How can you recognize green flags in a relationship when you’ve been dating someone for a short period of time?
In the early stages of a relationship, there are always signs that show whether it’s going to be a loving relationship or a toxic one.
If you’re not prepared beforehand, you may mistake common red flags like love bombing for positive signs in the beginning of a relationship. You’re not alone though!
Most people are not experts in reading behavioral patterns that offer insights into a person’s personality.
It may be confusing to interpret the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship with a healthy relationship because romantic feelings are involved.
When you’ve been in a toxic relationship for a long time, you get used to the trauma to the extent that you can’t recognize green flags in a relationship because they are totally new to you.
This can lead to you being skeptical, too cautious and emotionally disconnected since you’re trying to protect yourself from another cycle of abuse.
When you keep withdrawing from the world, you’ll avoid the bad guys but you’ll also push the good guys away without even knowing it.
If you’re in a new relationship, how can you tell if it’s going to be a healthy one? Are there any green flags in dating that you need to watch out for?
One of the most important relationship green flags to look out for in a potential partner is respect.
When someone respects you, they’ll value your opinion and treat you nicely.
According to dating coach Dr. Marissa Tunis, a green flag in a new relationship is when someone values your opinions, respects your boundaries and treats others politely regardless of their age or status.
Other green flags in a relationship include mutual support, shared household chores, financial compatibility, regular physical contact and a good sense of humor.
WHAT ARE GREEN FLAGS IN A RELATIONSHIP?
Green flags are positive signs that show that someone is a keeper and that a new relationship is on the right track.
These are usually the opposite of red flags because they can let you know if you’re dating the right person or if your relationship has long-term potential.
Relationship green flags are signs of a great relationship. They represent symbols of a potentially successful relationship that can grow into a healthy marriage.
If you’re just starting out in the dating world, how can you know the type of green flags to look for in a partner?
Most green flags in a relationship are subtle and you have to be attentive enough to discover them early on.
The first step to knowing if you’re in a good relationship is to notice how you feel around your new partner.
If you feel comfortable, safe and free to be your authentic self, that’s a great sign that you have a healthy relationship.
There are several other good examples of relationship green flags that you can watch out for but, I’m only going to mention the most important ones that are deal breakers.
Here are the top 10 green flags in a relationship to look out for:
1. You communicate freely with your partner
The ability to communicate openly with your new partner shows that the relationship has a strong foundation and is headed in the right direction.
A major green flag is when the conversation flows naturally to both of you and you feel free to express your thoughts without fear of criticism or judgment.
If you’re able to share what bothers you in a healthy way, this is a good sign that you have open communication.
Someone who uses nonverbal cues or the silent treatment to communicate in the early stages of dating may not be emotionally mature.
When you’re with the right person, you won’t need to constantly decipher secret messages or read meanings to words because they’ll communicate clearly with you.
Even when you don’t talk to each other for several hours, you won’t feel awkward about the silence because you’re both comfortable in your relationship.
It’s a great sign if your partner is able to listen to your criticisms without getting defensive, and if they are able to give you constructive feedback that makes you a better person without putting you down.
2. You’re completely honest with each other
In unhealthy relationships, dishonesty is often the prevalent theme as couples struggle to trust each other.
Do you feel as if your partner is honest every time they talk? Can you trust them with important things?
The key to a successful relationship is mutual trust and this often develops as a result of consistent honesty.
If you’re honest with each other in every situation and you genuinely open up about your mistakes or insecurities, that’s a sure sign that you have a good relationship.
A partner who omits little details, keeps secrets from you or outrightly lies to your face is not an ideal partner.
Look out for someone who is mature enough to be honest about everything and polite in their speech.
When you talk about past experiences and future plans freely, you’ll be able to know early on if you and your partner have similar goals in life.
Although having similar values may not be a deal breaker for most people, it can be considered a big green flag in a romantic relationship.
3. You show mutual respect for one another
Lack of respect is usually the number one sign of a toxic relationship.
Someone who doesn’t love you will belittle you, embarrass you and treat you unfairly whether you’re at home or in public.
They’ll tease you in front of their family members, laugh about your mistakes openly or share delicate details about an embarrassing experience you had in the past with their friends.
In some rare cases, they may treat you right at first but act disrespectfully to other people especially strangers.
If they are doing this, it would be a matter of time before they start to disrespect you too.
How does your partner treat you when you disagree with them? Do they get angry, yell and try to intimidate you into agreeing with them? That’s a big red flag right there!
A good relationship involves couples who treat each other with respect, kindness and love at all times.
An important green flag is when your partner accepts you and treats you kindly because they respect you enough to allow you to make decisions for yourself without unnecessary pressure.
4. You give and receive undivided attention
In a new relationship, couples spend a lot of time together because they are often eager to get to know each other better.
This means that they pay full attention when one partner is talking and they are genuinely interested in knowing more about their lives.
In an unhealthy relationship on the other hand, couples don’t see each other as a priority so they are only halfway invested in the relationship.
Most times, this is because they have other partners or they just want to get laid without commiting to a serious relationship.
How does your partner treat you when you’re spending time together especially if you’re having a bad day?
If they ignore you and pay more attention to their phone, that’s a huge red flag that they don’t really care.
But, if they try to make you feel better with small acts of physical affection, you definitely have a keeper.
Being able to remember little details about someone without being reminded is a sign that you respect them and you’re paying attention.
5. There’s freedom and individuality in your relationship
It’s important to watch out for green flags like privacy, individuality and freedom before you enter into a committed relationship with someone.
People in thriving relationships attest to the fact that being able to live life on their own terms has been a contributing factor to their personal growth.
When you’re in a healthy romantic relationship, you don’t have to do everything with your partner and you’re free to associate with different people who share common interests with you.
Someone who genuinely loves you won’t try to control you by asking you to cut off your family members or other important people from your life.
According to marriage therapist Sheila Tucker, “Relationships often work best when couples are allowed to do things apart, as well as together.”
Robert Weiss says that having a positive symbiotic relationship is actually a good way for couples to offer support without being codependent.
This means that’s it’s important for you to cultivate your own hobbies and personal goals that are not tied to your relationship.
If your partner is okay with you having a separate life outside your relationship, that’s a really good sign that they are mature and secure enough to build a positive relationship with you.
6. You show selfless love and care for each other
Most people get into a relationship because of what they will gain from it and not what they have to offer.
It’s okay to expect love, attention and intimacy but, being in a romantic relationship doesn’t give you a free pass to entitlement.
The little things we do for our partner without expecting anything back in return is what shows that we genuinely care about them.
Your relationship should be a partnership where both partners are equally responsible and accountable.
According to a Pew Research poll, sharing household chores is an important factor in a successful relationship.
Someone who complains about what they have to do for you or constantly reminds you of the sacrifice they’ve made for you in the past is not a good person.
Keeping mental score in a relationship is a sign of selfishness.
If your partner enjoys doing things for you without lamenting or rubbing it in your face, it shows that they are not concerned about what they have to gain from you.
Having a partner who commits to making you a better version of yourself by introducing you to beneficial activities, is a great way a relationship can promote personal growth, according to Psychology Today.
This is one of the obvious green flags in a new relationship.
7. Your partner is emotionally mature
Emotionally mature people are capable of expressing their thoughts, feelings and needs without drama as a result of moving on from previous relationships.
This is the type of person you want to build a long-term relationship because the early stages of a relationship are usually called the honeymoon stage.
At this stage, both partners are trying to impress each other by doing nice things that can make them feel good.
But, when you’ve been together for a while, things can get ugly quickly if you don’t know how to settle conflicts in a healthy way.
Someone who is not mature will play mind games and exhibit negative traits like stonewalling, gaslighting and emotional manipulation especially after a disagreement.
Does your partner understand if you can’t give them something they want because you just don’t feel like it?
Do they compromise when you both need something but can’t have it at the same time?
Compromise, understanding and sacrifice are all green flags to look out for in a new relationship.
When there is a constant need for validation in your relationship, you may have to re-evaluate if you’re with the right person at all.
According to researchers from Haverford college, insecure people are more likely to post about their love life on social media on a regular basis because they’re seeking outside approval.
If you don’t feel the need to parade your relationship all over social media, this is a sign that you have a healthy bond.
8. You’re both willing to be vulnerable
A great relationship is built on open communication, mutual trust and vulnerability.
Without being vulnerable, a couple will find it difficult to build a strong emotional connection with each other.
Is your partner willing to be open and vulnerable with you even though it makes them uncomfortable?
Are you okay sharing the less appealing details about your life with your new partner?
People who pour out their heart after the first date are interested in something deep and they’re looking for a romantic partner to share their private life with.
If your partner maintains eye contact with you and freely talks about their past, present life, fears or insecurities, they are the real deal.
And if you’re comfortable enough to show them your most vulnerable part, you’re headed in the right direction.
The strongest emotional bonds are formed when two people reveal their deepest secrets to each other.
According to relationship coach Jenna Burch, “An emotional connection with your partner is the ability to have deep conversations about delicate things you’ll never talk to other people about.”
If you’ve gotten to this stage in your relationship, you’ll be able to stay together for the long haul.
9. You always try to fulfill your promises to each other
Someone who keeps to their promises is an honest person who can be trusted.
It’s understandable if your partner doesn’t meet up to your expectations occasionally but, if they are constantly going back on their word or missing out on important events, that’s not a good sign.
Couples who value and respect each other try to keep to their promise because they know how important it is to their partner.
If your partner promises to meet you up in an event and they actually show up every single time, they’re obviously a keeper who will be ready for a serious relationship in the future.
Their honesty and punctuality show that they care about how you feel. That’s a huge green flag!
10. Your partner treats strangers politely
This is a deal breaker for me because I value humility in people.
The best way to know a person’s true character is by observing how they treat strangers and people who work for them.
If they treat them with arrogance and pride, it’s obvious that they care more about their ego than any other thing.
When you’re with the right person, you’ll know if they are generally polite or just pretending to be in their best behavior in the early stages of dating.
Do they snub people who try to be friendly to them? Or are they courteous to strangers they meet? How do they treat the waiters when you go out to eat?
Someone who doesn’t flaunt their superiority in people’s faces obviously has a good heart.
This is one of the most important green flags you need to look out for in a romantic partner so you don’t end up with a narcissist.
I’ve given you a list of relationship green flags you need to watch out for if you’re in a new relationship.
From mirroring each other’s speech patterns and being able to sense when something is wrong, there are many ways to know if your relationship is on the right track.
According to a recent study in psychological science, “Couples who speak in similar styles are more compatible with each other.”
Green flags like these are often subtle but important in building a successful relationship that can last for a lifetime and even lead to a happy marriage.
Couples who divide chores equally, make each other laugh and are on the same page financially are more likely to stay together for a long time.
These little things shouldn’t be overlooked in a relationship because they are really important to the positive development of both couples.
A healthy relationship is not just about constant chemistry or grand gestures; it involves other small things that really matter even on the average days.
The small acts that show you care about your partner are powerful ways to improve your relationship with little effort.
If you want to know if a relationship is worth it, first observe how you feel about your partner then, check to see if you recognize any of these green flags in your relationship.
Your partner doesn’t need to tick all the boxes on the relationship green flags list but, they should have at least 5 of them to show that they’re a good match.
What if you find out that you’re not heading in the right direction because you can’t find any of these adorable traits in your relationship?
If you’re in a new relationship that’s less than 3 months old, you need to give it more time to grow.
But, when you’ve been dating someone for a long time and there are no green flags in your relationship, that’s a huge sign that your partner is not the right person for you.
The first thing you can do to steer the relationship in the right direction is to talk to your partner about your relationship needs and important areas you need to work on.
If you try everything and nothing seems to work, you may have to call it quits with your partner before you end up in an unhappy marriage.
About The Author
Jennifer Dagi is happily married to her best friend and the love of her life. As a relationship coach, she is passionate about helping couples build healthy and happy relationships.
She strongly believes communication and intimacy are important in building a successful relationship.
Join her on a fabulous journey to improve your love life one step at a time and don't forget to subscribe for weekly blog updates.