Have you disqualified potential partners over behaviors that could actually be healthy?
It’s hard to find a suitable partner, and you may be disqualifying potential long-term mates on the basis of behavior that is actually healthy. Here are five “red flags” that can sometimes be signs of a healthy partner.
She doesn’t text back right away. That can be maddening early on in a relationship, but it doesn’t necessarily mean she isn’t interested. It could mean that she isn’t constantly plugged into her phone, has other interests, or is waiting to reply when she has something substantive to communicate– all good signs.
Sometimes he prefers to hang out with his friends, without you. If your new partner hasn’t introduced you to any of his friends, that is certainly a red flag. On the other hand, if he doesn’t want to spend time with you every day and chooses to hang out with his buddies, that can be a positive sign. First, it shows he is loyal. He isn’t dropping his long-term friends to pursue a new love-interest, whom, let’s be honest, might not be in it for the long haul (no matter how awesome you are). Second, having friends and interests outside of a relationship is very healthy. Finally, as long as he is also giving you space to hang out alone with your friends, having time apart and maintaining friendships can only benefit your fledgling relationship.
She is continuing to see other people and is up front about it. If you are in a new relationship, Early Lockdown Syndrome can be a death knell. It can feel very threatening if your new love interest is continuing to investigate other partners. On the other hand, when she decides to date you exclusively, it probably means she is dating you for who you are and what you bring to the table, instead of just glomming on to the next-in-line-warm body.
He doesn’t share his life story with you right away. If you have been dating someone for a while and he still feels like a stranger, that is a red flag. On the other hand, early on in a relationship it is healthy to be cautious and guarded. Vulnerability is essential to a healthy relationship, but so are boundaries. If it takes a while for your new partner to open up, it does not necessarily mean that he is cagey or closed-off.
She is honest about being into you, or, not that into you. Either scenario can be scary. Your Cling-Alert might be blaring at full volume if a new love interest lays her cards out. Conversely, if she expresses that she doesn’t know where the relationship is going, that can feel scary and rejecting. Either way, the capacity for a potential partner to be upfront, direct, and clear about where you stand is a plus. The alternative is being in a relationship you think is casual while she’s planning a wedding or you end up ghosted, neither of which is healthy.
It is easy to self-sabotage your chances at a successful, healthy long-term relationship by disqualifying partners based on words and actions that are not necessarily unhealthy. Keep an open mind next time you consider breaking off a fledgling relationship. The same qualities that appear undesirable now, could be the same ones that provide a foundation for a strong, mutually fulfilling relationship.
Photo: Flickr/Marc Milligan