How to Identify the Red Flags in a Relationship?

While in a relationship, it’s common practice that we are often oblivious to the red flags in our partner/s. Red flags are defined as toxic or unhealthy traits/habits that pose a risk to our mental, physical, and emotional well-being as the relationship progresses. Many blogs have extensively covered the red flags, but the crucial point is identifying them as soon as possible.

By identifying the red flags, a person can ensure that they can make an informed decision about the commitment they give to their partner and keep their safety a priority. Red flags are often undetectable at first but then grow on dangerously that one may be unable to identify them. These methods aren’t foolproof but will allow you to gain insight into your partner and the relationship. 

Keeping aside the ‘love goggles’

Love goggles are typically the heart-shaped eyes with which we view our partner, their actions, and the relationship during its formative days. It is the honeymoon phase, during which nothing they do will drive us away. If we find a red flag, we justify it in our minds and continue the relationship. This rose-stained glass with which we view them is harmful because it hides from us the true nature of our partner. This obliviousness hinders us from gauging the actual worth of our relationship and understanding the positives and negatives of our partner. Everything seems hunky dory, and perfect. Removing these love goggles includes keeping aside our feelings for them and objectively examining the partner and our relationship with them to get a true measure of understanding necessary for the future. Some of these include mistaking narcissism for self-love, emotional manipulation as harmless requests, and so on. 

By not romanticizing toxicity 

Overcontrolling behavior is romanticized as possessiveness; their anger issues are romanticized as their care for our welfare, and so on. The concept of finding good in everything is not the best choice of application here, as people tend to romanticize toxic patterns. If your partner constantly wants to know where you are, forbids you from meeting people, and demands your attention all the time, it’s not their care or love for you; rather, it’s a toxic pattern. Your partner’s jealousy isn’t cute but rather a sign of their insecurity which will manifest in ugly ways during the course of the relationship. We tend to label these toxic patterns as love and romanticize them like they are normal, but they have drastic effects as the relationship progresses. A common example is romanticizing lack of communication as brooding, aloof, and attractive. 

Listening to your instincts 

The common debate of heart v/s mind is best applied here. A certain action or habit of our partner might make us uncomfortable, and while the mind raises doubts over it, it’s often subdued by the heart, which is head over heels in love with our partner. This is precisely why we should never gauge a relationship only with our heart but also employ our minds and instinct to it. An emotional side requires an objective side as well in order to make the right decision. Our gut always stands us in good stead. A popular myth even tells the tale of our instinct as just being an intervention by our guardian angel. So if your instinct tells you that your partner is purposefully keeping you away from your friends, don’t let the heart romanticize it by stating that it’s only because they want to spend more time with you. Constant substance abuse, codependency, and lack of a social circle are all factors that might pique your discomfort. Confront your partner about it rather than keep silent to maintain the relationship. 

Seek perspective from a confidant

As a person in the relationship, sometimes you’re too close to the eye of the storm to see the red flags. Even if you’re a private person and want to keep the relationship under wraps, don’t hesitate to seek perspective from a confidant. An objective and distant view of the relationship or the partner’s red flags, when pointed out by someone we trust, allows us to examine pointers that we previously ignored closely. Seeking this perspective is important because it allows us to identify and work on our own red flags. Their experiences are also valuable because negative details are overlooked when you view your partner through love goggles. And ensuring that the relationship has a healthy foundation is important for your mental peace and overall well-being. Gaslighting and victimization are the two most important characteristics of a toxic relationship and are often unidentifiable by the person who is being subjected to it. But for those outside the relationship, these are clearly visible, making it pertinent to check up with them occasionally for warning signs or red flags that you may be ignoring.

Keeping a close check on their behavior 

Acknowledging a behavior as unpleasant and working on it is the right way to keep a relationship moving ahead. If you or your partner identifies a behavior as a red flag, it’s pertinent that you both discuss it and work towards fixing it. But if your partner is defensive about it and deflects it by projecting their feelings onto you, it should be your cue to leave. Keeping a check on their behavior is not just how they behave towards you, but generally towards everyone. Also, do know how they behave when angry, disappointed, or even tense. It’s during these times that people often show their true colors. Red flags are not very easy to watch out for, but once you do glimpse, do make sure to take action about it. 

If it happens once, it’ll happen again

Whether it’s substance abuse, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, it’s always a recurring pattern. Movies like Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey have shown us the true picture of a man with anger issues whose first slap happens by chance but thereafter becomes a destructive pattern of domestic abuse and violence. Staying with the partner even after you have been abused enables their behavior because they realize that you’ll stay no matter what they do. People are often shamed, too, saying they chose to leave over ‘such a small matter’, but abuse of any kind is never small and will always serve as a precedent to something major and even dangerous. 

Keeping your individuality intact 

A relationship should be two individual people growing strong individually and are stronger together. But some people prefer their partners to be co-dependent on them. This means that without a partner, the other person falls weak. This is a major red flag because this relationship then mimics the one between a host and parasite and gives absolute control of one partner to the other. A relationship should never force you to abandon your individuality or your choices or curb your lifestyle and wishes. If you choose to alter yourself according to your partners’ wishes to the extent that your you no longer identify yourself, you are reduced to a puppet. One of the common examples is when the relationship consumes you, and you cannot form your identity away from the relationship and your partner. 

What are some of the other ways by which you identify red flags? Let us know in the comments below!

Shivani Sarat
Content writer and creator. Author of 'Black Daises', a poetry anthology.

Tell us what you're thinking

Subscribe to our newsletter

We'll send you a monthly newsletter with our top articles of the month

Latest Posts