You meet someone who’s simply charming. You're excited about this person and begin dating, spending more and more time together. Everything is going great, except that your new partner slips into certain “bad habits” here and there. You can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t quite right.
Seemingly insignificant tendencies can be early indicators of greater issues that will rear their ugly head in time. Honor your wellbeing by walking away from an unhealthy relationship sooner rather than later if your partner gives off the following red flags:
1. Your intuition nags you. People know how to lie, but your intuition doesn’t. The first one to tell you something is wrong will be your inner voice. Pay close attention to gut feelings that ask you to analyze your partner’s intentions, words, and actions more closely. Refrain from making excuses for this person just because you have strong feelings. Be honest with yourself and acknowledge when your partner isn’t acting in good faith or isn’t making you happy. Take divine signs seriously: it’s not an accident if you come across something that proves this person lied or isn’t who he says he is.
2. It’s complicated from the beginning. There is no perfect partner because everyone carries a bit of baggage (even you). That’s normal. What’s not normal is a person who hauls entire loads from their past into your present life. Your partner may have children from a previous relationship, but his children shouldn’t make your life miserable. Your partner may have trust issues from past experiences, but his trust issues shouldn't force you to prove your every move. If a relationship starts off this burdensome, it will only require more effort with time. Release it from your life and find a love that’s lighthearted, pure, and joyful.
3. Won’t compromise. The couple that can’t compromise can’t survive. A person’s (in)ability to compromise quickly becomes evident. Your partner should be offering compromise freely at this point, and you should be taking turns giving in to each other. The fact that he doesn’t means the relationship will entail much sacrifice on your part.
4. Has mood swings. Steer clear of the person who veers to moody extremes because this will ruin your emotional stability. Your partner shouldn't leave you exhausted by the end of the day! You become what you’re around, and if you’re exposed to anger, bitterness, or resentment, you might find yourself becoming a person you don’t want to be, riding an emotional roller coaster that will take a mental and physical toll on you. If your partner shifts from delighted to depressed in seconds, understand that a psychological imbalance exists. And if he or she gets angry over everything, know that this anger may spill onto you one day, too.
5. Not generous. Generosity takes many forms, the most obvious being monetary. But a person must also be giving with his time, affection, advice, and good intentions. Stinginess, greediness, and egoism are serious red flags. While you shouldn't expect to receive the world on a silver platter, you should expect your partner to offer help when you're in genuine need. Remember, the person who wants to share his world with you is preparing for a future with you. Generosity is rare, so be grateful for the partner who is giving in all senses of the word.
6. Chronic infidelity. Mom used to say that “once a cheater always a cheater.” I don’t quite agree because we have the free will to break even our worst patterns. But if you discover your new partner being disloyal from this early on, spare yourself the heartbreak and move along. Chances are that he was prone to dishonesty long before you and will continue to be this way throughout the relationship with you. Often we hope we can change people or mold their character, or that they will somehow be “different” with us than they’ve been in their past relationships. Then we experience deep disappointment when we realize that we can’t change anybody. He must change himself.
7. Treats others poorly. Be careful becoming too attached to the person who talks down to others, is rude without reason, or has negative relationships with family members. People who have problems with themselves often release them upon others, and these problems can’t be resolved until they look within and eliminate the real cause. Your partner may treat you nicely in the beginning, but the same issues he has with other people in his life will creep into your own relationship down the line.
8. Comes and goes. It’s demoralizing when your partner doesn’t check up on you or simply say hello. One of the most frequent complaints I hear from my clients is that their new partner doesn’t initiate conversation; they have to be the ones to send the first message, or there’s no telling when the person will actually call. Even worse is when he shows a pattern of disappearing then reappearing like nothing happened. Beware of settling with a partner who’s emotionally ignorant or distant. You will find yourself telling this person the same thing over and over again, and it'll go in one ear and come out the other. One of the greatest qualities you can find in a partner is someone who is so emotionally intimate with you that he knows what you need before you even get the chance to ask.
9. Doesn’t take care of himself. The way in which someone treats (or mistreats) himself is reflective of the way he will treat you. If your partner is self-destructive, how can he strengthen you? If he’s completely careless with his home, job, belongings, health, finances, or appearance, chances are he won't be able to lend you the care you need and deserve. Look for someone who handles himself responsibly, lovingly, and gently so that he can treat you in this same manner.
10. Can’t commit. Lasting relationships are the deeply fulfilling bonds we crave, but not all of us are able to uphold them. You should be with a partner who not only wants to fortify a relationship with you through time, but who understands the hard work needed to do so. Consider your partner’s dating history: has he or she been able to maintain at least one serious relationship? It will be difficult for your partner to keep up long-term love if he’s used to jumping from romance to romance. A partner who both expresses the desire for commitment and reinforces words with actions is a real treasure.
Our impulses often predict our true nature. Reflect on these ten red flags before engaging in a new relationship, and put your own wellbeing first.
To healthy relationships,
Dr. Carmen Harra
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