Read these 25 Warning Signs Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Date tips and hundreds of other topics.
How do you know if you are in an abusive relationship? Below are some warning signs. Please take these signs seriously. No amount of love will compensate for these innappropriate behaviors.
1) A push for quick involvement
3) Controlling behaviors
4) Unrealistic expectations
6) Blames others for problems and mistakes
7) Makes everyone else responsible for his feelings
9) Cruelty to animals and children
10) "Playful" use of force during sex
11) Verbal abuse
12) Rigid sex roles
13) Sudden mood swings
14) Past battering (of you or on others)
15) Threats of violence
Have you ever wondered if there are some fundamental keys to avoiding a bad dating relationship and ultimately a bad marriage? There are. The first is being able to be yourself while dating. One of the most common red flags in a dating relationship is thinking you have to play a role or act like something or someone you are not. So, if you are in a current relationship, ask yourself, "Can I be myself in this relationship or do I have to mask some of my feelings?" If the answer is yes, this relationship is not for you. If you are starting a relationship, be yourself -- without apology -- from the start. It will save both parties a lot of pain down the road.
In his book, "Finding the Love of Your Life", Dr. Warren suggests that dating couples should avoid choosing a mate to please someone else. He writes, "Why would anyone select a marriage partner in order to please someone else? Most of us try hard to please others, and some of us establish our whole identity out of our need to make everyone else happy." Be responsible for your own identity -- don't always link it to pleasing others. And make important life decisions -- like marriage -- based on what is right for you and your life, not on what others feel is right for you.
Is your date cheating on you? If the answer is yes, there will be obvious signs. Your date will become less talkative, may be defensive at odd times or may just be acting strange when you are together. If you feel you are being cheated on, be proactive; talk about it. Let your partner know that you won`t tolerate their cheating; make them choose between you and the other person. If they won't, cut the relationship off completely. You deserve better.
The decision to have sex is a personal once. Unfortunately, in a dating relationship, there are two people involved who both feel very personally (and often very differently) about the subject. If the person you are dating pressures you to have sex -- and does not respect your right to say 'no,' this is one of the biggest red flags you can get. If you are uncomfortable with your date's advances, tell him/her. Their response will reveal their true feelings about you. If they continue to pressure you, they aren't listening to you; they are disregarding your beliefs and values; and they are not the right for you.
Dating violence is common, but NEVER acceptable. Forms of dating violence include sexually agressive behavior, psychological abuse (mind games) and physical abuse. If your date has ever abused you, get out immediately. Do not expect this person to change if you marry him/her. Talk with a trusted friend, a family member or a professional who can give you good, sound advice on how to best deal with the abuse. Dating violence is dangerous; don't treat it lightly and don't put up with it.
The whole purpose of dating is find someone who 'fits' you -- your personality, your lifestyle, your values and beliefs. So, if you find yourself not able to 'be yourself' with the person you are dating, take a moment and ask yourself why you are investing the time in the relationship; it sounds decidedly one-sided. You should always feel free to be yourself. If your date cannot accept you for who you are, further dating can be more hurtful than helpful because, clearly, you two are not good for each other and probably not meant to be together.
When you date someone, there are bound to be a few little things that you'd like to change. Here are a few that you probably can't change (and that you probably don't want to live with your entire life):
a)is critical of your family
b)is critical of your friends
c)yells at you
d)blames you for all of relationship problems
e)avoids showing emotions
f)won't solve problems with you
g)doesn't like your family
h)doesn't like you spending time with your friends
j)wants you to do things that you aren't comfortable with
If you have observed one or two of these warning signs, think long and hard about continuing this relationship.
You love your boyfriend or girlfriend and you want to get married. Are you really ready? In his book, "Finding the Love of Your Life," Dr. Warren suggests that many dating couples, "simply have not walked together through a variety of circumstances and situations necessary to really know someone." He recommends that dating couples should have multiple experiences doing a variety of activities together, both enjoyable and unenjoyable. Find many ways to get to know each other better. Don't rush into marriage.
According to the latest research findings, 1 in 5 teenagers are being physically or sexually abused by their partners. This has to stop. Abuse hurts individuals. It damages self-worth. It hurts a person's belief in the good of others. It prevents teens from developing healthy relationships. Here are some things you can do if you are being abused, if you have been abused, or if you know someone who is being abused.
1) Talk to someone who you trust about the abuse.
2) End the relationship. Statistics reveal that abuse in dating is more likely to continue or intensify in marriage.
3) Don't be afraid to call the police if abuse has occurred. Those who abuse need to have consequences for their actions or they will continue to abuse. They need help.
4) Seek professional help if the abuse has hurt your belief in yourself. A therapist can help you understand the tactics the abuser used to make you believe that the abuse was normal.
5) Learn as much about abuse as you can so you can be better prepared on how to deal with it.
Never put up with abuse and never abuse others. Abuse hurts the self-worth of both the victim and the abuser. NOBODY deserves to be abused!
When you marry someone, you marry their parents. Dr. Warren, in his book titled "Finding the Love of Your Life," suggests that that couples should work through and clarify their relationships with their parents before marriage. He suggests that, "When we marry, it will be ideal if in relation to our parents (1) we are essentially free from them--emotionally independent individuals--so we do not have to make decisions and live our lives to please them; (2) we are clear about what is particularly true of our relationship with our mother and father, and what is true in relation to our spouse; and (3) we have established a relationship with our parents in which they will not intrude in our marriage, will not dictate to us in any authoritative ways, and yet we stil maintain a closeness and connectedness to them."
Some people wear their heart on their sleeve; others rarely give you a peek. This can be especially frustrating if that someone is your boyfriend or girlfriend; you cannot read how he/she feels about you. Sometimes you feel as close as two people can be and, at other times, there is an incredible distance between you. If you cannot read the emotional output of the person you are dating, talk with him/her before you get too serious. This lack of communication can ultimately cause marital problems. If you're afraid to bring it up while dating, that is not a good indication of future success.
While dating, it's important to keep your eyes wide open. Unfortunately, far too many people dismiss the personality or behavioral problems of their partners. They often feel that the love they feel in the relationship will overcome such behaviors. Dr. Warren says, "if there are qualities about your partner's personality or behavior that you question -- like jealousy, temper, irresponsibility, dishonesty, or stubbornness -- ask yourself if you're willing to spend the rest of your life dealing with these problems." Dismissing such behavior can cause long term pain if you choose to move the dating relationship into a serious relationship or marriage.
Far too many people marry before they are emotionally ready. Unless people deal with their own personal issues first, any relationships they enter into will be in danger. Dr. Warren writes, "In fact, when a couple is not healthy, they will inevitably damage, and maybe even destroy, their marriage." These marriages often end in divorce, causing additional emotional pain for both partners. Before you marry, take time to know yourself and your own issues. Then invest time in understanding your partner better. Many engaged couples enter therapy before marriage to increase their changes for a happy, healthy marriage.
If your partner is pushing you to get married, take heed. An eagerness to marry is often a red flag for couples who are dating. This rush to marry may be a sign of loneliness, rejection and feelings of resentment toward others. Such individuals sometimes marry to get out of their home or to avoid loneliness, and they often carry emotional baggage into the marriage. Take your time, date a while and really get to know each other before you marry.
If you are in your early 20's and want to get married, keep this statistic in mind: the divorce rate for 21-22 year olds is twice as high as it is for 24-25 year olds (Warren, 1992). Why? Well, social scientists have found that people who marry young are seldom prepared for their marital roles. Early marriage also takes away individual opportunities for learning and development. Since studies have also found that people who date longer stay married longer, there is a lot of incentive for younger people to delay marriage.
No one seeks out bad relationships. But if you enter a marriage with a spouse who has an addiction, you are signing up for one rocky ride. Problems with alcohol, drugs, gambling and sex are very serious. Many people will mask these behaviors prior to marriage, so pay very close attention while you are dating for any addiction patterns. If you note any suspicious behaviors, talk to your dating partner and seek help immediately. A marriage in which one or both partners suffers an addiction is less likely to succeed.
Does your date handle anger well? At the start of a relationship, you may not be able to tell since we all tend to be on our best behavior. However, as you become more serious, it is important to see how your potential spouse handles anger. If there are anger problems, they will only intensify during marriage. Some of the signs include: 1)getting angry over small things; 2)putting others down; 3) flying off the handle and then quickly apologizing; and 4) blaming others for their anger. If you see one or two of these signs, talk to your dating partner and suggest that he/she talk to a professional who can help them manage their anger.
Dating does not occur in a vacuum; as a result, you and your date can feel pressure from all sides. If you are feeling pressure in your dating relationship, it's important to analyze where the pressure is coming from. If it's coming from the person you're dating, this could be a red flag (something you should watch carefully. Pressure to date from family or friends is another source and should be carefully managed. Dating should be enjoyable, not something that you feel pressured to do. If you are feeling pressure, look at where it is coming from and then decide what you want to do, not what others want for you.
Most people are on their best behavior at the start of a relationship. Only after you've been dating for a few months will the 'true person' come through. One critical area to observe is whether your date is critical of others. He/she may not criticize you, particularly at the beginning of your relationship, but if he/she is critical of others (i.e., your family or friends), this could be a red flag. The put downs or criticisms he/she hurls at others now may eventually land on you if the relationship continues.
Are you engaged to marry someone who you have dated for less than a year? In Dr. Warren's book, "Finding the Love of Your Life", he suggests that many marriages failure because the decision to marry is made too quickly. Short courtships do have give couples adequate time to know each other well enough. Further, he sites a study that found "a strong relationship between length of time spent dating and marital satisfaction." There is strong evidence that making the decision to marry quickly places the partnership at tremendous risk.
Do you need constant attention from your partner? From other people? You may be narcissitic. Narcissism is an excessive admiration of oneself. Dr. Warren writes, "The fact is, narcissism and marriage doesn't go together. People who struggle with narcissism struggle to meet their partner's needs. They need constant admiration and are constantly looking for others to lift them up." If you are narcissitic, realize the effect it could be having on your partner and on your relationship. If the situation is serious, consider therapy.
One of the biggest problems dating couples have is they often have unrealistic expectations. While dating, it is easy to have good times and from this early experience expect that marriage will be exactly the same way. Unfortunately, this leaves far too many newlywed couples dealing with the reality that life can be hard. Therefore, it is wise for dating couples who are contemplating marriage to discuss potential difficulties. Being open and honest early in the dating relationship can actually increase your relationship bond.
When you date someone, you date his/her entire family. It's true. Even if they live miles away, the relationship that they share with your special someone has an impact on every aspect of your dating relationship. Even if your date doesn't want to be like his/her family, chances are, he/she probably is. So, observe how the person you are dating treats his/her family when you are with them. You'll learn more about your date and more about yourself. Also, if you feel left out when you are with his/her parents, this could be a potential warning sign of things to come in the future.
Your girlfriend is a flirt. She probably flirted with you before you dated, right? So you knew that this was a personality trait she possessed. You can't control her, even if you are dating her...so you can either sit back and watch or you can break up with her. Either way, be confident in yourself. Just because she is flirting with other guys doesn't mean that there is something wrong with you or with your relationship. She may just like the attention, but that doesn't mean she can't like you at the same time.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|