14 Relationship Red Flags You Should Be Concerned About

Getting into a relationship is inherently complicated.

Think about it: You and your partner are raised in different environments, with different people, different sets of beliefs, and different experiences. Thus, agreeing and disagreeing is all part of the process of trying to find a healthy compromise while being romantically involved. That said, it’s important to know when something is a workable issue or if it’s already a red flag warning you about behaviors that will ultimately lead the relationship to ruin.

Red flags in a relationship don’t always manifest early on and might only be noticeable much later. Regardless, when you spot those red flags, it’s time to seriously reevaluate whether it’s worth it to pursue the relationship at all. Here are 14 relationship red flags you should be concerned about.

1. Violent Behavior

Physical violence is never a good sign. This indicates that a person doesn’t have empathy for others, whether for humans or animals. Even inanimate objects can be at the receiving end of violent outbursts. Violent behavior indicates that a person hasn’t developed a healthy response to conflict or problems, which may eventually lead to harm upon your person, children, family, or even pets.

2. Substance Abuse and/or Alcoholism

Similar to violent behavior, substance abuse or alcoholism also indicates an unhealthy coping mechanism. Not only will you be in danger of getting hurt, but your partner is at risk of suffering from illnesses or getting in trouble with the law. Instead of a relationship, a person suffering from substance abuse and/or alcoholism will be better served by professional help.

3. History of Cheating

Even if your partner has cheated only once, there’s no guarantee that they won’t cheat again. Some people may be capable of disregarding this but, generally, a history of cheating will eventually lead to major trust issues and conflict.

4. Extreme Secrecy

It’s not uncommon for some people to want to be private about some aspects of their life. However, if your partner is extremely secretive, such as refusing to tell you about their family or becoming defensive about answering simple questions, that likely means they’re hiding something. It’s not far-fetched to one day discover that what they may be hiding is tied to a serious legal issue, such as a crime.

5. No Respect for Privacy

On the other hand, your personal information such as passwords, credit card details, or private messages are things that you’re reasonably entitled to keep for yourself. If your partner constantly demands this information, it’s a clear sign they don’t care about your privacy.

6. Separates You From Family and Friends

In a healthy relationship, your partner should be someone who encourages you to cherish important connections. A partner who prevents you from socializing points to an underlying nature of control and manipulation that can extend to other areas of your life, such as what you wear, where you go, and what you do.

7. Has No Regard for Boundaries

While harmonious relationships are often built on an agreement between both parties, this doesn’t mean that boundaries should be erased. When your partner doesn’t know when to stop, even if you’ve said no, you’re not in a relationship between equals. You’re in a relationship with a master manipulator.

8. Persistent Jealousy

Jealous behavior is one of the most common factors that lead to breakups. Having a persistently jealous partner can lead to serious trust issues that won’t just affect your relationship with them but also your relationship with other people. In some cases, persistent jealousy may also be a disguise for unfaithful behavior, wherein your partner accuses you of cheating to hide the fact that they’re the one doing it.

9. Extreme Adoration or Obsession

Showing your love and appreciation for your partner is one thing — obsessing over them is another. Obsessive behavior is often an indication that your partner doesn’t really respect you as a person and that they likely regard you as their property, not their partner. Obsessive people believe that they’re entitled to your undivided attention as they feel that they are giving you all of themselves.

10. Severe Insecurity

Jealousy, obsession, a severely controlling nature, and having no respect for your privacy can all point to a person being extremely insecure. They’re likely convinced that you will leave them eventually, which is why they constantly ask for reassurance.

11. Dissimilar Relationship Goals 

While you and your partner can have varying objectives in life, having dissimilar relationship goals can cause a lot of problems in the long run. For instance, if one partner doesn’t want kids while the other does, this issue will be a constant source of conflict unless one party gives up their goal. Though some people may decide on a compromise, one partner will likely end up being unhappy anyway. This may convince them to find another whose relationship goals will align with theirs.

12. Puts Emotional Pressure

Guilt-tripping you into doing something is classic manipulative behavior. A partner who constantly gets you to do things by appealing to your emotions likely doesn’t care about what you actually feel.

13. Hides Your Relationship

Again, being private is not the same as being secretive. A partner who refuses to make your relationship public may mean that they’re ashamed of it (or you) or they have another relationship from which they’re hiding.

14. Has a Combative Approach to Conflict

Conflict resolution is an important aspect of keeping a healthy relationship. However, some people may treat even simple disagreements as a war they always need to win. Thus, it will be no wonder if they refuse to apologize and acknowledge their mistakes. This will eventually lead to a toxic relationship where fights will be constant as no one will back down or admit their faults.

Do the points on our relationship red flags list sound familiar to you? If so, it’s never too late to get out of a bad relationship, especially if you or your family are in danger. Keep these red flags in mind not just for emotional safeguarding but also for physical — and even financial — protection.