Andy Crawford | Reborn in PHP

The Biggest Red Flags At The Start Of A Relationship

Published November 2022 | By Andy Crawford

I based the following on an article at Femanin and added my own text as it seemed quite pertinent to my own experience of the start of a relationship of many years ago.

For the full article see:

1. They Bad-Mouth Previous Relationships - can it always be someone else's fault?

If your love interest is always speaking negatively of their exes, this is a common red flag. Playing the victim is their way of getting loads of attention from you and making you think what they say is the absolute truth. Resentment is normal behaviour but tarring all their exes with the same brush is not a good sign.

She had awful experiences with past partners (being married twice before). I thought she must have just been unlucky and she was pleased to find someone who was not an awful person. Little did I realise at the time that I would not be long before I would be the awful husband too.

2. Love Bombing - lavishing you with love but for a reason!

The purpose of love bombing is to make you feel appreciated so you are more receptive to them. They can get you to spill intimate details of your life and later use that stuff against you. I'm afraid it sounds like they are setting you up for long-term manipulation and abuse. Love bombing might seem amazing at the time but that's just to reel you in - beware!

She would be over the top with her 'love bombing'. She would show her 'love' for me by showering me with gifts and emotion. Little did I know it was all part of the set-up for manipulation and abuse.

3. They Want To Know Your Every Move - early red flag!

The difference between healthy and unhealthy is a fine line. If your new partner keeps checking up on you to see where you are, you may feel protected and loved but, if you don't respond or they don't like what you're doing, you can guarantee it's not going to stay the course.

She made out that she was just 'interested' in where I went and went I did. She used to follow (stalk) me without my knowledge. I was quite flattered at first that she took so much interest in me. It became tedious after a while.

4. They Don't Respect Your Boundaries - invade personal space

Everyone has different physical, mental and sexual boundaries. With someone new, it's about exploring those boundaries and respecting the other person for their views and limits. When your other half tries to (even gently) pressurise you, you should stick to your guns. Giving in will only open the flood gates to having your personal space invaded.

She had no concept or 'personal space' either physically or mentally. She would be 'full on' and was always quick to pressurise.

5. YOU Have To Justify THEIR Bad Behaviour

Your relationship shouldn't consist of apologising to family and friends about your partner's behaviour. First of all, they need to take responsibility for their own actions and secondly, what gives them the right to be outspoken to YOUR friends. It's disrespectful to you and you need to ask yourself if that is acceptable.

I had to do this quite a lot. Her behaviour at best was rather odd, but it often involved anger, spitefulness and tears. Apologetic I often was to those around us.

6. Your Family And Friends Aren't Keen - could they be right?

If you generally respect the opinions of your family and friends, have a proper think about whether they can all be wrong about disliking your significant other. You should be open to their words and try to look at them objectively. It doesn't mean you have to instantly split up from your partner, but ask yourself if you are truly happy or happy because you are finally in a relationship.

None of my friends and family liked her as such. They tolerated her. But I think that I was only happy because I was in a relationship and there was potential there. It was never actually a 'good' relationship. It was always problematic, from the first date to the very end.

7. They Don't Like Apologising - a sign of things to come?

if your partner won't ever admit they were wrong or won't apologise for something they definitely did, then this may be a sign of a bad relationship. Some people have a hard time admitting fault and this can make your relationship's future more complicated than it should be. How can the two of you grow as a couple if one refuses to admit their flaws?

She would not normally apologise for anything and if she did, it was done in such an obviously purposely sarcastic manner that it was clear that it was not genuine and that she was only using an 'apology' to antagonise and create ill feeling.. She would see an apology as an admission of wrong-doing and weakness.

8. They Want You To Prioritize Them - at the detriment of your friends

Early on, it's a good idea not to spend too much time with someone you're just starting to get to know. If they ask you to hang out more than a few times a week, this could be a sign of either their insecurity or they are greedy with wanting your undivided attention all the time.

Oh yes. I was not 'allowed' to have friends anymore. It was all about her. She had to be the only one in my life.

9. They Make Fun of You - that's not funny

It can be an early romantic red flag if someone you've started seeing is making offhand comments about you, even if they say they're only joking. This could be everything from your choice of clothes to more serious issues such as career paths. If you feel hurt by their control, it's highly unlikely they will change.

This was regular and worsened over time. If I disagreed with her opinion she might call me 'a stupid little boy'. Or say things like 'When you grow up you will understand'. This I found offensive and unnecessary. She could have just made her point known or agreed to differ, but instead she would go for a personal attack.

10. Frequent lying - what are they hiding!

These can be white lies, small untruths or giant whoppers - none of them are acceptable. Being lied to over and over again can make it extremely difficult to build a solid foundation in the relationship or destroy one that you've built up, which can lead to a shaky future.

Early on she told me her father was dead. It was a surprise then a year or do later that she wanted to go visit him. She explained 'Oh, when I said They was dead, I meant that They was dead in my heart'. Oh really? Lies lies lies, all the time with no logic or reason.

11. They're Jealous - their insecurity becomes your issue

Jealousy is a combination of anxiety, anger, fear and insecurity. These toxic emotions often come out with people who lack confidence in themselves. Why would they be green with envy about you if they had feelings for you? Something doesn't add up here.

She was jealous through and through. I could not speak to another woman without her making a big issue over it and get excessively quizzed over my feelings and intentions. It was very draining.

12. All of Their Exes Were Dumped - is that true?

In this red flag example, whenever they talk about their past relationships, they make themselves out as the victim every time and that they had no choice but to end it. Besides speaking badly of them, they may concentrate on telling you how hurt they were - so it's all about them. What happens if you two split up? Will you be discussed as being the baddie?

Oh yes. Former husbands were bad. She kicked the last one out. I was set up to be the next baddie.

13. Your Friends Warn You Off Them - protecting you

Your friends are your friends because of their qualities, interests and values. If your pals are warning you off this new liaison because they get bad vibes about them, you shouldn't brush it off without having a deep think. Surely, there is a reason why they all seem to have a problem with the newbie.

Are you sure about her? People would ask ...

14. They Pressure You To Get Physical - that can't be right

Choosing to hook up or have sex is a big decision. There's absolutely no reason to rush into it until you are ready.. The right person will respect you by listening to your boundaries and taking things at a pace that suits both of you. If your partner is putting it at the top of their list as it's what they want, ask yourself why they are with you.

She would get physical alright, but not in a good way.

15. They Cheat On You

The response to being cheated on is subjective. Some individuals forgive and some can't see a way forward. Unless you are in an open relationship, being faithful to each other is part of the glue that sticks you together. At the end of the day, cheating is a betrayal and could turn into a pattern.

Not relevant in her case but there was at the very start of the relationship, another guy who used to stalk her and be a bit of a problem for us. Not sure how deep the relationship went, but he certainly felt that he was being cheated on.

16. They threaten To Break Up With You - make you reliant

This is manipulative behaviour and very unhealthy. If your partner is keeping you hanging on a thread, despite their threats to leave you, you are going to feel emotional a lot of the time. Instead of building a relationship you will be constantly thinking about trying to stay in it. It's not going to end well.

All the time, threats, threats, threats.

17. They Don't Have Other Strong Relationships - sounds fishy!

It can be concerning if they don't talk about other close people in their own life, whether family or friends. Can you have a good, healthy and strong relationship with someone who doesn't mention important peers from their past or at the present time? Having all their attention on you could end up suffocating you.

She had no other strong relationships. She would have brief relationships with friends but invariably fall out with them over something trivial.

18. They Don't Have Many Friends - there must be a reason

So there may be a reason why your partner does not talk about their family members but when they are lacking in even a couple of friends, you will have to accept they may be a loner and they may want you to drop all of your loved ones, to give them the same amount of time and attention.

She rarely talked about friends or family, she would always say that I would not be interested.

19. They Aren't Very Motivated - can they hold on to their job?

Does your new partner try new things, hobbies etc., to give up after only a short time? Do they want to go to the same pub on the same night every week because it saves them thinking about new ideas? A lack of motivation can have a very negative impact on the other person and would it extend to putting off commitment? Doesn't sound great.

She only ever worked part-time, never really took work seriously. She had no need to. She relied on me to provide for her. She made that very clear.

20. They're Hot and Cold - no stability for you

Benching is when somebody you've been dating stops agreeing to meet you in person but wants to continue to contact you over WhatsApp instead. Bread crumbing is when they lead someone on but have no intention of ever meeting in person or building a real relationship. Not a very positive start and you might not even know when it has ended!

Social media was not around in those days but when we first started dating, she we beg and plead that we meet up and then stand me up. Confused? I was ...

21. They Never Initiate - too lazy to make an effort

We are talking conversations, dates and intimacy. Does your partner have to be pressed into talking to you, go out on dates or even initiate a bit of loving? You should reflect on how many times you have initiated conversations in the last few weeks. Were you always the one reaching out? If they are too lazy and leave it all to you, remember that one-sided relationships don't often work out.

Oh yes! Every bit of initiation over anything would come from me and she would complain that either I did not initiate something or that she did not like what I initiated. So I could not win.

22. Excessive Alcohol Usage - not sounding good

There's nothing wrong in enjoying a drink; it's sociable and part of many people's lives. Over-use of alcohol, however, can have a negative impact, both on the user and to those around them. If your partner drinks loads, whenever you are out, you might notice a change in their behaviour and more seriously, a violent streak, which they don't have when they are sober. This is a big red flag so watch out.

She did not drink. I did but reasonably moderately. She complained about that.

23. You Have a Bad Gut Feeling - go with it

Trusting your gut is not to be sniffed at and is especially true regarding dating. Dating is all about getting to know someone and seeing if you're interested in building a relationship with them. It's about honesty and trust and if you are starting to having niggling feelings, that could be your gut telling you the truth.

I seemed to have been blind to what she was doing. I knew it was not perfect but figured it would all work out. I was a but deluded.

24. You're Scared to Have the Relationship Talk - worried what they'll say

Have you found yourself in a situation where you are scared to define the relationship? It's known as a situationship and means it's a romantic relationship where no future plans are made. This can be fine during the first few weeks or months of a partnership but both of you should be comfortable in discussing how it's all going. If you're scared to ask the question, is that person for you?

She could not/would not discuss our relationship.

25. You're Keeping Exciting Stuff To Yourself - ‘cos you might not get reaction you want

If you don't immediately run to tell your partner great news you've just received, fair enough but if you always confide in others first or leave your significant other in the dark all together, red flag? Is it your worry you won't be supported as this has been the past pattern?

There was no point. She would pour scorn, mock, ridicule, etc.

26. They Make Solo Plan - how important are you?

In healthy relationships, couples don't have to do everything together but if your partner heads out to social events without you or without telling you, that can't be considered an oversight. Do they want others to think they are single and what's going on in their head.

She did her own thing.

27. Their Little Quirks No Longer Endearing - you feel irritate

If minor habits you used to feel indifferent to, or even found quite endearing, start annoying you and you feel irritated by them, then chances are you are becoming unsettled in your relationship. Remember, these small irritations can end up turning into full scale, unhealthy rows.

Yes, the endearing naivety turned into gross stupidity.

28. Spotting Changes In How Partner Spends Money - can it be innocent?

If your other half starts shelling out money, left, right and centre and it's totally out of character for them, they might be dealing with some emotions or stresses that they're not telling you about. Even if it's not related to you and your relationship, you deserve to know the truth. Another negative sign to contend with.

She always thought that money was for spending, to make herself feel good.

29. Their Body Language Is Different - fidgeting or mannerisms

Something like a stressful week could have your partner more fidgety than normal but differences in their mannerisms could also indicate that they are not comfortable in the relationship. You need to sort your concerns before anything untoward escalates.

Fidgety, twitchy, blinks a lot. Always stressed, always something going on in her head.

30. Substance Abuse - when it's never been part of them before

Substance abuse is a clear red flag, especially if the person doesn't drink or use drugs. There is so much negativity surrounding a relationship with a substance abuser that can cause it to fail before it ever really gets going. Using this unhealthy coping strategy is a sign that they struggle with self control and emotional regulation.

Not applicable in her case.

31. They Refuse To Go 'Facebook Official'

It may seem like a simple thing, but if your partner is active on social media all the time, then the refusal to change their status to ‘in a relationship' may prove their hesitant about not only making a commitment, but having other people see that they're making one.

Not relevant back then.

32. Never Willing To Discuss The Future

You have to talk about the future at some point in a relationship otherwise what's the point. If it's not casual, then you need to know it's going somewhere. So if you have a partner who point blank refuses to discuss the future, it's a red flag.

She pretty much refused to discuss anything of any importance. Instead she would go along verbally with anything I said and then refused to go through with it, claiming I forced her.

33. Only Communicating On A Surface Level

Talking about inner thoughts and feelings as well as emotions is extremely important. It's more about the willingness to do so, too. A person could struggle to talk about their emotions but still be willing to try, whereas if you're dealing with someone who never, ever talks about their feelings and refuses to, it's a red flag.

She refused to talk about feelings.

34. Refusing To Talk About Feelings Whatsoever

In the same vein, if your partner refuses to talk about their feelings in regard to anything, ever - not even just you and your relationship - this is a worry. If they won't talk about their feelings about past experiences, what they enjoy or other people, it could be a sign they're hiding something or trying to cover up a problem.

She refused to talk about feelings.

35. Not Introducing You To Their Parents

You never have to rush into parent introductions, and they're not doing anything wrong if your partner isn't quite ready. But if it's been a very long time and they're showing reluctance to ever make it happen, it could mean they're not really in it for the long haul and unwilling to make that commitment, as well as not being bothered about you knowing important people in their lives.

Her parents were dead, apparently (see 10 above).

36. They Bad Mouth Their Parents

Not everybody has a good relationship with their parents, but it's a very worrying red flag if you're partner is constantly calling them names, bad mouthing them all the time to others or revealing a pretty toxic relationship with them. It sounds like there's a lot of drama, and also you only have their side of the story.

She said very little but only said bad things.

37. They Don't Give Two Hoots About Your Past

If you care about someone, you want to know about their past and their experiences, like where they grew up or what got them to this point. It's all part of the ‘getting to know you' conversation. So if you partner hasn't ever asked a single question about your past, and doesn't seem to care, it's a red flag that you're just a ‘person in the moment' for them, like a fling.

Yes, not interested in my past.

38. If You Explain To Them Your Needs Aren't Being Met, You're Just Whining

First of all, the fact that your needs aren't being met anyway is a huge negative sign. But secondly, if you're actually trying to explain your feelings and how you feel like you aren't happy only to have them tell you to stop whining, well - that just speaks for itself.

Yes, she would undermine any mention of feelings.

39. They're Different Around Other People

Your partner might be utterly charming and liked by everyone when they're in a group, whether that's meeting new people, with work colleagues or friends. But behind closed doors, you might see them change, become less friendly and treat you differently to everyone else.

She always came across as charming and innocent to people who did not know her. Behind closed doors, she turned into a monster.

40. Taking Ridiculously Long To Answer Calls Or Texts

People get busy and it's not always possible to answer messages straight away. But your relationship is going to suffer if you find it impossible to ever get a reply out of a text or phone call until hours later. Even if they're busy, they still don't make the effort to get back to you on their break or when they've finished work and only answer you long after you've given up caring.

She would only reply to anything if she felt like it.

41. Or Not Answering Them At All!

This is obviously worse. If you don't ever get a reply to a message or phone call then all that is saying is that you're not even worth replying to, in their eyes. Even if they're extremely busy, in this day and age even a quick “will reply soon!” is always possible.

See 40 above

42. They're Always, Always Sarcastic

Sarcasm can be funny every once in a while, especially if you and your partner painfully tease. But there's nothing more than a person who constantly condescends you using sarcasm - it can hurt, it can make you feel teased and it can easily become draining.

OK I will admit I tend to be sarcastic but it is meant in a funny way (even if it is always not very funny). But her sarcasm was always condescending and downright nasty.

43. They're A Pro At Stonewalling

Stonewalling is when you completely shut down and don't budge in your refusal to communicate. It can often happen during arguments which means you just get absolutely nowhere. If your partner is a pro stone-waller, this definitely isn't a good thing.

Almost every day she would be stone-walling over something.

44. Constantly Attention Seeking

Attention seeking is never good, no matter who it is, but in a relationship it can be the worst. If your partner is just constantly seeking attention and praise from anybody and everybody, it's exhausting and also hints at insecurity they might be masking.

She was not really an attention seeker.

45. You Don't Have A Single Hobby In Common

You definitely don't need to have every single thing in common with your partner, and you can certainly enjoy different hobbies separately. But if you don't share any common interests whatsoever about how you like to spend your time and you have nothing to bond over, it's going to be a problem over time, so it's something to pay attention to.

I thought we did, at first. But she would just go along with anything I suggested, to keep me happy, apparently.

46. They're Suddenly The Busiest Person On The Planet

Your partner is suddenly so busy that they don't have time to answer messages and barely have time to see you. It could have happened out of nowhere, or been a gradual thing. You could notice the little things, like you always message to say good morning but now it's just stopped because they ‘forgot'.

She was always busy, too busy.

47. You Feel Like You Have To Lie To Them

If you feel like you have to lie about where you've been in case you upset your partner, or you lie to them about feeling fine when actually you're worried about something, all of this is a huge problem. You should never have to feel like you have to keep things from your partner, and especially not to placate them.

I did not placate her, instead I suffered her wrath.

48. They Treat Customer Service Or Hospitality People Badly

You can tell a lot about a person based on how they treat others, naturally, but one big indicator is serving people in particular, like waitresses, till-operators or hotel receptionists. How polite your partner is with this people will be a good indicator of the type of person they really are. If they barely look at them, don't say thank you or treat them like dirt if something goes wrong, this is all a whopping big red flag.

She always treated people who she thought were 'below' her, as being below her.

49. They Treat Animals Or Pets With Disinterest

It's definitely not a red flag to simply not be a big fan of pets, or certain animals, but you can also tell a lot about a person's nature for compassion when it comes to how they interact with animals or pets - especially if they have one themselves but show it very little interest. Worse, they might even be neglectful.

No pets, did not notice.

50. They Disrespect You In Front Of Friends

This could be their friends or your friends. One of the most hurtful things a partner can do is disrespect you, but to do it in front of other people is a whole new level. They could speak to you disrespectfully, call you a disrespectful name or let a door slam in your face behind him as you enter a house party. Pay attention to words and actions!

Most of the time. She would be quite keen to point out how stupid or nasty I was.