Love does funny things to a person.
It can make us travel across the world to be with someone and change the entire course of our lives.
But love also has a dangerous side effect:
It can cause us to overlook and even justify or ignore huge red flags in our partner.
This is especially true at the start of the relationship during the limerence phase.
Limerence and crystallization
The French writer Stendahl coined the term crystallization while touring the salt mines near Salzburg, Austria.
Just as salt forms into beautiful crystals that we admire, our feelings for our loved one “crystallize” or idealize their strengths and their weaknesses.
We justify, overlook or even admire red flags, imagining they are no big deal.
This is especially true during the limerence phase, when we are falling in love and full of physical and emotional excitement.
Whether that’s you now or has been you in the past, this article gives you crucial pointers for how to spot when you’re overlooking major red flags in your partner.
1) Your partner disrespects you
You don’t need to always be on the same page, but you need to be reading the same book and playing by the same rules.
If your partner snaps at you, belittles you or makes cruel jokes at your expense, red flags should be popping up all over the place in your mind.
It’s just not OK, and it means that their feelings for you are false, or that they have learned to love in a toxic and unhealthy way.
Things need to change.
2) Your partner demands constant attention
Love is exciting and fulfilling. When you have strong feelings for somebody you want to give them attention and care.
No amount is too much, or so it seems.
But if your partner actually demands your attention and acts like it is owed to them, this is going to cause major drama down the road.
A relationship based on obligations and a feeling of entitlement or “because I said so!” is eventually going to lead to resentment.
Be wary of a partner who acts like you owe them your attention.
3) You’re scared to disagree with your partner
Nobody likes arguments and fights, especially with somebody we love.
But if you’re genuinely scared to disagree with your partner it’s a massive red flag.
The fact is this:
Disagreeing shouldn’t mean fighting.
If you believe or fear there will be a fight because you don’t agree with something your partner said or did (even something small) then the relationship has issues.
This needs to be addressed before it snowballs into a much bigger problem.
Healthy disagreement and discussion is a part of any worthwhile relationship.
4) Your partner doesn’t include you in his or her life
You and your partner should each have your own lives:
The alternative is codependence or hinging your happiness on each other, which is not a good idea.
However, some sharing of each other’s lives is a reasonable request and expectation.
If you feel locked out of your partner’s life and not included in their work or friend circle at all, you should be seeing red flags.
Your lives need to overlap at least a bit!
5) You don’t feel you can really be yourself around them
If nothing else, even a troubled relationship at least has some core of authenticity:
Both people in it feel they can vent and cry and laugh and be themselves.
But if you don’t feel this, you have a problem:
- Either you have work to do on opening yourself up or;
- This person is not right for you and you know it on some level that prevents you from showing yourself to them in a vulnerable way.
If it’s the first option you can work on it.
If it’s the second option the relationship is not worth pursuing.
6) Your partner expects you to pay for all their needs
Each couple has their own financial decisions and arrangements to make.
It’s not just about money.
But there does need to be some balance.
Even a disabled partner who can’t work or do many household tasks can contribute in other ways.
When your partner simply refuses to work or expects you to pay everything, you have a problem on your hands.
While it may seem temporary and not a huge deal at first, plenty of relationships have dragged on like this for years until one person makes the startling realization:
They’re enabling a freeloader. A freeloader they love, yes, but a freeloader nonetheless.
7) Your partner frequently lies about small things with you
Especially at the start of a relationship it’s easy to forgive small indiscretions.
The person you’re dating lied about what they were doing yesterday or left out the fact that they saw their ex at a work event last week.
What’s the big deal?
There isn’t necessarily a big deal, except inasmuch as their lying and omissions are in and of themselves a worrisome sign.
When somebody is willing to lie about the small stuff, they’re more often than not also willing to lie about the big stuff.
It’s usually the start of a slippery slope that can go downhill very fast.
8) Your close friends warn you about your partner’s past
There’s only so much you should listen to rumors about your partner’s checkered past.
If you’re in love, you’re in love.
You don’t sign up for a relationship by giving references.
That said, sometimes a terrible reputation exists for a reason.
You may still want to give this person a chance by all means, but don’t throw out all the advice and cautions you’ve received about them.
They may exist for a reason, and at the very least if they don’t emerge as something you need to worry about, you were forewarned and a bit more cautious in jumping into love without looking.
9) Your partner ignores or overlooks your advice and guidance
When it comes to you giving advice or guidance to your partner, how do they react?
They’re well within their rights to be cautious or disagree:
But if they just ignore what you say completely, be cautious.
This is usually a sign of some kind of insincerity or lack of respect on their part.
They have already slotted you into a role and aren’t actually hearing (or listening) to what you say.
Down the road this will make the relationship a nightmare.
10) Your partner flirts with other people and tries to make you jealous
All of us are hardwired by nature to notice people we find attractive and be interested in them on a physical level.
But most of us in monogamous relationships control that impulse and respect our partner.
If your partner flirts openly with other guys or girls, then you have a red flag on your hands.
If they go one step further and even intentionally try to make you jealous, it’s an even worse situation.
11) You don’t feel you can actually discuss important things with your partner
Every relationship needs to have space for real talk.
If you don’t feel that’s a possibility with your partner then there’s a big problem.
Miscommunication is a given.
But the ability to try has to be there, and the willingness to be graceful to each other through the frustrations of communicating also has to be present.
This is what great relationships are built on.
Anything less is fraught with danger.
12) Your partner is engaging in behaviors that are totally alien to your values and lifestyle
Like I wrote earlier, you don’t need to be on the same page all the time, but you should be reading the same book.
If your partner is doing things that are totally against what you believe in and the way you live, it’s a red flag.
It may seem exciting or even cute at first, but eventually being with somebody who is on a totally different path than you is going to become very stressful.
You either criticize them and make them angry, or you turn a blind eye and pretend to be OK with the way they live, being untrue to yourself.
Not a good dilemma to face!
13) You’re being monitored and treated like a possession by your partner
No matter how deeply in love you are, how married and how many years together, you are not your partner’s property.
If they treat you like you are, red flags should be showing up like a maniacal matador in the bullring.
You deserve to have trust from your partner and be able to live your own life without being monitored, interrogated or treated like an inmate.
It all goes back to the foundational point:
Every relationship needs to have healthy communication and respect.
No matter how much love and attraction there is, that respect and ability to open up needs to be there.