Finding a partner who you can be your complete self with sounds like a dream. Unfortunately, in today’s dating world, it’s sometimes impossible to even lock someone down for a single date. But even though the dating scene is a little (okay, a lot) wobbly, that doesn’t mean you should stick with the first person who agrees to commit to a romantic relationship, especially if they’re showing red flags right off the bat.
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t spot these signs right away, though. It’s natural to miss unsettling behaviors when you’re caught up in the relationship. But it’s important to take off your rose-colored glasses and check-in with yourself to make sure that this (or any) relationship is a right fit for you and your lifestyle before things become worse down the line.
So whether you’re currently in a romantic relationship or you’re looking to jump back into the dating pool, we provided a roundup of red flags you should be mindful of in any relationship. Because even though that person may make you happy now, they may not be the right fit for your future.
1. They constantly accuse you of lying or cheating.
Liar, liar, pants on fire.
If your partner accuses you of lying early on in the relationship, just know that it probably has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. People who don’t know how to trust their new partners usually dealt with major trust issues in the past, whether it had to do with previous romantic relationships or even family members. However, this doesn’t give them permission to doubt you when you haven’t done anything wrong. If this is a common occurrence in your relationship, make sure to address the problem ASAP, before it becomes a bigger problem down the line.
2. Loved ones don’t like your partner.
Loved ones only want the best for you.
At the end of the day, you ideally want your family members to get along with your partner. But if your loved ones sense that something is off with your new bae, then you may want to consider why they’re feeling this way in the first place. They might not always be right about your new bae. However, they could be seeing something that you don’t, because you’re infatuated according to Psychology Today.
3. They refuse to spend time with your family or friends.
This should go both ways.
While your partner doesn’t have to become BFF with your friends or family, they should want to spend time with the people you care about to become closer to them. According to Huff Post, Elisabeth LaMotte, therapist and founder of the DC Counseling & Psychotherapy Center, said:
If you notice that you are always making excuses for why your partner is never free to join you in social settings, this may be cause for an honest conversation.
So just be aware of how often your SO declines invites to hang with your friends. Try and figure out the root of their hesitation.
4. They’re controlling.
This is not okay.
No one should control your every move. Not only is it completely unhealthy to have someone dictate your behavior based on what they want, but it also prevents you from creating the life that you want. According to Psychology Today, you want to keep a lookout if your partner creates a wedge between you and your friends. Additionally, if they forbid you from pursuing your passions or make you choose between them and other loved ones, watch out.
5. They’re unable to apologize for their mistakes.
That’s not a good sign.
When your partner realizes their screw-ups, it’s important for them to accept what they did, apologize and move on. This demonstrates maturity and shows that they care about their actions. However, if your new lover doesn’t believe in saying “I’m sorry” expect some trouble down the line. According to Marriage Today, your SO could view apologizing as a sign of weakness. When, in fact, an apology is quite the opposite.
6. They’re mean to strangers.
Run away if this happens.
Just because they treat you with kindness doesn’t mean it’s okay for them to treat others poorly. When a partner is mean to strangers (especially people who work in the service industry), their actions could hint at their future shortcomings. Clinical psychologist Ryan Howes recommended:
Pay attention to the small things: how they interact with the server at the restaurant, the Lyft driver, or the stranger at Trader Joe’s. Harsh treatment of strangers can say a lot about how they view others. Note that bad behavior toward strangers typically evolves into how they’ll eventually treat you.
7. Your partner shows no interest in your life.
They should be somewhat invested in things that matter to you, though.
If you feel like you constantly have to beg for your partner’s attention, then you may want to reevaluate your relationship. Not only should you not have to constantly ask for recognition, but they should be curious about your life. According to Huff Post, if your partner stops asking you questions, slowly responds to emails or texts, or never touches you, then they probably lost interest. And it’s time for you to address the problem at hand.
8. They’re extremely needy.
It’s okay to be needy every once in a while, but it shouldn’t be a common thing.
Both parties in a relationship are allowed to have alone time. And there’s nothing wrong with either person requesting it. But if your significant other demands your attention 24/7, they could be overly dependant on you. According to psychologist Nicole Martinez, one of the clear signs that your partner might be too needy is if they blow your phone up all the time. Moreover, if they don’t want to leave you alone, something bigger could be happening. Martinez also notes that “people who are jealous and insecure will tend to cling to their partner as a means of keeping a closer eye on them.”
9. Your partner isn’t responsible with money.
This behavior might not change in the future.
If you want to build a life with this person, you need to be able to have healthy conversations money. But if your new boo gets mad every time you bring up the “money talk” or never creates healthy money habits, then you may want to sit down and have a conversation about how their behavior makes you feel. Nerd Wallet states that if you want to talk with your SO about money, you should acknowledge their emotions and prevent yourself from criticizing their bad habits. Instead, talk about the future to find solutions together as a team.
10. They’re constantly in a bad mood.
No one has time for that.
Aside from mental health issues, you shouldn’t have to deal with a partner who is always in a bad mood. While there could be a lot of factors affecting their attitude, your partner might not have the emotional intelligence to fix or control their emotions. Marriage and family therapist Winifred Reilly told Huff Post, if “irritability is the default, if your partner is rude or unkind or disrespectful, don’t kid yourself into thinking it’s not a big deal.”
11. Your partner doesn’t respect your boundaries, even after you express them.
Your wishes matter.
Just because you’re in a romantic relationship doesn’t mean that all boundaries should go out the window. If anything, your partner should be one of the main people who respect you the most. According to PsychCentral, if you only blame yourself when things go wrong or feel shame for requesting a boundary, then it’s possible that your partner doesn’t care about you and what you want.
12. They badmouth their exes.
This doesn’t look good.
Yikes. No one wants their current partner to constantly badmouth their ex. It doesn’t look good. And it could indicate that they’re not over the situation or their former partner. “When people talk badly about their exes to an unhealthy point, it means that they haven’t worked through a lot of that relationship,” said Lena Aburdene Derhally, a relationship therapist based in D.C. So take note of when and how often your new paramour bashes their ex. And if it becomes a problem for you, talk to them about how you feel.
13. Your partner gaslights you often.
This red flag can be hard to detect.
Have you ever felt like you were telling the truth, but your partner tells you that you’re incorrect? Or do they constantly call you “crazy” or shut you out when problems arise? Yeah, all of this could mean that your partner is gaslighting you. If this is the case, you need to address this with them pronto.
14. They’re always on their phone when you’re around.
While every couple needs alone time, it’s also imperative to make sure that the time you have with each other is not spent looking at electronic devices. If you find that your partner is constantly doing this, speak up. According to a Talk Space, someone who cares about you should want to be present with you, whether that means talking or watching a TV show with you.
15. They constantly criticize you.
This is a hard no.
When you’re in a romantic relationship, you shouldn’t regularly feel devalued. Your partner should be building you up and making you feel safe and secure in the relationship. Brynna Pawlows, a licensed psychotherapist, said:
If you are constantly feeling that someone is yucking your yum, it could indicate deeper issues in the future. If you love musicals, your partner doesn’t have to come to a Broadway show with you. [But] they also shouldn’t go on and on about how they are stupid or restrict you engaging in your already-existing interests.