7 Red Flags in Relationships

By Eric D. Capehart, Sr., MBA, MA – November 2018

Heartbreak has been considered a normal part of life and considered inescapable for the most part. As relational people, we can only try to avoid heartbreak as much as possible. Anyone who has experienced heartbreak and has overcome it, if they are honest, will tell you that they saw the red flags all along. Here is a list of seven red flags in relationships that can help you avoid harm, a dangerous situation, and even heartbreak:

1. Your partner is too clingy. Let’s be real about this red flag because it’s one that can easily be missed if you’re not careful and here’s why: When you start a new relationship, you might find yourself enjoying all the extra attention of a new partner so much so that you might miss the fact that you are the only person they are ever around. If you start thinking to yourself that your new partner seems to be around all the time, then your partner might become too clingy. The last thing you want is your partner’s whole life to be centered around you.

2. Your partner says all their exes are crazy. This one is a red flag for me because, if all of your partner’s exes are crazy, I’m wondering if they became “crazy” before or after being in their relationship? The law of attraction that tells us that we attract into our lives that which we focus on. If your new partner is always talking about how crazy their exes were, then you might be dealing with a person who attracts drama.

3. Your partner puts a lot of their business on social media. This one is a red flag in relationships because boundaries can be easily crossed which can generally lead to a misunderstanding. If you’re like me, then you would like some parts of your life to be private, and if your new partner has a pattern putting all of their business online, then be prepared to have your business online as well. In either case, I’d suggest discussing boundaries with social media up front as a good conversation starter with your partner.

4. All of your partner’s devices are off limits to you. I’m not suggesting that just because a new relationship is formed that all privacy ends. No, what I am saying is that if your partner goes out of their way to keep you off their devices, then you might want to note that as a red flag in your relationship. If, after 12 months, you or your partner still can’t make calls on each other’s phone, then I’d suggest that there is something to hide.

5. Your family and other significant people are not in support. This one made the list because of a personal experience. Before I met my wife, I was engaged to a woman that my mother knew wasn’t the one I needed to marry, but for some reason, I was going to do it against her motherly advice. About a month before my wedding date, my mother took me out to breakfast just to tell me that I was about to make a big mistake. That same day, my fiancé told me that she was not the person who I thought she was. The same reason my mother advised me against marrying her. That day I called off the wedding. Looking back, I can see what my mother and other family members could see all along.

6. Your partner exhibits abusive behavior. This is probably the most important red flag not to miss. If your partner is physically, emotionally, verbally, or psychologically abusive, then you need to leave — immediately! Do not try to change the person, because you will only ruin yourself in the process of trying to change an abusive person.

7. Your partner is controlling. What’s worse than a person trying to control your life? If your partner is trying to convince you that you are spending too much time with your friends, this is a red flag in your relationship. A controlling partner will try to convince you that you that choosing them over other family and friends is an act of love. Don’t believe them! They might be jealous of your other relationships and trying to control who you spend your time with.

Red flags in relationships are telling and usually good predictors of future relationship success or failure. If you experience any of these red flags (all except for the abusive behavior — get out!), I would suggest exploring them with your partner by having a discussion around that topic. Maybe you can find a way to resolve the issue, and then again maybe not. You’ve been warned!

About the Author
Eric D. Capehart, Sr. is a mental health therapist and is the Creator and Host of The Morning Huddle Podcast, a mental health podcast expressly inclusive of the black experience.

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