Relationship Series: Red Flags – Part 1

This article will highlight four relationship red flags, with an overarching theme. The accompanying video can be found here.

1. Being obsessed with fairy tale endings and insisting you’re perfect. They aren’t realistic about what life and love has to offer them and what they can obtain. They aren’t viewing you as a complete person.

Let me explain…

Everyone loves being told how wonderful they are and to hear good qualities about themselves. However, we each have flaws, quirks, and idiosyncrasies. A person who insists you’re perfect isn’t acknowledging you as a flawed human being. They dismiss potentially problematic behavior and excuse things you’ve done or said that bother you or that you’re sorry for. Their insistence that you’re perfect will create a problem when you do something they dislike or disagree with. They may say something like, “I don’t know who you are.” Or “I don’t know how you could do such a thing.” Whatever it is you’ve done may not even be that bad, though it was enough to break them out of their fantasy of who they chose to believe you were.

I attempt to break someone out of their fantasy of self-perfection by asking them about themselves. People will often say positive things about themselves or good things someone has said about their character. I then ask them something like, “Tell me something numerous people have told you, or something you know, you should work on to become a better person.” The response I receive most is, “Why are you being negative?” I explain no one is perfect, which means we each have something we can improve on and I’d like to know what it is for them.

Individuals who are committed to self-improvement and self-growth can share something they’re working on, or something they know they should work on, which breeds an interesting and enlightening conversation. You’re able to make a more informed decision on whether or not to continue to give time and space to a person when you know one of their flaws. You have a practical idea of the type of person they are when not on their best behavior. If what they tell you seems self-serving or is something you’d rather not potentially deal with, you can decide early on to disengage with this person.

Someone insisting your perfect may feed their delusion of having a fairy tale ending with you. They don’t acknowledge life isn’t perfect. They behave as if healthy relationships build themselves without any work put into it. They may say things like, “I want our relationship to be like” so and so’s, not realizing their view is from the outside looking in versus the inside looking out. They don’t recognize the two of you aren’t so and so, and the relationship you’re building is indicative to who the two of you are. This person is unable to distinguish between the reality of who the two of you are and the idea of who they perceive the two of you to be. The danger is that when, not if, something goes wrong they’ll likely blame you and be angry with you for not being who they “thought” you were.

2. Their relationship history is rocky, and they say it’s because all their exes are crazy. They don’t see themselves as the common denominator, which is why they keep picking the same types of people.

Someone with a rocky relationship history is likely unable to do the work to sustain a healthy relationship. Their way of avoiding any responsibility is to blame the downfall of their relationships on their previous partners. Someone who says all their exes are crazy will likely say the same thing about you when the two of you break up.

If someone tells me all their exes are crazy, I tell them they’re the crazy one for continuing to pick the same type of person to be with. They fail to realize they’re the common denominator and lack the foresight to invest in themselves and their thought process to break the cycle they keep finding themselves in. They see themselves as stable despite their choices leading back to the same place of having “a crazy ex.”

It becomes clear this person is the issue when they’re unable to give examples of why someone is “crazy.” They aren’t able to explain situations or circumstances that would appear to be a sign of someone being off kilter. An example given may show how unbalanced their own thinking is if they provide you with one. It’s easier for this person to avoid responsibility and shift blame than to think of how they can be a better person. This red flag can come on the hinge of the first one mentioned in that a person no longer viewed as “perfect” is now “crazy,” and that’s why the relationship ended. The person realized things didn’t match what they envisioned and instead of working things out to improve the relationship they found it easier to walk away and be critical of their previous partner.

3. Not wanting, or unable, to discuss why previous relationships didn’t work out.

This red flag coincides with the above two in that the person shows an inability or unwillingness to process their actions, and those of the other person, to evaluate and analyze what went wrong or what perspectives they need to change within themselves. It also shows the person hasn’t thought about what may have been unhealthy, or why they tolerated it, which means they won’t grow from the situation. For example, if the partner was verbally abusive. The question to ask, and a lesson they can learn, is “Why did I stay with that person?” On the flip side, the verbally abusive person can ask, and learn the lesson of, “Why was I verbally abusive to my partner?” Someone unable or unwilling to analyze their thought processes are bound to repeat similar situations until they learn the necessary lessons to break the cycle.

4. Not desiring to grow as a person or not believing there’s more they can learn about themselves.

All the above red flags have spoken about one key element, and that’s a person displaying, or voicing, a lack of motivation for self-improvement. They refuse to see themselves as a flawed person. They adhere to a relationship concept that’s unrealistic. Their idea of you is based on a fantasy in their mind. They’re unwilling to accept any responsibility for their actions or behaviors, thus lacking commitment to you. A person unwilling or unable to commit to self-improvement isn’t able to fully commit to you and building a healthy life with you.

Even though this article has discussed four relationship red flags, you can see how they each fit together into an overall theme. I’d love to hear if you’ve experienced any of the abovementioned red flags in a potential love interest or if you recognize you’ve displayed any of them.

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Thank you.

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I journeyed from GED to a PhD in Psychology. I decided to focus on my writing once I retired from the clinical field. I write in various genres and have several WIPs for publication once edited. I post articles on this website for intellectual and entertainment purposes.

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