Red Flag Personalities: How to Avoid the Relationship Trap
Summer is typically the time when people relax a bit more, take vacations and begin new relationships.
Some summertime romances may have the potential of lasting a while but others have a short life span.
Summer relationships are often thought of as the province of the young, students out of school or twenty- somethings on vacation.
However, many singles, regardless of age, become a little more adventuresome during the summer and take chances they might not otherwise take the rest of the year.
I thought it would be helpful to offer some tips for those who wish to make better judgments in evaluating a potential mate. These guidelines are valid regardless of the season.
What You Should Know
There are some characteristics or personality styles we can “red flag” with a fair degree of accuracy, as predictably damaging to creating a good relationship with someone. Although nobody can predict with absolute certainty what combination of two personalities will fail or succeed, putting the odds in your favor can only help.
No matter what type of person you seem to attract or are attracted to this post will help to provide perspective. Although this has been written to help the person who may not currently be in a serious relationship, rather than one who is, it could also prove quite useful to those who are on the fence about getting more serious.
Red Flag Personalities
The beginning is always the most fun isn’t it? It can be romantic, exciting and often very sexual. It is at this time that one’s ability to correctly evaluate the character of the person they are connecting with may be compromised by all that chemistry.
It is important to have an open mind when meeting new people. However, it is equally as important to be as perceptive as possible when you are about to trust someone with your feelings.
The key to evaluating is to look for a consistent pattern of behavior. Some of the following personality traits can appear occasionally in any of us. It is only when these traits appear with consistency should your antenna go up.
The Critical Person
This type of person might at first appear to be supportive of you but, on closer scrutiny, finds fault with the things you do or say, the people you associate with and even the choices you make. There may be snide remarks or subtle put downs that seem to occur more often than you find comfortable. Critical remarks may often be directed at others as well. You may tend to let these go because the chemistry is strong but soon you may find yourself becoming negative or even sad.
The Needy Person
This is a person who needs constant reassurance. At first, the declarations of a strong desire to be together may look or feel charming but these may be subtle hints that the future could begin to feel suffocating. Be on the alert for too many pleas of, “Do you love me”, “Are you sure love me”, “Why can’t we spend more time together”, as they may indicate a self-esteem problem that could plague you later on.
The Overly Sexual Person
If you begin to feel that your entire relationship is about sex and only sex, you are probably right. You need to decide if that’s what you want for the time being or if you need more from this person. Bear in mind that sex means different things to different people. You may have an entirely different take on what is going on than your partner. If you do want more than just sex, try going out and not having sex once in a while…see how that works.
The Addicted Person
This is a person who seems to need alcohol or some other substance on too frequent a basis. I’m not moralizing here but making a distinction between using and abusing substances. An indication would likely be their need to either drink or get high when going out and, when you bring it up, get defensive about it. It is always better to know this up front if you want to develop a more serious relationship.
The Angry Person
Look for over-reaction to things. Do they suddenly become abusive to others? Do they get angry quickly while driving? Do they often appear tense or all wound up? Are you being yelled at and then apologized to?
If you seek a harmonious and peaceful relationship, this may not be the person you are looking for. This angry style is found more often in men than women. I am making a distinction here between the aggressive and hostile style person who might appear to have a mean streak, and the assertive, confident, more direct person who may appear somewhat confrontational.
The Argumentative Person
This person often finds the smallest thing in a conversation to become quarrelsome about. You might feel at times that they just can’t let things go and seem to always want to pick a fight. They may not see it as belligerence or contentiousness but you are aware of how stress provoking this behavior can get. When you bring up your observations, you will likely be met with defensiveness or unwillingness to self-examine. The problem is that there is often no satisfaction in discussing anything because there will be no real discussion…no give and take…only bickering.
The Manipulative Person
This person can fool you for a while if you are not careful. This type of personality can be charismatic, charming and even attentive at first. The manipulator can be dishonest in that things are not stated up front. They get what they want by tricking or fooling you, often making you feel defensive.
Manipulators will use coercion, guilt or even threats to get what they want. They can be self-absorbed or self-centered, perhaps narcissistic and not interested in your life unless it affects theirs. It would be wise to be very cautious if you have reason to believe that you are becoming involved with a manipulator.
By far the biggest mistake anyone can make when choosing a partner is thinking that they can change that person. That is wrong headed!
Stack the odds in your favor by finding someone whose personality is right for you.
Falling in love is a beautiful and romantic experience that everyone should have. Falling in love with the “right” person is even better!
If you’ve cleared those initial red flags, are currently in a healthy relationship and are considering marriage as a next step, consider premarital counseling to see if you and your partner are ready.
About the Author
Dr. Stan Hyman is a licensed psychotherapist, clinical sexologist and life coach in private practice in Miami, Florida. He works with couples struggling with powerful issues such as sexuality, infidelity, careers, and intimacy. He also specializes in treating addictions, anger, anxiety, stress, depression and work-life balance.
Call or email for free telephone consultation. Services are rendered either at the office located at 2999 NE 191 St. Suite 703, Miami, Florida 33180 or through video conference via Skype or FaceTime.