I don’t want to spoil anyone’s honeymoon period.
But as someone who has been swept off her feet and then had her heart, spirit and confidence broken into tiny pieces, I am aware that red flags often come perfectly packaged as green ones.
Common behaviours that can be seen as “love” but are instead manipulations drawing you into a potentially toxic or abusive relationship.
Texting and wanting to be with you all the time
You think about them all the time and love being with them. Every time your phone bleeps, you hope it’s them.
You like them blowing up your phone and commanding every possible minute of your time because they’ve taken over your head and heart.
However, you both need space whilst getting to know each other to maintain your identity and process your feelings (good and bad) about the relationship.
When you are bombarded with attention and have no time to yourself, you don’t have the space to decide whether this is what you truly want. You get swept along, and any niggles or doubts are not given the time to be listened to.
Take time out, go out with friends, and continue with your hobbies. They should respect the life you have aside from your relationship. If they don’t, you’re facing a red flag, not a green one.
Wanting to know where you are and who you are with
Having someone who cares and worries about you makes you feel special.
You’re an important part of that person’s life. So much so that they couldn’t bear it if anything happened to you. Therefore, they need to know where you are and who you’re with.
There’s a line between caring and controlling.
You should be able to come and go as you please and decide what you are doing without having to ask permission. If not, this constant checking up on you is a red flag, not a green one.
Professing love at first sight
That click you experience when you connect with another person is powerful. Could this be it? Could they be the one?
If they tell you they love you straight away, it will feel like music to your ears. You may want to blurt it back at them — after all, you can’t think, eat or sleep without them at the moment.
But tread carefully. You need to get to know them before you can be sure it’s love.
Those wonderful feelings of lust, attraction and infatuation may be raging through you but don’t mistake those feelings for love.
Unfortunately, some people play on the word “love” and use it to control you emotionally.
If they use the excuse “it’s because I love you” to explain hurtful actions, they are lying. If they loved you, they would not do anything to hurt you.
Moving the relationship forward quickly
You may want to get involved in every area of their life and bring them into yours. Circumstances may encourage you to move in with each other straight away. But that doesn’t mean you should.
Introducing them into your lives should be done once a level of trust has been built, and that doesn’t happen overnight.
Take your time to get to know each other before you involve your family and combine your lives.
If you feel pressured into moving faster than you feel comfortable, take a step back.
They will respect your wishes and give you space if it’s meant to be. Those carrying a red flag will ignore your requests and pile on the love, affection and false promises to persuade you to take the next step.
Constantly buying gifts and treating you
Being on the receiving end of gifts and surprises is great but remember to look past what they are giving you on a material level. Focus on what they give you on an emotional level.
Generosity is a green flag and includes time, energy, how they are as lovers and compromise. Overcompensating for lack of emotional connection or time spent together is a red flag.
Sooner or later, material gifts and grand gestures will mean little to you. What once made you feel loved will make you feel empty and ignored.
Love-bombing is a common precursor to a toxic or abusive relationship. It prays on the human need for love and affection.
Love-bombing: the action or practice of lavishing someone with attention or affection, especially in order to influence or manipulate them. Oxford Languages Dictionary.
The type of person that does the love bombing will do whatever they need to do to lure you in. Once they know they “have” you, they will drop you. The love they showed you will be replaced with criticism and disrespect, but they will strategically drip in small moments of false love and affection to keep you hooked.
Being in love with someone in love with you is the greatest gift in the world.
I would not want to discourage anyone from searching for it.
So, never give up hope, but remember true love with another:
- Builds over time.
- Gives you the freedom to be yourself.
- Involves giving and receiving from a place of generosity, not guilt or blackmail.
- Does not hurt.
- Flourishes when you maintain a level of independence.
- Includes mutual respect.
- Feels comfortable and safe.
Don’t settle for anything less.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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