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Red flags?(19 Posts)
I hear this phrase mentioned a lot on MN and I understand it but what are all the red flags? I have now realised there is a red flag or two in my marriage - should I be hunting for more?
What are the red flags for women? Are they the same? Maybe I have some which need working on!
Its difficult to say what red flags are in general (there could be so many of them) as every relationship is different, what are the ones you have currently realised?
'Red flags' is just a shorthand way of saying 'danger signs'. Can be small things that make you uncomfortable or suspicious without really knowing why. Can be some big dramatic event that seems to be out of character and forces you to rethink your opinion of someone. Can be something they've always done that you've previously thought of as normal but which you've recently realised is anything but.
For example, in a relationship I was in a long time ago I was attracted by what I thought was someone's melancholic 'one man against the world' tragic side. (Call me an old romantic) Evolved into a rather bitter tendency to blame everyone else for his many shortcomings, drag down others with his pessimism and eventually got turned on me... So these days if I meet someone who displays the same depressive, 'they're all out to get me' tendencies I treat it as a big red flag and walk quickly the other way.
Agree with CES.
And would add that they are also insidious. For some "warning sign" behaviour can fall within the ups and downs of a normal healthy relationship. But in a good relationship, they are resolved and do not become a pattern of behaviour. In a troubled one, they can become entrenched or be incremental steps to even more and even worse things (like a frog that would jump out of hot water, but does not notice if the water it is in is slowly heated up).
I think it all comes down to (repeated) signs that this person does not basically respect you as a human being with your own views, desires, opinions, and want to have a nice, fun, loving, life-enhancing, constructive relationship with you. Whatever their frailties, that should be their default position, as it is yours. That's what most reasonable people want, I think.
I think it goes beyond not respecting you as a partner and also encompasses character traits that you find unattractive. Someone can be perfectly respectful and want a good relationship but turn out to be someone with whom you are incompatible. Abusive relationships are quite difficult to recognise and exit. Incompatible relationships are equally difficult to get out of if you don't do it early on so taking heed of a different set of 'red flags' is important.
That's interesting, I've only ever really thought about it in terms of abusive/problematic relationships. But I guess you're right, we all have our individual red flags of things we know just aren't good for us. Although some of mine haven't been that sensible over the years, really. I fancied a lot of good looking bastards in one phase, and without really thinking about it extrapolated that all good looking men were bastards for a while.
There was a running thread about red flags a while ago. If you can find it (no time now) I think you'll find it enlightening.
My red flag was my husbands anger - but he is in counselling and is working on it.
He is really really trying but as much as I want to feel real big LOVE for him I just can't - i do believe marriages go through peaks and troughs. But i wonder how long this trough will last...
Lweji: do you mean this one?
Red flags I should have heeded - share yours for womenkind
That's a tough one because his behaviour has caused your opinion of him to change at a pretty fundamental level. A trough is one thing. When two people fundamentally love each other and there's a good foundation a bit of a lull, boredom, fatigue, whatever can cause a trough that can be exited with a little effort and goodwill all round. But when the love itself has been severely damaged it's structural & I'm not sure any amount of effort from either party can really get it back.
I've just read the red flag thread (well a couple of pages) and there is another incident which worries me which was that on holiday last summer we hadn't had sex for the whole 2 weeks and he one day demanded that we "had" to have sex. He was walking round the apartment with an erection and I willingly had sex with him but (as with most of our sex life) it was very functional and I felt a bit used afterwards. I did write it off as "haha, he was horny and needed it" but it didn't feel good. It's only happened that once. We were ttc for ages so did have a very methodical sex life but now none (still not conceived).
Unrelated but why is falling in love/saying I love you quickly a red flag?
The too-quick falling in love etc can be a red flag (not always) because it's often in the context of rushing someone along in the relationship rather than respecting their boundaries. Also used by abusive types as a way to get their victim nicely pliant... someone 'madly in love' is very vulnerable and will do pretty much anything. Rather like your erection situation - sexual coercion you realise? - where you felt obliged to behave in a certain way against your better judgement, others feel obliged to be swept along by expressions of intense passion.
Abusive men rush you into a relationship. My ex was fast with the I love you's and the sweeping me off my feet was a way to get under my skin before I saw through him.
But a red flag is just a warning. My mum said she was worried that DH called me all the time when I was with her. I texted him immediately and told him to give me space. My ex was a control freak, DH was embarrassed and said he was just so excited having me in his life. That he left me alone then apologised proved DH wasn't controlling but the red flag could have gone the other way.
You might not like this, but I am very relieved for you that you haven't conceived yet (with this man). The incident you dearibe above was sexual abuse. It doesn't matter how horny someone is, a normal, decent person does not even conceptualise of behaving that way, much less actually do it. Walking around with an erection whining and demanding? Not jut threatening but pathetic. That is a man not fit to be a father... not even fit to be someone's partner, frankly. It'd be disgusting and unacceptable behaviour for a 14 yr old boy!
You say you had sex willingly, but you basically had to frame it hat way in your mind, because he created a situation that was unbearable untilyou gave into him. Abusive, abusive, abusive. Anger management has a very low success rate for abusive men and a high rate of recidivism.
You often feel used by him in sexual situations. He is having anger management. And you don't feel like you love him properly any more. Well, of course you don't, he's abused you and treated you shittily. That's your gut speaking. That's your true self telling you that this man is no good for you. This relationship is already so bad, and it will only get worse. Men like him don't change for the better, they just change the way they do things to make it even harder to get out.
You might want to love him, and want to be in a relationship, but it looks terrible. Being single has to be better than this. And it would be better to never have a child than to force them to grow up with a father like this. Seriously. There is no glory in hanging onto a relationship no matter what.
PS 'Sweeping someone off their feet' ie rushing them into a relationship is a classic sign of an abuser. Not all swept off feet relationships will be abusive, but it's very common in abuse. The key is that there will be other, mini red flags alongside that, ie being rude and condescending to waitresses/waiters or shop assistants, slagging off his ex or exes and their split being all her fault, either idolising or being awful about his mother, etc., etc.
This article is one I particularly like. The problem with a term like 'abuse' is that it sounds like something that happens to other people, NSPCC ads or in soap operas. However, it's far more insidious than a black eye and I think that article successfully outlines some of the grey areas that can turn into red flags
Thanks for the messages.
Oxford - I don't often feel used sexually. I often feel sex is functional - though that's for us both to be honest. I did feel used on that occasion. I didn't express the sentence very well. We do already have a dc aged 3. I have to caveat he has never done anything else which has made me feel forced. From his point of view I had basically been demanding sex when I was fertile so I guess I should be wearing a red flag around my neck too
God - maybe we are both as bad as eachother
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