Relationship expert reveals the 7 red flags you shouldn’t ignore when dating

By Verity Sulway

As autumn approaches, many people start looking for a partner to hunker down with over the colder months, heading out to pubs and bars, to speed dating events or creating online dating profiles.

But when it comes to romance, it’s very important to know the difference between a healthy relationship and a relationship that’s about to fail.

Whether you’re in a new relationship or have been with your significant other for a long time, there are a few red flags that you should never ignore, as they could lead to much worse behaviour.

Covering everything from jealousy to "love bombing", we spoke to relationship expert, James Thomas from Condoms.uk, who outlines the 7 red flags to look out for when you’re dating.

1) Love bombing

Love bombing is a term used in psychology to describe a manipulation tactic whereby a new partner treats the victim with excessive warmth and affection. Not to be confused with the healthy ‘honeymoon phase’ of a new relationship, the mechanics of love bombing usually involve deceit and dishonesty to win that person’s trust and have control over them.

Arguments are normal - but be careful your partner isn't patronising or belittling you (Getty Images)

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If your date or partner is giving you an exaggerated amount of praise and adoration that feels unnatural- it probably is!

Be on the lookout for if they are treating you kindly only when they want to gain something from you. In the early stages of a relationship, take things slowly and allow trust to build.

2) Jealousy

Jealousy is the fear of losing something or someone you love, whether it be your partner, possessions, or place in society. This fear makes people act in irrational ways; they think the worst of their partners and find something wrong even when things are going well with them.

This can seriously affect their relationship and can eat into self-esteem. If your partner hates when you spend time with your friends, colleagues, or family, this could be stemming from jealousy and their need to control you.

They may question your actions and try and make their victims out to be suspicious, untrusting, and obsessive people. If your partner is exhibiting any of these behaviours, watch out.

The expert says it's a red flag if your partner is regularly keeping secrets from you (Getty Images)

3) Superiority complex

A superiority complex is a delusion of personal superiority or divine mandate. A person suffering from this delusion will show arrogant, haughty, disdainful, or patronising behaviour. If your date or partner makes you feel stupid or belittles you for your interests, this should be a major red flag.

Superiority complexes are common in narcissists who have an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves. They find this self-image of themselves to be of utmost importance and anything that might destroy it must be filtered out, which is why they might be putting you down.

4) Secrecy

If your love interest is secretive and refuses to make the relationship public to family and friends, this should be considered a red flag. Secrecy implies they are hiding something, or they don’t want you to know something that would make you think less of them.

Either way, you deserve to be with a partner who is open and communicative, who introduces you to their extended circle.

5) Unfaithfulness

It's important you and your partner are well-matched in terms of sex drive, says the expert (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Affairs, cheating, infidelity–whatever you want to call it– have ruined many relationships in the history of mankind. It's a threat that lurks in any relationship, but what diminishes that threat is a mutual trust, love, and reassurance.

If your partner has had a history of cheating or you sense they have a wandering eye, it can make more time for trust to build and potentially lead to feelings of insecurity.

Whilst the saying ‘once a cheat, always a cheat’ is debatable, you should certainly lead with caution and take any signs of unfaithfulness as a red flag.

6) Incompatible sex drives

There is no right or wrong amount of sex to have. However, it is important you and your partner have a similar libido or know how to navigate the differences. Sex is a natural part of a relationship and is more important to others than for some.

Bruised egos, emotional pressure and upset are common reactions if one person is constantly initiating sex, but the same energy is not being reciprocated. If you are truly incompatible with your sexual needs and desires, consider this a red flag.

7) Zero work ethic

Everyone moves at a different pace in life, and we are all on our personal timelines. However, attitude makes all the difference so if a person is exhibiting zero work ethic, drive or motivation to pursue what they want to do, this can be incredibly unattractive.

Decipher whether they are behind because are having a justifiable personal setback, or whether it is part of their personality to expect you to make big sacrifices to accommodate their lifestyle habits. If it is the latter, then consider this a red flag and decide whether you want to be totally responsible for another person’s reality.

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