When you first start dating someone and you’re falling in love, it’s pretty hard to see their flaws and imperfections. So often, we want every relationship to be “true love” and our “end-all, be-all” of happiness that it can blind us to the reality that no person is truly perfect. When we find someone who likes us just as much as we like them, we don’t want to accept the truth that the person we like has flaws and the relationship is nowhere near “perfect.”
In life and love, it’s important to see everything for what it truly is, not just what we want it to be. Some of the habits our partner brings into the relationship may seem sweet and endearing, but in reality, those habits can be huge red flags and point to bigger issues your partner has that can negatively affect your relationship down the road.
10. They post everything about you and your relationship on social media.
Many people think that if your SO posts a ton of photos and information about your relationship on social media, it’s inherently sweet because they’re not afraid to admit you’re together. While it’s sweet to see your partner post a photo or two of you now and again on their social media profiles, posting too much about your relationship can be a huge red flag for several reasons. I was once in a relationship with a guy who non-stop posted about us on his Facebook page. Inevitably, it wasn’t because he wanted to “show off our love,” but because this was his subconscious way of “claiming” me–making sure that no guy would try and flirt with me or hit me up to talk. Overposting on social media can be a method of control and “ownership” of you as an individual.
Additionally, posting too much information about your relationship on social media can have a harmful effect on your relationship together. Sure, social media is a great place to share the good times and fun, but you don’t want your partner to start posting about your relationship with things get bad. Having no filter when it comes to posting online can inevitably end up with your name getting dragged on the World Wide Web if your relationship does take a negative turn.
9. They text you all day, every day, all the time.
In today’s day and age, there is a universal belief in relationships that there is nothing sweeter than a person who sends you those “good morning” texts and the “sweet dreams” ones, as well. While texting someone and checking in with them is adorable and sweet, being in constant communication with someone is not. I know far too many couples who text each other all day, every day when they are not together and I can personally admit from experience that this is an unhealthy red flag that should be addressed. Often times, this constant communication can lead to the bigger issue of unhealthy obsessions and needs in the relationship. Licensed psychotherapist Nadine Macaluso says:
“When your partner needs constant attention, love, and praise, it can be exhausting and embarrassing. Also, it’s often a mask against feelings of deep insecurity and self-loathing.”
Things can become more toxic when you spend time with your friends and family without your partner there. The last thing you want to do is push people in your life away due to your relationship and, when you’re always on your phone when you’re supposed to be with other people, they will begin to get annoyed and agitated with you. People will inevitably not want to hang out with you–grab dinner or drinks–because they know you’ll be staring at your phone screen the entire time. I started making plans with those girlfriends in my life less often because I know I’d be talking to myself at dinner 95% of the night.
8. They’re “always in a relationship.”
Some people believe that if a person is always in a relationship, it means that they’re not “easy” or someone who is a player and messes around. For some strange reason, people who are single for too long get a bad reputation that there must be something “wrong” with them for not being able to snag someone up. In reality, the people who are always in relationships are the ones who are huge red flags. If you’re with someone who has been in several long-term relationships back-to-back, it could be a bigger indication that this person has severe problems and fears about being alone. I am one of those people, so I can attest to the fact that this is the truth.
Growing up, I had a long-term boyfriend in high school. After we had broken up, I began casually dating someone for a year or two. From there, I fell in love with another person and dated them for four years. After we broke up, I met my current boyfriend and we’re now living together. One of my biggest fears in life is being alone–it’s something my therapist is constantly bringing up in our sessions. This fear is something that can have a negative impact on your relationship if your partner does not know how to be alone and spend time by themselves/without you. For a while in my current relationship, my boyfriend and I argued a lot when I just “expected him” to want to do everything with me. It’s straight up unhealthy to need to be with someone all of the time and not be able to do things on your own. Clearly, I’ve done enough work where I’ve come to this realization and have made strides in becoming better at being solo, but your partner may not have done so just yet.
7. They blow off their own friends to do things with you instead.
Friendships are incredibly important in life and, when you get into a relationship, they should remain a top priority. There are times when your relationship may come before your friendships, but it shouldn’t be all of the time. If your partner is constantly blowing off their friends to hang with you instead, it may seem nice and kind, but in reality, it’s a problem. Your partner shouldn’t be pushing their friends away to see you all of the time. In fact, it will end up becoming a bigger problem when you want to see your friends. Often times, your SO will bring up all of the times they blew off their own friends and try to guilt you into blowing off yours. Down the road, you’ll fight more and more about needing space and time to do your own thing.
Couples should always have friends outside of their relationship and continue to make them a priority. Once a week, or every other week, you should make an effort to see your friends. Spending too much time with your partner is not only unhealthy, it can also become toxic.
6. They’re the “fun one” of their friend group.
Being the fun friend is an honorary title that everyone strives to have. There’s nothing wrong with being the wild and crazy friend, but, it can be a huge red flag when you find out that your partner only considers partying and blacking out to be a “good time.” I once began dating a guy because I was infatuated with the way people spoke about him–he was always the life of the party and had an infectious personality. I should have known after our first few dates that being the “fun friend” had its downfalls. On all four of our first dates, we both got incredibly wasted–to the point where I couldn’t remember the end of the night.
This can be a huge problem down the road because it could mean your partner has a drinking problem, has demons they’re “self-medicating,” or, that they just aren’t cut out to be in a relationship where things need to have some “calm” every once in a while. Sure, the party animal is a great time, but it’s not necessarily relationship material. Dion Metzger, M.D., a psychiatrist and co-author of The Modern Trophy Wife: How to Achieve Your Life Goals While Thriving At Home, says:
If you notice heavy drug or alcohol use in the dating phase, it’s likely it’s worse than you think and that your partner is minimizing it to you. It’s likely a huge problem that can wreak havoc on the relationship.
5. They order things for you at restaurants or answer for you when our with other people.
Some people find it romantic when a guy/girl orders for them at a restaurant, or speaks for them when out with a group of friends. Far too often, I see women who swoon over a guy who answers questions for her when out with a group of friends–thinking it’s “romantic” that he listens to her/pays attention enough to know how to answer something. In reality, it’s not romantic at all, it’s controlling and undervaluing you as an individual.
If a person is going to speak for you when in public, it shows that they feel as though they are superior to you and that your opinion/what you have to say is unimportant and/or irrelevant. It’s not sweet or endearing, it’s rude and uncalled for. Amy McManus, LMFT, Relationship Expert, and Owner of Thrive Therapy, claims:
“Sometimes this feels good at the beginning — maybe they always choose the restaurant, or what day and time to meet. It can feel like you are really being taken care of; you don’t have to do any of the ‘work’ of dating. But does their monopoly extend to the topic of conversations, who you spend time with, or even opinions on current events? If your opinion is discounted or ignored, pay attention to this red flag.”
4. They want to talk about their exes and their past in detail.
Bringing up past relationships may seem like the person you’re dating is honest and open about themselves and their life, but that’s not always the case. Sure, in relationships it sometimes is important to understand why a person’s last relationship ended, but there is no reason to go into intimate details about past relationships and partners with someone you’re newly dating or in a long-term relationship with. These conversations are red flags because it shows that your partner is clearly not over something that happened in the past, or, that they have a hard time letting go of the past altogether.
It’s also a red flag because when your SO opens up about their past, they often times expect you to do the same. I’m a firm believer in letting the past stay in the past. My partner does not need to know everything that went wrong in my last relationship, unless it is something that will affect us in the long run–like, being cheated on and having trust issues. Otherwise, your partner does not need to know how many people you’ve slept with, where you and your ex went on vacation or any other intimate details about your past life before them.
3. They buy you lavish and expensive gifts for no reason at all.
Gifts in relationships always seem like a kind, thoughtful, and romantic gesture. And, while getting thoughtful gifts for the holidays, anniversaries, and your birthday is super sweet and kind–getting gifts from your partner too often can be a sign of manipulation and control. When a person constantly goes out of their way to appease you and make you happy, there is sometimes a hidden agenda. Yes, your SO may be trying to do things to show you how much they love you, but the constant showering of material things show that your partner may value money and “things” over genuine love and affection.
Additionally, in the long run, your SO may use all of these gifts as leverage to hold over you. The moment they feel as though you’re not appreciating them enough or that you aren’t doing exactly what they want, they will most likely bring up all of the things they’ve bought you and all of the money they’ve spent on you (all of which you did not ask for). Macaluso points out:
“Some people use gifts to emotionally manipulate their partner, so watch out for this trap. At first, it might feel fun to be spoiled and lavished upon with gifts. However, there will often be strings attached to those presents. From your partner’s perspective, your acceptance of gifts implies to them that you owe them now or that they own you.”
2. They do things for you too often without you asking for help.
When someone goes out of their way to help us, we’re usually grateful and appreciative. It’s incredibly kind for someone to go out of their way for us and, many times, we did need the help. But, when someone goes out of their way to do things for us all of the time without us asking, it’s a red flag. Your partner may look like they’re insanely sweet for taking your car for a car wash, or fixing the weird clicking noise on your nightstand, or doing your laundry for you when you ran to the gym–but, in reality, this person is trying to secure a position in your life in a way that manipulates you into thinking you need them.
This kind of outward “selfless” attitude may also be a tool to keep you indebted to them–the same way that gifts and lavish dinners/dates do. Your partner will continue to make you feel as though you “owe” them something and use it as leverage against you.
1. They get jealous of other guys/girls in your life.
People often times think it’s super attractive when their SO is jealous. Many mistake this jealousy as “caring” and “being in love,” meaning that your partner cares so much that they’re afraid to lose you. When someone is too jealous too often, it’s a sign of insecurity about themselves–and also your relationship. If you’re dating someone who doesn’t trust you to hang out with your friends of the opposite sex, it’s a huge red flag. This shows that your SO doesn’t trust you, or value you in the relationship at all to think that you would “throw it away” with a friend.
Along with this, jealousy shows a sincere lack of self-esteem. Being with someone who is self-conscious is one thing, but extreme insecurity can lead to larger problems down the line. You don’t want to be in a relationship with someone that starts fights when you’re in public because someone of the opposite sex speaks to you. Lori Bizzoco, a relationship expert and executive editor of Cupid’s Pulse, claims:
“Jealousy, often accompanied by blame and control, is a major red flag of a bad relationship and possibly abuse. Early warnings signs include a partner who gets angry when you go out with your friends, talk to someone of the opposite sex, or spend time with your family.”
Don’t worry, not everyone has an agenda.
While some “sweet” gestures and kind qualities can be signs of a bigger problem, not everyone has an agenda with their motives in relationships. It’s important to learn how to read between the lines and understand whether or not your partner is doing something because they want to, or because they have an underlying motive.