The Bachelorette star Hannah Brown is beginning to encounter a lot of red flags now that she’s getting to the know the guys more. She admitted to being most attracted to Luke P., but he sent out a truckload of red flags in just a few short episodes. Despite his worrisome behavior, Hannah has continued to give him the benefit of the doubt.
When you’re dating someone new, what are some relationship deal breakers to watch out for? Showbiz Cheat Sheet reached out to Heather Seguin, a licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex addiction therapist, to learn what signs to be aware of when entering a new relationship.
Showbiz Cheat Sheet: What are some major red flags to look for when dating someone new?
Heather Seguin: Are they vulnerable or just open? If we mistake openness for vulnerability, we give trust to people who haven’t yet earned it. Some people just share a lot; that doesn’t mean they’re being vulnerable with you.
Boundary breaking/pushing. Someone may “playfully” test your boundaries in the beginning (flirting requires a bit of risk, after all), but when someone doesn’t hear “no” or “stop,” they’re toxic and potentially dangerous.
Not having their own boundaries. If they’re bending over backward for you (or someone else) all the time, that’s not romantic. It’s a recipe for resentment and emotional chaos.
Discrepancies in their stories. We inherently (unless we’ve been really burned) want to give people the benefit of the doubt. But if your gut is saying something doesn’t add up, it probably doesn’t.
Blame shifting/not taking responsibility. We all mess up at times; what matters is owning up to it and seeking to make it right. If someone won’t acknowledge mistakes or hurt they’ve caused, they’re not a good partner.
Apologies without action. Words are only as valuable as the actions that back them up. Apologizing, but doing the same things is a big red flag.
CS: Which red flags should be an automatic deal breaker and why?
HG: Not taking responsibility and apology without action are deal breakers. All relationships have challenges that require both people to be honest about and make amends for their own mistakes or failures. When someone won’t accept their role in a conflict, the relationship is doomed to manipulation, resentment, and possibly even abuse. Same with apologies that lack changed behavior; that’s not even a real apology. If the behavior doesn’t change, that person demonstrates that their words are meaningless and they’re not trustworthy.
CS: What’s the best way to make sure you’re thinking clearly when deciding whether to leave or stay in the relationship?
HG: Don’t base your decision to stay or leave on emotions or potential. You can love someone and know that they’re not right for you in the long run. You don’t have to wait until you can’t stand someone to break up with them! Your emotions about a person will fluctuate; that’s a bad standard for decision making. Look at the person’s behavior, not their words or your feelings about them. The same can be said for “potential.” It’s like Dr. Maya Angelou said, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
CS: What advice would you give The Bachelorette star Hannah Brown when it comes to choosing the right person to marry?
HG: All relationships come with risk simply because we can’t know the future. A person we thought was trustworthy can disappoint or betray us. We can even disappoint and betray ourselves. There’s no one “right” person and you can’t eliminate all risk in a marriage. But you can determine who’s lower risk by their actions. Do they show up physically and emotionally? Do they own up to and make amends for their mistakes? Can they manage their emotions and communicate their needs clearly (or are they at least willing to see a therapist to help them do so)? That person is a keeper. Being lower risk doesn’t mean you’re boring, it means you have integrity. You can build a marriage on that.
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