Red Flags-a Partial List.

...Are you sexually fulfilled with this person?
...When massively in love, the thing you need to think clearly about is your partner's flaws...can you live with them?
...Does your prospective spouse listen to you and change behavior, especially when you tell them their behavior isn't ok?
...Does your prospective spouse display empathy?
...When you and your spouse-to-be are together, are they reaching out and touching you a lot?
...Does your spouse praise you a lot?
...Have you figured out what you expect in a marriage, and has your spouse fully agree to try and make that happen for you?

...I would say an answer of "no" to any of the above means you ought to reconsider.
hylierandom hylierandom
7 Responses Nov 15, 2012

I check my toddler's wardrobe and here are two sample t-shirts: "Dad thinks he is in charge" and "Mommy is my #1 love". Red flag! :-)

"Does your prospective spouse listen to you and change behavior, especially when you tell them their behavior isn't ok?" --- Apparently my spouse's behavior is always ok. It's my behavior that is often not ok. Is that a red flag too?

ROFL!! {{hugs}}

That red flag is big enough for a Mayday parade at the Kremlin...

There are so many potential red flags ... the real problem is if we ignore, deny, or excuse them.

I know a young woman who is engaged to be married in 2 months. She has described to me what amounts to a major emotional and communication problem that her fiance has (with everyone, not just her) ... and then bravely and lovingly says "But that's OK!". She is in denial, and if confronted she would probably deny being in denial.

We should be less brave, less strong. We should look at problems like that and honestly say to ourselves "These issues are problems for me; this person will not likely change; and I am not going to be able (or willing) to cope with these problems for the rest of our lives together."

We are not meant to marry everyone we love ... and not everyone is ready to marry. Some people will NEVER be ready to participate properly in a committed relationship. I think more than a few of our ILIASM spouses fall into that category.

(me prior to commitment) The sex is awful, but that's ok, I LOVE her!!!

Some people very effectively portray themselves as people you could say 'yes' about to all of those things even when they aren't. Other times marriage changes people. That is the problem with assuming once you can say 'yes' to them that you always will be able to say yes to them. We have to remain vigilant and flexible, always willing to prioritize our own needs and protect ourselves. While good partners listen to you and reasonably alter their behavior when they are hurting their partner, people change. <br />
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Often we get stuck twiddling our thumbs hoping they will "change back".Once someone shows you who they are, believe them. That is likely to become their ba<x>seline, at least in relationship to you.

That is exactly my experience---I would have said yes to all of them for my H when we married. But in the end he became a completely different person than I thought he was.

Yup...some people are really sneaky, they don't show true colors until they KNOW you're fully trapped.
...My ex isn't good at sneakiness, I just was very credulous and trusting.

If I think about the red-flag lists and how I might communicate to my younger self about them, I would make a car purchase analogy. A very good rule of thumb given to me for considering a new car had to do not with specific characteristics, but about my reaction to them. If I thought a new car was fabulous, but just one or two things bugged me just a tiny bit, then after a few years those one or two tiny things would have become huge, major flaws that would bother me each time I got into the car. They would become my sole focus.

This advice has worked for me with automobiles. I would offer it to my younger self as a relationship guide. Then my younger self would promptly object to the fact that a car is not a person, and have made the same marriage choice. But it might have taught me something important about trusting intuition.

Safer to just walk. There isn't a car that won't annoy you in some way or another.

I drive old cars until they stop running....Wonder if that explains why I stayed with my ex this long?
"It smokes, overheats, knocks, rattles, shakes, pings, and fills up with water when it important parts are held on with bailing wire. But it can still do 90!"

women friends may agree the above without hesitation becasue marriage issue seems so much to the heart of our women friends. however, dear women friends try to think men might feel the same need to clarify the above worries to their future to be and could our women friend ensure they men partner get "Yes" to above questions and save their worries before getting married

At some level, I think this "Red Flag" situation we have completely arse about, given that the focus falls on the other person. And another person is a person we cannot control.

It is true that we can observe behaviours (such as those described by hylierandom) and ascribe weighted values as to whether they are dealbreakers or not, but they are NOT matters under our control. Only our response to these behaviours is under our control.

Clearly, we, as a collective, have very bad form at identifying Red Flags at an early stage. Age / experience tends to hone these skills, but attempting to put an experienced head on inexperienced shoulders is a complete non starter.

The solution to the Red Flag detection conundrem can't be retrospective. It can only start from NOW. Here and now.

Should one have been able to identify the initial Red Flags ? Probably not.

Should one have been able to act on the Red Flags so identified ? Probably not. The overwhelming collective anecdotal experience on this board suggests that. Were it not so, very few of us would be here.

So it starts here, and it starts now. And it all hinges on the choice(s) we make as from today. Such choices being the ONLY thing we can control.

We might not have "known" a Red Flag back in the day, and consequently made poor responsive choices.

But now, we DO "know", and can not hide behind ignorance of the facts. There is no free pass on the obligation of choice, for any of us.

Tread your own path.

Yes, I wrote this thinking of my younger self, wishing I knew now what I did not ten years ago.
But I'm afraid I would have talked myself out of thinking those flags were red.
I was just that foolish.

As were we all.
So you 'sort of' get a pass on choices we made in ignorance.
But NOW, we are NOT ignorant of the facts. We are informed. And it is therefore incumbent upon us to make informed choices.

Not just in this matter but in many matters, I sometimes wish I could advise my 14 year-old self of what lay ahead and how to make better choices. On the other hand I know my younger version would just tell me to go f#ck myself. I'm just that sort of person. (And truth be told, I'm not convinced that different roads would necessarily have been better roads).