Relationships are a part of our life; few are significant to us. Parents and siblings are one of the first relationships we form. In these relationships, we are aware of societal expectations. However, when it comes to intimate bonds, it can be confusing in terms of expectations; what to do? How to go about it? There is neither a manual for this nor does our society discuss it. It’s a topic directly linked to morality, cultural beliefs, and an individual’s character. Leaving us confused about our own behavior and expectations in an intimate relationship. Establishing romantic relationships is a significant part of adult life. Thus, we become dependent on our experiences and time to navigate us through future relationships.
Here comes the role of red flags!! Red flags indicate that trouble is lined to go soon or that something needs to be questioned. Over the course of a relationship, some things become important in a relationship that initially seems unimportant. Let’s look at a few red flags that you must be aware of:
1. Lack of communication
It can be depicted in small daily life scenarios, such as being unable to express yourself or discuss your emotions or feelings, avoiding complex topics, and not listening or expecting your partner to read your mind. One of the keys for a healthy relationship is communication.
2. Lack of trust
Trust is one of the pillars in any relationship. It is lost when you feel that your partner is hiding things from you or you hide things from your partner. Trust is developed through deep conversations and talking about yourself. If you don’t trust your partner, you’re less likely to share your feelings and emotions with them.
3. Controlling behavior
Sometimes, you or your partner expects you to leave significant others in your life as a sign of love for them. They want to surround you with the things and people necessary to their life without considering your views and emotions about it. Where do you go? What do you wear? With whom do you hang out? Where do you spend your money? Whom are you associated online with? Even they want to know your phone passcode. They decide each aspect of your life, making your world shrink. It may also take the form of possessiveness or jealousy and reflects a lack of trust and respect.
4. Feeling of insecurity
Feeling uncertain about relationships is a common emotion. But if uncertainty is added to a feeling of discomfort and being anxious around your partner is where you need to step back and reflect. Seeking reassurance may seem a way out; however, it’s just for the time being. In the long run, it might result in stagnation and weakening of the relationship.
5. Violent behavior
It is a serious red flag and a clear sign to walk out of the relationship, without any doubt. Violence has no justification, be it anger, drunk or something else. It indicates an unhealthy way of expression and shows a lack of empathy and respect for your partner.
It is a form of subtle emotional abuse by manipulating the individual into questioning their thoughts, perceptions and reality. It makes the person being gaslighted lose confidence, feel guilty and become unsure of their perspective. Thus, the result is dependent on the person gaslighting. People who love you give their support in uplifting you to become a better version of yourself.
It can take a variety of forms, from being subtle to direct. It involves making fun of your emotions or behavior in front of others, rejecting or not considering your views and opinion, and making people feel inferior. Respect is a foundational stone of any relationship. When respect is absent in a relationship, it often results in feelings of hurt, loneliness, embarrassment, shame and guilt.
8. Moving too fast and too sexual
Your partner might want to move quickly in a relationship instead of progressively knowing each other and sharing interests, feelings and emotions. It can include forcing your partner to have sex, touching inappropriately, even in public, in initial interactions talking too much about sex. These can be forecasted as early warning signs in a relationship.
9. Anger issues
Anger is a primary emotion that each one of us has. However, some people aren’t able to control their anger. It becomes a red flag when it infuses fear and control in you or your partner. You feel a lack of safety around your partner; you are anxious and uncertain about your partner’s reaction to everything. One of the signs of unhealthy anger management is lashing out at the slightest thing. Being threatened in these situations is a form of emotional abuse.
Red flags v/s yellow flags
Now the question comes, Are red flags the sign of unhealthy relationships? Once you know about red flags, what can you do? Should you walk away from the relationship? Should you confront your partner and ask them to work on it? Will knowing red flags help in mending relationships? Is it dangerous to proceed in a relationship if you already observe red flags?
Red and yellow flags are different in terms of their severity. Yellow flags are less severe than red flags but can potentially convert into red flags if not timely dealt with. Red flags indicate warning signs, and yellow fag problematic areas to be addressed. Thus, the yellow flag points towards an unhealthy pattern of relations that should be dealt with, blocking them from turning into red flags.
Remember – Don’t settle for minor abuses. Abusive behaviour becomes worst and more frequent with time rather than becoming better, be it physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse.