Picking Up on Red Flags in Relationships 

Do I listen to my head or my heart? It’s the ultimate internal struggle, because it’s not always so cut and dry. Sometimes the huge warning signs staring us right in the face are glossed over or not even seen. Maybe it’s because they’re perfect on paper, or you’re feeling pressured to settle down. Whatever it may be, listening to your gut instinct is not something you should ignore. So many of us don’t listen to that “voice of reason” in the back of our head that tells us something isn’t right. Just know that you’re picking up on something important! 

Trauma teaches us not to listen to our gut instinct—during a traumatic event, our body is telling us something terrible is happening, and it keeps happening anyway. We have no control over it. We blame ourselves for it. So we learn that when our body tells us something terrible is happening, we are wrong—we caused it, or deserved it, or it’s not really wrong.

Recognizing and fully accepting that you are not at fault for the trauma you have experienced in the past is a key step in the healing process and paving the way for happy and healthy relationships. As you heal, your relationship fears will fade away, you’ll be able to stand up for  your needs and wants, and better recognize what you do and don’t deserve. But a little help in doing that never hurt! That is why I have put together some major red flags to watch out for while looking for a partner. 

1– They call you “baby” or a nickname very quickly 

You may feel flattered if you’re called ‘beautiful’ or ‘sweetheart’ 10 minutes into the date. But most likely if you are getting called pet names right off the bat, you are not the only one.

2– They blame you for making them feel depressed if you aren’t able to meet their needs every time, like you not being able to spend time with them. 

A healthy person knows how and is able to meet their own needs without having to depend on you to meet their needs every time. In any healthy relationship, a partner can’t be expected to meet your needs 100% of the time. 

3– They aren’t able to talk through misunderstandings and disagreements to re-connect and understand where you’re coming from—your thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. 

There will always be misunderstandings and disagreements in relationships. The goal isn’t to never have a misunderstanding or disagreement. The goal is to be able to reconnect after a misunderstanding or disagreement. If your partner is unable to talk through what was going on, and strive to understand what was going on for you, then resentments will pile up, and you’ll drift further and further apart. 

4– They can’t understand your perspective if you don’t agree with them. 

Understanding doesn’t equal agreement. If they insist that you agree with them in order to understand you, this is a red flag. A healthy partner will be able to see they don’t need to agree with you to be able to understand where you’re coming from. 

Does your partner walk away? Shut down? Place all the blame on you? Throw a tantrum? These are red flags. In a healthy relationship, you and your partner can talk through issues, listening to the other person’s point of view and expressing their own. No one needs to win or lose. It’s about expressing how something makes you feel, and being heard. Communication is key. 

5– They push the boundaries of what feels safe for you. 

If you ask to meet at a public place for a date, and they keep trying to convince you to come to their place instead, watch out. During Covid, if they push you to meet in person when you would prefer a virtual date, this isn’t respectful of your needs and boundaries. If they can’t respect you now, it will persist as a pattern later in the relationship. 

6– They try to rush the relationship 

If they try to rush the relationship without giving you enough time to get to know them, listen to your need to slow it down. If they aren’t patient with you, they are not the right person for you. If you haven’t even met them in person yet, and they say they want to come over and hold you in your bed when you tell him you’ve had a hard day, it’s too much too soon.



16944 Ventura Blvd., Suite 3
Encino, CA 91316

kcarlmft@gmail.com
(818) 593-9047

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