Relationships are difficult and, unfortunately, there are a lot of things that can potentially go wrong. Sometimes people just aren’t right for each other, and other times people make mistakes or are just genuinely toxic individuals.
There can be lots of reasons for a relationship to take an unhealthy turn, but how can you spot trouble brewing before it starts to cause big problems? What are some relationship red flags that you can look out for?
Avoidance / Spending Less Time Together
People in a relationship are still individuals, with their own lives and pastimes, but it’s still generally expected that a couple should spend a fair amount of time together when they can. After all, if you like someone enough to date them, it makes sense that you’d want to spend as much time with them as possible, right?
Unexplained changes in the amount of time your partner chooses to spend with you can be a red flag, telling you that something in the relationship isn’t working. If a person is avoiding their partner the reason could be something dramatic, like they are having an affair, but it’s generally more likely that they are simply avoiding difficult conversations.
If you notice that your partner is more distant and spending less time with you, or if you notice yourself feeling like you want to avoid them, then it’s probably time for you to sit down and have a frank and open conversation with each other. It won’t be easy, but we promise you it’s for the best.
Criticism And Gaslighting
Nobody is going to agree with everything that you do in your life, and kind-hearted advice and criticism from your partner is actually a very important aspect of a healthy relationship. However, this only holds true for disagreements that take place in a spirit of mutual respect and a genuine desire to help and do what’s best for each other. All couples fight, but they should be fighting to be better and to better each other, not to tear each other down.
Excessive, malicious criticism and gaslighting have nothing to do with mutual respect or love. They are pervasive and catastrophically damaging methods of emotional manipulation that can leave victims feeling depressed, anxious, and like they are losing their grip on reality itself.
Let’s be absolutely clear about this – these are forms of abuse and, in some parts of the world, they are actually punishable by law.
Negative comments about someone’s appearance or emotional state are common in this kind of toxic dynamic. Any sign of this kind of behaviour is a massive red flag and should be taken extremely seriously. Victims often don’t realise what’s happening or don’t feel they can do anything, so it’s important for friends and family to also keep an eye out for this kind of thing and take supportive and advisory action where necessary.
Loss Of Sex Drive
This is one of those things that not many people like to talk about, but the fact is that loss of sex drive or a lack of intimacy in a relationship can be a red flag, though not always.
Some people have higher sex drives than others, and there are a whole host of reasons why our desire for physical intimacy may increase or decrease during our lives, from stress to age to medication. So, as is often the case when trying to spot warning signs in a relationship, the key thing here is not the loss of sex drive itself, but how much of a change it represents and if it can be explained.
For example, if your partner has just started a new medication or is under immense pressure at work, then their loss of sex drive might be easily explainable. If the person you’re dating is asexual, or just has never had that high of a sex drive in the first place, then it dropping slightly may also be nothing to worry about.
What constitutes a red flag in a relationship is unexplainable, out-of-character, and sometimes rapid changes. In cases like that, where no external cause can be found, its time to start looking inward and see if it might be the relationship that’s the problem. As ever, to solve this conundrum, communication is key.
Take a look at any of our articles about dating and relationships and you’ll see they all have one thing in common – communication. It’s the cornerstone of any healthy relationship and it’s also something that we rely on heavily in the executive matchmaking industry. Openness and honesty are core to everything we do and are fundamental to the kinds of relationships we try to create.
Dishonesty, by contrast, is a mold that eats away at relationships like a fire burning through woodland. From lying about where they are to saying they didn’t do something when they clearly did, lies are a massive red flag in any relationship because they destabilise the foundation of trust on which good relationships are built.
Sometimes a person might lie to try and protect you and, though it’s rarely the right thing to do, acts like that can and do come from a place of love. The real red flag is when your partner lies to protect themselves, and only themselves.
For example, your partner might say they had a good day at work when they didn’t because they don’t want to burden you with their problems. Though it’s probably better to discuss these kinds of feelings and experiences, their lie is at least based on good intentions.
If your partner tells you they did a chore when they didn’t or lies about their whereabouts because they’re having fun and missing dinner, then they are only protecting themselves from the consequences of their own actions. This shows a massive lack of respect and is a huge red flag in any relationship. People like that just aren’t worth your time.