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13 Examples of Red flags in a Relationship

Originally posted on April 24, 2022 @ 2:24 pm

There are subtle signs of red flags in a relationship that shouldn’t be ignored.
Physical Abuse
Emotional Abuse
Doesn’t want people around you

I believe that man is a social being who needs to interact with humans and their environment. We all need each other to survive and have a fun-filled life. As much as we shouldn’t allow anyone to determine how we enjoy or live life; we must still maintain a balance. We have to surround ourselves with the right people; not toxic or harmful relationships (When I use the word relationship in this post, I mean all forms of relationship with people :friendship, family, dating, or marriage).

“It’s rare for a toxic person to change their behaviour. More often, the only thing that varies is their target and the blame they place. Because some toxic people are difficult to identify, keep in mind that a victim mindset is sometimes a red flag. So, listen when someone talks about their life and circumstances. If the list of people they blame is long… it’s probably only a matter of time before you’re on that list.”

― Steve Maraboli

What does a red flag in a relationship mean?

Red flags in a relationship are signs that show the relationship is not healthy, positive, or suitable for an individual. Red flags can be character traits, values, backgrounds or behaviours exhibited by the other person. when you notice a pattern that makes you angry or irritated in your relationship with someone, It can be a red flag. I believe red flags are toxic traits that have adverse and devastating effects in the future.

What are some red flags in a relationship?

There are many red flags in a relationship which shouldn’t be ignored. I believe the list is sometimes based on individual preferences and backgrounds but there are generally accepted red flags to look out for in any relationship.


Manipulation is trying to exert influence or dominance on someone using crocked means. People who try to manipulate (referred to as manipulators) try to create a mountain out of a molehill to make you feel guilt or withdraw from essential people in your life. The end goal of manipulation is ‘control’ for the manipulator. 

An example I remember clearly in the bible is Samson and Delilah. Samson was ‘catching cruise’ by telling Delilah the wrong secrets of his power. He was attacked 6times by the philistines before his eventual defeat. Delilah used manipulative tricks the seventh time to get the truth out of him, ending his revered power.

Manipulators use your weakness and secrets as a weapon to enslave and entrap. Most manipulators are people who are close associates, relatives or friends.

More posts about manipulation are available in this article by WebMD.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is a clear red flag in any relationship. Physical abuse inflicts pain on the human body to exercise dominance or authority over someone. It is damaging to the human body and emotions. It is a way of subduing the other person. This is more common in marriage than in other relationships. I have heard of cases where a boss slapped his staff (are you shocked?). It is a form of physical abuse, and no form of physical abuse should be accepted.

Physical abuse is a red flag in a relationship
No one deserves physical torture. Photo by lilartsy

Examples of physical Abuse Include:

  • Punching, slapping, kicking, biting or choking 
  • Damaging your property or possessions when angry
  • Threatening with weapons 
  • Harming or subduing children in an attempt to oppress them
  • Driving recklessly or dangerously when you are in the car with them 
  • Forceful coercion into substance or drug abuse


Infidelity is a clear red flag in a relationship. An infidelity is an act of being unfaithful to your partner. It is usually having a sexual or romantic relationship with someone else apart from your partner or spouse. Infidelity is a severe issue in a relationship, and It breaks the trust and mutual respect of partners. There is no sign of remorse from the erring partner in some cases. When infidelity happens in courtship, it is better to break that relationship before it breaks you.

Infidelity in marriage may need professional handling of the delicate matter. It hurts more than physical abuse, and for some people, it is unforgivable.

Emotionally Abuses you

Emotional abuse or psychological abuse oppresses someone mentally by making them lose their self-esteem or self-confidence. Emotional abuse is obvious when there is the constant use of abusive and demeaning words. It is usually subtle and difficult to decipher. It can happen in any form of relationship.

Children raised in emotionally abusive homes tend to be quiet, lack confidence, and are usually sad. Some end up as abusive partners, while some tolerate toxic behaviours. When you find yourself in an emotionally damaging relationship, the best bet is to exit the relationship or stand up to your abuser.

Overly Jealous behaviour / Doesn’t want people around you

Jealousy is something I sometimes can’t understand the need for it. Jealousy is a feeling of resentment, anger or bitterness against someone who has what you don’t. In dating or marriage, jealousy can mean rage and bitterness towards an “imaginary” partner of your spouse or partner. Jealousy is a feeling of insecurity. If it isn’t adequately monitored, it can lead to devastating obsessive behaviours.

Obsession or Obsessive Behaviour

Obsession is a feeling of possessiveness. Obsessive people believe they are the only ones who have a right over something or someone. Obsession is very harmful to the obsessed; many people develop serious mental health issues because of their obsession. You can read my post about how to overcome obsession to get practical ideas to overcome obsession.

Frequent Lying

Lying is a red flag screaming from the rooftop. It is every shade of wrong to accommodate someone who lies frequently. It breaks trust, and the relationship may never recover. Friends who consistently lie to your face or families who have made lies a habit can be mentally draining. Worse off is a partner who tells blatant lies to cover his track. 

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One-sided love/Friendship

I learned this vital lesson while growing up. It is not healthy to surround yourself with people who do not care about you. I had a habit of keeping tabs on people and constantly checking on them. They often don’t show me as much care and love as I do. I have a habit of remembering birthdays and making sure I call regularly. 

After a while, I became emotionally down, and sometimes I felt I wasn’t loved. I decided to show as much care and love as I got. Prioritising people and learning to define my relationships with people. A feeling of love or emotions that are one-sided is a time bomb.

Extended Conflict

Extended conflict means quarrels that continue for longer than average or expected. Conflict is normal in any relationship. I may question your intention if you have been friends with me for six months and we don’t quarrel but, It is worrisome when the conflict that should be quickly resolved begins to take months or years. It’s a red flag that shouldn’t be ignored.

Deprives you of something

It is not healthy to be in a relationship with someone who deprives you of benefits or opportunities. Depriving means preventing someone from having or using something they deserve. I once heard a story of a woman who said, “her husband cuts her off the internet whenever they have quarrels”. Some friends are selfish enough to hide opportunities and privileges from their friends. 

Excessive Anger

excessive anger is a red flag in a relationship
Excessive anger is not beneficial, let go of anger. Image Credit:SHVETS production

Everyone gets angry sometimes; we all have triggers that get us angry. Excessive anger is going overboard. A relationship with someone who gets mad over every little thing is emotionally draining. It is alarming to move around with someone who always finds faults in all you do. It is better to control anger before it controls you. It can result in anxiety, high blood pressure, headaches, etc. Allowing people to step on you due to unmanaged anger issues is wrong. I recently watched a video where a man was throwing his partner’s things off the terrace. He was angry and fuming. While throwing those items, he slipped, fell off the balcony and died.

Undefined Relationship

An undefined relationship is a relationship whose meaning and relevancy are not clear. Often, people find themselves in relationships with people that cannot be called friendship or dating. It is something between the two. Some of these relationships are traps, and it is essential to define your relationship. In one of my previous posts, I stated how to define a relationship to prevent heartaches in the future (This post is based on my experience).

A lady was once close to her colleague at work who was going through a turbulent marriage. He shared his pain with her, and she was very understanding. They became very close over time, and her husband was worried, but he didn’t want to hurt her feeling. One day, one thing led to the other when he visited her house. She had sex with him and broke off the relationship with the man. She went as far as leaving her job. A few weeks after, she discovered she was pregnant and her colleague was the father.

An undefined relationship can become a threat to happiness.

Unreconcilable Differences

The foundation of every relationship should be based on equal values and mutual respect. A relationship cannot thrive when unreconciliable differences threaten to pull the relationship apart. Your friends should reflect your value and your beliefs. It is essential. a saying goes, “show me your friend, and I will tell you who you are”

“If you ignore the red flags, embrace the heartache to come.”

― Amanda Mosher

Finally, red flags or toxic traits are not a golden rule. I believe no relationship should be formed when there are foundational issues. Relationships that are toxic need to be addressed with urgency. It is also possible that we possess these harmful traits, which are red flags for other people. It is essential to overcome your weaknesses to become a better friend, partner, son, etc. 

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