10 Relationship Red Flags and Yellow Flags

Are you in a relationship, but you’re worried there are red flags you can’t see? You’ve come to right place.

Relationship red flags can help us know when we need to STOP and seriously reconsider our relationship. Here are a list of 10 relationship red flags.

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1 – They have intense reactions

Any violent behavior is a major relationship red flag. Whether it’s cruelty to animals or violence toward others, it shows that they lack empathy and may have no remorse hurting you in the future.

If your partner has ever been violent with you, it’s time to leave that relationship.

Similarly, aggressive behavior like screaming and throwing things is a sign that they have a bad temper and are easily triggered. Before moving forward with the relationship, this behavior needs to be addressed and changed.

If your partner exhibits any other intense reactions that make you feel unsafe or anxious, these are also red flags that must be confronted.

2 – They are possessive

Possessive behaviors include:

  • They’re easily jealous of anyone else you spend time with
  • They ask for your social media/email passwords and look through your phone
  • They feel entitled to your time and get angry when you can’t always be there
  • They feel entitled to your body and break boundaries
  • They pressure you into getting serious quickly

3 – They put you down

If your partner is contemptuous or critical toward you, this can be a sign that they feel superior to you, or want some kind of emotional power over you. This is called emotional abuse.

This can include:

  • Eye rolling
  • Guilt tripping
  • Criticizing you (and then saying, “I’m just joking!”). In other words, making fun of you
  • Holding you to unrealistic standards and putting you down when you don’t measure up
  • Belittling you
  • Making condescending remarks

To learn more about toxic behaviors in a relationship, read my post “3 Signs of Narcissism in a Relationship”.

4 – They’re unpredictable 

You must confront your partner before moving forward with the relationship if:

  • Your partner’s moods and reactions are volatile
  • You can’t predict how they’re going to respond to anything
  • You find yourself praying that they’re in a good mood today
  • You feel like you’re walking on eggshells

5 – They don’t take accountability for anything

This can look like:

  • Getting defensive easily
  • Shifting the blame on you
  • Playing the victim card
  • Saying things like, “This is just how I am”, and “I’m like this because…”
  • Refusing to apologize

6 – They are dishonest

Any form of dishonesty is a big relationship red flag to watch out for. There is no place for dishonesty in a relationship. Even if you catch them lying only about little things, it’s still extremely difficult to build a foundation of trust.

Even if you’ve never caught them lying to you, seeing how easily they lie to others (like their boss, friends, or family) is a sign they will easily lie to you too.

7 – They try to control you

Any controlling or manipulative behavior like:

  • Threatening
  • Gaslighting
  • Demanding to know where you are
  • Trying to control who you hang out with
  • Throwing a fit when you don’t do what they want

has no place in a healthy relationship!

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8 – They take but don’t give

Some people will take advantage of your kindness. They’ll ask for money, ask you to make sacrifices, and take all the love you can give, but they won’t return it.

If you feel like no matter how much love you give them, or no matter how many sacrifices you make, they never give back, this may be a sign that they are in a self-serving relationship.

9 – They don’t listen to you

Communication is key. If your partner ignores what you say, or overpowers your arguments and doesn’t allow you to speak, you need to make your need to be listened to known.

This also applies if your partner continually dismisses you when you address a concern.

10 – You feel like you’re making excuses for them

If you find yourself rationalizing your partner’s behavior to yourself or others, you’re likely ignoring a red or yellow flag.

Be aware of what behaviors you keep justifying and consider confronting your partner about them.

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10 Relationship Yellow Flags

A yellow flag is not as serious as a red flag. These are signs of potential red flags, but they can very well be acknowledged and worked on. Sometimes they even turn out to be misunderstandings.

A yellow flag just means proceed with caution!

1 – Your family and friends have concerns

They might not always know the whole story, but you should definitely listen to what they have to say.

2 – You have different life plans

This doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, but it can be. If neither of you are willing to budge on contradicting life plans (having kids, not having kids, career plans in a different country, wanting to live close to family, etc), it might be best to part ways.

On the other hand, if you are willing to compromise and make plans that work for you both, this is a non-issue!

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3 – They don’t have any friends

This could be a sign that they can’t maintain healthy relationships or may be anti-social, but that’s not always the case.

4 – They don’t talk about their personal life/family

Depending on how far into the relationship you are, this can be a yellow or a red flag. It may just be because they want to take it slow, but if they’re hiding things from you and don’t open up with time, this is a cause for concern.

5 – They say all of their exes were “crazy”

Ok, most of us have a crazy ex or two, but all of them? Not likely. If your partner blames their failed relationships entirely on their exes, this might be a sign that they often dodge accountability and play the victim card.

6 – They are indecisive

Healthy relationships require commitment. You don’t want to get serious with a wishy-washy person who keeps “dipping their toes in the water” and then ghosts you for a few weeks only to do it all over again.

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7 – They are apathetic about everything but you

The honeymoon phase is normal and healthy, butterflies and the like. But this yellow flag could be potentially dangerous, especially when accompanied with obsessive behaviors.

8 – They love to talk about themselves

We all like to talk about ourselves, some more than others. A person who loves to boast themselves up and dominate conversations can be pretty self-centered and sometimes even narcissistic.

9 – They’re hesitant to make your relationship public 

Again, sometimes it just takes time. But if your relationship starts getting serious and they still don’t want to be seen with you or introduce you to others as their significant other, it raises a flag.

10 – They need constant approval and reassurance

Being with a highly insecure partner can be emotionally exhausting. You want to make sure before you move forward with this relationship that your parter is willing to work on creating a secure attachment.

Read my post “7 Steps to Deal With Anxiety in a Relationship” and “How to Overcome Insecurities in a Relationship” for more help with this!

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Pay Attention to Patterns and Intentions

So how do you know whether you should stay in the relationship and work through things, or end it?

Well, you might notice that you related to a few of these flags. That’s because no one’s perfect, and no relationship is either! We all do toxic things sometimes. So be empathetic! You wouldn’t want to be judged harshly and left high and dry for one mistake, would you?

That’s why we pay attention to patterns and intentions.

Simply put, if you’ve addressed any of these relationship red flags with your partner, but they continue to dismiss you and make empty promises, and you continue to see the same behaviors, this is a good indicator that they’re not committed to a healthy connection with you and it’s time to end it. This negative pattern and lack of effort can lead to a very unhealthy and unsafe relationship that’s absolutely not worth it.

On the other hand, if your partner shows a desire to improve themselves and the relationship, you see them trying, and you see changes, this is a great sign that they are committed to a healthy relationship with you.

For more dating advice, read my post “FAQ About Finding ‘The One'”!