Red Flags and Rose Colored Glasses

Warning signs in relationships and how to spot a toxic partner

Red flags is a term commonly used to describe warning signs, while wearing rose colored glasses is a metaphor for ignoring those red flags.

Brooke Huffman

Red flags is a term commonly used to describe warning signs, while wearing rose colored glasses is a metaphor for ignoring those red flags.

Brooke Huffman, Co-Editor-in-Chief

I’ve always been terrible at saying no, and determined to see the best in people. The second I was emotionally invested in someone I refused to believe that they could do any wrong, soaking up the good bits and ignoring the bad. I sported a permanent pair of rose colored glasses for the first 15 years of my life.

Later on I sought help, spent time in therapy discussing what a healthy relationship looks like, and I was able to slowly spot the toxicity in my life. I recognized familiar patterns of manipulation, abuse, maltreatment in every aspect of my life. Little by little I started to build up walls, to protect myself, to get better.

I learned to trust my instincts. It’s fairly obvious, but if something is off about a potential relationship, if you feel it in your gut, listen to yourself. Step back, find a way out before you get too attached.

Surface level things, like them being too closed off emotionally, a history of horrible exes they’ll ramble on and on about (the only thing they have in common is dating your current partner), or finding that the word “sorry” doesn’t exist in their vocabulary, all don’t bide well for the future of the relationship. A more personal finding – if someone is rude to waitstaff or retail workers, they’re not worth investing your time in. The list goes on, the signs becoming brighter, the neon outshining any positive personality traits.

Narcissism, so self centered, so focused on themselves, that you’re the last thing to come up in any conversation. You realize that you hardly introduced yourself before they offered up their entire life story, which may or may not be true. We all stretch the truth from time to time, but there’s a line so easily crossed from little fibs to pathological lying. There’s a point you hit, where you can’t tell true from false and your arms reach out trying to stabilize yourself with any piece of reality but nothing makes sense. So wrapped up in manipulation, layers and layers of lies.

A refusal to communicate, the second confrontation is mentioned they’re on their way out the door. You deserve to talk out your issues, to work out your problems through communication, that’s the only way to fix conflict in a relationship. That communication restriction can be extended to you, when your partner starts to control who you can and can’t speak with, cutting you off from friends, even family. Whether this is fueled by jealousy, fear of abandonment, or simply a need to take control of their partner’s life, it’s disgustingly manipulative.

Crossing your boundaries, pushing them back further and further until every limit is essentially nonexistent. One of the most important things in any relationship is establishing what you are and aren’t okay with as an individual and as a couple. By discarding those rules, your partner shows a lack of respect for you, and for the relationship overall.

Of course, there’s the more obvious warning signs, like cheating, violent tendencies or gaslighting. All of these things build up to paint the perfect picture of an abusive partner, dabbling in destroying your mental health while still remaining someone you love and care for.

Ignoring these warning signs is extremely dangerous, and can lead to so much pain and trauma. If you think your relationship is headed south, or you spot some of these flags, please talk to a certified counselor or a trusted adult, work out the situation with someone less biased. You deserve a relationship that isn’t more hurt than it’s worth.