Dating Red Flags Checklist

dating red flags checklist

The dating landscape can be confusing to navigate. Add in the quirks that come with the modern world (dating apps, ghosting, situation-ships) and you might be down-right intimidated.

I don’t say this to scare you. But, the early phases of a relationship are a wonderful opportunity to start to let your prospects show you who they are.

What are Dating Red Flags?

A red flag is exactly what it sounds like- a warning signal. These behaviors can serve as signs or predictors of potentially unhealthy behavior later in a relationship.

Red flags are not always easy to spot. And while hindsight may be 20/20, predicting how early behaviors will translate to later dysfunction can be tricky.

Working with a therapist focused on relationship counseling can help you talk through what you are seeing and feeling through the early phases of a relationship.

Dating Red Flags Checklist

Interpreting behaviors requires some nuance. It also requires an understanding of how those behaviors are making you feel while you are interacting with a new partner.

Generally speaking, here are some warning signs to be aware of as you navigate the dating scene.

‘Love-bombing.’ Coming in hot with over-the-top displays of affection. Saying that they love you before you feel like they really know you. This could include hyper-focus on you- texting, calling, sending gifts, and being excessively involved in your life.

While this kind of behavior might make you feel special at the beginning, be mindful about what’s happening. Try to move at a pace you are comfortable with. There is never a reason to rush physical or emotional intimacy beyond your level of comfort.

These behaviors can end up being one of the biggest red flags in a guy or woman, often translating to manipulation later in the relationship.

We all need reassurance. We want to feel connected to the people that matter to us and safe in our relationships.

However, we are also all responsible for regulating our own anxieties and fears. If they are constantly asking you for reassurance about every part of them, every decision, or your level of interest in them, they may be showing you that they have a low tolerance to handle their emotions.

Excessively checking in on you when you’ve agreed to take a night apart or keeping track of your every move through location sharing might be signs that they require too much reassurance from you.

Jealousy can also make us feel special, important, and wanted. However, jealousy can turn toxic if there are fear and anxieties and a lack of trust and security.

Jealous behaviors can include:

  • Not wanting you to spend time with friends or family
  • Becoming angry or irritated if you talk to someone in public
  • Over or under interest in your past and parts of your life that don’t include them

When jealousy persists, it can turn into attempts to control the other person.

If you want to be in a relationship with someone, it’s important to consider how they are in relationships with other people. This is an indicator of how they will be in a relationship with you.

How do they talk about their exes? Were the endings of previous relationships always someone else’s fault?

Have they been able to maintain long-term relationships with friends? Do they display red flags in friendships? How do they treat their family members? Are they able to get along with people at work?

Before getting wrapped up in your own relationship with them, make sure they’ve demonstrated emotional abilities to respect others in a long-term situation.

This is a deal breaker- even a situationship red flag. Getting to know a new person, and letting them get yo know you, can be a vulnerable experience. It’s crucial that your boundaries for the speed of moving in the relationship are respected.

These boundaries could include physical touch, sexual intimacy, emotional disclosures, and the amount of time you choose to spend together.

Having the boundaries that you need to take care of yourself will ultimately allow you to show up well for a partner (why self-love will improve your relationships). You need a partner that will respect your boundaries and your needs.

It’s usually the easiest to be honest with people at the beginning of a relationship. Once you’ve been together, starting intertwining lives and social circles, the stakes for things going wrong could be higher. Fear of losing a partner if they know the truth is often the reason for lying.

If someone is not honest with you early on, it’s hard to imagine them being honest with you down the line.

Some teasing might feel flirty or within your boundaries. If that’s the case, the teasing should feel safe and comfortable.

However, someone making fun of you early on is a red flag. If they poke fun at your life, your choices, your interests, or your friends, they are showing that they do not respect you. A partner should especially not go for place that are raw or sensitive for you or use vulnerable things you’ve shared with them against you.

Mixed messages are a sign of poor communication skills. You deserve to know where things stand, even in the early days of a relationship. If you feel like they are showing interest but only leading you on (online dating red flags), this could be a sign of a greater commitment issue.

Plus, if you are having trouble getting clear communication in the early days, before stress or pressure have been introduced to your dynamic, imagine how difficult it will be when those things are present.

Pay attention to how they treat others. When you go out to eat, are they kind to the servers? How do they handle getting cut off in traffic? Do they talk down to people who work for them?

The way that a person regards others reveals their character and how they may treat you if you begin a relationship and (inevitably) face future conflict. Being able to treat people with respect through frustration is crucial for a healthy relationship.

Research studies have linked gender-based violence to over-use of alcohol.

I’m not saying that any alcohol use is off-limits. However, if someone seems like they do not have control over their usage, they are showing you that they 1) cannot tolerate their emotions and 2) they do not have control over their emotional responses.

See if you enjoy someone while you’re sober! This way you’ll know that you genuinely enjoy them without having to add alcohol into the mix.

Having opinions is fair. However, if someone is unwilling to hear your perspective or experiences, to take in new information and incorporate that into their view, it could be a red flag.

Long-term relationships are constantly changing and growing over time, and they require a lot of give and take. As you change as individuals, your partner has to be able to grow their understanding of you and adjust your needs change.

Relationships inevitably involve conflict. You need a partner who is willing to be open-minded, hear you out, and come to compromises with you.

More important than following any one list is learning to listen to your own intuition and responses when you are with someone new.

Do you feel calm and excited? Or nervous and anxious? Does enjoying your time together feel natural, or are you constantly trying to perform and please? Sometimes we know in our gut that something isn’t quite right, yet we keep moving forward anyway.

Trusting your gut is center to most experiences in life, and dating is no exception.

While you are mindful of the red flags, look for dating green flags too! Search for a partner who makes you feel comfortable, treats you with respect, builds trust, takes responsibility for themself, and values you for all that you are.

Listen to yourself and any gut feelings you have. You are the one who knows what is best and most healthy for you.

dating red flags checklist

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