“Our relationships are like mirrors. We attract what we need to work on ourselves.” -Law of Reflection
[I’ve been a little quiet on here lately, and I want to apologize for my inconsistency; which is one of the most important parts of blogging! This is still new to me, and not to come out with a series of excuses, but I have been on my own journey of transition these last few months. I wanted to acknowledge that I haven’t been reaching my weekly goal of blogging, and I too, am not perfect. However, I am giving myself some grace during this time of big change and transition. I ask that you do the same for yourself given where you are at in your life, and always always always be gentle with yourself and give yourself some compassion for all you’ve been through and do. Will blog more about this soon.]
We’ve all been there. Ignoring our visceral gut feelings, and jumping into dating someone, or even a full-fledged relationship anyway. We brush off, ignore, or even rationalize these red flags, as well as our intuition. The above quote regarding the Law of Reflection is a big player in why I see so many people getting mixed up in the same relationships over and over. And then when it’s over, they are perplexed, frustrated, hurt, and left wondering WHY? Below are some of the top relationship and dating red flags that would do us all well to look out for, and listen to our gut intuitions on.
1. The relationship is egocentric (one-sided)
Are you making all the moves? Are you asking all the questions? Are you getting to know his or her life, struggles, goals, dreams, values, and quirks, but the favor is not returned?
Gut Feeling: The relationship does not feel equal and peer. You do not feel courted, and seem to be more interested in developing a deep, meaningful relationship, instead of something short, shallow and meaningless.
If he/she does not make plans and share their life with you, then they are withholding from you and you do not want that kind of relationship. Love gives equal influence, and does not hold back.
2. Making plans? What’s that?
Does he/she wait until the last minute to make plans with you? If he/she cannot make plans with you in advance, that is a big red flag. Regardless of the excuse they throw at you: perhaps they are just not a planner, or are extremely busy, or that’s just how they are, blah blah blah… Or perhaps they make plans with you, and then blow them off last minute. (insert wide eyed, shocked emoji here). Ouch!
Gut Feeling: If you feel like you are put on the back burner and are second choice for their Friday or Saturday nights, then that is not what being courted, romanced, or dated is all about. It is so attractive when someone is eager to see you, and makes sure they do not miss seeing you over the weekend. Because let’s face it, you are busy, desireable, and your time is valuable.
You do not want to be the guy or gal that is waiting by the phone on a Friday night, feeling lonely, left out, and not cared for.
3. Insecurity is constantly wiped and smeared all over you (yuck!)
Do you get hit with a myriad of passive aggressive, irrelevant, and insecure comments or texts? They can sometimes be triggered by and come out of seemingly nowhere. And it feels GROSS. Trust is a big part of a relationship, and if this is already coming out in the beginning stages of dating, it’s a quick peek of what things will look like later on.
Gut Feeling: You want to be in a relationship with someone who is secure in themselves and their relationships. This speaks a lot more loudly to them and their own attachment and relationship wounds than to you. But you are in the frontline of this rapid fire… watch for it and take cover!
4. One, two, three, or all Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are present
Dr. John Gottman, who I have referenced before and will continue to do so because he is one of the most renowned marriage and relationship experts on the planet, says these four horsemen are the biggest indicators of relationship breakup or divorce.
- CONTEMPT: Do you feel like he/she wipes a lot of icky, gross sarcasm, disgust, and contempt on you via comments, tone of voice, jokes, or demeanor?
- DEFENSIVENESS: Do you feel like your partner is constantly on the defense? (Or maybe you are? – just a thought)
- CRITICISM: Do you feel criticized and judged instead of supported, loved, and cared for?
- STONEWALLING: Does your partner shut you out emotionally or perhaps they turn COLD in an instant?
Gut Feeling: Beware of your body reactions, because you will have a visceral, deep, gut, unpleasant feeling when these four horsemen pop up; especially early on in your relationship. They could be learned growing up or in previous relationships, but regardless of why or how they are present, they are toxic and poisonous to healthy, peer, meaningful relationships.
5. Emotional Unavailability
This one is simple, but your dating partner may be emotionally unavailable and just not ready for a meaningful relationship. Or perhaps You are the one who is emotionally unavailable. OR perhaps you both are; which is likely due to what we attract in others.
Gut Feeling: Do you feel uneasy when thinking about committing or getting to know someone; or perhaps when you think of being vulnerable? This one is tricky, because I do not want you to confuse it with Fear. Because relationships and being vulnerable is USA (Uncomfortable, Scary, and Awkward)!
Fear is natural, and completely Okay. You really have to get to know yourself on this one.
6. The Perpetual Victim (Everything that happens is someone else’s fault)
I’m sure everyone has met that person. (Or maybe you’ve been this person at times). You know who I’m talking about. The person that does not take responsibility and own to the things they think, feel, the way they act and behave, and the results they get in their life – and end up blaming everyone/everything else.
Gut Feeling: Is he/she constantly complaining? Perhaps he/she is blaming you, God, the world, circumstances, and has frequent pity parties. This is unattractive, and you might feel some disgust around this; UNLESS you are a rescuer! (watch out!)
Don’t forget: you cannot fix or save anybody! Instead, save yourself from the perpetual victim and find an Owner! (Yeah, buddy!)
7. Words + Actions don’t add up ‘Pattern’
This is a big one. And one of the basic ways to develop trust. (Trust = doing what you say you’re going to do, follow through, and being consistent with it). In other words, being reliable, trustworthy, authentic, and having integrity. If their words and what they say do not match up with their actions, this is a big red flag! If it happens once, then fine; everyone makes mistakes. But watch for patterns. After it happens twice or more, it is a CHOICE. Don’t let your partner learn that this behavior is Okay.
Gut Feeling: Do you get mixed signals? Do you feel strung along? Do you constantly feel your partner is inconsiderate or insensitive? Are expectations clear, and if so, are they being met? Do you feel frequently let down, hurt and disappointed? Or maybe you keep making up excuses for them? TAKE OFF THE ROSE COLORED GLASSES and wake up to this resentment inducing pattern.
8. Withdrawing from your Tribe and Passions
New relationships can be exciting! You can find yourself easily wanting to spend every waking moment together. But SLOW DOWN… Do you get so enmeshed and intertwined in your relationships that you consequently neglect your friendships, family, work, hobbies, and even yourself? Do you put your values and passions aside in lieu of your lover?
Gut Feeling: You will 100% FEEL this one, especially if you are not living out of your values. Do a check-in with yourself at the onset of a relationship, and every month after. Are you nourishing yourself and your passions? What about your close relationships? If you stray away from these things, you may be in an unhealthy, co-dependent relationship. Careful: these relationships are passionate, yet also addicting and toxic!
Try and set boundaries and keep your values prioritized and don’t ever put them aside for your partner. You may end up resentful and lost later on; and emotionally dependent on your relationship which is a sure way to reach a perpetual state of un-fulfillment. This also may be a warning sign of feeling insecure within your relationship, which is a sure way to tune in to your level of trust. PEACE = feeling secure/safe
9. The dreaded ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ Syndrome (Hot! and COLD)
Is he/she vastly different in a crowd, or around others than he is with you? Does he put on a happy, fun, flirty, schmooze act around others? And then turn sullen, withdrawn, pouty, and negative around you?
Gut Feeling: He may be using you. It’s different if there are slight mood shifts in uncomfortable situations, like an argument, but this is a whole other pattern to look out for. Or perhapss he/she goes from one extreme to another; for example Exploding Anger (Hot!), being sweet and nice, and then has the ability to turn their emotions off like a switch (COLD) and walk out of your life. Do not allow yourself to be a doormat! These extremes are extremely toxic and ruin intimacy.
10. Does your energy Increase or Decrease?
After spending time together, do you feel more energized and alive? Or do you feel excessively drained?
Gut Feeling: Tune into your energy and how it shifts around certain people. We all have energies that are made up from our emotions, moods, souls, and auras. Pay close attention to how it changes, and if you are feeling wiped out after your time together, I’d take that as a big indication there may be a spiritual clash. (do not include sex on this, because we all *usually* feel somewhat energized after sex).
11. You are Unhappy more than you are Joyous
If he/she does not bring more happiness, laughter, love, joy, support, and positivity to your life, then it may be time to let go and move on. You and your partner should equally bring each other positive energy, light, nourishment, support, and enjoyment. It doesn’t have to mean there is anything wrong with you or anything wrong with him/her. It might just mean that you two are not matched up well together, and that’s OKAY. Blame does not need to be placed. Joy = feeling significant
“Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible – the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family.” -Virginia Satir
Do you struggle with relationships and dating? What about tuning into your gut? What do you think about these Red Flags? Do you agree or disagree? Do you notice any in your current dating situation? What red flags would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.