But time and experience should help us navigate through future relationships in a much better way. Often, individuals go in search of a relationship without this essential knowledge. As obvious as these issues may appear, and as much as you may feel you understand them intellectually, it should come as no surprise that what initially seems unimportant may take on greater significance as insights occur over the course of the relationship.
In retrospect, individuals are often baffled about their own behavior and expectations in a relationship. What attracted you to this person initially? Did the attraction last? Was your fantasy about this person—what you imagined or assumed to be true—validated in reality? How long did the relationship last? Did revelations during the course of the relationship change your mind? What was the deal breaker? Do any patterns, similarities from relationship to other relationships, emerge?
Learn to ask the hard questions out of the gate, the first or second time you meet someone, before opinions are solidly formed. Most of us seem to do much better when we have no real expectations of someone, because we hardly know who they are and are not yet trying to impress them. And watch for red flags—indicators that something needs to be questioned or otherwise validated. Often these are clues that something may be trouble in the future.
Here are 10 key relational red flags to look out for: These individuals find it difficult to talk about issues or express how they feel. Often, when it would seem most important to be open and honest, they distance themselves emotionally, leaving their partner hanging, or having to deal with a situation on their own. Some people have trouble mastering basic life skills—taking care of themselves, managing their finances and personal space, holding onto a job, and making plans for their life and future.
Small crises surrounding the way they live their daily life may take up a lot of time and energy. If so, there may be little time and energy left for you and your issues.
These people may still be working on growing up. In other words, it may be hard to rely on them for almost anything. When a person has difficulty being honest with himself or herself, it may be hard for them to be honest with you. Some of this behavior may not be calculated and malicious but simply a learned way or habit of coping.
However, being out-and-out lied to is a no-brainer. At the very least, hear these people out. They may be jealous of your ongoing relationships with these people or simply feel the need to control where you go and who you associate with, limiting your world to allow in only what is important to them.
Sometimes, they may make you choose them over significant others as an expression of " love. Rather than moving forward, building on shared experiences that should be strengthening your connection, you feel uncomfortable, uncertain, or anxious about where the it's heading. You may seek reassurances from your partner, but somehow these are only momentary and fleeting. As a result, you may be working double duty to keep the relationship on track while your partner contributes little.
A dark or secretive past. But you shouldn't ignore or excuse anything that strikes you as strange or makes you feel uncomfortable.
Of course, if a person has done the necessary corrective work and continues doing so for their own good and for the good of the relationship, that is a different story. Non-resolution of past relationships. These include not just intimate relationships but those with family members and friends.
The relationship is built on the need to feel needed. Often we enter into a relationship strongly identified with our needs. The need may be that you, my partner, must do certain things for me to make me feel secure and satisfied, or that you allow me, your partner, to feel needed by fulfilling your needs.
If this dynamic is the focal point of a relationship, however, there may be little room for real growth, individually or as a couple. Finally, and of course, any form of abuse , from the seemingly mild to the overtly obvious—verbal, emotional, psychological, and certainly physical—is not just a red flag but a huge banner telling you to get out immediately and never look back. Your hunch is probably right.