Keep an open mind when dating someone new. Things like cutting toenails in bed or leaving dirty dishes in the sink artfully arranged are annoying, but they shouldn’t be deal breakers.
True warning signs in a romantic partner are usually more nuanced than simple behavioural peculiarities.
Even more so now, given the proliferation of “love at first swipe” apps and the pervasive influence of social media on our everyday interactions.
A red flag is “anything your spouse does that suggests a lack of respect, honesty, or interest toward the relationship,” as defined by dating psychologist Madeleine Mason Roantree.
According to experts, there are eight warning signs you should always keep an eye out for, from never starting dates to never posting a couples image on Instagram, and here’s why.
After only dating for a few months, they don’t want to commit to any sort of label.
Perhaps if Shakespeare were still with us today, he could help us make sense of the evolving lingo of romantic affection.
Since Shakespeare passed away in 1616, we’re left to figure out the difference between phrases like “seeing someone” and “hanging out” on our own.
There are many easy noncommittal and somewhat meaningless words to characterise one’s connection in today’s environment.
But if the person you’ve been seeing for a while still refuses to label the relationship (i.e., name you their girlfriend or boyfriend), that could be a warning flag.
According to Mason Roantree, this behaviour may indicate that the person in question is in a romantic relationship with someone else.
According to her interview with The Independent, “if your significant other tends to dodge any conversations about exclusivity and labels after several months of dating, they are obviously not serious about the relationship.”
After a while, they stop mentioning you on their social network.
If you or your significant other don’t use social media or if you just follow cat-related accounts on Instagram, you may safely disregard the following information.
However, according to Mason Roantree, if your significant other is an avid social media user who frequently posts about their exes, the fact that they haven’t done so yet could be a warning sign.
According to her, this could indicate that the person in question “doesn’t see you as a long-term possibility” or is simply not yet comfortable introducing you to the public.
This one time only? A business account, if you will. So, it’s understandable if you two don’t want to plaster the Internet with #CoupleGoals and heart emoticons after posting selfies in front of the Eiffel Tower.
Not once have we seen them make the first move in a dating situation.
Mason Roantree suggests putting one’s neck out there and coming up with a date plan.
This is a one-sided relationship if you constantly propose meeting times, she says. Everything depends on you doing the work.
Someone who is serious about you will make an effort to help the relationship forward and take the lead on things.
Attractive people are those that take initiative, not those who would rather relax and enjoy life without doing anything.
There is a discrepancy in power.
Dating, according to relationship expert James Preece, is all about mutually benefiting each other. Having a fulfilling romantic connection, in his view, is akin to being on the ultimate sports squad. But if it doesn’t, and one of you seems to be continuously asserting control over the other, who is more subservient, that’s a big red flag, he says The Independent.
“Jealousy or controlling behaviour can be indicators of a power imbalance,” he says. Both can cause irreparable damage to a relationship, so it’s best to address them as soon as possible instead of letting them fester.
Preece suggests communicating your issues openly and reevaluating the situation if they aren’t addressed.
You have varied ways of showing affection for one another.
Having a yin and yang balance in a partnership is beneficial because it allows one partner to fill in the gaps left by the other. However, this may be cause for alarm if it affects the ways in which you show each other affection.
Perhaps you are more of a romantic wordsmith, always assuring your partner of your undying love and showering them with praises, while they are less of a compliment fan and prefer acts of kindness.
The challenge, as explained by Preece, is that if you have a strong preference for one direction, it may cause you to assume the same behaviour from your spouse.
You two “may not be as compatible as you imagined” if “you expect one thing and get another,” he says.
There is a liar among you.
To like pineapples dipped in marmite isn’t the only criterion. Keeping secrets from one another is a major red sign, since they will eventually cause damage to the relationship, as stated by Preece.
We needn’t tell each other everything that’s going through our heads. But if one of you is holding a huge secret that is causing distress, it’s not good for you to do so. Secrets can hinder happiness, and the fear of being “found” can lead to paranoia and conflict.
There are advantages to being an open book as well, as recent research by the dating website Elite Singles found that 34% of individuals think revealing secrets is a vital element of developing an intimate friendship.
This group simply refuses to give an inch.
It’s inevitable that you and your partner will have disagreements. Recent research, for instance, discovered that 1 in 10 marriages end as a direct result of home improvement projects, with 15% of those couples reporting that they were “constantly at each other’s throats” throughout the process.
However, as Preece notes, it is crucial for a relationship’s success to learn to find a compromise and mutual ground on major matters.
He explains that compromise is necessary for maintaining harmony because it requires giving up some of one’s own personal values.
The key is finding a compromise that everyone can live with. They are not overjoyed, but neither are they devastated.
Something may be “seriously wrong with your relationship” if you and your partner are having a difficult time reaching a compromise, especially if one of you is unwilling to bend on a particular topic.
They are reviled by your social circle.
Preece thinks it’s a major warning sign if your closest friends and family don’t approve of your partner.
To paraphrase: “It’s easy to acquire tunnel vision and just see what you want to see, but if your family or friends plainly don’t like your spouse, then you need to understand why.”
True, not every family will be harmonious, and some people just don’t get along. However, you should reevaluate your relationship if you start to receive more criticism from loved ones.
“Those around you can often see things you never will,” Preece elaborates.