This journey of being over 30, unmarried and childless is honestly quite ghetto. Luckily, I’ve been able to quickly identify red flags you should never ignore in a relationship. After 30, if marriage and having a family is what you want, wasting time in relationships that don’t serve that purpose is sad.
Sad because I get how lonely it can be to not have a partner. Someone to share your innermost thoughts with, break bread with, emote with… etc. Even when you know the partnership doesn’t align, filling that void of loneliness often far outweighs the dream of your picture-perfect idea of having a marriage and family.
However, I think it’s really important to do the self-work and not sell yourself short. Yes – being with someone who does not fulfill the desires of your heart is selling yourself short. I’ve experienced my greatest blessings after courageously letting go of people and things that are not in alignment with my purpose.
And this is not to poop on any woman or man who decides to put their desires on the back burner to fill that void of loneliness. I get it 1000%. No judgment, this is just an observation based on my experience.
As a grown woman, settled in your career and knowing what you want and don’t want, save yourself some time and grief by identifying red flags early on in relationships.
Red Flags You Should Never Ignore
Pay attention in the beginning to these red flags.
Having different outlooks on long-term relationship goals.
Discussing long-term relationship goals is an important conversation to have within the first few dates. Because what’s the point in moving forward if you don’t want the same things long-term.
Getting caught up in the lovey doveyness of it all is cute but eventually, one of you will end up making too many concessions and become resentful.
For me, not being aligned on long-term goals is an immediate welcome into the friend zone. I’m happy to connect on LinkedIn to expand my network but other than that, there’s no need to entertain a romantic relationship.
The inability to communicate effectively.
Communication is key in a relationship. If your partner has issues with communicating, that’s one of the most important red flags you should never ignore.
I’m guilty of this. It’s something I’m working on improving because I realize how critical this piece is to a healthy relationship. Having the emotional maturity to communicate thoughts and feelings gives you and your partner the opportunity to understand and support each other’s points of view.
Conflicts in a relationship are inevitable, having a partner with the inability to effectively communicate will only make matters worse. And if you don’t feel safe communicating, well – that’s a different story and also a huge red flag.
An unwillingness to grow and evolve.
Over time, human beings change. Not at our core for the most part, but certain wants and needs change based on our circumstances. Having a partner who is unwilling to grow and evolve is a big red flag that can’t be ignored.
Pay attention to the way your partner reacts when a new opportunity is presented. Or, the way they handle their own setbacks. Are they solution-oriented or more likely to complain and remain stuck?
If the latter, run sis. There’s only so much motivating you can do; at some point, your partner will need to do the work to get the results they desire. If not, there will likely be constant fussing about why things are the way they are and how life sucks.
Who wants to be bothered with that all day?
Also, pay attention to how they react to your growth and evolution. Are they supportive or more likely to offer negative criticism without also offering an alternative?
Again, if the latter – run.
Refusal to take accountability for one’s own actions.
Now this one is a recipe for disaster. I’ve had the pleasure (not) of experiencing this recently. It’s a big red flag that I should have never ignored. When a person never thinks they’re wrong and refuses to take accountability for their actions, it’s borderline narcissistic and should not be overlooked.
This comes will hella gaslighting, making you believe you’re insane. One time, cool – let’s discuss it and I’ll take the L this time. Two times, that’s really pushing it but… no big deal. Three times?! Nah son, this is a red flag. It is now a pattern; something is definitely wrong and it’s likely time for professional help.
Disrespecting known boundaries.
Setting boundaries is such a necessary thing to do in relationships. Including friendships and relationships with family. But – especially for romantic relationships because this is the person you’ll spend the most time with.
Be very upfront at the beginning about your boundaries and do not accept when those boundaries are crossed. Once the boundaries are crossed, that’s a red flag and a sign that your partner has very little respect for you. Especially if it becomes a pattern.
It may sound harsh and even a bit bratty, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that your boundaries are your boundaries and should be taken seriously.
It’s important to be unabashedly willing to speak up when a boundary is crossed and ready to reinforce it if it means that much to you.
Fundamental differences in life overall.
If you haven’t read my latest piece in this series, go read it and come back. These fundamentals are the foundation and will vary from person to person.
A misalignment here is a red flag and although I don’t believe compromise is a terrible thing, I believe that over time it could be an issue.
That’s why knowing who you are when entering into a serious relationship is essential to getting the most out of your experience.
Final thoughts on red flags you should never ignore.
Ignoring red flags in a relationship means that you have hope that something will eventually change. And in the right situation, this could be true with work from both parties.
However, it’s critical to at least identify the red flags, and measure the long-term effects of ignoring them to determine if the relationship is a good fit.
What are some of your red flags?