Red Flags

by Terry Plotkin

Red Flags: Lists- Part 2


I have friend who married and after a few years got divorced. When reflecting on what happened he said, “There were red flags at every turn, and I ignored all of them.” Red flags are indicators telling you to come to a full stop, and then if you decide to proceed do so with caution and awareness. Indeed, too many red flags (or even one) and it might be time to turn around and go a different way.


Here are some examples of red flags that one might encounter when in a relationship:


Someone who, although alternatives are readily apparent, is still living off the largesse of their parents, all the while resenting them for their over-bearing ways and blaming them for their troubles.


Addiction issues: whether alcohol, other drugs, work, sex, whatever. The underlying question that arises is what are they stuffing down with that behavior, and how is it going to manifest if they stop.


Someone who is not interested in your children or parents or extended family, while keeping isolated from them, often with some lame excuse.


Someone who is jealous of your passions and tries to keep you from them. If it is your children from a previous marriage that they are trying to keep you from then that is a whopper. Suggestion: Reverse course immediately, or at the very least put your foot down and hope that it doesn’t get stepped on when you do it.


A red flag comes up if they have contempt for what you do for a living.

And its corollary: if they scorn your life style, beliefs, or values. Watch out: Big fights are on the horizon.


If they act in a strange, neurotic, or obsessive manner and when it becomes unbearable they conjure up some mind trick to explain it away and declare themselves henceforth “cured” and assure you that it won’t happen again.  They aren’t, and it will.


Someone who is interested in being with you and comes on to you even though they know you (and perhaps they) are committed to being with someone else. If they will do it to get you, they may very well do it to get someone else when they have you. This is when seeing the light (or in this case darkness) at the other end of the tunnel is a particularly good skill.


Someone who has been unhappy most or all of their life, and now that they have met you that will all change because you will make them happy. I doubt it – big time. No, no. Ainta gonna happen.


It is a red flag if you are with someone who doesn’t know how to be alone, or conversely, needs an ordinate amount of privacy.


Someone whom you have recently met and they want to move into together, but they want the utilities to be in your name.


Someone who is jealous of the life you have created. (And likely take dark, secret pleasure if it disintegrates.)


Here is an insidious one: someone who is attracted to you for the status or income you bring to them. No doubt, this is an issue for many of the rich and famous. Poor saps.


Someone, who out of their own insecurity, feels the need to control your behaviors, your right to be who you are, do what you do, and go where you go even though it doesn’t affect them directly.  Get out of there fast. Make a new plan Stan.


Send me more red flags at and I will post them. Don’t be shy, you can do it.

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