Once upon a time I was the master of making excuses for other people. Give me any scenario, hit me with all of the relationship red flags, and I could come up with five different reasons it was the way it was.
Scenario: The guy I’m seeing blew me off for an entire weekend, without a word.
He was hanging out with friends and didn’t want to be rude by being on his phone.
He had a ton of work to catch up on.
He assumed I had a ton of fun plans and didn’t want to tear me away from those.
He liked me so much that he didn’t want to seem clingy and push me away.
He hit his head while performing a heroic feat (probably one involving the elderly, or maybe an orphan) and now has amnesia, causing him to temporarily forget about me through no fault of his own.
See what I mean? Despite being intelligent, hardworking, and confident, I was so quick to give my romantic partners the benefit of the doubt, no matter what. After all, it was so much easier to do that than to sit down, re-evaluate the relationship, and ask myself some uncomfortable questions. Today, I’m outlining the relationship red flags that you’re simply too valuable to keep putting up with.
First, I want to point one thing out. There’s a frustrating trend of telling women they’re stupid, blind, or naïve if they put up with x, y, and z. You are none of those things. If you’ve found yourself overlooking and excusing these relationship red flags, it means you’ve simply been hopeful and optimistic about your relationship. It means you’ve wanted to be accommodating and understanding, and you’ve happily viewed your partner with rose-colored glasses.
Here’s the thing: by being honest with yourself and addressing these relationship red flags head on, you’re giving yourself and your partner the ultimate gift: the chance to find a relationship that doesn’t have these problems. You’re deciding to love yourself so much that you’re ready to stop making excuses for someone else, and that’s pretty cool.
They go radio silent for extended periods of time.
Sure, some people can’t text while they’re at work or don’t want to talk on the phone every night before bed, but dropping off the radar entirely is a bit concerning. I was seeing someone right out of college who would regularly be M.I.A. for entire weekends. This was disappointing for me, because he rarely left my mind. Every conversation we had was delightful and kind, but the inconsistency in our communication left me feeling lonely and confused.
Not only did walking away from this relationship reduce my own self-doubt, but it opened both of us up to finding a partner we wanted to tell everything to!
They don’t introduce you to their friends or family.
You don’t need to meet mom and dad after the first date, of course, but don’t you want to date someone who is excited and proud to have you on their arm? If they’re hesitant or completely against bringing you around their loved ones, it’s important to figure out why. It’s a major red flag if they want to claim you, and your relationship, in private but not in public.
When I met my now husband, I was thrilled to introduce him to my best friends and my family. There aren’t words to describe just how cool it was to have all the people I care about most in the same room. You deserve that excitement.
They flake on plans.
Sure, last-minute work obligations or stomach bugs happen. However, if your significant other is repeatedly backing out of things, there might be something bigger going on. I vividly remember that painful feeling of disappointment when I realized that the Friday plans I had been looking forward to all week weren’t going to happen. I wish I could go back and hug that girl, but I can’t… so instead, I’ll virtually-hug you.
You don’t deserve to be bailed on, and there’s someone out there who will prioritize your plans over anything else.
You’re constantly giving more than you’re getting.
It is a beautiful thing to be so giddy and excited about a relationship that you give and give to make it work, but it’s even more beautiful when your significant other is doing the same. Take an honest look at your partnership, and see if they’re putting into it as much as you are. Would you drop everything if they needed help? Do you feel confident that they would do the same?
Different people show affection in very different ways. You can’t measure who “gives more” by who simply pays for more meals or initiates more phone calls. Instead, ask yourself: Do you both place equal importance on your relationship? Are you equally motivated to make the relationship work?
You spend a lot of time wondering where you stand with them.
Quite frankly, that is an exhausting way to live. You work day in and day out to impress professors, please bosses, and maintain friendships. You shouldn’t have to constantly be unsure of your romantic relationship, too. Find someone who inspires confidence, not second-guessing.
Keep in mind that this is a two-way street. If you want a partner who doesn’t play games and is outspoken about how they feel, do the same for them.
At the end of the day, I’m just a stranger who learned about these relationship red flags the hard way. You are the only person who can judge your relationship, and you’re the only person who can make the hard decisions. The only thing I will demand of you? Know your worth, listen to your gut, and never let yourself forget that you’re deserving of a relationship that makes you feel empowered and loved.