I’d say that we could find red flags in every relationship if we were to dissect them. But some red flags aren’t as important as we think.
From disagreements and jealousy to past relationship baggage, some people go on red alert at the very thought of these.
But I think it’s time to rethink some of the potential relationship warning signs and see them for what they really are.
1) Different interests
Having different interests doesn’t necessarily mean a relationship won’t work. In fact, it can be beneficial and bring diversity and novelty to the relationship.
As long as there’s mutual respect and support for each other’s interests, things should be okay.
When both partners have their own things going on, they can enjoy time alone or with their separate social circles. This adds to a balanced sense of independence and individuality in the relationship or marriage.
The same goes for having few shared hobbies. From all the people I know, maybe two couples have shared hobbies. In all the other couples, every partner does their own thing.
For example, one partner is into fitness and video games, while the other enjoys pickleball and hiking.
However, sometimes different interests bring about this next red flag.
2) Disagreements and arguments
All healthy relationships involve open communication, which sometimes includes disagreements and arguments.
Having differing opinions is normal, and respectful discussions can lead to growth and understanding.
As I wrote many times before, my wife and I rarely argued until our kid was born three years ago. Now, we disagree a lot as we have a somewhat different approach to raising him.
However, these disagreements are nothing to write home about, really. We quickly come to an agreement and go on with our day.
I just want to illustrate that disagreements and altercations allow partners to express their emotions, thoughts, and feelings openly. They enable each person to feel heard and validated, encouraging emotional intimacy and trust.
Through arguments, couples get to the bottom of issues and work together to find solutions and compromises.
This problem-solving process can strengthen the relationship and build mutual respect.
In the end, it’s unrealistic to expect complete agreement on every topic or decision.
3) Past relationship baggage
For many people, their past relationships have left them with emotional scars or trust issues.
If someone’s actively working on themselves and healing, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re incapable of a healthy relationship.
It’s essential to be aware of past relationship baggage and its potential impact on the current relationship.
While past experiences may have shaped you or your partner, it’s important to focus on the present and your current relationship dynamics.
Don’t let past experiences overshadow the potential for a healthy and happy relationship now.
One thing I always recommend is avoiding comparing your current partner to past partners. Each person is unique, and comparing them can lead to unrealistic expectations or inhibit the growth of your current relationship.
4) Moments of jealousy
Occasional moments of jealousy can be expected as long as they’re not controlling or toxic.
For example, mild feelings of jealousy often show that a partner cares deeply about the relationship. It reflects a fear of losing a special connection with their partner, highlighting the importance of the bond.
In some cases, jealousy is linked to protective instincts. When not fueled by possessiveness or control, it’s a natural response to protect the relationship from potential threats or harm.
On the other side, excessive jealousy isn’t healthy. It can lead to trust issues, emotional distress, and harm the overall health of the relationship.
5) Different backgrounds
Coming from different backgrounds can enrich a relationship with diverse viewpoints, philosophies, and experiences. As long as both partners are open-minded, they can embrace their differences.
We’ve all seen at least one comedy movie where characters come from entirely different backgrounds, right?
Their relationship is full of shenanigans and awkward moments, especially when meeting the parents. But it always worked out in the end, didn’t it?
All joking aside, partners from different backgrounds have the opportunity to engage in a cultural exchange.
They can learn about each other’s customs, traditions, and values. This can lead to a deeper understanding and appreciation of each other’s heritage.
But couples with different backgrounds will also often face unique challenges that require creative problem-solving.
This can lead to stronger communication and conflict resolution skills as they work together to bridge any cultural gaps.
Ultimately, as long as their differences aren’t too significant, they can have a thriving relationship.
6) Varying levels of expressiveness
Having contrasting personality traits, such as being introverted or extroverted, doesn’t inherently pose a problem in a relationship. It’s important to find a balance and appreciate each other’s needs for socializing or alone time.
Some people are more reserved or introverted when it comes to expressing emotions, and as long as they can still communicate their feelings in other ways, it shouldn’t be a significant concern.
For example, my wife and I have entirely different personalities. I’m relatively introverted, while she’s outgoing and likes socializing more.
That hasn’t stopped us from being together for more than 15 years already!
7) Spending time apart
As we all know, maintaining individuality and having personal time and space is healthy for both partners. It doesn’t always imply a lack of commitment or interest.
On the contrary, it allows partners to maintain their sense of self, which is essential for a strong and balanced relationship.
Spending time apart can also create a sense of longing and appreciation for the time spent together.
Absence can make the heart grow fonder, leading to a deeper appreciation for the moments shared as a couple.
Additionally, when partners spend time apart, they bring back unique stories and experiences to share with each other, leading to engaging conversations and a deeper connection.
Think about that for a moment.
8) Varying levels of affection
People express affection in different ways. Some are more physically affectionate, while others aren’t. Understanding each other’s love languages can bridge the gap.
For illustration, in relationships with varying levels of affection, emotional intimacy becomes more important. It becomes the primary means of connecting on a deeper level.
Explore and appreciate non-physical ways of expressing love and care, such as through positive affirmations, kind deeds, favors, or thoughtful gestures.
It’s important to remember that the level of affection shown by a partner doesn’t necessarily reflect their love or commitment to the relationship.
Instead of viewing inconsistent levels of affection as a red flag, you can approach it as an opportunity for growth, mutual understanding, and finding common ground.
9) Momentary emotional distance
There may be times when one partner feels emotionally distant due to personal challenges or stress.
For example, they need time to process feelings separately to gain clarity and understanding before discussing their emotions with you.
Or taking a step back from heated situations to cool down, gather their thoughts, and approach discussions more calmly and rationally.
With demanding work schedules, we can also experience momentary emotional distance as we focus on our professional responsibilities.
Temporary emotional distance doesn’t always imply a failing relationship, as long as you try to reconnect and support each other.
10) Minor annoyances
Everyone has quirks and imperfections that annoy their partner from time to time, and it’s natural for these minor annoyances to surface in a relationship.
Having annoyances doesn’t mean the relationship is flawed. No two people are entirely compatible, and having realistic expectations about minor irritations can help avoid unnecessary tension.
In a healthy relationship, partners learn to prioritize significant issues over minor problems. Addressing and resolving major concerns is far more important than dwelling on small irritations.
From my experience, many minor annoyances are lighthearted and even humorous. Couples can playfully tease each other about these quirks, promoting a sense of humor and intimacy.
11) Physical attraction fluctuations
While some might see this as a red flag, it’s important to understand that physical attraction can fluctuate in any long-term relationship and isn’t as significant of a concern as it may seem.
Physical attraction naturally ebbs and flows over time due to different factors such as stress, health, or personal growth.
Plus, as we age, our physical appearances naturally change. Partners who can embrace these changes together show a deeper level of acceptance and love.
I mean, you don’t look the same as you did 15, 10, or even 5 years ago. In some people, these changes are drastic. Should we just abandon them if they took a turn for the worse?
Anyway, physical attraction is just one part of a many-sided relationship. Over time, partners develop deeper emotional, intellectual, and spiritual connections that contribute to the overall bond.
It’s important to focus on the deeper connection and emotional bond in the relationship than on physical attraction.
When looking at your relationship, you need to assess the overall health and balance of it.
While some of these red flags are less important on their own, patterns of consistent disregard for each other’s needs and boundaries shouldn’t be ignored.
Trust your instincts and keep working on the relationship even in the best of times.