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10 red flags to look out for in a relationship

Sometimes being in a relationship can be the best time of your life – having someone who’s there for you can make the bad times less bad and the good times even better.

But what if they begin to show signs that they aren’t who you initially thought they were?

Here are 10 red flags to look out for as you and your partner get more comfortable around each other:

1. They’re being overly controlling

This red flag is unfortunately quite common.

When your partner tries to control everything you do – what you wear, who you speak to, your beliefs etc., they are more worried about what they want compared to what they think is best for you.

In a healthy relationship, there is a mutual understanding about your differences; you have your separate lives and your life together.

2. They don’t trust you for no reason 

It’s entirely normal to have some doubts whilst in a relationship, but it’s a different story when your partner blatantly doesn’t trust you.

This is a major red flag.

You shouldn’t need to prove you’re trustworthy in a healthy relationship, it should just be offered whole-heartedly.

3. They’re showing signs of narcissism 

According to BetterUp, narcissistic personality disorder is a mental condition that “indicates self-obsession, a misplaced sense of importance. It can come across as delusions of grandeur, although not in a clinical sense. They are not experiencing a break with reality, although it might feel that way to the people close to them.”

“Narcissists believe that the world revolves around them. And if anybody threatens this belief, turmoil and chaos tend to follow.”

Being in a relationship with a narcissist can be traumatising and exhausting – in their mind their needs will always exceed yours.

4. They’re displaying signs of anger management issues 

A partner’s anger management issues could make you feel unsafe or threatened during an argument.

You should never feel like you could be physically hurt by a partner – it’s a HUGE red flag if you do.

In a healthy relationship, you should never be afraid to bring up an issue, or afraid that any amount of conflict will go south quite quickly.

Anyone who uses anger as a scare tactic is definitively toxic.

5. They have substance abuse tendencies 

Any relationship can turn toxic if an addiction is present.

Substance abuse is an illness and your partner may need help, should they choose to get better.

If you, or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, call Freephone 1800 459 459 or email [email protected]

6. They are constantly jealous

A certain level of jealousy is a natural feeling in a relationship.

However, when it begins to happen over and over again and you consistently feel the need to explain and justify yourself to them: that’s a red flag.

Someone who constantly becomes jealous over the smallest of things cares more about what they want, rather than your happiness.

7. They gaslight you 

Gaslighting is an extreme form of emotional manipulation, where your partner tries to convince you that you’ve done or said something.

You know you haven’t, but it’s repeated so frequently you begin to doubt yourself.

Key phrases to look out for are “I never said that,” or “You’re overreacting.”

Psychotherapist and sex therapist Dulcinea Pitagora Ph.D. told Self, “The partner waving this red flag may use the other partner’s vulnerabilities against them, making the gaslit partner believe that they are to blame for whatever the problem is, and making it difficult to know whether they’re actually seeing a red flag or not.”

8. They love bomb you

Love bombing is when your partner bombards you with affection and gifts, in the hopes that it will disguise their other red flags.

But this in itself is a red flag.

If you want to read more about love bombing, you can here.

9. They’re co-dependent 

Co-dependency may not always present itself as toxic behaviour.

However, in a relationship it has the potential to cause mental and emotional exhaustion to the person who’s being depended on.

According to BetterUp, “Co-dependency, or ‘relationship addiction’, happens when two people rely on each other exclusively for emotional, psychological, and even physical support. This alienates them from their other relationships and can stunt personal growth.”

10. They’re dishonest

Dishonesty is one of the biggest red flags in any relationship – whether romantic or platonic.

If you’re curious about what your partner has been up to or where they’ve been and their response is to lie or not directly answer your question – you have an issue.

You want to be in a relationship with someone who can be honest and answer any question you may pose truthfully.


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