As we continue adjusting to new ways of spending time together at work, at home, and at play, our relationships can take a toll. The struggle to balance the demands of an ongoing pandemic and our need for contact has never been more pressing.
Red flags in a relationship come in a variety of forms. One thing that is consistent, however they appear, is that these red flags are an invitation to stop and take a closer look at relationship dynamics that are no longer working in healthy ways.
Depending on the severity of these red flags and whether or not your boundaries have been compromised, it may be time to give your relationship some serious attention or to seek therapeutic support as you work on the issue.
Red Flag 1. Promises unkept. When we can no longer trust our partners, it becomes difficult to respect them and their care for us. If you are bringing up promises that have not been kept or actions that are endlessly postponed, and your partner refuses to take responsibility for disappointing your trust, then it’s time to take a deeper look.
Red Flag 2. A defensive partner is unable to hear us when we tell them that their words or behaviour have hurt us. Rather, they may dismiss our feelings or blame us for how we feel. There is no effort to dig deeper, leading to a mountain of unresolved issues.
Red Flag 3. When a lack of connection becomes routine, we can feel alone and miserable even when we are spending time with our partner. Exploring why that spark is absent or dwindling is a good first step towards addressing the concern.
Red Flag 4. Sex becomes irregular or rare. Sometimes, even partners who have been together for decades find it difficult to talk about their own sex lives. When it needs to be discussed, either one or both individuals seem to shut down. This red flag is a sure fire sign that intervention is required.
Red Flag 5. Without respect between partners, then developing empathic and intimate bonds becomes almost impossible. If you’ve noticed a lot of resentment and judgement, either from your partner towards you or from your end towards your partner, then it’s time to check in and see where the anger is coming from.
If you can relate to one or more of these red flags, it may be the time to focus on the issues in your relationship. As Covid19 continues to bring added stress and uncertainty into our lives, taking care of our relationships can sometimes feel like less of a priority. Ignoring the problem might even seem like a viable short-term solution.
However, acknowledging these red flags and working on their underlying cause is the best way to resolve difficult issues. These are important indicators that your wellbeing, and the wellbeing of your relationship, need additional care and attention.
Pete Farrugia is a Trainee Gestalt Psychotherapist. In his profession he explores the intersection of psychosocial wellbeing, spiritual development, and creative expression.