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Red and Green Flags in Relationship dynamics

July 14, 2015

Green Flags and Red Flags in Relationships

Green Flags: Good Signs in a Dating Partner

There are plenty of single people who are conscious and healthy and have some insight into themselves. The following is a list of the traits and behaviors that an ideal healthy dating partner will exhibit. While no one may fit all of these, use this as a general guide to assess the health of your partner.

Healthy dating partners:

  • are comfortable in discussing their feelings about their past and present life
  • have good relationships with their family members but are also living a physically and psychologically independent life
  • respect your physical and emotional boundaries and reveal vulnerable information about themselves gradually over time
  • use intoxicants occasionally or not at all, and when they do use them, they do so without losing control or significantly changing their personality
  • are comfortable and secure enough within themselves to be satisfied with attention from you; do not need to constantly seek out attention and admiration from others
  • are psychologically finished with previous significant relationships
  • have had enough time to get over the breakup of their last significant relationship (at least three to six months from a breakup with a dating partner and at least one year from the legal date of a divorce or breakup from a cohabiting or marriage relationship)
  • are financially stable and seem to be able to handle financial issues without losing control
  • can balance the need for control with the ability to be flexible when appropriate
  • are able to express fears or vulnerability in emotionally safe situations
  • are reliable; follow through on pre-arranged plans; show up on time for most meetings
  • have an appropriate emphasis on physical or sexual themes as an integrated part of an overall blossoming romantic relationship; do not always need external “props” to become aroused or perform sexually
  • have one or more personal friendships that they have sustained for at least several years
  • show an interest in you and your feelings and activities as well as in their own
  • have a lifestyle which is conducive and allows for the addition of an intimate relationship; are able to balance work and personal life and create enough time for both
  • have a positive, optimistic outlook on life
  • have a good sense of humor
  • take responsibility for their life, their feelings and the consequences of their decisions without blaming others
  • take care of self physically and emotionally; dresses in a clean, attractive manner and eats right and exercises regularly
  • are able to receive constructive feedback from others without getting defensive
  • if they use computers, they use a computer as a tool, not as a constant companion
  • have more friends and acquaintances in their real life than in cyberspace
  • know how to resolve conflict in a constructive manner, or is willing to learn how to do so
  • allow themselves to feel their anger and resentment and expresses anger in an appropriate manner

Remember, this list is only a guide. If you are dating someone you really like and find them don’t have all of these qualities, don’t be overly concerned. In that case this list may be a guide for how to improve your relationship even more. On the other hand, if you find that your current dating partner has less than half of the qualities on this list, you may want to re-evaluate whether or not the relationship is truly healthy for you.


Red Flags: The Importance of Dating Defensively

In the beginning of dating, when the love, infatuation and romance is out in full force, there is a strong desire to move closer and deeper as quickly as possible. The danger in this is that you really barely know the true person you are dating. “Dating defensivel” is a good idea, especially in the first few months.  It is essential that you determine how emotionally and physically safe you are with this person that you barely know.

The following is a list of the most common issues to be mindful of in your new dating partner. While none of these issues means you should immediately stop seeing someone, realize that the greater the number of issues your new dating partner has that are on this list, the greater your potential to be hurt. And remember that in the beginning of dating, this is as good as it gets! So if you’re seeing red flags during a time in which everything is set up to be easy and fun, it is not a good sign and you should proceed very cautiously.

The purpose of dating is to learn as much about the person as possible, and have fun at the same time. The following list will help you get a good sense about how safe this person is for you.  Read this list over after you start dating someone.  Refer to it frequently, so you don’t let denial set you up to get hurt.

Red flags should go up when the person you are dating…

  • avoids discussing their past or present life, or does so only vaguely
  • appears overly dependent on family members
  • seems to have few or no personal boundaries
  • exhibits excessive alcohol or drug use/abuse
  • exhibits frequent flirting or staring at others; seems to need constant attention
  • is not emotionally finished with ex-spouses/ex-lovers
  • is recently divorced or broken up from relationship
  • has credit problems, debts, shaky finances, undergoing a “temporary bad time”
  • seems to need to be in control at all times
  • never shows any fear or vulnerability
  • is unreliable; doesn’t follow through on prearranged plans; is constantly late
  • expresses an overfocus on sexual themes
  • has few or no long-term friendships or previous relationships
  • interrupts without listening; talks only about self and never asks you about you
  • is unavailable through overwork or excessive interests, family, children
  • has a negative, pessimistic outlook on life; constantly critical of others; sarcastic sense of humor
  • does not take care of self in diet, exercise, appearance
  • cannot tolerate feedback from others without getting defensive
  • exhibits excessive computer use
  • has inappropriate ways of handling conflicts, or avoids conflict entirely whenever possible
  • exhibits an inappropriate expression of anger


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