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Relationship Red Flag (59 Big Ones To Watch Out For)

There are so many different types of abuse, abusers, and just downright toxic people on this Earth it’s hard to believe. 

Chances are, you will run into one of these men at least once in your lifetime. Then, hopefully, you will spot the red flags and stay far, far away from them. 

Red flags are specific behaviors that men tend to exhibit because of one or more toxic things about them. You’ll notice the red flags before you get to meet the real person underneath that you have yet to see yet, which is why it’s important to know them. 

Table of Contents

Relationship Red Flag And What They Mean

Relationship red flags can pop up out of nowhere, or they seem so nice. For example, the guy that worships you seems amazing. He thinks you’re the best thing in the world. However, that’s a red flag that could indicate that he is love bombing you before becoming abusive. It’s important to know what red flags to watch out for as well as what they might mean. 

1. Love bombing

love bombing

Love bombing feels similar to being put on a pedestal. This guy says that he thinks you’re perfect. However, love bombing isn’t set around having a perfect image of you. It can also include things like buying you gifts, taking you on expensive dates, etc. He does everything possible to sweep you off your feet. This is extremely common at the beginning of abusive relationships. 

2. They really do think you’re perfect

Someone worshipping you sounds a little heavenly. They’ll put you on a pedestal, and do whatever you want to make sure that you’re happy because you’re perfect. However, no one is perfect. When reality comes crashing down and they see your flaws, things can get ugly. If they refuse to see them, they’ll become obsessed with you, which is not as good as it seems. 

3. A violent temper

When a person is abusive, they have a violent temper. They might not hit you at first, but they may still break things. When they are angry, expect them to throw things, hit things, or kick things. In the beginning, they’ll hide this from you, but everything that a person does in the dark comes to the light eventually. Pay attention to how they act when they’re angry. 

4. Unpredictability

When a person is abusive or even just toxic in any way, they tend to be more unpredictable than most other people. As a new partner, you might try to figure them out, but it seems to be impossible. Something that makes them angry once will seem to have no impact on their mood the next. This unpredictability keeps you on your toes and keeps them in control. 

5. Jealousy

When a person is abusive, jealousy goes far beyond simply not wanting you to talk to a guy that has a crush on you. Instead, their toxic behavior takes jealousy to new heights. They get mad at you if someone likes you. They use this as an excuse to become controlling, sometimes wanting to control what you wear or who you talk to. This can even include your friends and family. If someone takes things to extremes like this, it’s a huge red flag. 

6. Controlling behavior

Controlling another person has no place in a healthy relationship. This isn’t the normal partner that doesn’t want you to work late because they miss you. Instead, they make you feel as though you have to do everything they want, from checking in when you stop by the store real quick to always meeting their demands regarding what you wear, your hair, and even your makeup. This can also be disguised as them trying to help you look better, etc. It can also be disguised as concern. For example, they are worried about you. Don’t fall for it. 

7. Being mean to animals

This is a big red flag and is self-explanatory. Avoid people that are mean to animals. 

8. They like to move fast

When a person is abusive, they like to move fast in a relationship. A little bit too fast. They want to get to know you fast and quickly make you feel as though you are on top of the world. Then, they want to move in faster than most other people do. Dating turns into moving in together within months. If you express your feelings and want to take things slow, they have a problem with it. 

9. Previously abusive in relationships

previously abusive in relationships

If a relationship lasts long enough for the abuse cycle to begin, it will. It’s not due to circumstances or what life has thrown at them. You’ll see this pattern again and again. 

10. Poor communication skills

Poor communication skills can quickly translate into a complete lack of communication. When something makes them unhappy, you’ll see it in them being moody or simply not speaking to you. The silent treatment is their norm. This can make for a rocky relationship. 

11. They’re constantly in a new relationship

If a person is in a new relationship as soon as the old one ends, this is a major red flag. They could be trying to find a distraction from something else or be a serial monogamist. Whatever the reason behind being in a constant relationship, you’re fulfilling the same purpose as the other partners did before you. 

12. They don’t know who they are

When you’re constantly in a relationship, there is less room for self-growth. You don’t learn as much about yourself as you would if you were on your own. If they don’t know who they are as a person, that’s a major red flag. Expect them to copy you a lot in the beginning. If you like a certain song, so do they. 

13. Immaturity

If a person is still growing up, they’ll be immature. This doesn’t mean that they are bound to be abusive or toxic like other red flags, but it doesn’t say a lot for a relationship being successful or healthy either. If you’re more mature than them, it can feel like you’re their parent. 

14. Irresponsible

If a person is irresponsible, this is going to be a problem in a serious relationship. If friends and family can’t count on them, you won’t be able to either. 

15. Your family and close friends aren’t fans

If the people that are closest to you don’t like your new partner, that’s a red flag. Sometimes, they can’t tell you exactly what it is, but they can tell that something is off. This says something about them. 

16. Unresolved and troubling behaviors from their past

If a person has a troubling past, such as being addicted to illegal substances, that can be a red flag. Yes, people can and often do change. If your new partner has made the necessary changes to have a brighter future, that should not be discredited. However, if they have not made those necessary changes, it doesn’t say a lot about your future relationship with this person. 

17. You aren’t secure in the relationship

you aren't secure in the relationship

Usually, there’s a reason for this. If you don’t have low self-esteem and feel this way, consider it a red flag. Your partner and yourself should work together to make sure that the other one feels secure. 

18. They don’t accept fault for things in previous relationships

It takes two people to make a relationship work, and two people are at fault when it doesn’t. If your future partner has a hard time admitting to things that they did wrong, they might be emotionally immature. You can trust that history will more than likely repeat itself in this case. 

19. They need to feel needed

If this is the foundation of your relationship, it is not a sign of a healthy relationship. In fact, it leaves little room for healthy growth for either of you. Instead, each person should be able to meet their own needs instead of being overly dependant on their partner. 

20. The relationship is full of double standards

A double standard is when something is okay for one p person, but not the other. For example, they can go to the bar but have a problem with you doing it. 

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21. Something feels off

If something feels off in your relationship, that’s a sign. Unless you suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety, have trust issues, etc. listen to your gut about people. It won’t steer you wrong. 

22. You spend more time being unhappy than happy

If you’re in a relationship and notice that you feel miserable most of the time, that’s a sign that there is a problem in your relationship. This could be due to a lack of communication, a missing connection, or several other things. Whatever the reason, it needs to be addressed. 

23. He does things that make you feel uncomfortable

If your partner does something, it makes you uncomfortable, and they continue to do it, that’s a lack of respect. Both people in a couple should respect each other, and their feelings. 

24. They don’t accept responsibility for their actions

If they refuse to apologize when you bring things up in a relationship, clearly they have a problem accepting responsibility for things. This can be rather frustrating for you as a partner and prevents growth in the relationship. Not to mention it’s extremely unhealthy. 

25. They rarely say anything positive

It doesn’t matter if they got a promotion at their job or finally finished a project they were working on, they’ll find something negative to say. This can be emotionally draining in a relationship for both people. 

26. They have unrealistic expectations

For example, they expect you to work, take care of children, keep the house spotless, and literally do everything without ever wearing sweatpants around the house. Depending on how many children you have, I can assure you it’s impossible. 

27. Old fashioned, outdated gender roles

old fashioned, outdated gender roles

Today, men and women both work, cook clean and dads play an active role in parenting their children. Stay at home dads are relatively common. If your man still expects you to stay at home with the children and cater to him as they did 100 years ago, that can be a problem. This is one of many signs of an abusive partner. 

28. You don’t look forward to seeing them

If your relationship is to the point that you’re dreading going home, that’s a red flag. After you’ve worked hard all day, you should look forward to seeing them and going home for the evening. If you don’t there’s a problem in the relationship. 

29. They push your buttons

They do more than tickle you a little bit, which they know annoys you. Instead, they go out of their way to antagonize you. They know you inside and out, and all the ways to drive you crazy. If they do this intentionally, they’re toxic or abusive. 

30. They blame you for the arguments

Not only will they push your buttons, but they’ll also hold you accountable for that argument. It doesn’t matter what the reason was, they’ll find a way to make it your fault. 

For example, they’ll get mad at you for coming home from work late. It doesn’t matter that they are controlling, you called to tell them you were going to be late, that your boss made you stay late, etc. they are still mad, and it’s all your fault. 

31. There’s zero chance of you getting your way

It’s okay that you both do things with each other’s friends, or you go to a restaurant you don’t like on occasion. If you find that you’re never doing anything you want to do, your partner could be controlling. 

32. They call you over-emotional for having a normal feeling

Angry? Upset? Sad? You’re instantly over-emotional or overreacting. This is something that abusive people do in order to turn the focus onto you instead of onto what they did. It can also be used to convince you that you’re irrational, which is why they should make all the decisions. This is a major red flag. Your feelings always should matter. 

33. They don’t like you going around others

One of the most common red flags of an abusive relationship is that they try to isolate you from friends, family, or both. In fact, they would prefer it if you were never around anyone else. This makes it easier to get away with abuse or controlling behavior. 

34. They are always right

Even when they are clearly wrong, it’s just easier to let them be right because they don’t have an open mind. If you’ve already learned that fighting back over the smallest problems is just not worth it, it’s time to heed that red flag and move on. 

35. You have no privacy

you have no privacy

They read every email. Text messages are now both of yours because you know they will be going through your phone at the end of the day anyway. This means that they are controlling or have trust issues. Both are not healthy. 

36. They don’t support you

I don’t mean financially. A partner should show support in your life goals, future goals, health goals, and any other goals. If you want to start losing weight, they should be kind and cheer you on. If they don’t offer support for your dreams and ambitions, that’s a red flag. 

37. There’s a lot of co-dependency in the relationship

Even if neither partner makes the other one feel like they can’t go out, you find that you’re only talking to each other. This can be a red flag of an unhealthy relationship. We all need external people and things to do outside of our relationship. 

38. They take criticism personally

Some people are sensitive, but abusive people are extremely sensitive. They take almost anything you say personally. Mentioning that you’d like to spend more time with them can suddenly be transformed into an attack on their work ethic, personality, who they are as a person, or a variety of other things. One way or another, everything is personal.

39. Don’t respect physical boundaries

Not respecting any of your boundaries is a series of red flags, but it can be easier to spot someone that doesn’t respect your physical boundaries. 

For example, they tickle you and refuse to stop until they are making you mad. They act as though there is nothing wrong with not respecting your boundaries, too. These guys don’t respect your personal space and are more likely to refuse to take no for an answer when it comes to sex. This is because they view your body as actually being their body. 

40. Verbal abuse

This is when a person does things to abuse you, but those attacks are verbal instead of physical. For example, calling you names. Belittling or humiliating you are other common symptoms of verbal abuse. In the beginning, this might look like them telling embarrassing stories for a good laugh. 

41. He makes you think you’re not good enough

Sometimes, it can be hard to see through those rose-colored glasses to really see the abuse that’s happening. However, paying attention to how dating someone makes you feel can tell you a lot. It can also let you know which red flags you might need to be looking for. Do you suddenly have low self-esteem? Do you feel guilty for beginning up your emotions? Constantly get annoyed because you can’t express yourself? Things like that can signal that you are in an unhealthy relationship. 

42. Your partner says you’ll never find someone else

They may phrase this by saying that you’ll never find a partner as amazing as them. It could also be phrased in a more verbally abusive way, such as by telling you that you’re too fat to find another partner to love you. This is them trying to force you to stay in the relationship because you feel like you have no other options. 

43. Family members see the abusive tactics

It may be tempting to defend your partner when someone points out the way he’s acting or calls him manipulative. However, your family members know you, and the way that your partner is having an impact on you, better than anyone else. If they point something out to you, at least take what they say under consideration. They see how you feel more than anyone else.

44. He refuses to get help

he refuses to get help

If he’s content being how he is, even if it’s just suffering from a mental disorder like depression, he needs help if it’s impacting his or your life. If your partner refuses, regardless of how it affects you, that’s a red flag. It shows he’s not concerned with how you feel. 

45. Lying is a part of their character

I’m not referring to small lies so that you don’t discover what your anniversary present is. Instead, masters of manipulation may lie about anything, from basic things like their favorite color to experiences they’ve had. Over time, they will lie more and more. This is a character flaw, and your partner is doing it to have more control in the relationship. Pathological liars have a problem, and often need a therapist to help them. 

46. They aren’t over their exes

If he’s orbiting his exes, brings them up in conversation, or is obviously still hurt by them, there’s a good chance that he’s not over them yet. This article tells you more signs to watch out for. If he has yet to move on, it’s a red flag and you shouldn’t consider being in a relationship with him just yet. 

47. Your opinions don’t seem to matter

If he doesn’t respect you, he won’t enjoy hearing your opinions. Instead, you should be able to be honest about your feelings and thoughts. He should want to hear your opinions on things because relationships are partnerships. 

48. He doesn’t treat you with respect

When a man treats you with respect, he will care about your perspective. He won’t ignore your wants and needs. He’ll ask how your day was. He won’t treat you badly or insult you. You’ll notice that he’s kind. This is him being respectful. 

49. He ignores you

There’s nothing worse than the dreaded silent treatment. If he’s known for giving you the silent treatment if you don’t agree or say no to sex, that’s a problem. Your partner should respect your opinions, and be capable of working through things with you. This is a sign of several things. It may be that he has poor communication skills. It could also be that he is manipulative in relationships. 

50. He only texts during certain times of the day

When we think of red flags, we think of toxic and abusive relationships that involve the worst. However, there is another type of partner to watch out for. That’s the one that is already in at least one relationship with someone else. In these relationships, you’ll notice that he only texts during certain times of the day. Those are the times that he’s not with his partner. 

51. They state they aren’t good at relationships

When your partner clearly states they aren’t good at relationships, believe them. Don’t try to fix them. Instead, take the warning that they are giving you seriously. In this relationship, you may wind up being in an abusive relationship, or he could just be a jerk. 

52. You’re not sexually compatible

you're not sexually compatible

This doesn’t mean that your partner isn’t good in bed, simply that the two of you aren’t on the same page. Maybe your partner thinks once a week is plenty, and you may want to get nasty every night. You might like completely different things in the bedroom. If you and your partner are not sexually compatible one of you is bound to feel irritated. This can breed resentment for your partner, which will spill over into other areas of the relationship. 

53. You justify things for your partner

Your partner doesn’t even have to stick up for themselves. When they do something wrong, you’re quick to justify their behavior. This instantly lets them off the hook, and you make yourself feel good at the same time. If you find yourself doing this, that’s a sign that you may need to take a step back and really look at your relationship. 

54. You’re coming up with excuses not to be with them

If you find yourself not wanting to be home or do things with your partner, that’s one of the biggest signs that your relationship is either over or unhealthy. You need to have a heart to heart with your partner, or at least decide if you want to get to the root of the problem. 

55. They compete with you

This isn’t healthy in a relationship. A little bit of competition, such as in a game of chess with your partner, is fine. However, if you find that they are constantly trying to one-up you, that’s a problem. For example, if you had a bad day, they had a day that was much worse. They always come out on top. 

56. Avoidance is common

Everyone has a hard time addressing conflict and learning conflict management skills. Yet, these people avoid conflict at all costs. They flat out refuse to even try to discuss things that you disagree on. 

57. He’s a manipulator disguised as the “good guy”

These are the worse. The nice guys that claim they’re wonderful when in reality they use their nice behavior to manipulate you. They almost always have a spare sob story in case they need to use it. 

Being nice and being there for you are their go-to tactics, they’ll even use them to isolate you later. This guy seems like a people pleaser, but he intentionally jokes about hurtful things and there’s always a little hint of something being off with him. There is a lot off with these so-called nice guys. 

58. You question your own memories

People that are victims to gaslighting do this. It’s a common manipulation tactic used by abusers to make you think that your memories or perception of reality are wrong. Then, the next time they do something wrong, they’ll instantly be able to make you feel as though you’re wrong, not them. This is a serious problem if it’s happening in your relationship. 

59. You’re out of conversation topics

you're out of conversation topics

This is a sign of quite a few things. For one, you could be spending too much time together. You may feel as though what you say doesn’t matter. You also may not feel up to talking. If you find that you don’t feel up to talking more often than not, that’s a sign that there is a problem between you two. 


How do you deal with red flags in a relationship?

First, decide whether it’s worth saving. If he’s abusive or you’re unsafe, it’s important to leave. Minor red flags, such as you feel that the two of you cannot communicate, can be solved by going to a therapist. Work through one problem at a time to build the solid foundation you need. 

How can you tell if someone is controlling?

He makes you feel guilty or bad for bringing up things that bother you. Your self-esteem will feel lower. He may tell you what to do, wear, or who you can spend time with. Controlling people may say they act that way because they care about you. 

What does love bombing mean?

Love bombing will feel as though you are constantly surrounded by love, even when it’s too early in the relationship to be appropriate. Expect lavish dates, expensive gifts and you may feel as if you’re on top of the world. This doesn’t last forever, though. 

Why do people stay in unhappy relationships?

They feel as though it would be a waste of effort if they leave. They may stay for the kids, houses, cars, or other financial reasons. Medical insurance is a surprisingly common reason. Some may stay because they want to try to make the relationship work

How do I know if my relationship is unhealthy?

The more red flags you spot, the more unhealthy it is. You may know that it’s not good for you by the way you feel. You may feel bad about yourself, sad, withdrawn, or may begin to exhibit signs of depression as a result of being in an unhealthy relationship


What red flags do you keep an eye out for when you’re dating someone new, or are already in a relationship? Are there any you would add to the list?

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