Aderonke Adebanjo: Recognising Relationship Red Flags

by Aderonke Adebanjo

Getting married and joining your life with another human being’s life is one of the scariest and perhaps most life-altering experiences. It comes with many challenges but also joys – which should usually outweigh the challenges. It’s exciting, thrilling, fascinating, and frightening all at the same time, right? Sometimes it’s the best decision a person can make. Other times it turns out to be a not so good decision. It is believed that most people who are divorced usually saw tell-tale signs showing them why they shouldn’t get married to that particular person but they chose to ignore those signs a.k.a RED FLAGS.

Red Flags usually appear, I believe, as little, somewhat insignificant things the person says and/or does. You know, the occasional insult, push on the cheek, controlling behaviour, incompatible temperament, inconsiderate behaviour and gestures, etc. Sometimes it might be tricky dealing with red flags because you have to differentiate between when you’re being paranoid or over-reacting and when you should actually pay attention. Many times we make excuses for people we love e.g. “maybe he’s just in a bad mood”, “perhaps, I wasn’t being considerate”, “she didn’t really mean that”, and it goes on and on. These excuses are sometimes true and necessary to make but when they are recurring, that’s a red flag indicating red flags that need to be examined. Would you agree?

I usually ask married people, how they knew their husband (cos I usually ask female friends) was “the one” and the general responses are that they had peace about it, they can’t explain it, etc. I strongly believe inner peace is helpful when dealing with red flags. If a relationship is a struggle and a person is always second-guessing him/herself or making excuses for things that happen in the relationship, that might be an indicator that there are red flags to pay attention to. Most people will agree that they’ve found themselves in a relationship that just wasn’t healthy or happy. A lot of second-guessing, questioning, feeling inadequate and not good enough, compromising too much, losing self-confidence, etc. It is very important to pay attention when you are uncomfortable. Your gut is there for a reason. Sometimes the red flags aren’t as easily detectable but a sense of discomfort about a certain thing or certain things the person says or does should be given some attention.

Nobody is perfect but we need to ask ourselves if we can live with the other person’s weaknesses and behaviour forever? Some weaknesses can be harmful to the other party whether physically, verbally, or emotionally. Knowing that people (usually) don’t change in marriage but rather their weaknesses are emphasized in marriage, we need to really be honest with ourselves and know when to let go. This becomes increasingly difficult for relationships that have lasted a long time because the parties feel invested and walking away would mean they’ve wasted all those years. Dude and girl, WALK AWAY! “Better a broken relationship than a broken marriage”. If you stay in the relationship and get married, that time you didn’t want to “throw away” will seem so minuscule when compared with the wahala a.k.a trouble that will be experienced in the marriage.

What do y’all think about red flags? What are some examples of red flags you’ve seen or experienced?

 

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