Everyone’s relationship is different, and what works for some couples may not work for others. Some individuals have a lot in common and share many interests, whereas other individuals seem to be total opposites who share nothing except for the fact that they’re in a relationship.
However, at the most basic level, there are certain traits that every healthy relationship needs to have — partners need to be able to communicate, respect one another, and make one another feel like a priority. When you’re falling head over heels for a new partner, it can be easy to overlook any questionable traits they have that negatively impact your relationship – and while there are certain things that are easy to address, there are other issues that are huge red flags which you should never ignore.
Here are 15 relationship red flags you should NEVER ignore — no matter how much you like the individual. It may be tempting to just shrug them off and tell yourself that you can change the person, but trust us — you want to nip these red flags in the bud if you want a healthy relationship (or, maybe just kick the individual in question to the curb if they’re truly treating you this way).
13He doesn’t respect your physical boundaries
Many couples tease each other physically — you might bump your partner’s shoulder when you’re walking together, poke them to make a point, or pin them down and try to tickle them when you’re laying around joking with one another. That’s kind of normal. However, if your partner continues doing that type of thing even if you’ve asked him to stop, or does it in moments when you’ve made it clear that you’re absolutely not in the mood for horsing around, that’s an issue. If you know your partner, it’s pretty easy to see when they’re protesting playfully, and when they’re actually serious about their request that you stop it. A partner who doesn’t respect your serious request is a partner who doesn’t respect your physical boundaries, even if it may be something as seemingly insignificant as giving you a hug or tickling you when you don’t feel like it.
12He doesn’t want you spending time with your friends/family
This is a huge, huge red flag. Listen, we get it — your partner may not fall in love with your friends and family in the same way he fell in love with you. He may prefer to spend time with his own friends and family rather than yours, and if he still shows up enough that you feel supported, it’s fine. However, if he starts to try to get you to spend less time with your friends and family, that’s a huge red flag that can’t be ignored. Many abusive individuals manipulate their partner by isolating them from the people who love them, and who might be able to urge them not to let themselves be treated in the way they are. It’s easiest to just get their partner away from everyone who cares about them, so that they can be the only influencing voice present on a regular basis — and that’s a big no no.
11He makes you feel bad about yourself
You should never have to walk on eggshells around your partner – you should be able to offer constructive criticism if you feel it’s warranted. However, in general, you should be building your partner up and celebrating their strengths rather than tearing them down and pointing out every single flaw you believe they have. This type of red flag can come in various forms, you’re your guy making subtle comments about how your career isn’t as challenging as his, or about how you aren’t as tidy as he is, etc. The point is, you should feel able to share your thoughts and, well, yourself with your partner, without fearing like you’ll be made to feel stupid. So, if your partner constantly makes you feel less than, that’s a huge red flag that you need to find someone else who truly values you for you. Seriously – you’re better off without him.
10He doesn’t want to make your relationship public
This has become a bit of a sitcom/movie cliché, but it exists on film because it exists in real life. Now, keep in mind that you have to consider your partner’s personality – if he’s the type of guy who rarely posts anything about his social life on social media and is just very private in general, even with his friends, then that’s a different story. However, if your guy is the type to post all his exploits on social media, and you can clearly see pictures of past girlfriends splashed all over the place, well, that’s a huge red flag – his reluctance to make your relationship public may just mean that he doesn’t want to show the world he’s dating you for whatever reason. No woman deserves to be some loser’s dirty little secret, so if he doesn’t want to show the world you’re together, you should find someone who does.
9He doesn’t trust you
Trust is one of the most important components to any healthy relationship. It may take a while to build it, but you absolutely need to trust your partner. There are a lot of people who have trust issues because of certain events in their past, and if your partner is consciously working on that, you may be able to cut him a little slack. However, if your partner is just distrustful and constantly trying to check on where you’ve been and who you’ve been with and doubts every word that comes out of your mouth, that’s a huge red flag. Many guys who don’t trust their partner try to deal with their issue by controlling their partner, which opens up a whole new unhealthy can of worms. If you have a track record of lying to your partner, well, that’s a whole different story. However, if you’ve done nothing at all and he still doesn’t trust you – it’s not you, it’s him.
8He criticizes your appearance
Let’s face it – unless you’re some goddess with killer self-confidence, chances are, you tear yourself down on a regular basis. The media is always putting forth images of supermodels and picture perfect women, and you see highlighted and bronzed beauty queens on your social media accounts with cellulite-free thighs and perfect everything. So, it can be easy to pick apart your appearance. The one thing you absolutely don’t need in your life is a partner who does the same. If your partner just doesn’t get an outfit you’re rocking, well, he just may not be as much of a fashionista as you are. However, if he’s constantly pointing out how he can see a bit of flab in that bodycon dress you’re wearing, or that you’re having a breakout, or a bad hair day – drop him. Immediately. Even if you can be hard on yourself regarding your appearance, you shouldn’t have a partner who makes you feel anything less than gorgeous.
7You go the extra mile — and he gives zero effort
People are good at different things. Perhaps you’re an incredible planner who always comes up with thoughtful gifts and fun ideas for girls’ nights, and you bring that skill set to your relationship. Perhaps your partner is the type who always forgets special occasions and couldn’t plan a party to save his life. Regardless, at the end of the day, both people within a relationship need to be putting in some effort to keep things going. Even if his date night ideas aren’t as innovative as yours, he should be planning something, at least every now and then. It’s a way of communicating to your partner that you prioritize and value them, that you’re willing to take a little extra time out of your busy schedule to ensure they feel special. A relationship can’t be a one way street – if you’re the only one making an effort, ever, that’s a huge red flag.
6He’s never willing to apologize
Unless you’re dating a robot, sooner or later, you and your partner will get into an argument of some sort, or someone will make a mistake. I mean, people have disagreements, people make mistakes, it’s just a part of life. A true sign of a healthy relationship is one where partners can resolve conflict in a healthy way. If your partner is the type of person who simply won’t apologize, even if he’s the one who’s wrong in the situation, that’s a big red flag. Sure, it can be tough to admit that you messed up and were wrong, but it’s part of being in a mature relationship. If your partner simply won’t apologize to you, ever, that’s a sign that he isn’t willing to admit when he’s wrong, and even worse, that he doesn’t really consider your feelings. Either way, you need to find someone who can ‘fess up when they messed up and deliver a sincere apology.
5He has a wandering eye
Certain individuals simply have flirtier personalities than others, but let’s be honest – a wandering eye is a whole different situation. Now, a wandering eye doesn’t necessarily mean you have a cheater on your hands. However, it’s not too far off. If your partner is always checking out other women, making comments, flirting with your waitress, and generally just behaving like someone who really isn’t in a relationship – that’s a huge red flag. It may mean that he’ll be unfaithful in the future, and at the very least, it’s hugely disrespectful to your relationship. If he’s not comfortable broadcasting your relationship to everyone he meets, that’s fine, but he certainly shouldn’t be behaving as if he were single – especially not when he’s out with you! If your partner has a terrible wandering eye, it may be time for you to wander away and find someone better.
4You can’t trust him to keep your secrets
After you’ve been dating someone for quite a while, they become one of the individuals in your life that you’re closest to. After all, you spend a great deal of time with them, you’re intimate with them, etc. It only makes sense that they would become one of the people in your life that you would confide any secrets or worries to. That’s because a healthy relationship is built on trust, and just as you can trust your BFF to keep your secrets safe, you should be able to trust your partner to do the same. That’s why a partner who can’t seem to keep his lips zipped is a huge red flag. If you share the type of secret that could harm you in some way if he stayed silent about it, that’s one thing. However, if he lets things slip time and time again to other people, things that you thought would be remaining within the confines of your relationship, that’s a whole different story.
3He talks about his ex — a lot
Listen, it’s normal for your or your partner’s ex to come up in conversation every now and then. Perhaps you’re talking about travel and mention somewhere you went together, or are talking about an annoying personality quirk that bothers you that they had, whatever. However, if your partner is constantly talking about his ex — either singing her praises, or bashing her – that’s a bad sign that she’s still taking up way too much real estate in his brain. While no one expects you to completely wipe any memory of past relationships the moment you start a new one, it’s a huge red flag if your partner seems to think about his ex almost the same amount as he thinks about you, the person he’s supposedly with now. Even if his comments are negative, it’s a sign that he might not be completely over her — why else would she be on his mind constantly?
2He refuses to let you look at his phone/computer/etc.
This goes back to the trust issue. Now, no one wants a partner who is constantly trying to check up on them and see who they’re texting or what they’re doing on their laptop – that’s a huge sign that there isn’t enough trust in the relationship. However, on the opposite side of the spectrum, it’s a huge red flag if your partner tries to hide his phone screen when he’s supposedly texting his BFF, or gets irrationally angry at you if you innocently pick up his phone to check the time or quickly use his laptop to do something online. In that kind of situation, it’s pretty likely that he’s hiding something. You don’t have to be checking up on one another constantly, but if he can’t even text his friend when he’s sitting on the couch beside you because you might accidentally glance over and see his screen, that’s just shady.
This goes back to the question of making an effort. In a relationship, everyone is going to have moments when they’re selfishly considering what they prefer, and everyone is going to have moments when they put their partner’s needs first. It can be something as seemingly trivial as going to a Japanese place when you aren’t too crazy about sushi, because that’s his absolute favourite type of cuisine and you’re going out to celebrate a big project he just slayed at work. It’s all a balancing act. However, if you find that the two of you are only going to restaurants he likes to eat at, only doing activities he enjoys, and, well, only one of you is getting to the finish line during intimate activities – that’s a huge red flag. A relationship is all about balance, and if he’s always selfish, that’s a sign you need to find someone else.