10 Red Flags to Not Ignore At The Start Of A Relationship

In the journey of love and companionship, distinguishing between a healthy and an unhealthy relationship can sometimes be difficult. It’s essential to be aware of the early warning signs of an unhealthy relationship to protect your emotional and mental wellbeing. Let’s take a look at these signs and understand what they look like in practical terms.

Love bombing

Love bombing might seem like a fairy-tale beginning, with excessive affection, gifts, and promises. But when these grand gestures are used to gain control or admiration, they can quickly turn manipulative. For instance, if someone professes their love and pushes for a serious commitment after only a few dates, it might not just be a whirlwind romance. It could be a strategy to create a bond quickly, making it harder for you to leave if things go sour.

Future faking

Future faking is a psychological tactic used to paint a rosy picture of a shared future. A partner might talk about buying a house together, planning extravagant vacations, or life milestones they foresee with you. However, if these discussions do not match their current commitment level or if they regularly avoid making these visions a reality, it’s a sign that they’re not genuinely planning a future with you but rather keeping you hooked on the possibility.

Possessiveness & jealousy

Jealousy in small doses can be normal, but when it spirals into possessiveness, it becomes unhealthy. A possessive partner might constantly check your phone, demand to know where you are at all times, or become angry when you interact with other people. This behaviour stems from insecurity and a desire to control, often leading to a suffocating and stressful relationship.

Taking up all your time and isolation

A partner who insists on spending all your time together, to the exclusion of your friends and family, is a red flag. This isolation can be gradual, starting with slight comments about how much they miss you when you’re apart, escalating to criticism of your loved ones, and eventually leading to a scenario where you feel guilty for any time not spent with them. This tactic isolates you from your support network, making it harder for you to leave the relationship.

Talking bad about previous relationships

Constantly speaking negatively about ex-partners can indicate how someone handles conflict and separation. If your partner labels all their exes as ‘crazy’ or ‘toxic,’ it’s worth considering whether they take responsibility for their role in past relationship issues. This pattern of blame can also be a precursor to how they might treat you in conflicts.


Inconsistency in what they say and do can be a sign of deceit or a lack of commitment. If your partner’s stories about their past, habits, or whereabouts frequently change, it suggests they’re not being honest with you. This inconsistency can lead to trust issues and a shaky foundation for your relationship.

Not reacting when you cry

A partner who remains unaffected or dismissive when you’re upset lacks empathy and emotional connection. In a healthy relationship, both partners should care about each other’s feelings. Indifference to your distress indicates a significant emotional disconnect.

Disregarding boundaries

Respecting boundaries is key to a healthy relationship. If your partner frequently pushes past your comfort zones, especially after you’ve communicated your limits, it’s a sign of disrespect. Whether it’s about how much time you spend together, personal space, or sexual boundaries, ignoring these limits undermines the relationship’s foundation.

Read more: How To Set Healthy Boundaries

Controlling behaviour

Control can manifest in many ways, from overt commands to subtle manipulations. A controlling partner may dictate your dress, social interactions, or even career choices. This behaviour often stems from a desire for dominance and can lead to a loss of self-identity and autonomy in the relationship.

Trust your gut

Your intuition and physical reactions are powerful indicators of your comfort and safety in a relationship. If you consistently feel anxious, tense, or uneasy around your partner, or if your body reacts negatively (such as with headaches, nausea, or anxiety) in their presence, these are signs that the relationship may not be healthy.

Understanding these warning signs is crucial but recognising them in your own relationship can be challenging. It requires honesty with yourself and acknowledging that something isn’t right. If these signs resonate with you and you feel uncertain or troubled about your relationship, it’s important to trust your feelings and seek support.

If you’re struggling to understand your relationship dynamics or need support in addressing these concerns, please reach out. Together, we can explore your experiences and work towards a healthier, more fulfilling relationship journey. Remember, acknowledging the warning signs is the first step towards nurturing a respectful and loving partnership.

Read more:

A Guide to Healing After Losing a Relationship

Overcoming Self-Doubt: Building Self-Confidence and Resilience in Counseling

The Consequences of Ignoring Depression: Why It Shouldn’t Be Taken Lightly

Normalising Depression Symptoms in Midlife

Media contact: Cathlen Fourie, +27 82 222 9198, cathlen@cfcommunications.co.zahttps://www.cfcommunications.co.za/,

More about Guidance to Grow

Guidance to Grow is a South African-based therapeutic consultancy that provides professional counselling and life coaching services. Guidance to Grow, under the leadership of Social Worker in Private Practice, Jeanne van den Bergh, has a focus on supporting individuals who are experiencing grief, bereavement, and trauma. They offer a range of services that are designed to help clients process and manage their emotions, including one-on-one counselling, group therapy, and workshops.

At Guidance to Grow, Jeanne takes a compassionate and personalised approach to each client’s unique needs. She works closely with clients to understand their challenges, provide guidance and support, and develop customised strategies to help them move forward and find a sense of peace and fulfillment.

Guidance to Grow’s commitment to providing exceptional therapeutic services has earned them a reputation as one of the most trusted and reliable counselling and life coaching providers in South Africa. If you or someone you know is struggling with grief, bereavement, or trauma, consider reaching out to Guidance to Grow for compassionate support and guidance.

Website: https://guidancetogrow.co.za/

Podcast: Vilomah – The loss of a child

Facebook page: Guidance to Grow

Facebook group: Guidance to Grow Bereaved Parents Support Group

LinkedIn: Guidance to Grow

Connect with Jeanne: Jeanne van den Bergh

Instagram: @guidance2grow

YouTube: Guidance to Grow