Red Flags

Recently I was asked advice on a relationship dispute of one of my friends. She had a problem with her boyfriend and said she saw red flags.
I, on the other hand, after hearing about her problem, decided that the issue was worth more of a yellow or some softer colored flag.

Red just seemed so harsh for the minor problem she had been discussing with me.

Personally, I can see the use of a red flag in relationships if for example the guy said he was going to a friends house to hang out that night but when you went by to stalk him make sure he was where he said he’d be, and he wasn’t, even though you waited around all night just to be sure and so you’d have enough evidence to support your confrontation the next day.

THAT qualifies as a red flag because he’s probably cheating on you.

If he gets a text and angles the phone away so you can’t read it then refuses to show you when you demand to know who the hell he’s cheating on you with ask politely to see it, that qualifies as a red flag.

However, if it’s a situation where you are out at a party and he keeps looking at a particular girl with interest while you’re standing right next to him; that’s more yellow’ish because he could legitimately be wondering if you’d wear that sexy black, shiny dress if he got it for you. It may have nothing whatsoever to do with the woman herself.

Another yellow might be him not holding a door open for you if he walked through first. There’s nothing red about that because he may just have not been taught to be a gentleman and how to be respectful…nothing that can’t be taught by you (as long as you actually tell him it bothers you right away and don’t seethe quietly until you explode one night in a fit of rage two years later just because he forgot the toilet seat up again causing you to almost fall in for the tenth bloody time that month!!!)

From that point you can graduate to other colors if the mood strikes. Let’s take blue for example. Blue might indicate a habit he has that bothers you slightly but not enough to really say anything about. Cracking his knuckles, biting his nails etc. Nothing huge but enough that when he does it you think… ‘hmmm that’s a bit annoying, but oh well.’

Then there’s the question of when enough blues accumulate to become yellow, or enough yellows to become red. Maybe after the ten-hundredth time of asking him to stop something or do something differently he is still ignoring your request. Does it graduate to another color at that point?

There are about a million different ways you can work the coloring/grading system to suit your particular relationship. The one thing that’s important though, is that if there is a red/yellow or whatever colored flag issue that bothered you enough to say something about…a good partner will do his or her best to fix the problem, whether it involves a compromise, or even that person stopping/changing/adjusting what they were doing.

One thing is for sure…there will always be things about your partner that will bother you and things about you that will bother him/her, we are all human after all, but it’s your ability to adjust that will keep the relationship strong. You both will need to change a few things about yourselves or how you do things in order for your relationship puzzle to fit together well. As long as the person isn’t trying to change the core of who you are…it’s perfectly acceptable to be flexible. It shows you are mature enough to work at making your relationship successful and that you care enough about your partner to try.

If you go into any relationship thinking ‘This is who I am, take it or leave it!‘ and are completely unwilling to change anything about yourself, then I’m afraid you will just be dooming yourself to a lifetime of short term, broken, dysfunctional relationships. The ones who last are those mature enough to understand that we all have things about us that we could do better…we all have faults we could change. Open yourself up to the possibility that you’re not perfect and that working with the person you love to ‘adjust’ the way you do things might make you an even happier person in the end.

I wish you all luck in your relationships and in life.

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