Red Flags to Watch Out for Early on in a Relationship

upset woman with crossing her arms with her back turned and boyfriend yelling at her

Are you considering going on a first date with someone, but you’re unsure about their texts? Maybe you’re several dates in, and some of the things they said or did don’t sit well with you.

What about diving into a relationship, but you have some uneasy feelings? Unfortunately, many early relationship red flags can lead to abusive and dangerous situations.

So, before you take the leap and go further with your new potential interest, check out this article to explore early red flags you may encounter in your new relationship.

Red Flag- What Is It?

Let’s break it down for those who don’t know. According to, a red flag is:

  • A danger signal
  • Something that provokes an angry or hostile reaction

In other words, a red flag is a warning sign or suggestion of potentially destructive behavior from an individual. Unfortunately, red flags are dangerously close to crossing the line into abusive behavior, so stepping over that line can easily happen.

However, dating red flags aren’t always so obvious. For instance, does your date constantly cut you off in the middle of speaking? If so, that’s a red flag that may ultimately become more serious.

1). Disrespecting Your Boundaries

We’re all individuals, so everyone has different sexual, emotional, and physical boundaries. So when people begin dating, it’s all about exploring and noting these boundaries in a healthy manner that makes each person feel safe and respected.

However, it’s an early red flag when someone pressures or tries to coerce you into crossing your boundaries. And this isn’t just about sexual boundaries.

Crossing boundaries may also include invading your personal space, not respecting your time, and asking too personal questions.

It’s important to understand that they don’t respect you if they push your boundaries in an unhealthy manner, and once they push, they will continue pushing.

They aren’t considerate of your feelings if they don’t respect your limitations. The good news is that you realized it early. So get out of the relationship and move on.

2). Love Bombing

Love bombing is when one person tries to influence another with exaggerated displays of love and attention. Some examples include:

  • Spending too much time with each other too soon in the relationship
  • Overly complimentary
  • Emailing, texting, and calling several times a day
  • Endless gifts
  • Copying all of your interests
  • Too much interest in your life and background
  • A desire to quickly move things to the next level
  • Wanting you to spend more time with them than your friends

The purpose of love bombing is to make you feel loved and appreciated, so you’re readily receptive to their desires. Love bombers have their victims divulge intimate life details that they later use against them.

This is so they can ensure future physical and emotional closeness while setting you up for manipulation and abuse.

In other words, if it seems too good to be true, most times, it is. While it’s happening, love bombing gives you the warm and fuzzies, but unfortunately, it’s often a clear sign of what’s coming.

3). They Feel They Should Come First

At the beginning of a relationship, you want to be sure you’re not spending all your time with a person you’re just getting to know.

For instance, if they ask you to go out more than three or four times a week, it doesn’t necessarily mean they like you. It’s actually an early relationship red flag.

Sometimes they attempt to push their way into other areas of your life, such as hobbies or work. Again, this may be another early red flag.

On the other hand, having outside interests is healthy. You should be able to do things with other people without feeling guilty.

Someone who wants you to make them a priority over everything else:

  • Is craving your attention and wants you to put them before anything else in your life that fulfills you
  • They want to be the ones to fill most of your personal time and thoughts with only their presence. However, they do it at your emotional expense.

4). Frequent Check-Ins

Having a check-in message from time to time or during appropriate moments is nice. Doing so is healthy for a relationship.

However, if they constantly, almost obsessively, check up on you, it’s a bad sign. Unfortunately, it’s a fine line between healthy and unhealthy, and it can be crossed without you even knowing it.

5). They Tease/Make Fun of You

If your date begins making snappy comments about you, even if they claim it’s a joke, it could be a red flag. They’ll say things like, “Wow, you eat like a bird–Big Bird!”

They may talk about your clothing style or the type of music you like. Then, of course, they’ll gaslight you and say they weren’t serious, but there is some truth even in their “joke.”

You should stand up for yourself when someone says something that hurts your feelings. Tell them what they said made you feel bad and exactly how that made you feel. Don’t be afraid to detail your emotions.

If you’re in a healthy relationship, you should be able to express your feelings without being ridiculed.

Offensive comments are not opinions, so know the difference. People give their opinions on subjects, and that’s fine. However, it becomes an issue when those opinions are rude and delivered without the slightest care for others.

They make harsh comments to shame others for their beliefs, preferences, or actions.

6). They’re Jealous

Jealousy stems from insecurity, anxiety, fear, and anger. Unfortunately, these toxic emotions come about when people lack confidence in themselves.

However, it is normal for the little green-eyed monster to occasionally appear when your partner is looking hot or in the spotlight when you go out. But there is a distinct line between slight envy and downright jealousy.

You have a jealous partner if:

  • They speak disrespectfully about you, your family, or your friends.
  • They don’t want to hear stories of past happy moments that didn’t include them.
  • They don’t like you hanging out with your family and friends.
  • They ridicule you.
  • They become angry when someone attempts to talk to you in public.
  • They become defensive when you talk about past relationships.

What begins as “minor” jealous incidents can eventually turn toxic when they try to control you, disrespect you, or demean you. Jealousy is a red flag that tells you to get out of the relationship.

7). You Have a Gut Feeling

When it doubt, always trust your gut feelings. Doing so is imperative for nearly everything in life, but it’s especially true when dating.

If you’re seeing red flags early in the relationship, don’t be afraid to question them. Then, if you’re still unsure, ask others for their insight on the situation.

When you date someone, you’re attempting to get to know them and find out if you’re interested in building something more. Essential aspects of a healthy relationship include:

  • Building trust
  • Being honest
  • Moving at a comfortable pace
  • Having some independence
  • Feeling balanced
  • Valuing each other’s opinions and beliefs
  • Taking responsibility for actions
  • Having healthy conflict
  • Having a good time!

8). Their Exes Are the Crazy Ones

Have you ever dated someone who told you about all their past relationships and how crazy their ex was? They tell their story as if they fell victim to their lover’s messy behaviors.
However, the more they talked, the more you realized that the common denominator was them!

Think about it, if they don’t have anything good to say about their ex, what do you think they’ll have to say about you?

1). It’s How He Brushes over Conversations about His Past

You: “What happened in your last relationship?”
Him: “Aw man, she was crazy.”
You: “Really, what happened?”
Him: “It was just a mess.”

2). There Are Two Sides to Every Story

When we don’t know the whole story and will probably never find out the complete truth, it’s easy for him to give his version of what went down, and most times, it will not be in his ex’s favor.

Some men refuse to discuss how they dealt with the relationship. Instead, they would rather place all the focus on the ex.

For example, he may say, ” She cheated on me, ” or “She portrayed herself as something she wasn’t.

However, he neglected to say that he cheated on her four times before she stepped out. So, of course, it’s not entirely his fault, but it’s not his ex’s fault, either.

3). He’s Playing the Victim Role

When a person is quick to play the “crazy” card on an ex, it raises warnings. It shows that they don’t take accountability for their actions and instead prefer to blame others.

They may say things like, “I gave her everything, and she broke my heart.” They have a laundry list of what the ex did and can’t wait to tell you.

  • “She fell out of love.”
  • “She cheated.”
  • “She was crazy!”
  • “She was selfish.”
  • “She was mean.”
  • “She was a b***h!”

He has so many sad excuses you want to pull out the violin. When they play the victim, they paint themselves as the perfect martyr in the relationship.

However, they’re only making you feel as though you have to watch your step before you’re the next bitch!

What to Do if You Start Noticing Red Flags

  • Always trust your instincts
  • Understand your limits and stick to them. Express them when you feel uncomfortable
  • Early on, choose people who demonstrate positive traits
  • Ghost them, or leave the relationship if you feel they’re not safe
  • Ask for the opinions of trusted family and friends

9). Excessive Drinking

Studies indicate that the overconsumption of alcohol is linked to gender-based violence. But, of course, this doesn’t mean every alcohol user becomes an abuser.

However, if a person cannot control their alcohol consumption, they may not be able to control other aspects of their life, including emotions.

Be mindful if all your early dates involve drinking alcohol. Consider going on a few sober dates to see their true personality and whether or not they’re a good fit for you.

10). Your Friends Can’t Stand Them

Your friends are typically the people that share your same values and interest. So, if your friends side-eye your new partner, it’s a major red flag. This is because people often give off certain vibes, and you don’t have the perspective to see it when too close.

A good friend will tell you how they truly feel, even if it could hurt your feelings. If your new partner is rude to your friends, family, or in general for no apparent reason, consider moving on.

11). They Lack Motivation

We live in a country with so many opportunities to take advantage of. And this is not only pertaining to a business. It’s a red flag if they don’t feel motivated to learn or try different things and expand their life experience.

Are they motivated to consider new date ideas or activities outside their usual scope? Maybe they constantly try new things but never commit.

Do they give up and throw their hands in the air too quickly? Are they the type to complain but then do nothing about it? All of these are red flags.

12). They’re Non-Initiators

Do you need to press your partner to have a simple conversation, go out on dates or be intimate?

Were you the one who constantly texted first? Think about how many times you’ve initiated conversations in the last month. Then, think about how many times they did it.

If you’ve been in a relationship for slightly longer, when it comes to intimacy, do you always make the first move? In a relationship, the healthy approach is to have both people show up and be excited and passionate.

Girlfriend Trying to Get Man's Attention

13). They Don’t Have Friends

Some people are naturally introverts and don’t go out all the time. They prefer to be by themselves, and that’s OK.

However, if they’re a loner because they don’t like others, or others don’t like them, it’s because they may be unpleasant to be around. So if that’s the case, it’s a huge red flag.

Sometimes you’ll find people who have friends but at a price. For example, their friends are “business associates” or “beneath them,” and they’re helping them get ahead somehow. In other words, the dynamics of the “friendship” are uneven.

If a person only has online friends and there’s a significant age gap or most of their friends are of the same gender, race, or socioeconomic status, it’s a red flag.

14). You’re Hesitant to Talk About Your Relationship

Are you afraid to define your relationship? Are you in a romantic relationship that is still loosely defined or not defined at all?

It’s OK to feel this way for a few weeks, but eventually, you should be comfortable enough to ask your new partner what you are both looking for in a relationship.

But then again, you might not want to have a relationship with them, and that’s OK, too. Instead, you may be searching for something more casual and open. Just be sure to communicate your desires with your partner early.

Clear and concise communication in a relationship is healthy. But, if you’re afraid to discuss specific topics, that may indicate upcoming red flags.

If you recognize any of these behaviors, don’t hesitate to do your due diligence. Trust your gut and check for things like a disturbing social media presence and whether or not they have a criminal or arrest record.

It may not be as severe as those examples, so watch for the smaller signs like frequent check-ins and overstepping boundaries. When it comes to dating, have fun, but always stay safe.

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