This article was previously published. It has been slightly revised and is being republished for new thoughts and responses.
What are some warning signs that a relationship is unhealthy or doomed for failure?
Here is my personal list of red flags that a relationship is potentially harmful or is headed for disaster (in no particular order):
1. Lack of Commitment
If a person constantly avoids making solid commitments to the relationship, in a reasonable time, that’s a huge signal that they may not take the relationship seriously, now or in the future. It’s also a sign that they may be emotionally immature and not ready for a serious relationship.
2. Disinterest in Hobbies/Beliefs
If a partner regularly shows that they don’t care about the things you’re passionate about, that may be a sign that they’re not as interested in you as a person. A relationship that is mutually supportive is a lasting and fulfilling one.
3. Verbal Abuse
This point speaks for itself. If a person is repeatedly lashing out or uses abusive language, it’s a sign that the relationship, if it begins, will be harmful or escalate into physical abuse.
4. Many Failed Relationships
If a person’s past is littered with many failed relationships, it’s a sign that they are unable or unwilling to support a relationship over a longer period.
5. Failing to Protect
A person who doesn’t feel the need to protect their partner from physical or emotional harm or puts their partner in harm’s way isn’t worth the time. They don’t care enough about their partner or the relationship.
6. Manipulative Behavior
Attempting to gain the upper hand over a significant other through manipulation shows that the person is self-serving and willing to psychologically harm their partner to get what they want.
7. Disregarding Boundaries
Pressuring a significant other to do things they do not want to, or ignoring refusals is a huge red flag. Healthy relationships work with respect for each other’s needs and personal space.
8. Chronic Fault-Finding
A person who is always criticizing their partner is an emotional and psychological drain. Constant criticism will surely leave a partner unhappy. In addition, it shows a person believes their views and way of being are the only correct ones.
Seeing your partner as competition can wear them and the relationship down. People want to celebrate their achievements with their significant other, not feel like they in are in a struggle.
10. Overly Flirtatious
Flirting with others is a sign that a person needs constant reaffirmation of their self-worth, is self-centered, and/or doesn’t care about their partner’s feelings.
11. Talking Bad About Ex-Partners
A person talking bad about their past partners and relationships is a huge red flag, yet one that is routinely overlooked. A person’s perspective on prior engagements — the amount of responsibility they take for break-ups, what went wrong in the relationship, how they dealt with it — tells you much about how they deal with relationships in general. If they belittle their exes and past relationship, you should take this is as a warning sign. After all, the chances favor you becoming the ex one day.
What are your personal red flags in dating and relationships?