Red flag dating behavior is not a new topic for me, but it is one that I believe needs to be re-addressed on a regular basis just to keep things fresh in our minds. As emotional beings, it is very easy to get caught up in romance and sweet words and ignore that logical, rational voice that is telling us to slow down. I mean, who really ever wants to slow down when in the midst of what feels like a passionate fairy tale love story unfolding with you as the hero/heroine? Exactly.
So here I am, ready to drop over you like a wet blanket. 😉 Well, I prefer to imagine myself as your fairy godmother, not necessarily about to fulfill all your deepest wishes, but definitely watching out for you and reminding you of your own worth. <3
With that in mind, I’ve conjured up my top ten list of red flag dating behaviors. This is by no means an extensive list, and if something doesn’t feel ‘right’ to you with your partner or relationship, don’t ignore your intuition, but if you’re just not sure if you’re over-reacting to something or not, this list might provide some clarity. So, without further ado… (drumroll please)…Ladies and Gentlemen, I present for you the top ten red flag dating behaviors:
You’re Perfect: We all want to be ‘perfect’ in the eyes of our partner, but come on, no one is perfect and although two people might be perfect for each other, you’re not really going to know if someone is perfect for you until you’ve spent a lot of time together and seen each other in all different moods and situations. If you’ve gone on 2 or 3 dates and your partner is gushing about how perfect you are and how he/she has never met anyone like you before – be on the alert. This is a ‘love bomber’ tactic used to reel you in quickly and a person who is quick to call you perfect, will be equally as quick to find fault the minute you do something that isn’t ‘perfect’.
Early Declarations of Love: This is another love bombing technique designed to reel you in quickly and catch you in the net before you’ve had time to get to know someone. Deep, lasting love that will see you through thick and thin takes years to develop, not weeks – and certainly not days. Be skeptical of anyone who tells you they love you after a few dates. Personally, I think even a few months is suspect, but at least they could be truly infatuated in a few months. A few weeks or a few dates? No emotionally healthy person thinks what he/she feels is genuine love in that short a period of time. And similar to the ‘you’re perfect’ scenario, anyone who falls in love that quickly will fall out just as quickly too. Be ready for it.
Rushing the Timeline: The chemical cocktail that the body releases during the infatuation stage of a relationship is a heady mix. You’d need some serious detox to recover (as we can all attest to). That feeling of never wanting to be apart – what is that? Nature’s way of trying to quickly reproduce itself while the fire is hot? I don’t know, but I do know that it makes people rush into situations that will most likely not have happy consequences. I know people who have relocated to another country after two weeks of a hot and heavy romance (no, it did not end well). If your new dating partner suggests moving in together or starts discussing marriage in the near future, time to put on the brakes. No, no, no – do NOT make those life-altering decisions when caught up in the early stages of infatuation. Big Fat Mistake.
Possessiveness/Jealousy: Possessiveness and jealousy is a neon sign of low self-esteem and insecurity; it is NOT a sign of love. The foundation of love is trust, so if trust does not exist, how can love be there? Of course, there are varying degrees of jealousy and some may be easily worked out by being open and honest with your partner and talking things through. If someone has been deeply hurt in the past by a betrayal, it may be natural for him/her to react in a jealous manner, but ultimately the person has to realize that no two relationships are the same and do some inner work to trust again. If the possessiveness and jealousy extends to alienating your from your friends and/or family, this is a big red flag of a potential narcissist so be very aware and absolutely do NOT cut off contact/visit with friends and family. If the person insists and refuses to let you maintain those relationships, don’t discuss, just break it off.
Bad-talk the Exes: Unless you married your high-school sweetheart and you’re still together, you’ve likely got an ‘ex’ in your past – some of us, have quite a few. 😉 With the exception of abusive scenarios, most relationships end because two people were ultimately incompatible. No fault here – just incompatible. So if you date someone who says all his/her exes are ‘crazy’ or puts all the blame for the failed relationship on the exes, then you’ve either got a full-blown narcissist or at the very least, someone who is so clueless that he/she takes no responsibility for their own actions. Neither of these makes for a good partner. Do you want to take the blame for everything?
Running Hot & Cold: Personally, I like consistency in a partner – no major mood swings, dependable, I can trust his word. What I don’t like is the feeling of walking on eggshells or being judged for everything I do and say. If your partner is not responding to you with emotional consistency, something is not right. Sure, we all get in a bad mood or have a bad day, but this should be exception, not the rule. If one day he/she is gushing love and affection and the next day is giving you a cold silence, there is something psychologically toxic here that will hinder all attempts at a loving, caring, and emotionally reciprocal relationship.
Self-Centeredness: Do you feel ‘heard’ in your relationship? Does your partner actually listen when you are talking? Does he remember your likes and dislikes? Does he know the names of your friends and family that you’ve mentioned in discussions? Does he ask you where you want to go on a date or where you want to eat, and then does he go there? Does he consider your advice when you offer it? Does he even ask for your advice? If the answer to these questions is ‘no’, then you are not being respected for your life experience or contribution to the relationship. Being with someone this consumed with him/herself is exhausting and soul crushing. Don’t do it to yourself, please.
Never Apologizes: A well-known test of narcissism is when your partner does something that hurts you and you say to him/her, “It really hurt me when you (did/said) _________. Please don’t do that again”, and then go silent. A sincere person will immediately apologize and want to make it right. Someone with narcissistic traits might apologize but will also ‘excuse’ their behavior by giving an explanation to back up why their behavior was justified. A true narcissist will turn it all back on you and make you the one at fault; they may even explode in anger. Saying “I’m sorry” is an empathetic response to human emotion, hence, not saying it indicates a lack of empathy, and empathy is a must-have in a long-term partner.
Anger/Violence Issues: No need to explain this one. If your partner exhibits outburst of anger or violence, leave now. If he/she strikes you, leave yesterday. I don’t care what other awesome traits he/she might possess. Leave, leave, leave. Don’t look back.
Ignoring/Pushing Your Boundaries: When you get the concept of ‘self-love’, you understand that it comes with boundaries that you create depending on what does and doesn’t feel good and safe to you. This includes emotional, spiritual, and physical boundaries. If your date pushes your boundaries, even in jest, it’s a red flag and in my opinion, a sign of self-centeredness (at the very least). If you tell your date that you want to get to know each other before sleeping together, but he/she tries to rush intimacy or if you say you can’t go out tonight because you’ve got a work project due the next morning, and he/she tries to talk you into meeting up – these are both boundary violations and even if they don’t push it ‘hard’, they are pushing it and basically ignoring how you feel. If someone gently pushes your boundaries once, reaffirm them and don’t give in. If they are innocent, they will stop pushing; if they continue pushing, you will either stand strong and the relationship will end (because he/she can’t get what they really want from you) or you will cross your own boundaries and fall into the scenario of betraying yourself. Whatever you do, don’t go there! <3