Just when you need the full power of your mind, along comes dating. You meet someone, things click, and discretion flies out the window. Who wants to look for red flags when passion rules the day? However, one of the most important parts of dating and relationships is compatibility. This goes far beyond swipe culture. It’s about finding a healthy balance between enjoying the excitement and clearly seeing what is in front of you.
As the name suggests, a “red flag” is a warning signal. It doesn’t automatically mean there’s a problem. But you are being asked to closer, clear-headed look. Figuring things out now can save you a lot of pain later.
7 Red Flags To Watch For When Dating
- Love Bombing
You may not know this term but you almost certainly know this behavior. You meet someone and in a flash, here comes the affection and attention, e.g.
- Non-stop gifts, compliments, and messages (texts, calls, etc.)
- They love everything you do and seem to have all the same interests
- Monopolizing your time and attention
- Immediately wanting to commit
At first blush, this could feel incredible but step back and assess. They may or may not realize it but that person is setting you up to be dependent on them and thus, subject to their continued manipulation.
- Lack of Commitment
At the other end of the spectrum from love bombing, you have behaviors like:
- Refusing to use commitment words like boyfriend, girlfriend, or relationship
- Never posting about you on social media
- It’s always you who initiates plans or sets goals
You get the idea. Sure, there are different personality types and attachment styles. But actions like this suggest that perhaps there’s someone else involved and/or you’re not a long-term option in their eyes.
- Your Family and/or Friends Warn You About Them
Yes, of course, this is tricky. Outsiders can’t know your burgeoning partner as you do. But, never forget that they are willing to see things that you may not be. If the consensus from the people in your life is negative, find out why.
- Your Boundaries Are Not Respected
Ideally, we each have chosen what boundaries work for us. These lines in the sand can encompass physical and emotional needs. Early in the dating process, there’s a lot to learn about each other’s boundaries. Done slowly and respectfully, this can be a bonding experience. Conversely, it’s a red flag when your new person tries to convince you to re-imagine your boundaries. It’s a sign of disrespect and does not bode well for other areas in your shared life.
- How They Handle Talking About Past Romances
Everyone has at least one bad relationship story. But if all their exes are “crazy,” take notice before you end up on that list. On the other hand, pay attention to how they handle any discussion of your romantic past. Do they get jealous and try to shut down such conversations? If you find out they cheated on people in the past don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll be the exception moving forward.
- They Don’t Have Close Friends
They know people, sure. There are neighbors, co-workers, etc. in their life. But do they have legit friends with whom they deeply connect?
- Gut Feeling
We’ll wrap up with something more esoteric but crucial nonetheless. If you’re dating someone but your gut is telling you something is off, listen carefully. You want love, trust, safety, balance, and more. Don’t settle if you’re not getting what you need and something inside is letting you know.
Red Flags Can Be Tough to See
As stated up top, discerning red flags when you’re in that initial honeymoon phase is not an easy task. If you need some professional guidance, therapy is an ideal place to get objective feedback and figure out if a relationship is meeting your needs and will work for you in the long run.
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Therapy for Men is a practice led by Dr. Rick Pomfret that offers solution focused counseling and psychotherapy services tailored to the needs of men. Their services encompass anxiety therapy, depression therapy, relationship therapy, men’s issues and support for those navigating life transitions or divorce. With offices in San Francisco and Corte Madera, Therapy4Men provides convenient access to mental health care for men in the San Francisco Bay Area and online across California.