It’s important to keep an open mind when dating someone. Sure, you might hate how they cut their toenails in bed or leave dirty dishes on the sink like they’re curating an exhibition, but those things aren’t exactly a deal breaker.
Real dating red flags tend to be a bit more complex than habits that you might pass off as behavioral quirks.
And in today’s love-at-first-swipe culture, where apps and social media have revolutionized the way we communicate, they’re more nuanced than ever.
According to dating psychologist Madeleine Mason Roantree, a red flag can be defined as “something your partner does that indicates a lack of respect, integrity, or interest in the relationship.”
From never initiating dates to not posting a couple’s photo on Instagram, here are the eight red flags you really need to look out for and why, according to dating experts.
You don’t want to label the relationship after a few months of dating
If Shakespeare were still around, perhaps he could help us when it comes to understanding the ever-expanding language of love.
Unfortunately, the bard died in 1616, leaving us to figure out lexical ambiguities like “meet someone” and “hang out” all to ourselves.
We live in a world where nowadays there are many words to describe one’s relationship that are comfortably noncommittal and also somewhat meaningless.
But if the person you’re dating/seeing/smooching/dressing/refuses to label it (ie call you their girlfriend or boyfriend) after a few months, that could be a big red flag.
Not only could it indicate a lack of commitment, Mason Roantree explains, but it could also indicate they are romantically involved with someone else.
“If, after several months, your significant other seems to be avoiding talks about exclusivity and labels, they’re probably not serious about the relationship,” she tells The Independent.
They are gone from their social media accounts after a few months
This is niche and should come with a disclaimer: If you or your partner aren’t on social media, or only use Instagram to follow cat fan accounts, you can probably ignore the following.
But if you’re someone whose partner scrolls Instagram/Twitter/Facebook religiously and has featured ex-boyfriends on their profile in the past, Mason Roantree says if they haven’t posted about you yet, it could be bad news.
“It could mean that they don’t see you as a long-term option or that they’re not willing to show you to the world,” she explains.
The only exception? If it is a business account. In that case, it’s pretty fair not to post selfies of the two of you in front of the Eiffel Tower with heart emojis and #CoupleGoals.
They never initiate dates
It might sound simple, but actually sticking your neck out to come up with a plan is pretty important when it comes to dating, says Mason Roantree.
“If you’re always proposing when to meet up, that’s a one-way relationship,” she explains. “You have to do all the work.
“Someone who is really into you will contribute and be proactive in the relationship.”
Being proactive is attractive, sitting back and letting someone else do all the legwork while you bask in the glory of not having to lift a finger is not.
There is a power imbalance
Dating is about working together to support each other equally, says dating coach James Preece.
Being in a happy relationship should feel like being on the best team, he says. If this isn’t the case and it seems like one of you is constantly exercising control over the other, who is more submissive, consider this a shining warning sign.
“Signs of a power imbalance can include jealousy or controlling behavior,” he explains. “Both of these can easily lead to the end of a relationship, so try to deal with that early rather than damming up emotions.”
As for how to deal with it, Preece advises voicing your concerns clearly, and if nothing changes, it’s time for a reevaluation.
They express their feelings differently to each other
It’s good to have a balance of yin and yang in a relationship: what you lack, your partner provides and vice versa. But one instance where this might be of concern is when it comes to how you express your love and affection for one another.
It could be that you’re more of a romantic wordsmith—you constantly tell your partner you love them and shower them with compliments—while your partner dislikes lavish compliments and prefers kind actions.
The difficult part is that when you’re leaning in one direction, you can lead to expecting the same behavior from your partner, and when you don’t receive it, it can be disappointing, Preece explains.
“If you expect one and get the other, you may not be as compatible as you hoped,” he adds.
One of you keeps secrets
We’re not just talking about having a fondness for pineapple dipped in Marmite. If you or your partner hide something from each other, it will inevitably hurt your relationship at some point and is definitely a red flag, says Preece.
“We don’t have to share every little thought with our partner. But if either of you has something important on your mind that you’re hiding, then it becomes problematic, because keeping secrets can affect your happiness, and the idea of being “discovered” can breed paranoia and arguments.”
Recent research by dating site Elite Singles found that 34 percent of people think sharing secrets is an important part of forging an intimate bond, so being an open book has benefits too.
You will not compromise
You’ll never agree on everything with your partner, that’s for sure. For example, a recent study found that nearly one in 10 couples split up over home renovations, with 15 percent claiming they were “constantly at each other’s throats.”
But learning to find a middle ground and compromise on important issues is hugely important for a relationship to thrive, Preece explains.
“Compromise is really about not standing your ground and keeping the peace,” he says.
“It’s about finding that halfway point where both sides can be happy. They’re not thrilled, but they’re not disappointed either.”
If you find that you and your partner are having a hard time compromising, perhaps one of you is refusing to back down on a particular issue, then something could be very “seriously wrong with your relationship,” Preece adds.
Your friends or family hate you
If the people you know best don’t like your partner, that’s an obvious red flag, Preece says.
“Sometimes it’s easy to go blind and only see what you want to see, but when your family or friends clearly don’t like your partner, you need to understand why.”
Of course, not all families can be happy and some people just don’t get along. But if you start hearing more negativity from your friends and family members, you might want to reevaluate your relationship.
Adds Preece, “The people around you can often see things that you will never see.”
https://www.independent.ie/life/eight-dating-red-flags-you-need-to-watch-out-for-42007513.html Eight dating warning signs to watch out for