What is it about bad guys that women find so irresistible? They invoke the saviour complex in some of us, and with others, we hope they’ll change for us or that we can help them grow; if you want to help something grow, get a plant!

That said, every relationship you encounter is a major lesson which doesn’t just help you explore your personality but also, gives you major insight into what you should be looking for in a partner (or what you should simply stay away from). The most essential step before engaging in a committed relationship is to get to know yourself first. It’s next to impossible to address someone else’s needs and desires if you remain disconnected from yourself. Individuals often go in search of relationships before understanding its basis. What initially seems unimportant can take on a bigger role and can come into play during the course of your relationship.

You may often remain baffled by your own ideas and expectations when you are with someone. When the hard questions remain unanswered at the gate, it leads to trouble in paradise. Therefore it’s very important to look out for the red flags right from the beginning to save yourself from all the break-up mess and bow out before you’re in too deep. 

10 Early Relationship Red Flags You Just Shouldn’t Ignore

It’s hard to play by the rules when you’re in love but watch out for these top 10 early red flags that are significant clues screaming out to you to save yourself from a toxic relationship.

1. Blaming Their Ex For Failure Of A Relationship

Any form of blame-game always sabotages a commitment. When your partner is always on the lookout to blame their ex for the failure of their previous relationship, please note that it’s not healthy. Any form of blame game is so hard on a relationship, be it with you or your partner’s ex, so much so that marriage counsellors often mention this as the Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse: One of the four behaviours that cause trouble in a relationship. Blaming their ex is a way of trying to avoid owning up to one’s own faults and not trying to recognise or resolve them. Consistent blaming can hold back real change and is a fundamental attribution error. 

2. Refusing To Acknowledge The Relationship In Public

If your partner hides your existence for a long time from the rest of the world or his/her family and friends, then it’s a major red flag. It can be an indication that he/she is trying to hide something from you or everyone else. This can be due to innumerable reasons like they’re not sure about you, or they’re also dating other people, or that this is just a short-term fling for them, or that they’re embarrassed to acknowledge you as a partner.

It’s best to ask them for an explanation and not take silly excuses for an answer. If there is genuine understanding your partner will look out for you and try to fix the problem. Otherwise just say, “Boy, bye!

3. Stepping Away To Take Calls Privately More Than Normal

Imagine going out with your partner and they won’t get off their phone easily and whenever you try to strike a conversation, it is interrupted with a text message or a call that needs to be taken privately more than often. If this is the case every time then you need to understand that there is something going on which they don’t feel comfortable sharing with you. Voice your concerns regarding it and be realistic. Ask them what is so significant that they need to step out every time to take a call privately. If there’s no specific answer or resolution to this, consider this to be a major red flag.

4. Not Having A Digital Presence At All

It’s highly uncommon for Gen Z to not have a digital presence in this age. With social media connecting everyone within seconds, it’s necessary to some extent and helpful too. Not having a digital footprint at all can mean that there is something fishy going on. Maybe he/she is trying to hide a portion of themselves or their personal life from you. Psychotherapists often say that nothing brings out your inner FBI than falling in love and that impulse to do a pre-date reconnaissance is completely natural. When you lack a certain set of information about a person you generally try to fill in the blanks with worst-case scenarios. So thereby, clear communication is necessary for this issue.

5. Refusing To Meet Your Friends Or Introducing You To Their Friends

It’s kind of unnerving if you have been dating this person for more than 3 months or so and they have still not talked about you to their friends and refuse every time to meet yours as well. When you ask your partner that you want to know more about him and talk to his friends and he/she replies with ‘soon enough’, then it’s fair to be concerned about it. Again, put the question on the table. Your partner could simply be pathologically private and not have as many friends or he could be hiding something or protecting a woman their friends or family already know about.  

6. The Need To Control Whom You Meet & Speak To

If you’re increasingly isolated from your friends and family, you don’t have many people to talk to, you’re apologizing all the time, your partner’s love is conditional, you’re hiding irrelevant information from him, there is zero privacy and if he criticises you about the most mundane things, then these are all signs of a partner’s excessively controlling in nature. Once these signs add up to an overall controlling pattern then you need to act fast lest the relationship turns abusive. Your partner shouldn’t be the one controlling whom you meet and speak to and as an individual, you cannot let it go thinking that he is just having a moment of weakness, or is being protective and over-loving.

7. Lack Of Self-Control

It’s alarming if your partner lacks any form of self-control in multiple aspects of their life. For example, frequent drinking, smoking, partying all the time, reckless behaviour, frivolous spending and other such habits can add up to indicate your partner lacks control and discipline. While in the beginning, these habits may seem harmless and like he’s just having a good time or will grow out of it, the truth is he will not. Lack of control isn’t a phase, it takes years of conditioning and living one’s life this way. It is also sometimes indicative of a person getting irrationally addicted to certain things in their life. They may always end up making excuses for this behaviour by saying they’re celebrating, they’re happy, too tired, too sad, too stressed, too excited and therefore are acting this way again… and again… and again.

8. Saving Names Of Contacts As Codes On Their Phone 

Imagine going through your partner’s phone and suddenly you notice that your name is saved just as initials. How dejected would you feel? So here’s the drill. The smallest of things, like even a name in the phonebook, is very telling. It shows how you treat the other party in your life. Cancel your partner as soon as you find out that they are unable to provide you with a proper explanation and are cooking up lies in their head. Also, if any other names are saved as code, it’s a major red flag that they indulge in this deceptiveness regularly with people in their life and you aren’t the only one.

9. Engaging In Abusive Behaviour

Sometimes it’s not always obvious when you’re in an abusive relationship. It’s important to note that no one, in particular, deserves any form of abuse, be it physical, verbal or mental. You are never to blame for the way an abusive person treats you. Any form of threats, yelling, sulking or deliberately breaking things that you value, using violence against you, your family or pet, pushing, shoving or hitting you, any form of sexual violence and often begging for forgiveness at the end of this are major signs of a toxic, abusive relationship. Make sure you report this to your family or friends who you’re comfortable with and do not let this go on. Abusive behaviour, no matter how small or big, is a major no-no. 

10. Always Feeling Insecure

Feeling insecure in a relationship can often lead to over possessiveness. They check on you all the time to see where you are, whom you are with and what you are doing. They even try to control where you go and who you see. Due to this feeling, they often blame you for flirting with someone or being unfaithful. They try putting you down in front of family and friends. Try talking with your partner and finding out the root cause behind why they are always feeling insecure. 

Identify these red flags in your relationship at once and don’t nurture them. With time they can turn out to be quite serious leading to more serious consequences. Tell us in the comments below and let’s discuss if you think these red flags have presented themself to you in your relationship.

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