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How can one understand if a relationship is going downhill? What are the things or situations that can be read as the red flags in a relationship?
Romantic entanglement is fulfilling to most human beings. But what if there comes a point in your life where your relationship fails to give you that sense of fulfilment? What if, instead of the companionship and love we need, it starts making us lonelier?
There comes a time in every relationship when those involved start doubting and questioning the point of being in the relationship. What, then, are these red flags in a relationship that may tell us that everything may not be all right?
Ah…Expectations! Something which each of us has from all of our interactions with the outer world, inclusive of even the strangers and mere acquaintances. So, it’s but natural that your partner would also have some expectations from you. But can those expectations be legitimate each time?
A friend once told me that her boyfriend was extremely possessive of her. That he was very loving and caring; but that he wanted her to lose weight quickly and dye her hair brown as it was his favourite colour; that he also had asked her to keep away from some of our common friends and, instead, interact with his friends, among other things.
So, you, the dear person reading this, need to ask yourself the difference between a healthy dose of caring and possessiveness, and a situation where you are made to feel special only if you mould yourself at the drop of his hat.
Ask yourself, are you in a relationship or in a barter economy where you trade love for the suffocation due to a sense of identity- your own identity- being eroded!
It’s one of the most common emotions of a grown up person. One begins to develop jealousy at a young age.
A healthy amount of the same, however, works like a glue for both the involved parties, but if he starts keeping a tab on who you meet, what you do in his absence and how you converse with other men, you need to understand that it reflects his insecurities, even if there is no reason to feel that way. It is a red flag, indeed, and a deeper conversation than “Love; Darling; Honey!” is needed.
Which brings us to the part full with uncertainties and suspicions.
More often than not, as has been the case with some of my really close friends, too, you start doubting your partner if he/she fails to rise up to your expectations. Then you begin questioning your partner’s integrity based on his knowledge (or the lack thereof) of your favourite pair of boots, or his failure to call you at 12:00 am sharp on your birthday. The problem arises when you let these seemingly small things (which are, in fact, small) take the steering of your relationship and drive you two to a dump full of false accusations and baseless arguments.
Needless to say, a similar thing may happen to you as well. It really needs to be understood that doubt is a microscopic seed capable of growing a humongous tree of hatred, so you must try and show a healthy amount of trust on your partner and talk it out instead of doubting and misreading the signs.
While discussing about the red flags in a relationship, it becomes important to see whether your general curiosity about your boyfriend’s office timings, or his curiosity about your whereabouts are just so general or is there more to it.
Of course, when you are emotionally invested in someone, you always wish for their well-being and thus you want to know the little as well as big things about that person- and that’s completely fine. But if your beloved is getting so, so involved in your social as well as private life, to the point of invading your personal space, you need to take a step back and look closer whether that “Who were you with yesterday?” or “Why didn’t you pick my phone?” are genuinely out of concern or there is more to it.
However, you also need to check yourself if you are doing these things!
A relationship is more like a two-wheeler where there should be a balance- mental, emotional, social and physical- between the partners. Being smitten by someone is a great feeling and having that reciprocated is, well, heavenly! But obviously, there are levels in that too- the stages which a relationship and the people involved in it follow to make it worthwhile. You need to understand that you need to move at a pace which is well-coordinated with that of your partner.
“Taking the relationship to the next level” may involve him asking you for a shift from casual dating to serious dating, from dating to a marriage proposal, or establishing sexual relations.
In an effort to make sure that the relationship doesn’t get broken up, many people just concede to their partners’ wishes. But one needs to understand that if you are comfortable at a place where you two stand, instead of just conceding under pressure or taking a decision to go separate ways, you need to talk.
More on this context, if you feel like you’re body space is being invaded, despite clear indications from you, or if you feel that the next stage can be withheld for a little while longer, then it is well within your right to ask for letting you make your decision.
Of course, no one really knows how much of time should be invested each day in keeping in contact with the beloved. Usually, at the beginning of a relationship, due to the novelty of it, both the partners seem absolutely smitten by each other- regular communication, updates about each other’s’ locations, even their dietary routines!
But it is absolutely necessary to check how much time you are devoting to your lover and vice versa. As they say, too much of everything is bad- thus, over communication, too, is an overkill. If the one who we love spends too much time on us, after a while, we might start feeling suffocated. On the other hand, too little time, may (or may not) mean that the person is losing interest in us. Whatever be the case, you need to understand that it is not actually the quantity, but the quality of time spent together that matters.
Again, the principle at work here is that a healthy dose of everything is completely fine- needed, even. Similarly, even arguing, at times, with the person you may be looking forward to spending your whole life with is only natural. It may even be of importance, to get your point clear to your partner if they are being stubborn. But things like personal attacks are never okay.
If he is (or you are) going for personal attacks; channelizing frustrations from something else towards you, or are threatening to or are inflicting any kind of physical, mental, or sexual injury on you or themselves- then, dear, this is not a ‘minor argument’! Arguments do have a tendency to turn ugly, but then again, one needs to learn a distinction between an argument and an attack, however difficult that may seem.
They say opposites attract! They say that a negative and a positive put together bring balance. They say that it’s okay to be same, yet different. Well…that’s all right. But can they say the same about life goals? Clearly, no two people can have the same life goals- maybe similar, yes, but not absolutely identical. The same goes for relationships too.
Do you and your partner agree upon certain elements that are important for the endurance of this relationship? Do you two have the same view of the direction your relationship is going to take? What kind of commitment issues are there (or may develop later)? These are the points along which both of you really need to think and act.
For most relationships, it is the mention of an ex-girlfriend or an ex-boyfriend that ends the deal. And it is, in fact, one of the most dangerous red flags in a relationship.
It is completely true and understandable that forgetting someone you were previously emotionally attached to is difficult, but if he is always going on about his ex, then it’s a time for revaluation, however discomfiting that might seem. On the other hand, if you bring up the matter of his ex in your conversations (despite no initiation from him), you need to understand that it only shows your insecurities and fears- fears that may not actually have any actual ground.
Having said that, I am not suggesting that information about the exes need to be completely hidden. It is absolutely necessary for both the sides to share relevant information about their pasts, but not at the expense of causing discomfort to each other.
Yes, this is, in fact, the biggest and the ‘reddest’ of all the red flags in a relationship that signifies that all may not be going well in the relationship.
The fact that you have to think about these points and look them up and ask others about them simply suggest that if you are looking for answers, you must have had some questions coming up to your mind for a while. These questions, if not anything else, are in fact, slight (and sometimes, all too obvious) hints that everything may not be all right.
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Just your average pen-wielding person with a knack for thinking inside the box.
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