How To Spot Red Flags in New Relationships

A couple of years back, I was dating yet another inappropriate man. Completely emotionally unavailable and everything he stood for and believe in, contradicted all of me. From time to time, I would consult my deck of tаrоt cards about the situation and my intuition kept whispering the words “look for the flags.” I have an extraordinary ability to give myself the most excellent advice, and up until recently, I would fail to take it over and over again.
On one of my visits to the destination where he was based with the US Navy, I just had a really bad gut feeling about the whole thing. He consistently made jokes at my expense, in front of a group of people I had never met before and within about 30 minutes of arriving at the social gathering in question, he promptly attempted to dispatch me to the kitchen to make mojitos for him and his boys.
That night I dreamt I was trussed up like a chicken, bound in red flags- the kind you see at a kids sporting event. On awaking the next morning, my heart was in my mouth and I was filled with dread. Why was I so affected by this seemingly stupid dream and more to the point, what did it mean?
As I walked down to the beach to get some air and clear my head, I sensed a series of mental clicks. “Look out for the red flags.” My intuition had been warning me about the kind of man he was, and what this meant in the context of a relationship. I knew in that moment, that the only thing harder than staying, was leaving. Yet it had to be done.
With all of the media that we are exposed to on a daily basis, and the countless amounts of outdated relationship advice available on the internet- it can be really tough to figure out when to let things slide and compromise, and when to stand our ground, straighten our crown and walk away like a boss. Whenever we sense that something is not right with our current beau, we often don´t listen to our higher selves guiding us away from the emotional danger we are on the verge of experiencing. Rather, most of the time, we call our best girlfriends and re hash the details of our misery over and over. Some might tell us to chill and not be so uptight, others might tell us to walk away immediately. But the one who really knows, who has the correct answer, is yourself.
What is perfectly acceptable to one person, doesn´t fly with another. Some people might think that consistency in a relationship is important, others may choose seemingly exciting mind games. So the important thing, is to determine what your own red flags are and start taking notice of them. Every. Single. Time.
Here are some ways of how to spot red flags in new relationships. I personally like to operate according to the two strikes and you´re out policy. Make a fool of me once, shame on you. Make a fool of me twice, shame on me. Ultimately, we are all prone to human error. Mistakes can be made, but only if they are then rectified and learnt from.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words.
Any man (unless entirely brain dead) will promise you the moon and the stars, if he thinks it will get him closer to his goal of hunting you down and making him yours (at least for one night) He will shower you with compliments and tell you how much he is looking forward to seeing you, but does he back those statements up with his behaviour? Does he make plans with you and then cancel last minute, or worse, not even bother to follow up? Let him show you who he is, rather than tell you.
Consistency.
Human nature is actually quite simple. If you like someone and you enjoy spending time with them, you will consistently be in contact (we aren´t talking hourly stalking here, but more like a consistent flow of communication) Be seriously warned about men who come on super strong initially, and then pull a Houdini. Whilst this might be fun to watch disappearing acts at the circus, it´s less entertaining when it´s happening in real life. If someone disappears on you on a continuous basis, they are pretty much setting the stage for the rest of the show and you can guess how the production will end. The scorned damsel sitting at home drinking cheap wine, whilst professing her undying love to her pet and prince charming has charged ahead, onto his next conquest.
His Best Kept Secret.
When you first meet each other, it´s logical that you would be wanting to spend time with each other and no one else. As appealing as a second date with Grandma eating homemade scones might be, it´s unrealistic and actually quite scary to imagine that family introductions would happen so soon. But how about a month or so in? Have you met any of friends? or do they at least know about your existence? Or are you a secretive part of his life. Do you go out and do things together? or is it a behind closed doors interaction? If someone is serious about you, they will be proud of you and want to show everyone around them that they are the lucky SOB dating you.
Shady and Deranged.
As Beyonce once said, “you can´t figure him out, you´re like hey, is he insane?”
The Elusive man is one to stay far, far away from. Cagey behaviour is not how someone who has nothing to hide would act. The only other explanation for it would be an extreme case of insecurity, low self esteem and paranoia. None of which are exactly prime ingredients for a healthy relationship. If you are calling him and getting voicemail all the time, or if you have absolutely no clue about who this man actually is and how he spends his free time, you might want to don your Nike´s, make like a tree and leaf.
Be Your Own Detective.
A friend of mine told me the other day, that it doesn´t bother him at all when the girls he dates speak about their exes. Actually, he uses this as his greatest ally. By listening to them going on about what happened, and how that guy used to behave and the way they would talk about him (usually in a derogatory manner) he is able to see the pattern. There are always two sides to every story, so if someone tells you how every single one of their exes was unfaithful, this is a good indication that there is something within the story teller, which is attracting this same consistent negative behaviour to their lives.
Turn Down the Drama, Turn Up the Music!
There is positive and negative in absolutely every situation, but when the negative starts outweighing the positive, and you can see that there are more drawbacks than benefits in your relationship, it´s time to rethink the whole thing. If you meet a guy, who seems to be surrounded by drama- crazy backstories with all of his exes, problems in pretty much all areas of his life, then you need to consider if he is really in an emotionally fit place to be in a relationship with you. We all have a past and we have all had bad experiences, but the difference is, most of us choose to walk away from that. If he brings continuous drama to the table, back off before the chaos snowballs.
Always in Control.
There is a massive difference between someone who is in control of their own lives and someone who tries to be in control of your life. In a healthy relationship, both people should have the right to do as they please, providing there is always a level of mutual trust and respect. However, if he is going AWOL every weekend, yet his eyes almost pop out of his head and he starts giving you an interrogation when he learns from your Facebook wall that you were tagged on a night out with a group of friends, of which 50% were male, then this is controlling behaviour. Don´t give it, if you can´t take it and there are not one set of rules for him and a different set for you.
The Taskmaster
Always be observing his actions and behaviours over time. Some men love to punish (and not in a kinky 50 shades way) The act of berating, criticizing and punishing someone, is the trademark of an insecure male, who has got his passive aggressive game worked out to a tee. If your man is overly critical of you, or with holds affection to teach you a lesson (even in a joking manner) this is not acceptable and is a massive red flag.
The list is endless, and as you get to know yourself and your values better, you will build an automatic checklist in your head of deal breakers. Once you have them, stick to them. In my experience, your intuition never lies to you. Life will keep giving us the same lessons, until we finally take heed and learn them.
What are some of your own biggest red flags? Leave your comments below and pass the torch by sharing this post with someone you know who would benefit.