You can tell a lot about someone from their dating app profile and your initial conversations. So what are the red flags you should be looking out for? These are indicators and warning signs of potential challenges you may face in the future. Let's explore some common red flags to be aware of when entering a new relationship.
Yellow Flags vs Red Flags
A yellow flag indicates a potential problem area that you might want to take into consideration when getting to know someone. Yellow flags are less severe than red flags. They aren't necessarily deal breakers but maybe things that become annoying after a while (don't say we didn't warn you...!)
Here are some yellow flags to watch out for:
An Emoji Overuser
You've just matched with someone on a dating app, and their messages flood your screen with an overwhelming onslaught of emojis. A smiley or laughing face here and there can be endearing, but when every sentence is accompanied by multiple emojis it can be irritating. Are they compensating for a lack of actual words? This may be a sign that verbal communication skills are lacking.
Sarcasm can be amusing. However, when someone takes it to the extreme and every statement becomes an ironic jibe or a snarky remark, it may be time to look a little deeper. Is their humour disguising passive-aggressiveness or insecurity? Banter is fun, but there's a fine line between having a laugh and causing unintentional wounds.
Selfies are a staple of the modern dating world, but there's a difference between self-assured confidence and outright narcissism. If your prospective date's social media accounts are endless self-portraits, you might be dealing with a selfie addict. Self-love is great, but if they love themselves too much, they may focus more on their image than on building a genuine connection with you.
A Travel Junkie
Who doesn't find an adventurous soul who loves exploring new horizons exciting? But beware of those who are always jet-setting around the globe living their best wanderlust life - sometimes these types have no interest in setting roots or forming deep connections. They might be avoiding something, whether it's commitment or emotional intimacy. Unpack those suitcases with care, for their passion for travel might be a disguise for an unwillingness to settle down.
While the occasional delay is forgivable, chronic bad timekeeping is a yellow flag. Maybe even a red flag in some people's books. It could indicate a lack of respect for your time and a potential struggle with prioritising commitments. Relationships require a mutual investment of time, and if they can't show up on time for a date, will they be there when it actually matters?
Now we've explored some examples of yellow flags, let's look at some relationship red flags. These demonstrate more serious behaviours that we should look out for when jumping into the dating pool. It may be difficult to spot red flags at first - they aren't always obvious character traits that you can pick up during your initial conversations. But as you spend time with someone and get a sense of who they really are - you may find yourself faced with one of the below examples.
A Disregard for Boundaries
In any healthy relationship, you must respect each other's personal boundaries. If your potential partner consistently ignores or dismisses your boundaries, this is a huge red flag. Whether it's pushing you to share personal information prematurely or disregarding your physical or emotional comfort, this behaviour can indicate a lack of empathy or be a sign of a manipulative personality. Protect your boundaries and ensure they are respected.
It's natural to feel jealous sometimes. But when jealousy becomes all-consuming and leads to controlling behaviour, it is a major red flag. Healthy relationships are built on trust. Excessive jealousy often stems from insecurity or a lack of trust, and it can be detrimental to the health of a relationship. Beware of possessiveness, unfair accusations, and attempts to isolate you from your loved ones. Extreme jealousy can lead to emotional abuse and gaslighting.
Effective communication is essential for any successful relationship. If your partner consistently avoids meaningful conversations, dodges important topics, or uses passive-aggressive tactics, it may indicate a lack of emotional maturity or an inability to address difficult issues. How can you expect to resolve future conflicts and build trust and intimacy without being able to communicate openly? Pay attention to how well your potential partner engages in meaningful conversations.
One of the biggest relationship red flags is emotional unavailability. If the other person is constantly unable to express their emotions, it can be impossible to build a deep and meaningful connection. Emotional unavailability can manifest as an unwillingness to discuss feelings, an aversion to vulnerability, or a constant need for emotional distance. Emotions are complex and we can't expect everyone to wear their heart on their sleeve, but be mindful of your own emotional needs. Does a lack of emotional availability align with your desires in a relationship? Probably not.
Past Relationship Problems
Everyone has a past, but be cautious of a person who speaks of "crazy exes" and blames others for their failed relationships. This is a serious red flag. If they repeatedly paint themselves as the victim without taking responsibility for their role in previous breakups, it may suggest a lack of self-awareness.
Love bombing refers to an intense and overwhelming display of affection and attention at the beginning of a relationship. It may involve things like extravagant romantic gestures and constant communication. This can be flattering and exciting, but love bombing is often used as a manipulation tactic to gain control and create a sense of dependency. Love bombers tend to exploit vulnerability, leaving their partner feeling overwhelmed and emotionally dependent on them. This excessive attention can mask potential abusive behaviour and make it difficult to recognise warning signs. It is one of the most common red flags, and a really important one to be aware of.
Red Flags and Sex
There are some major red flags when it comes to sex and dating. These will depend on your unique situation. The best way to identify and address red flags is simply through open communication - if you're looking for a romantic relationship, not just sex, have a serious conversation about it with your date.
Someone only being interested in having casual sex is not a red flag - but someone lying about their intentions is.
Things to consider:
How does your potential partner communicate about sex? Do they respect your boundaries? How do they respond when you ask questions about their sexual health? Someone not being transparent about their sex life is a bright red flag. Whether it's just casual fun or something with the potential for being serious - all sex should be safe sex!
If someone gets triggered when you ask them when their last sexual health checkup was - ask yourself why? What are they hiding, and why aren't they respecting your health and your body? Sexual health is important - STI rates are higher than ever before, and before you get intimate with someone you should make sure you've both been tested. You can buy home STI test kits from iPlaySafe here.
Pay Attention to Patterns
Generally speaking, a red flag is a deal breaker. However, be mindful that no one is perfect and relationships take a lot of work! Trust your gut feeling when you notice red flags and yellow warning signs. Assess any that you may be displaying yourself too.
Some issues can be solved if both of you are willing to work at it and make positive changes, but remember it’s never too late to walk away from a toxic situation and prioritise your own wellbeing. By being aware of red flags and taking proactive steps to address them, you can attract the fulfilling and healthy relationship that you deserve.