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 of our willingness to be vulnerable. However, as optimistic as one needs to be to begin a new relationship, the early stages of dating still require a certain level of caution. There are signs you should look for when you start seeing someone new that could save you from future heartbreak and regret.
Business Insider recently asked psychologist and toxic relationship expert Perpetua Neo, dating coach Erika Ettin, psychologist Lisa Aronson Fontes, and psychologist Elinor Greenberg what dating red flags you should be aware of when letting a veritable stranger into your life. Here are four signs your budding significant other isn't 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 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 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.
They test your boundaries
"Run from anyone who attempts to cross a boundary that you have set," says Fontes. This can include anything from sexual boundaries to personal ones like meeting the family or dating exclusively. This kind of behavior borders on manipulative and controlling, which are serious dating red flags.
They are overly critical of their exes
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.
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