Every new relationship comes with risks—there's the risk of making a mistake, of wasting time, and of getting hurt. But we continue to take these chances in the hope that something amazing will come from our willingness to be vulnerable. However, as optimistic as one needs to be at the beginning of a new relationship, the early stages of dating still require a certain level of caution. There are definitely warning signs you should look for when you start seeing someone new that could save you from future heartbreak and regret. We're rounding up some dating red flags to be aware of when letting someone new into your life.
Read on for six signs that your new significant other might not be the right fit for you.
You Justify Their Bad Behavior
"If you find yourself justifying away what he does or says, even though these feel wrong in your gut, then that's a surefire red flag," says psychologist Perpetua Neo. She explains that this is a part of the psychological phenomenon called confirmation bias, which leads people to ignore evidence that doesn't align with their views. It's also why people tend to defend the one they're with, even when they shouldn't.
They Don't Talk Through Issues
"All couples have disagreements. That's perfectly normal and healthy. But it's how you handle those disagreements that can really make or break things," explains dating coach Erika Ettin. She points out that in a healthy relationship, couples are able to talk through issues together. The inability to communicate is a major red flag to look out for early on in a relationship.
Before you write off the relationship due to communication issues, consider attending couples therapy. If you still can't communicate effectively after a few sessions, it may be time to walk away.
They Test Your Boundaries
"Run from anyone who attempts to cross a boundary that you have set," says psychologist Lisa Aronson Fontes. These boundaries can include anything from sexual boundaries to personal ones, like meeting the family or dating exclusively. This kind of manipulative and controlling behavior can be a serious red flag when it comes to dating.
Family and Friends Don't Like Your Partner
You shouldn't live your life according to your family and friends' wishes, but if the people who know you best aren't too fond of your new S.O., consider listening to what they have to say. "Often, in the throes of a new relationship, hearing criticism about your new “beloved” may not be welcome, but others may see things more clearly from an outsider’s perspective. At the very least, hear these people out," says Abigail Brenner, M.D.
They Are Overly Critical of Their Exes
Psychologist Elinor Greenberg suggests listening carefully to how your new S.O. describes their previous partners. "When people describe all of their exes as terrible people and put all the blame on them for the relationship's failure, this is a red flag for me. It practically shouts: 'I cannot take any responsibility for whatever went wrong. I have not learned anything from these relationships. It is totally up to you to make our relationship work,'" she says.