27 Red Flags In A Relationship To Watch Out For

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Setting boundaries is crucial in any relationship. However, when you love someone deeply, you tend to ignore red flags in a relationship and take things easy. You may overlook your partner’s flaws and convince yourself that everything about them is perfect. You start compromising on some aspects of yourself, allowing them to take advantage of you.

However, the consequences of such reckless actions can be devastating. So, if your gut tries to tell you something, and if you sense something is wrong in your relationship, reflect on it and make the right decision.

In this post, we list down the warning signs of a toxic relationship and how to deal with it.

In This Article

27 Red Flags In A Relationship

Look out for these signs in your relationship and acknowledge them sooner than later.

1. Rushing things

A relationship takes its own sweet time to bloom. While some relations take years to settle down, some establish a bond in weeks or months after meeting. The bottom line is that you will be ready to move ahead in your relationship when you are ready. Don’t let your partner rush you. If they are, in spite of you being uncomfortable with it, find out why. Rushing things is one of the troubling signs to watch out for. It could be a warning sign you should not ignore. If a partner truly cares for you, they will let you take your time in the relationship.

2. No future aspirations

They seem to be uninterested in any planning.

Image: IStock

Your partner doesn’t show any interest in discussing your future together. He or she seems to be uninterested in any planning, be it about marriage, moving in together, finances, or anything else. This kind of behavior should send alarm bells ringing in your head. Talking about the future could be intimidating in a relationship but it is a must if that is an important value to you.

3. Too much of sarcasm

According to P. Valerie Dauphin, a certified life coach, ‘too much of sarcasm could be annoying and hurtful.’ If your partner’s constant sarcasm about anything you do is annoying you, let them know about it. If they continue their sarcastic behavior, in spite of knowing that you do not like it, maybe take a step back and check if your relationship is doing you more harm than good (1). Also, your partner requires ample admonitions to change their ways before you decide to take a big step.

protip_icon Point to consider
It’s a red flag if your life revolves around your partner and you do not have ample time for your friends and family.

4. Still talking about the ex

Most of us have had past relationships that did not work for whatever reasons, and that is okay. But if the ex becomes a topic of everyday discussion, it could be frustrating for the other partner and even brew a bit of hatred in the relationship. That’s because the conversations about ex could eventually turn into comparisons. And that, definitely, is not healthy in a relationship. It is one of the cautionary signs indicating a flaw in the relationship. You must know if your partner is over their ex and it needs to be addressed. It is possible, however, that they may not know that they are doing this.

5. Being unreasonably busy

There was a time when your partner was always there for you. But now, he or she is acting super busy and says there’s not enough time to sit down and talk or to go on a date.

Agreed that our jobs keep us busy but we can still make time for the people we love if we want to. When you are in a relationship, it is essential to spend quality time with each other. You can make an excuse once, twice, and even a few times. But if excuses are all you get every time you ask them to spend time with you, then understand that there could be a problem. Lack of time is one of the classic indicators of something going wrong in a relationship.

Pooja Singla, a blogger, narrates that she had been in a relationship, and it’s six months after she broke up that she realized how she ignored the red flags despite them being so evident. She remarks, “I was so head over heels in love with this person that I stopped using my brain. I was just listening to my heart. My brain was shouting “he is not one,” but my heart kept telling me something else.

She also explains how her partner had no time to communicate with her. She says, “I like to talk to my partner through any medium, if meeting is not possible due to any circumstances. If the other person is so busy that they don’t have 30 seconds for me, then that person is not for me (i).”

6. Never apologizing

Fights and arguments are a part of every relationship. When one is wrong, the right thing to do is apologize to the partner and move on. But if you are the only one apologizing and your partner never does it (even when it is his or her fault), it hints at her lack of respect for you and that you need to address the issue. There should be enough respect in your relationship from each other that each partner can admit when they are wrong and apologize.

7. Being abusive 

Abuse, in any form, should not be tolerated in a relationship.

Image: IStock

Abuse, in any form, should not be tolerated in a relationship. Whether your partner is abusing you psychologically, verbally, emotionally, or physically, do what is necessary to stop them. Abuse is a scary thing because victims of abuse can fall into the cycle of abuse and become trapped; so this needs to be addressed at the first sign. Do not ignore the clear warnings and tolerate abuse.

protip_icon Do remember
If you are putting up with their rude behavior since dealing with their outbursts is too exhausting, or you feel afraid to leave, don’t hesitate to seek help from your friends or family.

8. Undermining you

If your partner is downplaying your accomplishments or the efforts you make, he or she is insecure. Their unreasonable suspicions indicate their insecurity. Such people will never be happy with anything you do and will try to criticize you at every step of the way.This demotivating behavior is not good for your relationship or you.

9. Justifying bad behavior

If someone does something wrong, they must apologize. Instead of being sorry, if your partner always justifies bad behavior (being rude, disrespectful, walking out), then you should talk it out. Blames games are cues that your partner is manipulating you. Let him, or her, know that you don’t like such behavior. If they do not change even after that, take it as a red flag.

10. Dark past 

If your partner has been through a rough past (say he or she is a suspect or drug addict), you need to pay attention to his or her present activities. Your apprehensions may not be baseless but do not you always doubt their intentions or look them down. But if you notice that their behavior is leaning towards past activities that landed them in trouble, you have to be wary and watchful of the negative signals that you notice.

11. Only solo plans 

Your partner is always making solo plans without inviting you.

Image: IStock

It’s okay if you sometimes hang out with your friends and not your partner. But if your partner is always making solo plans without inviting you, it could be a clue to something fishy.. Having ‘me-time’ in a relationship is important, but that should not be the only thing in the relationship.

12. Not introducing to friends and family

Usually, you tend to meet your partner’s family or parents a few months or a couple of years into the relationship. But if that hasn’t happened, and your partner seems hesitant to introduce you to his or her parents or friends, you should start wondering why. Hiding the relationship or avoiding family could also be a red flag in a relationship. Family is very important in long term romantic relationships because one has to know what family they may be marrying into one day.

13. Immature or irresponsible

Not everyone can handle everything. Some people are good at what they do and have stable careers. Others bounce from one job to another, trying different things, but can take care of themselves. Then there are some who have difficulty sticking to a job and managing their finances. You may be okay with your partner being like this, given that you love them a lot. But can you be okay with it forever? Initially, you may find it adorable that your partner depends on you for everything. But soon, that can be frustrating, leaving you annoyed with your partner for being immature or irresponsible.

If you live with a dependent partner and feel that you’re heading towards a skewed relationship with an immature person, maybe stop and think about it.

14. Checking up on you or controlling

Does your phone light up with constant message notifications or alerts from your partner asking your whereabouts? If yes, it sure is annoying. And, it could mean that there is a lack of trust on their part. That, combined with controlling behavior that restricts your actions, should come as a warning sign for you.

15. Gaslighting

Gaslighting is when one partner lies to make the other person think that they are wrong, even when they are right. For example, if your partner calls you crazy or blames your imagination every time you point out something suspicious about their behavior, they are probably gaslighting you into believing their lies. If this happens repeatedly, you need to be alert.

16. Lack of intimacy

Physical touch plays a valuable role in a relationship.

Image: IStock

Besides sexual touch, partners show their love and affection by hugging, kissing, or just holding hands. That is not to say that there is no love without touch. But physical touch (less or more) plays a valuable role in a relationship. Intimacy can also be emotional and intellectual. If you don’t feel as close to your partner as you once did, there’s something amiss in the relationship.

17. You are not yourself

Do you think you are compromising who you are to make your loved one happy? Do you sleep with regret in your heart? Well, if you have always been putting your partner before yourself, then you need to wake up. A relationship should always be about two people, not just one.

18. Unable to express feelings or no communication

A healthy relationship is one in which you can freely share your thoughts and interests with your partner. And if that is not happening and you find it tough to express yourself, the relationship may not be able to move in a healthy direction. Lack of or poor communication should be taken as a red flag in a relationship.

19. Being secretive

It’s all right if your partner doesn’t want to share some things with you. But if he or she is trying to hide most things from you, then it is wrong. Hiding leads to lying, which then leads to the misuse of trust, which is not healthy for the relationship. Secretive behavior can be considered as one of the forebodings indicating a troubled relationship.

20. Trying too hard to be likable

This usually happens early in a relationship. Your boyfriend or girlfriend could be trying too hard to be nice and attractive. For example, your partner may overlook all your flaws or shower you with too many gifts or favors even when there is no need for it. That kind of behavior is something you should take with a pinch of salt.

21. Not interested in your opinion

If your partner doesn’t take you seriously or disregards your opinion, it is a sign that they do not respect you. Such behavior could get bitter with time and should, hence, be considered as a red flag in a relationship.

22. ‘I am always right’

They blame you for everything that goes wrong in the relationship.

Image: IStock

Nobody can always be right. If your partner says he or she is perfect and blames you for everything that goes wrong in a relationship, maybe stop and reevaluate the relationship. Being blamed for things you are not responsible for is one of the presages that your partner is not willing to be responsible or accountable for their actions. This can take a toll on you in the long run and must be considered as a red flag in the relationship.

23. Seeking too much of attention

Everyone needs some ‘me time.’ So it becomes tiresome when your partner wants to be with you always. If your lover/ spouse is asking you to pay attention to them constantly, it might not be healthy for your relationship.

24. Disrespectful attitude towards servicemen

Watch out how your partner talks to people who serve you. It could be a waiter, driver, or a servant. How they treat someone lesser in rank or status to them tells a lot about the person’s character. You would want someone who believes in equality and respects people regardless of their race, gender, age, profession, or wealth. Racism, favoritism, sexism, and such behavior that puts down others unfairly should be a red flag.

25. Too possessive

It’s acceptable to be a little possessive of your lover. But if you think they are jealous and want to control and monitor your moves too much, then it is not a good sign. Jealousy and possessiveness are clear red flags in a relationship.

26. Stonewalling

Stonewalling is when your partner refuses to engage in any discussion. They stop being emotionally involved in the relationship and simply refuse to talk after a disagreement. This behavior is certainly a red flag and is unacceptable in a healthy relationship. It creates misunderstandings and hampers communication while the root problem remains unsolved. It will take a toll on your emotional well-being and push you into constant frustration and resentment.

27. Isolation in relationships

Isolation in a relationship is when your partner shuts you off from others outside your romantic relationship. Abusive partners often use this method to cut off their partners from their support networks to have them completely under their control. So, if your partner prevents you from talking or spending time with your friends and family, it is a major red flag to watch out for.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it okay to ignore some red flags?

Ignoring red flags is not advisable as they may be causative agents in disrupting the relationship harmony in the future. Ignoring red flags could result in negative consequences or harm, so it’s essential to pay attention to them and take action as necessary.

2. Is being too nice a red flag?

If your partner is overly nice and tries to control and manipulate you by forcing you into things you’re uncomfortable with, it could be a red flag. Paying attention and understanding whether a person is genuinely being nice in a relationship or putting up a false facade is necessary.

3. How many red flags are too many?

Every situation is unique, so attributing a specific number to problematic red flags can be difficult. If you notice a consistent pattern of negative behaviors or warning signs, it’s vital to take action and address the issues before they escalate.

4. Is being clingy a red flag?

It could be a red flag if your partner consistently disrespects your set boundaries and disregards your need for space or pressures you to spend time with them.

Red flags in a relationship are often recognized when it’s too late and beyond repair. Therefore, be mindful of your and your partners’ actions and behaviors since these red flags apply to both. Aggression, dominance, disrespect, lies, and abuse are a few signs to look out for. If you notice such red flags, stop and try to introspect. Similarly, if your partner shows such behavior, do not delay taking necessary action. It only takes a spark to start a fire. So try reasoning out with each other and put mutual efforts to come to an understanding. Above all, remember it is okay to let go if it costs you your physical and mental health and seek professional help.

Infographic: Toxic Words That Indicate Red Flags

Red flags are not limited to a person’s behavior. Sometimes they may superficially act good, but their words mean otherwise. You may easily miss out on these because you might think, “no, they don’t mean that.” So pay attention to these toxic phrases that are major red flags in a relationship.

phrases that could be red flags in a relationship (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • A relationship with any form of abuse is certainly a red flag.
  • The insecure behaviors of a partner, such as gaslighting or undermining, are not a part of a healthy relationship.
  • When you are not your authentic self around them, it could be a red flag.
  • If you spot many such signs in your relationship, honest communication with your partner may help.
Red Flags In A Relationship_illustration

Image: Dall·E/MomJunction Design Team

Are you in a relationship and not sure if it’s healthy? Watch this video to learn about 7 red flags to look out for!

Personal Experience: Source

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Alicia Spomer is the founder of Life Anchors Counseling, a private practice that specializes in the treatment of mental health in children, adolescents, and young adults. She is a Nationally Certified Counselor with a masters in professional counseling as well as a post master’s degree in child & adolescent disorders from Grand Canyon University.

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Shikha is a writer-turned-editor at MomJunction, with over seven years of experience in the field of content. Having done a certification in Relationship Coaching, her core interest lies in writing articles that guide couples through their courtship to marriage and parenthood.

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Siddharth Kesiraju
Siddharth KesirajuMA, Certification in Relationship Coaching
Siddharth holds a certification in Relationship Coaching and a masters degree in communication and journalism from the University of Hyderabad. He has around seven years of experience in various fields of writing and editing.

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Benidamika holds a masters degree in Counseling Psychology from Assam Don Bosco University and another masters degree in English Literature from North Eastern Hill University. At MomJunction, Benidamika writes on human psychology and relationships.

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