Girl Talk: What red flags in a relationship should you keep an eye out for? Today we address all your questions, those coming in from our readers.
#GirlTalk is SheThePeople’s advice column. Have a question? Send it to us [email protected] – It can be anonymous if you’d like it that way. Women from different walks of life share advice and their personal experience to help you overcome your own inhibitions.
All’s fair in love and war. Upon that adage have revolved most relationships in romance and on the battlefield. But we know the world isn’t a fairytale and we’re not lovesick princesses sitting by windows, yearning for our beloveds to be with us. Love isn’t all that easy. It’s messy, it’s complicated, sometimes tiresome, and bottled with compromises. Yet, ultimately, it is rewarding – or so lovers claim.
But is everyone lucky in love? Does every person who visits the orchard end up with a good apple? And what if what they think is a good apple turns up rotten from the inside? There is no sure way to ascertain beforehand. Thankfully, humans aren’t fruit. And there are certain red flags in a relationship, certain giveaways, certain tells, that can warn you well in time before disaster strikes.
Here are six red flags in a relationship you should know about:
1. If your partner is increasingly evasive and secretive
Having your own space is one thing, but being wholly secretive about your life is another. Communication is the foundation upon which every relationship is built. And once that is forgone, the relationship may become deeply jeopardised. Sure, your partner may not want to reveal every little detail about their day or past life, and you must ideally respect that. But when such behaviours become increasingly repetitive or are entirely off-brand for your partner, then perk your senses up.
If they continuously evade your questions, brushing them aside as irrelevant or unnecessary, then something might be wrong and you may want to confront them about it truthfully. Asking them for answers upfront will be better than going around their back to look for them.
2. If they are dismissive about your mental health
Sensitivity towards each other is the touchstone of romantic union. Only when you each have the ability to listen to the other, empathise without judgment, and provide emotional cushions, can your relationship be healthy. In cases of prolonged mental health issues, or even day-to-day stresses, it takes immense strength to open up to someone with honesty.
How would it be if someone – not just anyone but that person who vowed to be a friend, a partner to you – dismisses that as a whim or an overthought or an exaggeration? If the person you are confiding in about your mental health resorts to mocking you for it, would you further have the confidence to address that issue again? This is a major red flag you should keep your senses peeled for, for the sake of your own well-being.
3. If they ever insinuate or indicate violence
Violence against women is one of the most rampant issues that plague our country. And when we think violence, the mind travels to strangers’ faces. But it would surprise most people even today to know that in a large number of cases, the assailant is known to the survivor or victim. NCRB data showed that out of the 33,356 reported rapes in 2018, offenders were known to the victims in “almost 94 percent cases.”
So it is very possible that you may be at risk with a partner who has a violent streak, even if they have never perpetrated violence against you. One sure way to check beforehand would be to note their behavioural patterns when confronted with problems that need solutions: would they resort to violence or not? If yes, raise the alarm.
4. If they disregard boundaries and consent
Being in a romantic relationship, sharing the same house or bed with someone, and spending all your waking hours with them can make you think that your partner has full agency over you. But this idea couldn’t be further from the truth. Despite all they do for you, you must remember that at the end of the day, you are your own person. Your body, mind, thoughts belong to no one but you. And it is only when you give your consent to another that they are allowed to enter.
This ethical rule extends to your sexual relationship too. You are allowed to grant and withdraw consent any time – whether it is during, before, or after sex. Your partner must be conscientious of the boundaries you set for yourself and them. Anytime they disregard it, consider it a red flag. A dangerous one.
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5. If they isolate you from friends and family
Correlated to the previous point is this one. No matter how intertwined your bodies and lives may be, the fact of the matter is that you and your partner are two separate individuals with distinct lives of their own. And it may so happen, that you feel like choosing a friends night-out or a family dinner over a date with your partner. Should your partner be overly possessive and object to your choice? Or should they hold a grudge against you for it? Or should they cut you off from friends and family?
Only a toxic partner would do such things. Isolating you from other people in your life so they can have you all by yourself isn’t love. It’s possession. You will be better off with an understanding partner who is mature enough to know that you might have other priorities besides them.
6. If they want to make your decisions for you
If you ever feel you partner is being overbearing or suffocating you with their choices, chances are, they probably are. Most decisions in life are solely yours to make – from your choice of job to choice of location. On these matters, you may feel the need to consult your partner for the simple reason they are your partner. But does that mean they should be assisting you or entirely making these life decisions for you?
The latter isn’t a healthy way to lead a relationship since it will curb your independence in more ways than you can imagine. Your partner shouldn’t feel obliged or entitled to weigh in on every aspect of your life, especially when you don’t want them to.
And if you’re confused about whether to end things or not, watch this video by SheThePeople:
Views expressed are the author’s own.