Why Do Some Relationship Red Flags Look Appealing At First?

You thought you truly knew your partner. When you began dating, everything seemed great. The two of you got along well, and every date seemed new and exciting. But now, things are quickly going south. As you think back to where it all went wrong, you may be realizing that some of the warning signs were present from the beginning. Yet, at the time, none of those “red flags” really registered with you. In fact, some of your partner’s negative traits actually seemed like positive qualities.

Why do relationship red flags so often look like green lights when you meet someone who seems promising? It’s actually a common problem. Here’s why it’s so easy to dismiss relationship red flags.

Familiar Patterns

First of all, it can be tough to break out of the relationship patterns that we’re familiar with. Maybe you have a “type;” you tend to look for partners with the same qualities over and over again. When you meet someone who acts in a familiar manner, you can’t help but get butterflies. You’re used to these behaviors already, so they don’t set off alarm bells.

Additionally, your relationship with your partner may have mirrored the relationships between the couples you grew up around, like your parents or other relatives. Certain behaviors may seem so normal to you that you wouldn’t necessarily recognize them as “red flags” at first.

Sometimes, “Love is Blind”

Everyone has heard the saying, “Love is blind.” There’s definitely some truth to this statement. When you meet someone with whom you feel real chemistry, you want to believe everything will work out in the long run.

Choosing to believe in this fantasy can leave you with rose-colored glasses in reality. You might notice behaviors that would seem worrisome in any other context. But you choose to ignore them and hope that the problems will somehow go away simply because you don’t want to believe that your partner would hurt you.

Love Bombing Can Seem Flattering

When you and your partner met, you could feel the sparks flying. They told you that they had never felt this way about anyone before. Their affection, compliments, and endless flattery made you feel so special.

But while this might seem like a sign of good things to come, it’s often just empty “love bombing.” When someone barely knows you but they’re already saying that they want to spend forever with you, they might be trying to push you into an unhealthy commitment.

Emotional Rollercoasters Become Addictive

The ups and downs of an unhealthy relationship can actually make it harder to let go of the connection. The lows leave you devastated, but even the smallest kind gesture can feel monumental after you’ve been in such a deep rut. The cycle becomes addictive. If you break up with your partner after a rollercoaster relationship, a stable relationship can feel stale and boring in comparison. It takes time to recalibrate.

Aggression Can Look Like Confidence

Perhaps your partner came across as assertive and confident at first. You may have found it attractive at the time. But while confidence is a positive trait, assertiveness can have an ugly side.

Over time, your partner’s assertive nature can actually come across as bossy or aggressive. They might not take your feelings or opinions into account, or they may ignore you when they’re making decisions that affect both of you.

Are you concerned that you’ve been missing relationship red flags? Working with a therapist can help you spot warning signs in advance. Reach out to us to find out more about scheduling your first session for therapy for women.