Decisions Under Infatuation - Part IV


Picking Up On Relationship Red Flags

Identifying relationship red flags teaches us to trust ourselves during the infatuation stage.

Relationship red flags are characteristics that we must pay attention to when starting a relationship.

Red flags are not necessarily deal breakers, but they can be indicative of larger issues that end up corroding our relationships. It’s our responsibility to stay curious about our partners and ourselves when we’re in the early stages of dating.

We must also remain mindful as to which issues we can work on with our partners, and which ones are non-negotiable for us.

The most important question to ask when getting to know someone romantically is whether the person we’re dating has a willingness to grow.

If we identify that our partner does have a willingness to grow, then we can foster awareness regarding other relationship red flags and assess whether or not they’re deal breakers. Identifying someone’s willingness to grow is what moves us past the infatuation stage into a full-blown relationship.

So how do we identify red flag behaviours during the infatuation stage, so that we don’t trip over them when we’re in a full-blown relationship? Here are a few questions to keep in mind: Does our partner…

- Seem to conceal their emotions or thoughts?
- Act superficial?
- Throw tantrums?
- Sound defensive?
- Have difficulties communicating and listening?
- Blame or shame others?
- Gossip or focus on talking about other people?
- Sound like a “victim” of outside factors?
- Speak negatively about former partners?
- Is their perspective-taking fixed or flexible?

Answers of “yes” to these types of questions can be considered “red flags”.

Take the time to observe who this person is during the stage of infatuation. Over the next year we will be inviting our partners to grow with us. That involves getting outside of our comfort zones, finding opportunities to expand our awareness as well as challenge our perspectives. It’s also never too late for long-term couples to re-commit and take action in growing together for a healthier relationship.

If we find ourselves believing that our partners have “changed” since we first met them - we may be stuck comparing them to the “best version of themselves” they were displaying during the infatuation phase. Letting go of those idealistic versions of one another is the first hurdle to conquer in our journeys to finding clarity.

“Everyone has “baggage” from their past experiences, that’s not in and of itself a reason not to move forward with them.”

It is crucial to identify whether our partners have fostered enough self-awareness to recognize the impact of their past on their current relationships.

Have they spent enough time working on themselves? Do they value counseling? Have they taken responsibility or are they still blaming others? These are the questions we will need to be able to answer with complete honesty at the close of the infatuation stage.

A partner’s reactions to opportunities of growth and change will significantly impact their ability to participate in loving relationships. There are no excuses for continuing a partnership with a person who is unable to make the transition from infatuation to a committed relationship. A partner that does not understand the value of personal development is not someone we can easily move forward with.

The final thought to take away from all of this is that infatuation is a perfectly natural stage in relationships, but not one in which we should be willing (or ready) to commit to more long term. It is the stage that is meant to be enjoyed, but it is not the only stage of a relationship, nor the best of all stages either.

Partners in a healthy relationship recognize that although infatuation is what drew them to each other, it is merely a beginning stage. It is only when we get comfortable with the other person over time that and experience we can build an honest and loving relationship with a healthy future.

If we’re made it through the infatuation stage and feel as though our partners are people who have proven that they value personal growth, we can then move on to assessing emotional maturity and eventually, a committed relationship. By getting smart on the meaning of infatuation, staying mindful of its habit-forming tendencies, ensuring we avoid making relationship DUIs and appropriately identifying relationship red flags, we can learn to enjoy the beginning of our relationship at no future expense.

Thank you for following OUR DUI Series.

If you haven’t caught up on the previous articles, you can do so right here: