Relationship Red Flags That Could Actually Be Healthy Signs
Relationships can be difficult to navigate. Once you're out of the initial "honeymoon period," it's common to experience complacency or, in some cases, even boredom. It's also human nature to occasionally wonder if you're in the right relationship.
There’s a handful of warning signs that most people assume are relationship "red flags." However, things aren't always what they seem. In some cases, the behavior you may perceive as being negative or an omen of a doomed relationship is actually the complete opposite.
Flirting With Other People
Infidelity is never a sign of a healthy relationship. However, just because you're married or in a committed relationship doesn't mean you stop being human. Flirting is a fun, playful form of human interaction that can be entirely harmless. If you find yourself flirting or learn your partner has been flirting, don't panic.
Arguing Over Little Things
One of the most common reasons people in relationships start thinking the end is near is that they begin to fight more. If every day brings a major, tear-inducing, blow-up fight, it's probably not a good sign. However, arguing, even or especially if it's bickering about little issues, doesn't necessarily mean that you've reached the end of the road.
Having Different Hobbies and Interests
Having completely different interests from your significant other doesn't mean that you aren't good for one another. In fact, it can actually mean the exact opposite. While some relationships grow from exploring new activities with your partner, maintaining your individual hobbies and interests helps keep you both healthy.
Not Always Knowing What They're Thinking or Feeling
Being in a committed relationship doesn't immediately turn you into a mind reader. While you certainly get to know someone the more time you spend with them, it's not necessarily a bad sign if you're unable to decipher what they're thinking or feeling at any given moment (or vice versa).
Feeling Like You Need to Continuously Work at It
Feeling like you need to put in the effort to make your relationship work, especially after years of being together, isn't a sign that you’re failing; it's a sign that you're succeeding. Relationships require both parties to be willing to put in the time and attention it takes to keep each other happy.
Wanting to Keep Some Things Private
It's a misconception that, for your relationship to be healthy, you need to be an open book. It's important to be honest and truthful with your partner, especially when it comes to the big things in life. Being authentic and transparent is also crucial when it comes to your feelings and emotions.
Discussing Controversial Topics
It's a common belief that there are certain topics that are impolite to talk about, such as politics or religion. However, what's considered "appropriate" for a dinner table or social gathering doesn't apply to your relationship. Being able to talk about the important things in life, even when they're controversial or you have differing opinions, can be healthy and even cathartic.
Considering Couples Therapy
Not every couple that goes to therapy makes it in the long run. Couples therapy isn't a cure-all for relationship problems. Sometimes, the events that transpired and led a couple to seek therapy were too damaging. However, that doesn’t mean going to a relationship therapist is a red flag that you're in a failing relationship.
Not Getting Jealous Anymore
Many people falsely interpret jealousy as a sign of love and caring. Therefore, if you're in a relationship in which experiencing feelings of jealousy isn't a common occurrence, you might translate it as a lack of caring.
Wanting to Change Things About Your S.O.
No one’s perfect. Being in love with someone, while perhaps making it easier to look beyond imperfections, doesn't suddenly make you impervious to pet peeves or shortcomings. Just because there are things about your partner you wish you could tweak doesn't mean it's worth calling it quits.
Enjoying Time Alone
Spending time away from your partner and actually enjoying it doesn't mean that your relationship is on the rocks. Couples that take time to separate and recharge away from one another can help facilitate individual growth that ultimately helps strengthen the relationship in the long run.
Wondering What It Would Be Like to Be Single
Similarly to the way innocent flirting isn't always a sign of an unhealthy relationship, a partner who has the occasional thought about singledom doesn't mean they don't want to or shouldn't be in the relationship anymore. It's natural to periodically evaluate and consider where we are in life and our current circumstances.
Saying Whatever Comes to Mind
In a healthy relationship, it's good practice to be mindful and considerate of your partner's feelings. If you find yourself in a relationship where you feel like you're constantly sharing your thoughts unfiltered, or as if your partner doesn't think twice before voicing their opinion, you might worry that there’s a lack of consideration.
No Longer Surprising One Another
When the relationship is new and you're in the honeymoon stage, it's easy to surprise one another. No matter how long you've been together or how old you get, getting little surprises and unexpected gestures from your loved one feels great. It's a wonderful way of keeping the spark and romance alive.
Experiencing Occasional Sadness and Doubt
You can be in a healthy relationship and not be happy all the time. Experiencing feelings of sadness, dissatisfaction and doubt is a product of being human, not of being in a bad relationship. But if feeling depressed about your current relationship becomes a regular, unshakable occurrence, something needs to change.
Assuming If It Were Meant to Be That It'd Be Easier
People sometimes have a tendency to believe that the best relationships are the easiest ones. While you definitely don't want your relationship to be a constant battle and draining aspect, it's unrealistic to assume that the only sign of a healthy relationship is if it's effortless.
Experiencing Intimacy Becoming Less Frequent
There’s no right number of times a couple needs to be intimate for their relationship to be considered healthy. Every relationship is different. After years together, it's common for couples to experience ruts or times when intimacy isn't their number-one priority. And that's okay.
Failing to Apologize
Stubbornness and a refusal to compromise aren’t ideal traits in a romantic partner. However, a reluctance to apologize during an argument doesn't necessarily mean a bad relationship. There are reasons worth considering before chalking it up as a lost cause.
Not Feeling Happier or Closer After a Baby
Many people assume that starting a family is a surefire way to mend some unresolved issues. Having a child with another person can strengthen your relationship and make you cherish and appreciate your partner more. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Having a child changes your lives in many ways — not all of them for the better.
Realizing Work Is Sometimes Your Top Priority
Life is a series of cycles. Depending on where you are in your career, there are certain times when your work may be a top priority. There might also be times when your partner needs to spend long hours working and you wish they could be home.
Taking Trips Separately
For many happy, healthy couples, taking vacations together is an enjoyable experience that both parties look forward to. However, taking a partnerless getaway, whether it's a day trip or week-long retreat with friends, isn't a sign of a relationship that's on the outs.
Not Checking In as Frequently
It can be all too easy to mistake being overly possessive and smothering as being affectionate and caring. It's important to check in with your loved one; it can be a sweet way of letting them know you're thinking of them. However, there's a difference between periodically checking in and being codependent.
Not Feeling Scared at the Thought of Being Without Them
It's one thing to spend your days wishing you weren't with your significant other and hoping that a breakup is right around the corner. However, feeling overwhelming anxiety about what your life would be like without your partner isn't healthy. It's a sign of codependency.
You Seldom Get Showered With Gifts
Random gifts and romantic surprises are often seen as grand, sweet gestures. But before you get jealous of your coworker who always seems to be getting random flower deliveries from their significant other, it's important to realize that sometimes spoiling a partner can be a form of manipulation and control.
Going to Bed Angry
It's one of the oldest adages in the book: To make a relationship work, you should never go to bed angry. However, if you don't sort through every conflict or area of contention before hitting the hay, don't assume your relationship is doomed.
Being Hesitant About Introducing Them to Family
When you're in the beginning stages of a relationship, a major step is meeting the person's friends and family. After a few months and as things start getting a bit serious, it can be concerning if they seem reluctant to introduce you. It's hard not to feel like they're either not serious about you or aren’t proud of your relationship.
Discovering New Qualities That Irritate You
Just because you love your partner doesn't mean you need to love everything about them. It's okay if there are minor quirks that irritate you. It's also only natural that the longer you spend time with them, the more of these irritating qualities you may begin to notice.
Feeling Like the Effort Isn't Always 50/50
Relationships are like a see-saw. Sometimes you're up; other times you're down. Sometimes you're the giver; other times you're the taker. It's all about balance. It's okay if not every moment of your relationship can be boiled down to an evenly split effort.
Letting Things Go Even When You Don't Agree
Many people assume that relationships should always be passionate and intense. But sometimes calm is healthy. When you feel happy and confident in a healthy relationship, it tends to be easier to let the little things slide, even when you don't agree.
Not Spending as Much Time With Friends
Isolating yourself from your friends and family for the sake of your relationship is a major red flag. It can be a sign of a controlling partner and is definitely cause for concern. However, realizing that you spend slightly less time with your friends as you did when you were single doesn't mean that your relationship is toxic.