8 Relationship Red Flags you should never Ignore

When dating someone new, it’s all too easy to look at the person through rose-colored glasses—and miss the signs screaming that they’re not right for you. Often referred to as “red flags”, we’ve all seen these glaring signs before, but whether we ignore them, try to work with them, or walk away is up to us.

A red flag is essentially a signal that goes off when something’s not right, intuitively telling you to steer clear. In the case of relationships, they’ll show up when the object of your affection does or says something that rubs you the wrong way and makes you question the relationship.  


In relationships, red flags are signs that the person probably can’t have a healthy relationship and proceeding down the road together would be emotionally dangerous. However, red flags in a relationship might not be obvious. While some are very clear, many might present more as a clue or a hint that there’s an underlying problem. Also, it can take some time for a red flag to present in a relationship.

Nevertheless, here are 8 definite red flags that should make you reconsider that relationship:

  1. Lack of Communication.

These individuals find it difficult to talk about issues or express how they feel. Often, when it would seem most important to be open and honest, they distance themselves emotionally, leaving their partner hanging, or having to deal with a situation on their own.

Often, whatever is “communicated” is expressed through moodiness, and sometimes the dreaded “silent treatment.” This is a clear red flag, and can leave you feeling distant and neglected.

  • Substance Abuse (Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, etc.)

Drinking daily or drinking until inebriation a few times a week can be a red flag for a drinking problem. Reliance on drugs to get through the day, the week, or through tough spots in life is also concerning.

If alcohol or drugs are impacting your partner’s life in a negative way—be it their work, health, or relationships—that is a sign of addiction. Similarly, if your partner relies on substances to get through the day, week, or a tough situation then that’s indicative of addiction and signifies they haven’t yet figured out how to cope without altering their mental state.

  • Narcissism

Narcissism covers a whole variety of characteristics and behaviors, but generally speaking, watch out for behavior that indicates the person has a superiority complex, like entitlement, lack of self-accountability, lack of empathy, and so on.

Even if someone doesn’t have full-blown narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), they can still exhibit narcissistic traits. If you notice that somehow everything ends up becoming about them, this indicates they’re not going to have the ability to truly see you.

  • Lack of Trust

When a person has difficulty being honest with himself or herself, it may be hard for them to be honest with you. Some of this behavior may not be calculated and malicious but simply a learned way or habit of coping.

However, being out-and-out lied to is a no-brainer. A person who holds himself or herself unaccountable for their actions lacks integrity and lacks respect for their partner. You may feel, and rightly so, that there are a lot of “missing pieces,” so much that you don’t know or that is purposely hidden from you.

  • Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a type of manipulation that’s used to maintain control over another person and involves actively denying that person’s reality. For the person on the receiving end, being gaslit can feel extremely disorienting and make them question their own emotions and intuition.

If you’re upset about something, and this person tells you “You’re being dramatic” or “That never happened,” not only are they not taking accountability, but they’re trying to control you and the narrative of your relationship.

  • Controlling

Trying to control you is a huge red flag in relationships. A partner may also attempt to “divide and conquer,” driving a wedge between you and other significant people in your life. They may be jealous of your ongoing relationships with these people or simply feel the need to control where you go and who you associate with, limiting your world to allow in only what is important to them. Sometimes, they may make you choose them over significant others as an expression of “love.”

Rethink your relationship if your partner tries to control who you see, who you talk to, where you go, how you spend your money, what you do online, what your body looks like, what you eat, or even what you wear.

  • Emotional Unavailability

Someone who is emotionally unavailable may indicate so in a variety of ways. Maybe this person only wants to see you late at night or when it’s convenient for them, or they aren’t taking appropriate steps to put in effort in general.

And other things like difficulty talking about feelings, or saying they don’t want a relationship, are also signs that someone may not be emotionally available.

  • Abusive Behavior

Finally, and of course, any form of abuse, from the seemingly mild to the overtly obvious—verbal, emotional, psychological, and certainly physical—is not just a red flag but a huge banner telling you to get out immediately and never look back.

Someone who demonstrates violence toward you, loved ones, strangers, and even animals, is a serious red flag. It indicates they haven’t developed a healthy way to properly channel their emotions.

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