The honeymoon phase of any relationship is famous for putting rose-tinted glasses on even the most cynical souls. People think that their new beau is absolutely perfect in every way. This, of course, is not true of anyone, anywhere, but it certainly seems like it is possible when you have a new crush. Those rose-tinted glasses that filter any problems into easily ignored white noise allow the couple to get close enough and invest enough that they have the energy to deal with those issues when it is time to get serious. At least, that is what the honeymoon phase is supposed to do. Sometimes, however, what it does is blind an otherwise savvy person to the very serious problems that are present in the relationship from the get-go. As much as you may care for the other person and as much as you may want to simply sink into the blissfulness and enjoy the honeymoon phase, there are some red flags that you simply cannot ignore.
They push your boundaries.Most people imagine that when a romantic interest tries to push them to do something they do not want to do, they will simply say “no.” Unfortunately, most people who are willing to push their significant other into doing uncomfortable things do not just dice straight into the deep end and show the world that they are a psychopath. Instead, they start out with relatively innocent things that can be brushed aside. They slide a hand up your leg and, instead of removing it entirely when you tell them to stop, they let it rest on your knee. They do not try and get you drunk, but they push you to have “just one drink” even when you have made it clear you are not interested. They make sure they always have a hand on your arm or are holding your hand when you are talking to someone of the opposite sex. When you get annoyed, they always seem to have a good reason for their behavior. They just want to be close to you. They did not want you to feel left out at the party. They thought you would like the taste of that drink if you would just try it. They laugh off your discomfort or explain it away.
If your new crush acts like this, run in the opposite direction. Someone who ignores your boundaries in one aspect of life is likely to do so in another. Soon it may not be just an unwelcome hand on your shoulder or an unwanted drink in your hand. It might be a far more dangerous boundary they ignore because they have seen that you will let them get away with smaller ones. Resist the urge to accept their excuses or to shrug it off as your own overreaction. If they are making you uncomfortable now, it will only get worse later.
All their exes are “crazy.”Plenty of decent people have been unlucky enough to date someone who turned out to be a complete wack-job after the break up. Most people, however, do not have an unending series of “crazy” exes. If your crush has one ex that is absolutely nuts and two exes that your crush claims are “good people, we just wanted different things,” you probably have nothing to worry about. If your crush, however, claims that every ex they have is a complete psycho, the problem was not with your crush’s exes. The problem was with your crush. If they still have not learned to fix whatever problem ruined the other relationships, it is unlikely they will have fixed it enough to have a decent relationship with you. Besides, do you really want to date someone who constantly badmouths people?
They are rude to others.When you are considering starting a relationship with someone, pay close attention to how they treat other people. Are they polite or rude? Are they a good listener or do they dominate the conversation? Do they empathize with or dismiss the other person? How your crush treats other people will tell you a great deal about how you can expect to be treated. This is especially true when it comes to how your crush treats people they do not need to impress. It is one thing if your crush is charming and polite when they run into their boss while shopping. They have a very good reason to work for their boss’ good opinion. On the other hand, how does your crush treat the waitress? How do they speak to the cashier? What do they say to the taxi driver or bus driver? Is your crush impatient, rude or even insulting? If so, get our while you can. Right now, you are someone they need to impress. Once the two of you are together, however, you can expect that sort of rudeness to be focused your way.
Your relationship is complicated from the start.Relationships can be messy and complicated, just like life, but a healthy relationship should never be reduced to “it’s complicated.” It certainly should not start with such a description. The beginning of a relationship should be the honeymoon phase. You and your crush or new beau should be deliriously and disgustingly happy to be together. You should both be glowing in the way that has friends jokingly insisting that you are both “too happy” and pretending to kick you both out of the party.
The longer you share your life with someone, the more opportunities there are for circumstances beyond your control to make things complicated in your relationship. If you start out with “it’s complicated” as the norm, you are unlikely to be able to untangle your relationship later. Tell your crush farewell, and find someone with whom you can simply be “happy” instead of “complicated.”
Your friends and family don’t like them.Everyone has heard that they should listen to their gut, intuition, instincts or whatever you want to call those silent warning bells that tell you “something is wrong” when all reason and logic say things are just fine. What most people do not think about is that those warning bells sometimes come in the form of a concerned friend or family member.
It is true that it is your life and you have to live it as you see fit, but pay attention to what your friends and family think of your new beau. If those who know you best do not like your crush, listen to them. You might want to dig in your heels and claim that your friends or family “just don’t understand them,” but you might be too close to the situation to really see the problems that stand out like neon signs to your friends and family. While you are wearing the rose-tinted goggles of new love, your friends and family are not. As a result, they might well see your crush’s flaws and the relationship’s issues more clearly than you do.
Even if there is nothing wrong with your relationship or your crush, consider if the relationship is worth causing constant friction with your friends and family. Do you really want to be the person who has to deal with strained Thanksgiving conversation for the rest of your life? Do you really want your friends to be mysteriously unavailable whenever you want to invite your beau? Also consider why your friends and family might not like your crush. Is your crush rude? Dismissive? It can be hard to accept someone else’s opinion about people you care for, but sometimes a little distance lets a friend or family member see more clearly than you.
They are never fully focused on you.When you are first entering a relationship, you should be in the honeymoon phase. You and your crush or new beau should want to spend just about every minute possible together. You want to do almost saccharinely sweet things for each other and simply revel in the fact that you are now a couple.
The honeymoon phase does not mean that real life stops, but it does mean that the relationship is usually the center of attention for both of you. If this is not true for your new beau, you might be staring at a huge red flag. Do they pay attention to you when the two of you are together, or do they always seem to have some emotional distance? When you two go out together, do they keep one eye on you and your needs or do they treat you like arm candy? When you two are alone together, are they focused on you or do they have one eye on their phone at all times? There will inevitably be times when you are not the center of your significant other’s attention, but there should most definitely be times when they are focused entirely on you. If you never have those moments where you are the center of each other’s world during the honeymoon phrase, kiss the relationship goodbye. It will only get worse.
Dealing with relationship red flags is always difficult. You want to push them to the back of your mind and pretend that they do not exist. You want this relationship to be perfect. You do not want to confront the reality that it is anything but a fairy tale. Unfortunately, you cannot afford to ignore certain red flags. Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. If there are problems now, there will be problems later. No relationship is perfect, but sometimes you have to cut your losses. Sometimes, you have to take a look at those waving red flags and simply say, “Nope. I’m worth more than this.” Sometimes, you have to walk away before you end up with friends who look at you and your beau and tell you, “run.”