I’m going to be honest at the expense of embarrassment, but what’s new?

Looking back on my past relationships, both romantic and in friendships, the red flags that ultimately ended up being the reason for us parting ways were actually apparent to me within the first few days/weeks/month of dating/starting a friendship.

I had a talent for glossing over red flags.

How did I allow months (and in some cases years), to go by before I had allowed the relationship to rob me of my security, value and dignity?

Why did it take so long for me to acknowledge and act upon those same red flags that I had noticed from the beginning?

Am I alone here? Why do we do this to ourselves?

Dating is supposed to be fun and exciting, but more often than not, we forget what else dating is there for because when we’re in the dating phase, we’re too consumed with trying to come off a certain way; we’re too wrapped up in portraying ourselves in the best possible way and analyzing all of the inconsequential stuff instead of opening our own eyes and ears to what needs our immediate attention. It’s like exercising. I’ll go to the gym because I want a nice ass, or I’ll go to yoga because if I master that reverse backbend headstand, then I can Instagram it and everyone can see how flexible and amazing I am, but I’ll forget the real reason that I go and that I need to go: for my health, emotional wealth, and well being. I go so that my heart can keep beating, so that my arteries can stay clear and so I can take care of this body that has never for one second quit on me.

Dating is tough because during the honeymoon phase, both people are on their best behavior and when everything makes so much sense in the moment, looks so good on paper and it’s all so new and exciting and the passion running high, any red flags that come about are not given as much power, influence or need for attention. You don’t want to see that sh*t! You’re happy for once, getting laid and nothing is going to rain on your parade.

We don’t want to notice and act upon any red flags that we see because we don’t want to the new found excitement, thrill, validation and the happiness that we’re finally feeling to get taken away.

This is especially true if we were lonely & down on ourselves before meeting Mr. F*cktard.

If you want to have better relationship luck and minimize the pain that you feel in your relationships, the best thing you can do is take off the roses glasses and act upon the red flags that always appear, even in the first few dates.

Red flags always appear in the beginning, even when we are on our best behavior. No matter how hard we try, people can’t help but communicate who they are and what they are about.

So what are red flags and how can you save yourself time by acting quicker and knowing when to make a dignified exit?

Red flags are usually a character trait, habit, or a difference in values that causes a this-is-not-going-to-fly, issue in the present or down the line in the future (even though we resist it and think we can change them or that it will go away).

Red flags should never be ignored but the more and more I look back at my own past, talk to my girlfriends and read your comments, the more I can see that we have become a generation that’s highly competent at being blind to what’s important.

Your gut will ALWAYS notice a red flag and it’s up to you and your level of awareness how much you want to listen to that intuition. Red flags are things that you KNOW you don’t like, don’t agree with and aren’t conducive to the relationship that you ultimately want.

So why the hell do we ignore red flags?

  • Our desire for a relationship (and/or attention from the male species), supersedes our logic, vision, decency, humanity and self worth. We’d rather be with somebody in a relationsh*t than be alone, with nothing (because we feel like nothing; we feel worthless). We’d rather be in a relationsh*t with the wrong person than be single and not settle until we find the right person (because that takes self love and validating yourself instead of looking to others to validate you).
  • Red flags scratch our “I’m-going-to-be-amazing-enough-for-him-to-want-to-change-and-I’m-going-to-tie-all-of-my-value-to-him-changing-and-giving-me-the-validation-that-I-can’t-give-myself,” itch.
  • We’re insecure, have zero boundaries and a serious lack of self esteem.
  • We’re ovulating at every turn and are blinded by the once-in-a-lifetime passion, excitement and newness.
  • We’re desperate. We slept with him too soon and since we already have, we start to smoke the “justifying-and-excusing” ciggy and refuse to put it down. We justify their red flags and excuses so we can continue sleeping with them and being involved with them, just so we can say that we have a warm body next to us.

As I’ve gotten older, developed boundaries and really, genuinely, started to love myself, I now acknowledge and act upon red flags due to the love and respect that I have for myself.

I don’t question my worth just because a red flag pops up.

So what are some red flags? You know… those pesky little BIG things that seem like nothing in the moment, but if ignored, will cost you your life; time that you will never get back.

Here are some red flags that you should exit at the mere indication of or at least have the regard for yourself to question them, investigate further (no matter how amazing he is) and make a decision:

  1. The “value – devalue” cycle. He will seem to value you one minute and devalue you the next. Hot and cold, hot and cold. He proves through his consistent actions, demeanor and words that he is incapable of value, loyalty, respect, honesty and a mutual relationship
  2. He’s consistently inconsistent. 
  3. Passive Aggressive, Condescending, Angry, Violent, Bully Behavior. If he exhibits any of these traits… baiiiiiii.
  4. He reminds you of someone in your past that hurt you.
  5. He’s emotionally unavailable.
  6. He’s still hung up on his ex. 
  7. He’s got a relationship with a family member that makes your gut go on “this-is-wrong-911” alert. I will write a post on this soon because I have sooooooo much to say on this topic. I’m not alluding to incest. What I am alluding to is that if he has a relationship with someone he’s related to that seems a bit “off,” “too much” or “weird” to you, it probably is. Run. I’m calling you on your phone and there’s an emergency right now. You gotta go, something came up… baiiiiiiiiiii.
  8. He’s very eye-for-an-eye, Nasty, Jealous. There is a realllllly good kinda nasty and then there’s a really awful kind of nasty. I’m always extra cautious about anyone, not just guys, that feel like they have to tear down other people’s success, gossip and compete.
  9. Addiction. I dated a guy that was 20+ years older than me (Mr. FT, who I talk about here and a lot on the blog), that had many degrees, spoke many languages, and was very well known. So I never assumed that him having 5 cocktails at dinner every night was an issue because he was so highly functional and successful. Ummm… it was an issue. He was a functional alcoholic. Remember this and never forget it: If you date someone that is addicted to anything, you will ALWAYS, ALWAYS be in a threesome. It will never just be you and him. It doesn’t have to be a substance that they’re addicted to.
  10. He’s a professional victim. It’s always other people, never him. If it’s always because of someone else… see ya!
  11. There’s something “off” about the sex. Get the 50 shades out of your mind. If you notice that he has sexual habits or preferences that make you feel uncomfortable, run . There’s a difference between kinky and WTF and only your gut can make that call because we are all unique.
  12. Intense Childhood Trauma. This is a very sensitive subject. I’m lucky to have lived under extremely strict rules as a kid and I subsequently dodged any kind of traumatic experience or event because my Mother was my shadow and I had no privacy (even then, you never know. Things happen; I consider myself very lucky). However, I have dated men that have had to go through some unimaginable things early in life. While I’m not telling you to write off people who have experienced childhood trauma, I am here to tell you that it is a red flag. These kinds of things have a lifelong impact and if they aren’t properly addressed and processed, it will be impossible to get through to them and have a connected relationship.

Ultimately, you need to decide how much of an impact these red flags have for you and what your deal breakers are. You need to set your own boundaries and decide what’s going to fly and what’s not.

If you’re involved with someone and you’re noticing red flags, talk to them, ask questions and take note of their demeanor, their level of defensiveness and how they respond. No dukes should have to be up.

Listen to your gut. You have the power and you know deep down when you need to be done. Your self esteem will thank you for it 🙂

Thx you for all of your sweet comments.

x Natasha

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31 comments

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Great great post Natasha. I could relate to most of the red flags and everything you said is so true and makes sense. I just wish we were not so wrapped up in our emotions and be able to “see” the red flags and act upon it.

Xx

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Hi Shahane!

Thank you so much! I just added two more red flags to the top of the list lol 🙂

I know what you mean. The key to putting an end to your emotions getting the best of you is by working on your boundaries and self love xxxxx

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Hi Natasha,

Consistent at being inconsistent BINGO…

You are right xx

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🙂 xx

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I’m new to this blog and can’t figure out yet how to send a comment so sorry I’m totally commenting on a reply to someone’s comment. Can you PLEASE tell me if you ever wrote the blog about the red flag/have a weird feeling about a family member thing. I’m dyyyyyyyinng to see that in writing! I’m in the process of ending (trying) a 3 1/2 year relationship with King of emo unavailable and each post I read of yours feels like it’s my life to a freaking T! Just when I feel like it can’t hit any more close to home I read the next one and boom! Totally crying writing this because I know I’m not crazy and not alone. Finally. Thank you!

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Hi Julia!

Thanks for reminding me! I’ll write a post on that soon 🙂 And thank you so much for the love! <3 XO

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Thank you once again! I was with a sex addict, and even though I knew it in the beginning I thought I could fix it if was “enough”. 3 years later, and he was acting out, blaming me, I had zero self esteem, thought I could never do any better and was still trying to “fix him” which just brought out all my negative codependent issues. Its so true, you’re always with them AND their addiction. Huge red flag! Thanks for this, it hit home! <3

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Thank YOU for your feedback! I just added 2 more red flags to the top of the list 😉 I could go on and on haha. I’m so happy that this hit home for you! You are so smart and so aware. I’m sorry that you had to go all through that, it’s insane because with addiction, you’re never, ever alone. Glad you’re out of that now 🙂 xoxo Keep coming back here and stay strong- you’re not alone

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I think I said this before but I love this post!! I’m reading this book called “Healthy Relationships” I personally know one of the authors she’s also one of my favorite people <3 and reading this book which the part I'm reading right now talks about pink and red flags, and now looking at this post putting them together is a great combination, I wish I would of known all this about pink and red flags but at least I know them now, better than never! And I will for sure highlight this and along with what I highlight on the book I will keep them at the top of my head from now on 🙂 Every post it's always great.

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Hi Paola! That makes me happy and yes, at least you have the knowingness and awareness now ❤️ That sounds like a wonderful book. Thank you so much! xoxo

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Hi Paola,

What are pink flags? Are they different from the red flags?

Thanks

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aaaghhhhhhhhhh!!!!! so right but so difficult to put into action. goddam

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True, they say when we fancy someone our IQ drops. That’s why we act and do foolish things when we are in love.

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Oh my god. Haha, so I sat down and thought about what you wrote for a while– and realised that the first red flag was during our first date. Feel so embarrassed now. And the second (such a deal breaker– he told me he had cheated on all his exs) was three weeks in. Feel like a fool now, but at least I learnt from my mistakes! Thanks Natasha, if only they taught us all this in high school instead of random physics theories 😀

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Hahaha 😀 awarded by the University of FTs ( I have one too!)

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I can’t stop reading your posts over and over again….
I always wanted to talk about red flags with my love. However we had a major breakup 3 years ago. Few months later he came back to me with tears and all words of sorry. To cut the long story short, last year I “find out” old/new red flag, and again, started to talk about it with him. He promised he will solve it.
But… a month ago he texted me that he won’t be back home for some time. I asked what is going on and his answer was – “need to solve problem in my own way. We are ok. I will call you.”…. till this day, not a word from him.
Just to say, we are 11 years together, and as friends we know each other, literally, half of our life. I’m 41. This is so hard time… again. I feel lost. I thought openness will save our relationship, not to push him away… again.

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Hi Katarina!

Thank you so much. You didn’t push him away. He pushed himself away. Any person that could just up and leave like that with no communication is not worth it. I know it hurts. His actions have nothing to do with you and are in no way a refection of your value and worth. I can only imagine how hard this is. Stay strong- you’re not alone. xo

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Oh Natasha, thank you so much for your words!

I’m not sure how to stay strong. Everything is so heavy, too heavy. I read your posts, and read, and read. And while I’m reading I feel a little bit calmer. But when I stop, all of my demons attack me again.

I must be open (even if I know that for these thoughts I, maybe, be the one who deserve to be put into a cannon… and fired, of course). During my reading, one moment I was petrified. What If I am a bad guy this time? I know that we have to stand for ourselves, but this time, maybe, I really gone too far with my temper. And now he’s had enough.

I’ll be as brief as possible. All my thoughts now are how he is a good and dear soul. He was never lazy for me, never grumpy when come tired from his awful job, always ready to hear what I have to say, love to go out with me whenever, wherever, always nice words about my work and what I do, etc… I guess it’s some of the reasons we’re together for so long. Only where he is short is – stress and arguing. When this occurs, he shuts down. And then, it looks very odd. He would just go silent and looked at one spot for hours.

When, a very serious, red flag reappeared, I become nervous. I started to push him and insist quite hard to solve it. Like I’m not aware of his weakness. That’s why I feel so bad. Each of us has flaws. Why I was so harsh and blind? Now I suffer every day and right now, while I’m writing this, I have a feeling like my heart pulsing in my mouth. Is it possible that 11 years went up in smoke? Because of me? Look how old I am:(. Sadness can be harder.
I’m sorry for such long comment, but your words heal… I’m just trying to find sense and peace.

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I don’t know the details (and I wish that I had more time to respond), but you said that “a very serious, red flag reappeared.” That should have been the point of no return for you if you had healthy boundaries and self esteem. It sounds as though this relationship has triggered you and depleted you of your boundaries, self-esteem and ability to subscribe to reality. I understand, I’ve been there. It doesn’t matter how great someone is in every other which way. If there is a serious red flag, that’s a deal breaker. I’m confused because you go from referring to it as a serious red flag then to just a “flaw.” I think that you need to get behind yourself more and give your own ears, eyes and gut a little more credit. He was not willing to work it out with you and with an open heart because of his OWN issues, not any shortcomings on your end. You need to remind yourself of reality and the fact that it takes 2 people to dance. You’re not nearly as hard on him (or anyone) as you are being on yourself. You’re absorbing all of the blame at an unreasonable level. Be kind to you. Have some self compassion. Commit to treating yourself well and changing the one-track dialogue in your head. You are far from old. Your best years are ahead of you and the best part is that you can choose to use this pain to be your turning point. You CAN. You deserve so.much.more. I’ll have more posts up this week that will help. All of my love to you Katarina xx

And a l l my love to you Natasha!
I can’t thank you enough for your answers. I hope, one day, I’ll be at the level to understand that it’s not all of my fault and to be comfort with it. Right now, my soul screams – “it’s unfair!”.

Can’t wait for your new posts.

Much love

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Man my narcissistic ex F tard was almost all the categories .
I’m currently on week 3 of no communicTion after walking away from a relationship that was destroying me. Although we were never exclusive the amount of hot n cold up and down empty promise I’m in love with you but your words that didn’t match actions – addict / pathological liar/ starting to turn physically violent roller coaster I was on I finally hit the eject button and refused to play second , third or fourth fiddle to his harem .. Although I’m still crawling out of an emotional pit of hell and heartbreak and watching him dance away freely with my replacements whom he claims are easier to be with bc they go with the flow – I recognize how much stronger I am
By taking back my power and taking care of myself . On the days that I am devastated ( which is still daily lol) I still am
At the gym turning my pain into self love by turning my health and fitness Around. Or building photography sets and creating art and taking pictures .. It’s these things along with this blog and your yoda to the 9889844708 degree knowledge and sense of humor that make me cackle out loud like an out of season Halloween witch that get me thru the day . Your rock sis ❤️? stay strong in your own world and remember that just like you are here for us we are here for you . Stay fantastical.

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You go girl! So proud of you. Thanks sis for making me smile and feel so loved 🙂 xo

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Thanks for sharing Jas and thank you so much for the love xxxx

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It was a phenomenal post. It’s a must read for every single women! The hope for things will get better or I will change “this” and “that” so I wait because the rest of the package sounds exciting..

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Thank you so much Mel! 🙂

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What I have started to realize is the pattern of red flags. Ususally, more than one exist, and always from the list of what you posted. As I read more of your posts, in addition to the coaching, it’s amazing how you really do take off the rose colored glasses and see things for what they are. Seeing them, however, isn’t enough. Like you said, acting on them and peacing out is the only comfort for these pesky flags! People will NEVER fundamentally change who they are at the core. #truth Love you, Natasha!

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Is it a fact that IF we are online to find answers “about Red Flags” that this is itself a red flag in general?

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Recently I’ve been seeing this guy I met online for about three months. I know and realize my self esteem is down the toilet. So I tried to ignore the red flags I already saw in this guy. Well I did something stupid and i told him I loved him and he did not respond. Pretty much I’ve been ghosted since then and i kept waiting for it to happen. I feel like i intentionally sabotaged the relationship with my insecurity. I would tell him repeatedly that if he wasn’t into to the relationship anymore we should call it quits and he said no many times. Until I let my guard down and finally confessed my feelings toward him of “love. Since then he hasn’t contacted me and I feel humiliated because I sent him a text asking why he hasn’t responded to what I confessed to him. Then I told him I felt humiliated because I didn’t even get a response back. I would have understood if he said I’m sorry I don’t feel that way for you. I don’t know what to do to move on since emotions are high. Any advice?

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Hi EH!

I wish that I had the time to respond and advise. I’ve been there and I know how painful this is. I would cut all contact immediately – you deserve so much better than this. What you described lacks humanity and decency. All my love to you thanks for understanding wish I could write more. You are not alone. xx

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This post really hit home for me. I have recently got out of a relationship with someone who had been hiding his drug, gambling and alcohol addictions from me. There was so many other red flags that were practically screaming at me but I chose to ignore them because we had ‘such great chemistry’. I am so glad I got out when I did (not before the whole situation dragging out for many months of back and forth, I can now see what a waste of time that was and was preventing me from healing). I picture my life a year from now if I had stayed and it would have been hell.
You are so right when you say you will be in a threesome where addiction is concerned..it will always come above everything, unfortunately he is unable to see that for himself. I wonder if you could write a post about being in a relationship with an addict?
I am so glad I have discovered your blog, it has given me so many moments of clarity and has inspired me to do some much overdue work on myself x

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Hi Leanne!

I’m so happy that the blog has helped! 🙂 Thank you for your love, support, connection, and for being a part of this tribe.

And thank you for the topic recommendation! I will definitely try to write about this soon.

So happy and honored to help. All my love to you soul sister. xx

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