The six relationship red flags you should never ignore

Couple moving in together early on, to show relationship red flags. (Getty Images)
Too much too soon could be one of the biggest relationship red flags. (Getty Images)

We're all dating experts now, whether it's casting our romance rating out loud at the TV while watching Love is Blind and Married at First Sight Australia, or dishing advice about our friend's new love interest.

It seems it's far easier to spot 'red flags' in a potential partner when it's not our own hearts on the line. And even when we do see them, we can be guilty of turning a blind eye.

So, to ensure you dodge a bullet next time around, here's a reminder of why warning signs shouldn't be ignored, and the main ones you should look out for.

Read more: How long does it take the average person to say 'I love you' in a relationship?

What are red flags?

They're more than just an 'ick'.

"A red flag is a sign of danger and in a relationship, it's something your partner does that shows lack of respect, integrity, and interest in your wellbeing – demonstrating that the person would not be able to have a healthy relationship with you," says relationship coach Melody Chadamoyo.

But when you're being dazzled by a declaration of love within days, it's a lot harder to see them for what they are.

Six relationship red flags

1. They spend too much time talking about their ex

Does this one sound familiar? "I'm firmly in the camp that it's ok to bring up ex-partners if the conversation is relevant, it's not insensitive and won't start a direct argument," says dating and relationships expert Clarissa Bloom.

"But the main area for concern is if they speak highly negatively of their ex," she points out. "This could be a sign they haven't fully got over them. Breaking up can be a very hard time and they might want to go on a date to get over their ex-partner, but you shouldn't be used as a tool for them to overcome their ex.

"They may need some time on their own to fully get over their feelings."

If he or she still has the ex as a screensaver, and suffers 'mention-itis', talking endlessly about them and their amazing family/friends/house/job, alarm bells should be ringing, loudly.

Close up crying woman holding torn picture of ex. (Getty Images)
Talking about their ex too much could be a sign they're not over them deep down. (Getty Images)

2. Something in your gut feels wrong

You know more than you think you do. "Listen to your intuition. Some people spend time writing pros and cons lists to see whether they should be together instead of listening to their intuition," says Chadamoyo.

"On a date, if you start to feel uncomfortable don’t try to explain it or reason with yourself but rather walk away. Your intuition is always looking out for you. We’ve all said 'I knew this was going to happen' after things have already gone badly. That knowing is your intuition."

Don't confuse gut feeling with nerves – everyone feels nervous before a date; but intuition is a steady inner voice.

3. They don’t talk through issues

"How you handle disagreements is crucial for how the relationship grows and thrives," says Chadamoyo. "In a good relationship, a couple will talk through issues, listening to the other and expressing their own point of view. This allows both parties to feel heard and seen."

"If something comes up that you don’t agree with, and the person refuses to discuss it, this can be a massive red flag."

If it's early on, it may simply be the case that they're nervous of conflict, but if it persists, consider whether you want to be with someone who can't listen – or even talk – when the going gets tough.

Read more: Why feeling insecure in relationships is common – and how to stop it

Man ignoring woman wanting to speak in relationship. (Getty Images)
Communication really is key in a relationship. (Getty Images)

4. Me, me, me

A relationship is a two way street.

"If the conversation is purely about one person, this can be an instant red flag," says Bloom. "Both people on the date should be eager to get to know each other, whether that's directly asking questions, or following up an answer with an enquiry back."

If they're spending more time looking at their phone than looking at you, or holding forth about their own opinions, experiences and thoughts with no interest in yours, it's a serious sign that they're a bit self-obsessed.

5. Whirlwind romance

This can be especially hard to miss when you're caught up in the moment. "Another red flag to watch out for is being trapped in a whirlwind romance," says Chris Pleines, a dating expert from Dating Scout.

"When you haven't built any foundation yet for your relationship but they are already treating you as if you are the love of their life, they are, in fact, lulling you into a false sense of security," he says. "They are just putting up a front and manipulating you into thinking that they are 'the one'.

"Once you fall for them, that's when they start taking advantage of you. They can get away with toxic behaviours in the actual relationship because you are manipulated into thinking they'll go back to being the 'perfect' romantic partner you first met."

If s/he's declared love in the first week and is pushing for moving in within a month, slam on the brakes – and ask why it's all happening so speedily.

Read more: What is fizzling? This new dating trend is the less painful version of ghosting

Couple carrying move in boxes into home. (Getty Images)
Have you been asked to take the next step too early? (Getty Images)

6. They complain all the time

This can also just become downright annoying.

"It's one thing to be comfortable and open up about your private sentiments," says Pleines, "but it's another to complain relentlessly. You may not see through it at first, but a person who does this on a date, and the first date at that, will bring a steady stream of personal problems and negativity."

Of course, they may have plenty to complain about, so initially, it seems reasonable. But if it's relentless, he says, "you will be left with so little space or none at all – to open up your own emotional life. If they do this on a first date, how much worse is it going to be in the future?

"Of course, you have to give the other person a chance. It is possible that they could only be having a particularly bad day. However, monitor if the behaviour persists and do not ignore this red flag."

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