Some red flags are obvious.
But I’ve found over years of coaching people in their love lives that there are some more nuanced red flags that sneak up on us in a relationship, and can cause us MASSIVE pain if ignored.
In this recent conversation I had with Dr. Tracy and Dr. Morgan, you’ll learn how to easily identify these 6 critical red flags. We start off with No. 1 . . .
Discover the 5 Surprising Reasons Things End. . .
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What should people be looking for in terms of red flags? Matthew, maybe you want to start with this one. Where do you think some of those top things that a woman should be looking out for when it comes to red flags in our romantic relationships?
I think to me the ultimate perhaps not the ultimate, certainly one of them, the biggest red flags is someone who can’t say sorry.
Oh yeah, that’s a good one.
I really believe that between two people who can acknowledge wrongs and take responsibility for them and apologize for them. I think that there’s hope and I think that there’s progress that can be made and you can build on mistakes. But someone who is unwilling to even acknowledge that they did something wrong or acted poorly or selfishly or made a mistake, it’s essentially an impossible person to build something sustainable with.
You just hit it rights at the start. That’s a big one. I think that this respect that we need in our relationships and having humility and showing up with that is so important in building a strong and solid relationship. That is definitely a red flag to be looking out for.
Yeah, I totally agree. I think it’s like piggybacking kind of off of what Matthew said, but this sort of like closed off fitness to change, right? When we’re with a partner who is like kind of this mentality of take me or leave me this is who I am. Don’t try to change me type of perspective can be such a massive red flag because when they can’t see that we’re all flawed in some way, there’s always room to grow and then they’re resistant to the idea of change. It makes it really difficult to be in a relationship with somebody like that.
I think something I see a lot in clients that I work with is something I call crazy-making, that’s a massive red flag and it’s essentially just inconsistency. Somebody says, they’re going to do one thing and they do something completely different. And a lot of times then you end up confronting this person and they have this way of kind of flipping it back on you or making you feel like you’re making a big deal out of nothing. And this can really start to make you feel like you’re absolutely losing your mind in your relationship.
Yeah, I couldn’t-
Go ahead, Matthew.
I couldn’t agree more with that. I think you highlighted two extraordinary important things. One is someone who says they’re going to do something and doesn’t. And I really think that relationships, the entire basis for them is trust in the transaction. I hesitate to call it a transaction, but when I say I’m going to do something, you can trust that I’m going to do it. Or at the very least, if I don’t do it, I acknowledge that I haven’t done it. I don’t pretend, I never said that in the first place. I don’t hope that you won’t notice. If it turns out, I just really did forget. I apologize for that. But the consistency between what I say I’m going to do and doing it is absolutely huge to any kind of relationship and the trust that gets built within it.
And Morgan, I really agree with that. The idea that someone makes you feel crazy for saying or thinking something. The basis of a strong relationship is vulnerability and humanity. There’s a distinction to be made because some people, I think they do what I call dumping, which is when vulnerability may say, maybe I’m not feeling very sexy right now. You know, to say that to someone may be a vulnerable act to admit that right now, you’re going through a chapter where you feel a little insecure, saying that to someone 10 times a day is no longer an active vulnerability. It’s making someone else responsible for the way that you feel. And, and that’s where, to me it goes into what I called dumping. But the rewind, if when we’re being vulnerable with someone about something that’s affecting us and they make us feel like an idiot for that, they make us feel embarrassed, ashamed ,judged and whatever it may be, that is a really, really, difficult thing. Because the hardest thing in a relationship is to be vulnerable and to feel safe to be vulnerable. If when you’re vulnerable, it’s not rewarded, it’s actually punished that’s a really hard thing, to come back from because you’ll find yourself shutting down and departing from your real self.
You are saying so many great things. And just this idea of kind of like accepting things that you normally wouldn’t in a friendship and you express some vulnerability as to me, it’s not this dumping you’re talking about, but you express some normal level of vulnerability and your friend like creates some, I don’t know, says something in response to you that makes you feel like complete crap, but you’re likely not going to take it. But sometimes we do in our romantic relationships, we accept these things from our partners that we wouldn’t from any other type of relationship. And I think that if we can kind of like step outside of ourselves while we’re in a relationship and kind of observe what’s going on, if we start to notice so many things you’re talking about being made to feel embarrassed, feeling kind of like crap, not having a safe space with our partner, this is a massive red flag that deserves attention.
Yeah, that’s absolutely right, Morgan. And if see, the trouble is when we’re in a relationship, proximity is power. When someone is really close to us, they have a disproportionate influence on what we think and feel and believe. And, that’s of course, very true. If someone were in a romantic relationship with where we’re spending an extraordinary amount of time with them and it’s emotionally heightened. So they have a disproportionate amount of kind of emotional leverage in the situation. So the thing that a lot of people experience and I’ve certainly experienced it in my relationships is bringing something up that you feel vulnerable about and maybe even ashamed about or embarrassed about you, and in some sense, being vulnerable is a very difficult thing because when you are vulnerable, it can feel like you’re giving up your power. Even though being vulnerable is inherently a powerful thing, to be vulnerable and to admit weakness, or to admit that you’re afraid it can feel like you’re handing power to the other person.
And when someone takes that and makes you feel embarrassed about it, or makes you feel stupid for even feeling that it can be hard to know whether they’re treating you poorly and, use a modern term gaslighting you, or whether it’s something that we need to hold true to, because what we’re saying is actually correct. And I think that’s one of the things, one of the reasons for having people close to you, who you really trust, who outside of your romantic relationship, whose opinions you respect, who you can go to and talk to these people about these things is extremely important. As long as you know, they’re not going to tell you what you want to hear, but tell you the truth. It’s very, important because it gives you a perspective outside of yourself that you’re talking about Morgan, that is actually sometimes very hard to get when you’re in it.
But if someone does embarrass you over something, I would say this vulnerability, shouldn’t be something that harms your relationship, even if you are wrong about the thing you’re saying. So even if you’re struggling with something, but it’s not founded in anything real, and it turns out that what you were thinking about was really just in your head, you should still be around someone who doesn’t make you feel like an idiot for feeling that way. Someone who helps correct your thinking and helps you understand that where it’s coming from is an irrational place or a place that’s founded in any logic. But at the same time, doesn’t make you feel ashamed for saying something in the first place.
I think what you’re saying is so key.