In any relationship, it's easy to get caught up in the moment and make excuses for someone's behavior. The scary part is that sometimes you don't realize you're even doing it. In hindsight, I an look back at failed relationships of my own and see major red flags at the beginning of a relationship that I ignored or didn't realize for months...or, you know, years. Oops. We're taught from a young age to watch out for certain things when dating someone, but dating in the modern age is rough sometimes. The lines are often blurry. And the Internet and smartphones make it easy for guys and girls to be shady. Or, who knows, maybe they're just trying to establish boundaries by hiding photos, untagging statuses, liking their ex's pictures, that sort of fun stuff. See? It's confusing.
Just because we all repeat history every now and then doesn't mean we're doomed to do it forever. Whether you're in a new relationship or you've been with the same person forever, there may be some red flags you're missing if things don't feel 100 percent right. While it's important not to overanalyze everything, it never hurts to have a head's up about things that might be going wrong in the relationship. Here are a few major red flags that you might be missing.
1. They're Bad At Using The Phone
Seriously, it's 2015. For young adults, anywhere from 77 to 90 percent of the population has a smartphone. That means that your phone is probably a vital part of your everyday life. If I don't text someone back or call them back, it's because I'm choosing not to. So if he or she isn't getting back to you in a timely fashion, I'm going to wager a guess that it's because they don't want to. Why? Who knows. Doesn't matter. All you need to know is that you deserve someone who picks up the phone and makes an effort. Extra red flag points if they have read receipts enabled and still don't text you back. Yes, I had a guy do this to me and I continued to date him. Lesson learned.
2. Their Friends Suck
As my mother used to say, "you are the company you keep." Of course there are exceptions (we all have that crazy friend we love, but are nothing like). Look at your boyfriend or girlfriend's friend group as an aggregate, though. Are most of them decent people in relationships with jobs and relatively normal lives? I dated a musician once and all of his friends in bands would cheat on their girlfriends constantly. Why was I dumb enough to believe that he wasn't doing the same thing? Newsflash: He was doing the same thing.
3. Too Much Or Not Enough Sex
Yes, there is a happy medium. I'm not sure entirely what that happy medium looks like yet, but I can tell you that if you aren't having any sex or you don't do anything but have sex, that's an issue. Every relationship goes through phases, but if that phase lasts more than a few weeks, it's time to have a conversation. It's great to have a strong sexual connection with someone, but if you're anything like me, you'll eventually start to wonder if that's the only reason he likes you.
4. There's No Balance
Balance is key in every relationship, from friends to significant others. One such type of balance? The balance of power. One person can't hold all of the cards and make all of the decisions. Even if you like it that your girlfriend or boyfriend always decides where to go and what to do, eventually you will want to make some decisions yourself. Likewise, one person can't be solely responsible for making plans, communicating, initiating sex, and generally making sure the relationship continues. That's a job, not a relationship or a partnership. There's a French proverb that says, "there is always one who kisses, and one who offers the cheek." I read that probably 15 years ago, and it's still stuck in the back of my mind. Who wants a relationship where you're the one who's always making the effort? Not me.
5. The Relationship Is Based On Need
I read this on PsychologyToday, and I don't think any relationship advice has ever rung more true to me. When a relationship is too focused on one person fulfilling the other's needs (or when a relationship is too focused on one person feeling needed) problems will inevitably arise. I know that personally, I need someone to need me. I attempt to make myself invaluable to the men I date, and that's a problem. Likewise, I've dated men who have actually and literally needed me to take care of them, and I resented that. Both are bad situations to watch out for.
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