5 Relationship Red Flags to Look for Early in a Relationship

Have you ever looked back on a relationship after a break up and felt you should've seen the end coming sooner? Of course you have—it's way easier to spot all of the relationship red flags once you're actually out of the relationship. Still, relationship experts say there are often signs that spell trouble that you can catch early on. Here's what to look for to save yourself the heartache.

Fighting Over Chores

Sure, disagreements about whose turn it is to take out the trash happen eve in healthy relationships. But if the issue feels gendered, that can be a problem, says Carey Yazeed, Ph.D., a psychotherapist specializing in women's issues. In her work Yazeed often encounters women whose partners expect them to do a lot more of the housework.

Be mindful of little clues like your partner always expecting you to clean up after you cook dinner together—this problem will only escalate as your careers progress or you decide to have kids, Yazeed says.

Unwillingness to Make Time for You

People who place strict limitations on how often they can see their significant other often aren't willing to prioritize them, says psychotherapist Alyson Cohen, a licensed clinical social worker. People with rules like, "We can only hang out on the weekends," for example, aren't "at the point of openness and flexibility needed for a successful relationship," she says. Liz Higgins, a licensed marriage and family therapist, agrees. "Especially early on, a healthy relationship ensures that there is quality time spent together," she says.


It's one thing to be angry with your partner and another to hear "You're so stupid!" when you're fighting, says Maria Bruce, a licensed mental health counselor. This typically indicates a lack of respect from one or both parties. This is a major relationship red flag, especially if you haven't been dating that long.

Staying Too Close With Their Ex

Sure, some people stay friends with their exes successfully. The real question is whether you're comfortable with it—and whether your partner is acting in a way that respects their current relationship. If you're uncomfortable with their relationship with an ex, their continued contact could be a sign they're not respecting your boundaries, Higgens says.

Ignoring You

It's common for us to have our eyes hooked on our phones, says Higgins, but your significant other has crossed the line if they're "caught up on their news feed, interacting through text or social media, or responding to work emails more than engaging in meaningful conversation with you when you're together." And if they're among the 10 percent of people who check their phones during sex, you've definitely got a problem. Bottom line: You shouldn't feel like you're competing with Siri for your S.O.'s attention

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