There's no better feeling in the world than falling in love with someone. Of course, finding the perfect pair of jeans or getting a prime parking spot also feel incredible, but there's nothing quite like the honeymoon period of a relationship. You adore everything about your partner, you feel lucky to have met them, and are relieved that you're hopefully not going to die alone. But
when the honeymoon period is over, you might start to notice things about your partner that bother you. Maybe you noticed a red flag earlier, but you disregarded it because everything else about your partner was so great.
I asked Kristian Strang, a
spiritual matchmaker, what the difference is between a pet peeve and an actual red flag. She clarifies, "Anything that betrays your core self is a red flag, everything else is a preference." So we're not talking about pet peeves here, we're talking about worrisome traits or anything that your intuition warns you about. Why on Earth would we ignore something that our gut reacts to? Strang explains, "We want love, we desire partnership and connection. These are natural human desires and so, once we meet a potential match it's only natural to view our newly beloved through rose-colored glasses."
So if you've noticed a red flag with your new love but you're still in the happy, glow-y phase, it's natural that you might want to avoid causing a confrontation
that will abruptly end your honeymoon. I asked Jasbina Ahluwalia, a relationship expert and matchmaker, how to handle this. She advises, "Speak to them in a non-accusatory, manner — from a place of curiosity and wondering, rather than presumption and judgement." Part of this conversation and process is simply getting to know someone better and adjusting to their companionship, but Ahluwalia specified red flags to take seriously: signs of verbal, emotional, or physical abuse and issues with substance abuse.
I asked a handful of women if they'd ever ignored their intuition regarding red flags and interestingly every one of them had examples! Read on below to see real red flags that women overlooked in the honeymoon period so you can keep an eye out for them in your own relationship.
What began as an appreciation for the fact that my partner always made the dinner reservations, the weekend plans, and basically filled my calendar, turned into a suffocating feeling. I realized he wasn't just a planner, he was deeply controlling. He'd be chill when I didn't want to do something or suggested a different plan, but I knew he didn't like it.
Everything I did, he had to do better. He had to have a crazier story, a more interesting day, literally everything had to be topped. Dating a topper is exhausting and at first it made me feel like I was less than [him] but then I realized he was just insecure and overcompensating.
- Judy*, 35
Their Humor is Actually Snark
I love a witty, snappy, dry sense of humor and I was constantly laughing at what my girlfriend would say. True, her jokes were usually at someone's expense, but never mind. It kinda made me feel like she and I were a team versus the world. But as the novelty of it all wore off, her humor just seemed mean. And she couldn't joke at herself.
- Amy*, 28
Seeing how a guy relates to money is a huge thing for me. Does he divide the bill at a group dinner down to the penny, or does he throw his cash around willy nilly? Not having a good grip on your funds is a massive red flag.
- Anna*, 30
They Only Have One Friend: You
I dated a guy who was wonderful — funny, charming, and our chemistry was really intense. We were so obsessed with each other that we didn't really hang out with anyone else... until I introduced him to my friends. Then it turned out he didn't really have any friends. I thought that was weird but told myself it was because he had a crazy job and travelled a lot. Later I realized it was because he wasn't trustworthy and couldn't keep friendships going, just like our relationship.
- Kat*, 25
You know how when you start dating someone and you're crazy in love, you kind of start dressing alike? It started like that, but then my boyfriend would tell me not to wear certain things, only wear my hair down, not hang out with specific friends anymore. I was like 'So, you're in love with me but you want me to be a different me?'
- Alex*, 28
They Can't Wait In Line
My boyfriend and I had been dating for a month or so and I was taking him to a party to meet a bunch of my friends. It was at a friend's house, but was a really big event thing and there was a bit of a line to get in because of checking the guest list. My boyfriend was so angry to have to wait in line, saying things like 'What kind of friends make you wait in line?' and 'This party better be worth it.' It was so stressful and by the time we got in, which was like five minutes later, we were both in awful moods.
- Alyssa*, 33
The World Is Out To Get Them
Early on in a relationship I did notice that every story he'd tell was about how someone was trying to screw him over. Even just talking about his day - someone cut him off on the freeway, his roommate did something sh*tty, nothing was his fault and everyone was rude. I'm an optimist and believe that most people are good, but he did not agree.
- Sara*, 26
They're Snippy With Service Workers
You can learn all you need to know about someone by watching them interact with waiters, or taxi drivers, or anybody serving them. The first weekend trip I went on with my boyfriend was an eye-opener. He was a great tipper but never said thank you to anyone and wouldn't even look at waiters when he ordered! He kind of thought money was enough.
- Maggie*, 34
They Can't Leave A Drink Behind
My guy and I were the life of the party. He was so fun, always down for everything and that was one of the things I liked best about him. I did clock that he always finished every drink and was the last one to leave the bar, or the party, or whatever. Even at dinner, if someone didn't finish their cocktail or glass of wine and we were leaving, he'd toss it back.
, 27 11
They Can't Celebrate You
The day my book was published, I had a small group dinner with my closest friends and my new boyfriend. He was going to meet them all for the first time and I was so excited. He was 45 minutes late. My friends were not impressed and I was so embarrassed. A person with a solid sense of self-worth is a person who can celebrate others. Someone else's success isn't your loss. It turns out that he was having anxiety about being in an official relationship, since it was his first one post-divorce. That should've told me all I needed to know.
- Hilary*, 35
They're Sexually Awkward
When I was in college, I dated a guy who wouldn't make out with me because he "respected me too much." We both came from conservative religious backgrounds, and we thought we were being good Christians by abstaining from sex. But he wouldn't even make out with me! He even wore a bathing suit when we showered together. He was so uncomfortable physically around me. Now he's happily living as a gay man.
- Christina*, 24
They're Unkind With Their Words
I once dated a guy who was verbally and emotionally abusive, but it didn't start out like that. It started with little comments that he'd sort of slip in, that felt off, but you shrug them off like, 'Oh, it's nothing.' He would say something like, 'Wow, you were really hungry' or 'You really cleaned your plate.' If you get a gut check about something feeling off, trust that. Because it does lead down a dangerous road.
, 29 14
They're Overly Attached To Their Mom
I thought it was adorable how sweetly my boyfriend spoke about his mom. They'd text constantly and she'd call all the time. I thought it was great how loving and communicative his family was! But when I met his family, he kissed his mother on the mouth. It was weird. We dated for a long time and I learned that his mother was super controlling, she infantilized him, and it was really unattractive.
- Jo*, 31
So while it's wonderful, romantic and fun to get lost in a new love, that could make it difficult to hear your intuition if it tells you to take a closer look at something about your partner. Strang actually doesn't believe in red flags per se; but she believes that there's something to be learned in every realtionship. However, she admits, "If ever there was a red flag, it's if you forget what's important to you and give up core pieces of yourself in order to be loved." So while I hope your new partner is kind to service people, celebrates your successes, and doesn't kiss their mom on the mouth — if they do, you'll have an idea of how to handle it.
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