Bad Relationships: Red Flags and Warning Signs

The Top 12 Early Relationship Red Flags That Are A Sign You Should Get Out Now!

Bad Relationships: Red Flags and Warning Signs

Updated March 03, 2020

Reviewer Audrey Kelly, LMFT

Have You Seen Early Warning Signs Or Red Flag In Your Relationship?

You're Not Alone. Get Help From A Licensed Therapy Expert Today.






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Have You Seen Early Warning Signs Or Red Flag In Your Relationship?

You're Not Alone. Get Help From A Licensed Therapy Expert Today.























Relationship experts say these are the 8 red flags to look out for when you start dating someone — and some are surprisingly common

Bad Relationships: Red Flags and Warning Signs

Any new relationship is full of challenges. You're getting to know someone, and there's no telling when something might happen to burst the bubble of your new romance.

In general, it's fun learning all there is to know about someone who used to be a stranger. But sometimes, there will be signs that you shouldn't take things further.

Everyone has their own quirks and opinions, and someone who's a bit different isn't a reason to run for the hills. But it's a major red flag if you find yourself compromising on yourself or feeling uncomfortable.

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

Business Insider asked eight relationship experts, many who specialise in helping people who have been in abusive relationships, about what they think are the major red flags.

Here's what they said:

1. You justify their bad behaviour.

“If you find yourself justifying away what he does or says, even though these feel wrong in your gut, then that's a surefire red flag.

“The mind is the most skilled Photoshopper — it can rationalise anything and paint any picture of anyone, depending on our initial perspective.

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.

“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?' doesn't work. He could be all that — the sleekest toxic people are.

“But underlying it, if he says things , '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. Our brains work overtime to convince us of someone who's not good for us, even when our guts know it.”

— Perpetua Neo, a psychologist and expert in toxic relationships who created the Detox Your Heart program

2. They don't talk through issues.

“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 really 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.

“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 being heard. Communication is key.”

— Erika Ettin, a dating coach who founded the dating site A Little Nudge

3. They're constantly testing your boundaries.

“Run from anyone who attempts to cross a boundary that you have set.”


* “You have said you do not want to go further sexually and they insist.”

* “You say you are not available on Sunday, but they push you to see them.”

* “You are not ready to have them meet your family members or friends, but they push you.”

* “They push 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.”

* “They try to change the way you wear your hair or your clothes or anything else about you that feels 'you,' and it makes you uncomfortable.”

— Lisa Aronson Fontes, a psychologist who wrote the book “Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in Your Intimate Relationship”

4. They have a massive sense of entitlement.

“When we see that somebody feels entitled to us doing more for them than what is equal in a relationship, that's a huge red flag that they are someone who uses people. Are they comfortable with using us? Because it just shows a real clear lack of care.

“I think [it shows] when we ask somebody for help because we're tired, or we're overwhelmed, or our plate is too full, and that person says, 'Yeah, I'll get to that,' and never does. Or the person says, 'Well, I can't right now,' when they're not really that busy.

“I see this a lot in marriages and dating relationships, where there's always one person who's feeding the needs of the other person. One person is giving and giving and giving, and the other person gives one back. There's an imbalance. And the other selfish person is typically fine with their needs being met.

“If you use somebody, you don't really care about them, or their well-being, or their overall happiness in life. It's a habitual pattern. It's almost life is there to meet their needs and people are just commodities to get that done.”

— Shannon Thomas, a therapist who wrote the book “Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse”

5. Something in your gut feels wrong.

“Since red flags happen along the way road of abuse, victims see different behaviors as time and abuse goes on.

“The first thing to look for is your own intuition and listening to your gut — if you have the feeling something is wrong, things aren't adding up, then trust that. Past relationship history is key to understanding their behaviors, as is the way they talk about past partners. If everyone in their past was 'crazy,' that is a huge red flag.

“Actions speak louder than words. If the date says one thing and does another, look deep into yourself and tell yourself it will only get worse and walk away. If you are dating someone who tries to rush a relationship without giving you time to get to know them properly, slow it down yourself and take control. If they are not patient with this request, you get out.

“Never be rushed, even if it feels good. A soulmate will be kind and patient, while abusers rush to confuse victims and to control. If you prove hard to control quickly, an abuser will back off, and you will save yourself heartache.”

— Tracy Malone, a relationship expert on

6. Everything is about them.

“One major red flag in relationships is when everyday life, events, conversations, and basic interactions are frequently about that person — where there's 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 apologising, 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.

Narcissists are void of empathy.

They don't believe they are wrong about anything, and they will constantly feel victimised, accusing you of attacking them when you're just expressing your feelings in a situation.

“Over time, you may will feel alone, constantly guilty, and you'll even doubt your own self-confidence and self-worth. This is definitely a reason to distance yourself from the person you're dating. Narcissistic abuse is emotionally and psychologically damaging to their partners and most everyone they interact with.”

— Catenya McHenry, a journalist who wrote the book “Married to a Narcissist”

7. They are overly critical about their previous partners.

“I find that people are very predictable. Whatever they have done in previous relationships they are ly to do again.

“This means that if you listen carefully to how your new lover describes his or her important previous relationships and how he or she speaks about their exes, you can learn a lot about how this person is ly 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.'

“It is also ly 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 absolutely worst people with whom to be in a relationship, or they are seeing all of these people in a very distorted way.

“If they could not see anyone before you realistically or make any of these relationships work, they are unly to be able to do it with you.”

— Elinor Greenberg, a psychologist who wrote the book “Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations: The Pursuit of Love, Admiration, and Safety”

8. They constantly deny, criticise, or dismiss you.

“You may be in a relationship with an emotional manipulator if you see an emotional double standard in the relationship, experience your feelings being denied, criticised, or dismissed, find yourself 'giving in' to keep the peace, and see your self-esteem diminishing.

“You may get a feeling that there is something not right — e.g., secrets, unexplained behaviors, unexpected reactions, or are increasingly criticised, blamed, put down, or discounted (often done jokingly at first), and feel confused by 'explanations' given about hurtful behaviors.”

Read more:

• How much the best paid workers in 20 professions earn
• Seven outdated men’s style ‘rules’ that you can now ignore
• 16 skills that are hard to learn but will pay off forever

Read the original article on Business Insider UK. © 2018. Follow Business Insider UK on .


Signs Of An Unhealthy Relationship: 10 Relationship Red Flags

Bad Relationships: Red Flags and Warning Signs

You may think that if you were in an unhealthy relationship, you would know straight away, but this is not always the case.

It can be hard sometimes, especially if you are in your first relationship, to know exactly what is going on.

Maybe this is your first relationship and you have nothing to compare your partner’s behaviors against? Perhaps you could be used to witnessing this unhealthy behavior and relationship red flags and do not know any different?

You need to know that you deserve to be respected and treated in the right way. I am going to tell you 10 relationship red flags that should get you thinking about whether or not you are in an unhealthy relationship and if so, you should think about leaving.

Signs Of An Unhealthy Relationship

If someone is not treating you right or giving you respect, you need to seriously consider whether or not you should be staying in a relationship with them.

An unhealthy relationship is something that you need to avoid. You can start to feel stressed, anxious and have low self-esteem if you stay in an unhealthy relationship.

10 Relationship Red Flags

I am going to tell you some tell-tale relationship red flags so that you can see if this may be the sort of relationship you currently have. Keep reading to discover the top signs of an unhealthy relationship today…

1. Lack Of Communication

If your partner finds it difficult to talk to you about any issues or differences you both have and do not tell you how they feel, you may be in an unhealthy relationship. You need your partner to be able to listen to you and discuss each other’s feelings in a calm and respectable way.

If they cannot do this, you could become quite stressed as problems will never be resolved. Your partner may also give you the ‘Silent Treatment’ if they find it hard to communicate or become irritable when you have a disagreement; this is not healthy and is something you should look out for.

2. Controlling Behaviour

In an unhealthy relationship, your partner may want to control you. This could be controlling where you go, who you talk to or who you go out with etc.

Sometimes, when someone is controlling you, they may be manipulative and make you chose between your loved ones and them as they feel that this will prove your love.

However, this is very unhealthy and destructive for you and will most ly limit who you can see and where you can go. This could make you feel very lonely and distant from your loved ones.

Consequently, this type of behavior from your partner is not healthy at all and you deserve to have freedom in your life.

3. Never Apologizing

In a relationship, both partners need to be able to accept blame and apologize for it too. Without apologizing, fights and disagreements will not be resolved which could lead to resentment and stress. If your partner is wrong they need to accept that, apologize and move on.

If your partner refuses to apologize and doesn’t seem to take the blame, that could put a strain on your relationship and can cause you upset. You need to be able to resolve disputes in order to have a happy and healthy relationship.

4. They Treat Their Family Badly

When someone is rude to their family, it should most ly ring alarm bells for you and get you thinking about what they will be in a long-term relationship. The family are often the closest people to you, so if your partner treats their own family badly, this is not a good sign.

When you have been with someone for a long time, you will start being a family together and this could lead to problems with your relationship if they are already nasty to their own family right now.

5. They Guilt Trip You

Another common relationship red flag is your partner often guilt trips you.

If your partner always pushes the blame on you or makes you feel guilty about something you didn’t do, or should even feel guilty about, they are causing you stress and grief.

Perhaps, for example, you let your partner know that you are going out one night with friends. Then when that night comes, they guilt trip you into not going and make you feel bad if you do; this is not healthy behavior and is a big relationship red flag.

You should not be made to constantly feel guilty and if you are, this is not a good sign.

6. They Aren’t There For You In Times Of Need

If your partner is emotionally unavailable most of the time and especially when you are in need of someone to be there for you, this could be a relationship red flag.

Your partner needs to be someone who you can depend on and talk to when you need them, if they will not do this, this is a big relationship red flag.

An unhealthy relationship characteristic to look out for in your partner is if they cannot be there for you in your time of need and make you feel as though you have no one to rely on.

7. They Enjoy The Drama Of Fighting

In an unhealthy relationship, your partner can argue a lot, the chances are that they the drama that it brings. This is not healthy for you as arguing causes a lot of stress and misery in your life. This is also the same if they will not accept the blame either, it can make you feel as though you cannot win.

Fighting constantly is not healthy and your partner should instead want to talk things over and resolve these issues instead of constantly making them. Remember that you deserve respect and a good partner would want to talk about any issues you have in a respectable way.

8. A Secretive Past

Another big red flag in relationships is when someone has a past that they will not share with you. If your partner is constantly hiding things from you or is not open about their past relationships, this could be a bad sign. It may be they are still in love with an ex or they simply do not trust you.

In a healthy relationship, partners can be open with each other and discuss their past and their past relationships too, the couple most ly will not keep secrets from each other either.

There may be an alternative explanation for your partner not opening up, such as a difficult past or previous trauma. However, if your partner seems to purposefully keep secrets from you and does not open up about their past eventually, this could be a sign of an unhealthy relationship and a big relationship red flag.

9. Your Family And Friends Do Not Them

Another sign that you may be in an unhealthy relationship is when your family members and friends have something to say about your partner.

If one person clashes with your partner this could just be a coincidence or a personality clash. However, when all of your family and friends are warning you or commenting on certain behaviors, there may be more to the relationship than you think and could be something worth listening too.

Your family and friends will know you the best, and know what is good for you, so it may be a good idea to take their advice.

10. They Disrespect You

In relationships, you can have arguments and disagreements, this is a natural thing. You resolve your issues and talk about them so that there are no problems. If your partner constantly calls you names or belittles you and disrespects you, they are not a nice person and how they act is nothing to do with you, but with them.

This also works the same with how they treat others too. You need to know that you need to be treated as an equal and with the same respect as you give them, otherwise you cannot have a healthy relationship.

If you need more help on ending a toxic relationship today then take a look at this eHypnosis programme. Remember that you are worthy of love and deserve to find someone who treats you correctly and with respect.


Bad Relationships: Red Flags and Warning Signs

Bad Relationships: Red Flags and Warning Signs

Do any of these early warning signs of an unhealthy relationship resonate with you?

1. He talks about his ex-wife or ex-girlfriend a lot. It doesn't matter if it's good or bad, the more he talks about her, the less time he's thinking about a future with you.

2. He travels a great deal, either for work or personal reasons and never considers asking you to go along. He doesn't stay in touch when he is away on a business trip.

3. He hasn't expressed an interest in meeting your friends or family members.

It's one thing to be nervous about meeting your partner's parents, but it's another thing entirely to persistently avoid meeting the other important people in your partner's life.

If he's not serious about being with you, he may be worried that your father, mother, or sister will be able to see his lack of long-term interest from a mile away.

4. He seems to be able to find time to add other social activities to his so-called busy life that don't include you.

If you're feeling left his social life now, how will it feel to be left out after you have been in a committed relationship? If something feels fishy, it could be your gut telling you that he's looking at other potential partners.

While it's important for each person to have their own circle of friends, it shouldn't be at the expense of the relationship's well-being.

5. He doesn't seem to remember or care about important heath matters such as your food allergies or other important medical issues. If you have severe nut allergies that could seriously harm you or even kill you, what does it say about him when he doesn't think remembering these things is a big deal?

6. He treats dating as a financial transaction where costs are always split. When he does pay, he's always sure to remind you about how expensive everything was. Giving and receiving in a relationship should be done because you care about the other person, not because you are keeping score of who paid for what and when.

7. He never invites you to important events in his life (i.e.; work events, weddings, holiday gatherings, family events, etc).

8. He doesn't respond when you're visibly upset about something. He just pretends not to notice that you are crying or deeply distressed about something. Ignoring your feelings is not healthy.

9. He doesn't give you compliments. He never notices when you've done something new such as wearing your hair differently. Healthy relationships are about being fully present with the other person.

10. He never wants to have his picture taken with you. If he does agree to a picture he always makes an odd or funny face in the picture, not a happy 'I'm glad to be with you' face.

11. He's doesn't seem to be interested in what you do for a living or what your career goals are. How can someone be supportive of your life goals and dreams if he doesn't take an interest in something that impacts your daily life? If he's not thinking about spending his life with you, he probably doesn't see the point in learning about what makes you tick.

12. He's not there when you need him: when you're sick, when a friend or family member dies, when you need someone to talk to.

13. You sometimes feel you're walking behind him rather than beside him.

14. He dismisses your feelings or tells you to “just get over it' when you're upset about something.

15. You never see any signs of your relationship around his house; no photographs, mementos or personal items such as a gift that you gave him or a souvenir from a trip or special date.

16. He doesn’t want to come to your important social events such as a work holiday party or a friend's wedding. Someone who wants to have a good relationship with you will make an effort to be there for the events that really matter in your personal and professional life

17. He’s never left you alone in his place. He has always found a way to get you to leave if he has to go to work, rather than letting you have access to his home when he’s not there. This could be a sign that he doesn't trust you or that he's worried you might discover something about him he doesn't want you to know (i.e.; that he's cheating on you).

18. You’ve never met his friends. Why is that? What is it that he doesn't want you to know about his life?

19. He treats other people badly. He makes a scene in public when he doesn’t get what he wants from customer service staff and restaurant servers.

20. He complains about everything and seems to notice what's wrong with everyone around him but himself. This is a sign that he could lack self-awareness or the ability to look inward and examine his own personal growth and development.

Someone who is always finding fault with other people and never with himself may have difficulty admitting wrong-doing or expressing remorse. Humility, accountability, and forgiveness are good signs you want to look for in a relationship.

21. He drives aggressively and has come close to being involved in a road rage incident.

You have to ask yourself if you feel safe and comfortable being in a vehicle with someone who is driving recklessly and has little regard for how his actions can affect you.

If he has been involved in any road rage incidents that he instigated, then watch out. That's a big red flag because it suggests he lacks maturity, patience, and self-restraint.

22. His work schedule always seems to be a barrier to you seeing him on a regular basis. Relationships take time, effort, commitment, and compromise.

If work is always used as an excuse not to be with you, then perhaps he isn't ready to commit his time and attention to building a relationship with you.

Many people who are afraid of emotional and/or physical intimacy may use things such as their job or their busy schedule to avoid forming a long-term relationship with someone.

23. He gambles compulsively or takes money risks that could put your financial future at risk. If you have witnessed him cheat or commit an act of fraud, ask yourself if you want to spend your life covering for someone or worrying about getting caught up in a crime.

24. He talks about wanting to be in an open relationship. That means he wants to see other people while he's dating you.

Not all open relationship are necessarily unhealthy; as long as both partners agree 100% that this is what they want, and they both feel secure enough to let the other person date someone else at the same time, then an open relationship doesn't have to be a bad thing. But if you are feeling coerced or pressured to be in a non-monogamous relationship, then that's not healthy for you at all.

25. He doesn’t introduce you as his date, girlfriend, partner, or spouse to other people. When asked about why he doesn’t identify you as someone he's in a relationship with, he tries to convince you that he thinks those names (wife, partner, girlfriend, etc) are just labels and not a sign of how he really feels about you.

26. You feel he's playing head-games with you. He’s evasive, passive aggressive, or flippant about topics that you believe are important.

When you ask him to be more clear and direct about what's going on, he tries to minimize your feelings and dismisses your concerns as you being too needy.

When you're in a healthy relationship, your partner listens to your concerns and validates your feelings without making you feel stupid or naïve.

There are many different warning signs that you could be heading into a bad relationship. Even if you are experiencing something that isn't on this list. don't dismiss your feelings.

If your instincts are telling you that something isn't right, that's the most important warning sign to heed.

You are the expert of your own feelings and one single list of bad relationship signs might not cover everything that you are going through.

The video below explores what an abusive relationship can look and it also provides resources and information on what to do if you find yourself in an abusive relationship.


Warning Signs of a Toxic Relationship – Red Flags that You Shouldn’t Ignore

Bad Relationships: Red Flags and Warning Signs

Are you looking for warning signs of a toxic relationship because you are wondering if you are in one yourself?

Sometimes we are too close to a relationship to recognize the signs that it has turned into something damaging. Our friends and family tell us but it’s hard for us to recognize because we are in it every day.

It is important that you know the signs of a toxic relationship so that you can recognize whether yours is one and whether it’s time to get out.

#1 – Contempt

One of the hardest to recognize, but one of the biggest, red flags is the presence of contempt in a relationship.

Contempt is defined as ‘the feeling that a person is beneath consideration, worthless or deserving scorn.’ Signs of contempt include eye rolling, unkind words, sarcasm and dismissal.

Contempt can be hard to recognize because it’s easily explained away. Oh, I deserved thator He is just crabbyor He was just showing off for his friendsare excuses that are often used to justified contempt.

Think about your interactions with your person. Is there contempt? Do one or the other, or both, of you speak to each other sarcastically? Do you talk behind each other’s backs? Do you roll your eyes when your partner tries to make a point?

The number one killer of relationships is contempt. When people treat each other contemptuously the respect in the relationship is gone. And without respect, nothing else matters.

So, take a good hard look at how you and your partner treat each other. If there is contempt, contempt that causes pain, then your relationship is most ly a toxic one.

#2 – Obsession

Many of my clients who are in toxic relationships (and there are many) struggle with obsession over their partners.

They want their partners to be in constant contact. They stress out when texting habits change in any way. They give up everything in their life to be with their person. They twist themselves into pretzels to please the other.

Healthy relationships are the mutual ability to respect and trust each other. If one party is obsessed with the other partner, if they rearrange their life so that they can always be available for their partner, then the relationship isn’t balanced or healthy. And obsession is toxic – an unhealthy attachment to someone can cause nothing but pain.

So, if either partner in your relationship is obsessed with the other, then your relationship might very well be toxic and it might be time to make change.

#3 – Unkind words

Do you or your partner lash out at each other verbally? Do words spoken, either calmly or in anger, inflict pain? Is the language laced with profanity, words that belittle and make you feel very much less than?

Words aren’t meant to inflict pain. Words can express anger and disappointment but those words shouldn’t inflict pain, make you feel bad about yourself or display disrespect.

Pay attention. If either you or your partner are repeatedly raising your voices and inflicting pain, instead of expressing feelings, then you might be in a toxic relationship.

#4 – Physical Pain

In movies and on TV we often see people who are being physically abused by a partner. Nicole Kidman’s character in Big Little Lies is repeatedly abused, physically, by her partner but she is quick to justify the behavior and, often times, blames herself.

Any physical pain that is inflicted on a partner is a sign of a toxic relationship. Healthy relationships involve no physical pain of any kind. Words might be said in anger but not derisively and certainly not involving any physical pain.

If you partner is hurting you, or you are hurting your partner, causing each other physical pain, then you are definitely in a toxic relationship.

#5 – Possessiveness

One big indicator of a toxic relationship is when one partner controls the other.

One of my clients had a partner who had complete control of her actions. He dictated whether or not she could attend school, who her friends were, how she dressed, when they would have sex and what she ate for every meal. He also told her that only he was allowed to end the relationship. She took it all for granted and assumed that’s just how relationships were. Yeah, no.

People in healthy relationships do not try to control the other person. People in healthy relationships give each other the freedom to live their lives and be their own person.  People who control everything that their partner does are people who create toxicity and discord in a relationship.

Are you given the freedom to be who you want to be in your relationship? If not, your relationship might be toxic and it’s important that you recognize it.

#6 – Mixed Messages

Another hard-to-spot indicator of a toxic relationship is mixed messages.

Mixed messages are messages that go one way and then another. Perhaps your person says that they are done with you and then reach back out to be with you again. Over and over. Or perhaps your person says they love you in that red dress but then make fun of you to their friends. Perhaps they tell you they love you and then treat you horribly.

Mixed messages are incredibly difficult and confusing. Many women hold on tight to the positive things said and let go of the negative, thereby justifying why they want to stay in the relationship.

But, in fact, someone who gives you mixed messages is someone who truly isn’t that into you, someone who, if you stay involved with, will only cause you sadness and pain.

In a healthy relationship two people love each other without exception. Sure things can get topsy turvy sometimes, but still the mutual respect and admiration is present. No one makes the other feel bad with flip-flopping feelings and yo-yoing behaviors.

Is your relationship affected by mixed messages? If it is then you very definitely might be in a toxic relationship!

Knowing the warning signs of a toxic relationship is a very important part of a happy life

Often, when we are in the midst of strife, it can be hard to see the truth. Others might tell us that they see warning signs but it might be hard for us to see them too.

Hopefully, now that I have spelled them out here – the contempt, the obsession, the unkind words, the physical pain, the possessiveness and the mixed messages – you will be more clearly able to see whether your relationship is a healthy one or not!

If it’s not, get out NOW before it’s too late. You have one and only one life. Live it!


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