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Relationships among the youth are quite common nowadays. We are able to see couples everywhere we go, even more so on the internet as we are in the middle of a global pandemic. As much as the internet portrays the idea of long-lasting couples, do you know that many actions and movements that couples do on a daily basis are actually considered a ‘red flag’?

What are red flags? Red flags are defined as a warning of danger. But red flags in a relationship? They are actions or movements of partners who show absence of respect, decency or interest towards the whole ongoing relationship. Ignoring these actions will end up heavily affecting your mental health. It is also a warning that it is best to not continue the relationship if any of these actions repeat constantly.

Photo by Kate Kozyrka

Most couples would think communicating daily and texting each other back and forth is a normal thing in relationships. It is actually not. Constantly texting and communicating with your partner can be unhealthy for relationships. It violates each other’s privacy as well as your own space and time. This can easily lead to overattachment.

Everyone has boundaries. Even between couples, boundaries are one of the key points to stable relationships. Setting up healthy boundaries between two partners will let them feel more relaxed and let them respect each other more. Unknowingly stepping on each other's boundaries might lead to unnecessary distress,big red flags like not respecting your partner’s decisions or insisting on something they do not want to do can happen without our realisation. It is important to respect each other’s boundaries for them to respect yours too; constantly disrespecting them would lead to a toxic relationship.

Arguing in relationships is normal. Some arguments can bring lovers a step closer to becoming a more healthy longer-lasting couple, but some can lead to heavier conflicts or even breaking up. One of the red flags you have to be aware of is when one partner always makes the argument about them, which may indicate that they care more about themselves than the main problem or a narcissistic partner. A narcissist would always think about themselves first before considering how other people would feel in that sort of situation. This red flag would probably show up when a couple gets into an argument and it always ends up with one partner saying, “Did you think what would happen to ME if you make this decision?” when the argument is clearly not about themselves, of course. Constantly letting this happen in a relationship will bring about actions of manipulation and abuse of power over partners.

Speaking of manipulation, gaslighting is another sign that you need to be careful with your partner in the relationship. Gaslighting is a form of abuse, not physically but emotionally. It is an action where a partner pushes your buttons a little bit too much and makes you question your own sanity. They will compile all your weaknesses and sensitivities then make you doubt yourself about things that you usually do not need to worry about, or your judgements and decisions. A 'classic' gaslighting example is when your partner denies statements when they were the one who said it earlier or being persistent on saying you have never done a particular thing, although it is not even true.

Don’t you hate it when your partner gets mad at you over a tiny mistake? Maybe you forgot to fetch the morning paper for them unnecessary or they were late to work because they could not find the sock that you misplaced? Those are small issues, you may be a little bit careless sometimes but when your partner starts overcriticizing you out of nowhere or always saying things just to hurt you to make them feel better, you should start being aware as this is one of the many red flags in a relationship. Of course, there is a difference between complaining and criticizing, partners who over criticise you over tiny issues usually have the word “always” or “never” included like, “ Why is your skirt always so short? ” or “ Why do you never tell me about things? ” These actions will destroy the trust and intimacy in the relationship if it happens repetitively. It would also end up degrading your image and confidence throughout the whole relationship.

Always being together with your partner sounds sweet but do you know that getting too clingy or attached to your partner is also a big “No” in a relationship? Some couples are fine with it, going everywhere, doing everything together, even going to parties or events that their partner is not familiar with! However, having them around all too often is not considered something you would want to continue in a relationship. Sometimes, your partner might be the one who makes you go everywhere with them. If this happens, your partner could be alienating you from your own time and space. If they often ask you to spend time with them instead of spending time with your friends or family members, they might be alienating you from the closest people you have. Having this happen constantly can lead to obsessive relationships or domestic abuse where your partner seizes your freedom.

It is important to be alert of these signs to take care of you and your partner's mental well-being in the relationship. As much as red flags in relationships are important, there are surprisingly also red flags for first dates. Here are a few red flags you should look out for when you are going out for your first date!

Thinking about your 'perfect match' who has a lot in common with you? In the world of social media now, there is no such thing as “having a lot in common with you” if you post a lot of social media, well unless you don’t. If your first date coincidentally has a lot in common with you, there is a big possibility that your first date stalked your social media accounts to give you a good impression during the first date. Of course, there is a chance that you might meet someone that really has something in common with you!

A first date could be a new start of a relationship for two people who like each other, but something that you might not want to hear about is your date’s previous relationships. First dates who talk about their old relationships are typically not over their exes and that can make you feel inadequate compared to their exes. Psst, they could be a narcissist too!

Do you just admire when your first date orders your food without you asking and you think, “How sweet!”, you should not be thinking that is a good sign. If your first date does anything for you without asking, you should be mindful of their intentions because this may point to a manipulator or control freak in disguise.

These are a few tips to help you to be aware of your ongoing relationships. Always remember that identifying these signs is good for your mental and physical health. There may be a possibility that it is good for the relationship if you confront your partner. Take care of your relationships and do not ignore the red flags along the way!

By: Loo Yuk Ling


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