What is a red flag?
You’ve probably heard the term “red flag.” It’s a common phrase that people use to indicate that something is wrong in a situation. In a relationship, a red flag is an indicator that something is off. You might be able to point out these bad signs out when it comes to a friend’s partner. It’s easy to see things from an outside perspective, but we tend to avoid red flags in our relationships because we want things to work out. You don’t want to face anything that could ruin the connection. However, it’s essential to learn to spot red flags in interpersonal relationships. As hard as it might be in the moment, it’s critical to recognize warning signs that a relationship isn’t working. That way, a less-than-healthy partnership doesn’t drag on and on. Life is short, and you don’t want to waste unnecessary time on a connection once you know that it’s sour.
1 Know what your needs are before a relationship begins
Before you enter into a relationship, make sure you know what you want in a partner. What are you willing to accept in a relationship? Write a list of your needs. Then, write down what are the relationship deal-breakers. Keep your notes so you can reference them. Next time you have a potential love interest, go down those lists and ask yourself if the person meets your standards. If they don’t and you find yourself trying to rationalize it, check-in with yourself. Why are you making excuses for them? Take off the rose-colored glasses. If you’re in a relationship, you can still look at what your needs are, and assess if they’re being met. If you’re concerned about the dynamic, talk to your partner. Have a conversation about what both of your needs are and how to make it work.
2 Understand why you’re avoiding red flags
In psychology, there’s something called the “sunk cost fallacy.” What this term refers to is when you keep something going because you’ve already invested your time, money, or other resources in the cause. This often happens in relationships; if we’ve been with someone for a long time, we might want to keep it going so that we don’t “lose” the time that we spent on the relationship. Mourning the loss of long-term connections is indeed tough, but it’s better to either bring an issue forward and work through it with a partner or let the relationship go if it’s toxic and you have a partner that’s not working with you to improve things. If you’re having trouble seeing red flags, it can help to talk to an unbiased person, such as a friend or family member. They’re not involved in the relationship and may be able to see red flags. If you tend to avoid conflict, talking to someone who is honest and has your best interests at heart can help you see things.
3 Addressing the problem
When a red flag comes up in your relationship, it’s crucial to address it. If you don’t, it will weigh on you, and cause resentment. For example, you see signs that your partner is cheating on you – they’re secretive, and some of the things that they’re telling you aren’t adding up. It’s helpful to talk to your partner. One place that you can do this is in therapy. Seeking the help of a mental health professional is an excellent idea when you’re in this situation. They serve as an unbiased third party. A therapist can help you have an awkward conversation in a calm, productive manner. Seeing a couples counselor can help you and your significant other fix problems in your relationship. Alternatively, you might see an individual counselor talk about why you’re avoiding red flags. A therapist can help you understand avoidant behavior. They will help you understand your fears. Whether you see someone in person or remotely through an online therapy site like BetterHelp, a licensed mental health professional can help you learn to face red flags successfully and build or maintain healthy relationships.