You’re not on the same page
You found someone that shares your penchant for all things British—royal watching, Pembroke Welsh Corgis, and bangers and mash. But what about the other stuff—the core values you hold more dear than sticky toffee pudding? “It’s vital that a couple share a basic, overall picture of how they’d like for their lives to unfold—financially, family, spiritually, lifestyle, contributions to the world, etc.,” says relationship expert Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Bregman. “If it’s becoming apparent from the beginning that you’re both not on the same page with some of life’s core basics, it’s a great sign that this person isn’t ‘the one’ for you,” says Bregman.
You keep your guard up
Maybe you’ve never been an open book, but you should find it easier to start revealing at least a few chapters. “If you’re finding that you are uneasy with your new partner and unable to drop your guard and be vulnerable, this doesn’t bode well for the future. It’s difficult to have truly honest communication and to share love, fears, and hopes without judgment if you can’t be fully real with them,” explains Bregman.
Your partner can do no wrong
Your new love doesn’t feel contrite or admit wrongdoing—ever: That’s a red flag. “If the new person you’re seeing has a hard time showing you they’re imperfect, or apologizing for even silly mistakes, this relationship probably will not last,” says Bregman.
The problem: You make a gesture—an unexpected gift, for example. Your partner perceives your generosity as the sign of a guilty conscience and accuses you of some sort of betrayal. Bregman points out that a partner who projects their own issues or insecurities onto you is unlikely to be a keeper. “It’s a sign this relationship doesn’t have a rosy future.”
When your new love frequently tests your patience, it’s a fool’s errand, Bergman says. They may do it by not answering your texts for hours when you’re looking for them, all the while posting pics on social media of them out with friends. “It’s a clear sign this relationship probably has an expiration date that is just around the corner,” says Bregman.
Not in sync spiritually
Politics, religion, finances—there are some topics you shouldn’t bring up at dinner parties or with new acquaintances. But all discussions are wide open when you’re sizing someone up for the long haul, says Bregman. His tip is to simply lay out your beliefs and expectations with as much honesty as possible. “Explain what you mean, not just theoretically, but practically as well,” advises Bregman. For example, if you go to church every Sunday, let them know up front. Help the person you’re with understand what your beliefs mean to you, he says. How they react will tell you all you need to know.
They run hot and cold
One week your new squeeze leaves notes for you to find and devotes an entire weekend for fun activities and quality time together. The next week, you’re lucky to hear from them at all. This hot and cold behavior is a sign they’re not ready, according to Amy Deacon, clinical social worker and founder of Toronto Wellness Counseling, and it’s definitely not one of the daily habits of couples in healthy relationships.
One way or the highway
If they only go to the movies they want to see, only try the restaurants they’re interested in, and only meet you on their terms, watch out: “This may be a sign that the person is not going to take your thoughts or feelings into consideration moving forward,” says Deacon.
Nasty to others
If they often lose their cool with wait staff and salespeople, watch out: You could be next, warns Deacon. “Be careful and mindful of how they treat others, for as the relationship develops, that same treatment will most definitely come your way,” says Deacon.
They won’t come clean about the relationship
It’s been a couple of months and they still won’t talk about what’s happening between you. “Clarify whether this is a fling, an open relationship, or a relationship where both parties are hoping to cultivate a future, and act accordingly,” says Deacon. If your new love interest avoids this conversation, or makes jokes about it, they’re being disrespectful, according to Deacon: “It’s an indication that the person does not have the emotional capacity or maturity to handle tough conversations.”
Maybe they were just joking. Perhaps the shirt does make you look fat. Or, yes, you could stand to lose some weight. Stop right there: If your confidence is tanking, it’s time to leave. According to marriage and family therapist Melissa Divaris Thompson, LMFT, emotional abuse is when one partner makes the other feel afraid and lowers their self-esteem with the goal of making them feel like no one else in the world will love them like they do. “Often times the person suffering abuse will feel that they can’t leave the emotional abuser because there is no one better out there for them,” she warns.
Your friends and family aren’t fans
“Your family and friends usually want what’s best for you and sometimes they can see situations more clearly than we can,” advises Thompson. “Getting their perspective might be helpful in seeing any red flags you may be consciously or unconsciously avoiding.”
They don’t know you hate mushrooms
They never ask about your day—but go on for hours about theirs. They’re quick to tell you why film noir is their favorite, but have no idea that you love documentaries. “You want someone who wants to know all of you—what makes you tick, what you like, and where you come from. If they have little interest, it’s a red flag,” says Thompson.
You’re reminded of Fatal Attraction
“Unbridled emotional experiences like feeling “swept away” may suggest that we are not in control of the passion in our relationship but rather are being controlled by it,” says Suzie Pileggi Pawelski, MAPP, who co-authored Happy Together: Using the Science of Positive Psychology To Build Love That Lasts, with husband James Pawelski, PhD. “If the intensity continues months into the relationship it can be a warning sign that you’re addicted to the rush of obsessive passion rather than a healthier, more sustainable type of love.”
You’re forgetting yourself
If you’ve closed the cover on your monthly book club and struck out with your softball team because you can’t spend a moment away from your new love, pump the brakes. “This could be a sign that you have lost yourself in an unhealthy way in your relationship. These unhealthy habits lead to dependency in relationships and is not conducive to building long-term love,” says Pawelski.