships and how he or she speaks about their exes, you can learn a lot about how this person is likely to treat you. When people describe all of their exes as terrible people and put all the blame on them for the relationship’s failure, this is a red flag for me. It practically shouts: ‘I cannot take any responsibility for whatever went wrong. I have not learned anything from these relationships. It is totally up to you to make our relationship work.”
And that doesn’t speak well of your partner, does it? Here is what else Elinor Greenberg says:
“It is also likely to mean that they are unable to see people in an integrated and realistic way. When they started dating these other people, they probably saw them as highly desirable and all good. Now that these relationships are over, these same people are all bad. Either they have a knack for picking the worst people with whom to be in a relationship, or they are seeing all of these people in a very distorted way.”
Unfortunately, the perspective of a relationship with such a person is not promising. That is why according to Elinor Greenberg:
“If they could not see anyone before you realistically or make any of these relationships work, they are unlikely to be able to do it with you.”
5. “If you find yourself justifying away what he does or says, even though these feel wrong in your gut, then that’s a sure red flag.”
That is the opinion of Perpetua Neo, a psychologist, an expert in toxic relationships who created the Detox Your Heart program.
“There is a psychological phenomenon known as the ‘confirmation bias,’ where we are inclined to discard all evidence that does not align with our views and only keep those that do. And with a potentially toxic person, they have worked to create a false positive impression to worm their way into your heart.” she explains.
If our partner is toxic our brains might work overtime to convince us that this is not the case, even when we know it is. Read on to see how this works:
“So even if they do something bad or say something that’s off, you may think, ‘He’s only this way because he went through X.’ This is when ticking boxes of ‘Is he rude to the waiter?’ ‘Is he nice to his family members?’ He could be all that — the sleekest toxic people are. But underlying it, if he says things like, ‘So they’ll treat us better the next time,’ or he has a mean mouth towards some people, and if you find yourself justifying his transactional mindset or meanness, then it’s time to pause and step back.”
Finally, it’s never easy to put an end to a relationship that we have hoped to turn into a serious one.
But isn’t it really better to be alone than badly accompanied?