Everyone wants to talk about being loved — the hard part is discussing when amorous feelings turn sour.

When you start a new relationship, you may find yourself enshrouded in feelings of passion, desire and overwhelming fervor. But just because you’re feeling lovey-dovey doesn’t mean you should be afraid to cut the relationship short if your gut is telling you that your current happiness will be short-lived.

Love may be blind, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook red signals telling you to open your eyes to potential warnings signs of future disaster. Here’s a look at 4 early red flags in relationships to be aware that can save you from getting too involved with the wrong one.

They’re Always on the Defensive

Nobody ever wants to feel like they’re walking on eggshells when initiating a conversation — especially when it’s with their lover. And if this egg smells rotten, it probably is.

It seems like some people have an unsettling way of convincing people they’re always right. If your partner ever tries to guilt-trip you or make you feel responsible for a disagreement, realize that this may not be the kind of person you want to date. The only trips you two should be going on are romantic getaways!

Unhealthy relationships stem from feelings of stress or pressure that become almost impossible to avoid. If you can’t openly discuss your own wishes and desires because of your significant other’s entitlement, it’s a strong indication that your sense of happiness takes a backseat to theirs.

They’re Too Focused on Changing You

There’s nothing wrong with change, especially when it’s for the better. In fact, self-improvement can be highly therapeutic and lead you to experience more happiness and satisfaction in your everyday life. Notice anything important about these statements? In every instance, healthy change has to start with you.

If you’re happy with your appearance and personality, your partner should be, too. Does your significant other belittle your appearance or obsess over your everyday actions and moves? If so, this is an early red flag that warns you to find someone who values you in your entirety instead. Creepy, micro-management stalker vibes aren’t good for a relationship.

When someone becomes hyper-focused on your weight, style or general way of living, you begin to confuse your everyday traits for flaws. As a rule of thumb, your partner should make you feel loved and beautiful — not insecure. If your partner seems obsessed with changing you, it may be best to simply exit stage left.

They’re Demanding and Unyielding in the Bedroom

It’s no secret that sex is a crucial part of a healthy relationship. But when what should be a fun act turns into an activity eliciting low self-esteem, discomfort or fear, this is a major early red flag in relationships.

If you ever feel scared or hesitant about how to ask for what you want in bed, you’ll quickly become resentful at the imbalance that allows your partner to fulfill their needs while overlooking yours. You both deserve great, safe sex, and safe in this context means more than using protection.

A classic early warning sign of a toxic relationship is selfish sex. Remember that sex should always feel like a shared act of empowerment. If this time of bonding has transformed into an obligation which compromises your happiness — or safety — it’s time to reevaluate how healthy your relationship is for you.

They’re Overly Jealous

Ah, jealousy — the complex emotion that causes us to fear losing what we value because of someone else’s wrongs. It’s a common feeling to have whenever we perceive competition, especially in relationships. If you know you’re a loyal partner but your significant other is becoming green with envy too easily, know that green doesn’t mean “go” in this situation! Heed that relationship red flag and move on before you invest yourself in something that will probably end up wearing you down.

Some research studies show that a bit of jealousy can actually help bring you and your partner closer together by serving as an impetus to improve your relationship? When already healthy couples feel a threat in their relationship — whether real or imagined — they’re more likely to engage in important communication and boundary-setting, which can often help them avoid other issues with miscommunication down the line.

As humans, it is fairly natural for us to be a little territorial toward what we value. The biggest issue with jealousy is when it’s excessive or unwarranted. If your partner refuses to let you talk with others — whether friends, family or other “potential suitors” per se — this is an early red flag that showcases their sense of control. In the long run, this behavior can isolate you from loved ones and limit your ability to pursue normal and healthy relationships with others. Behavior can change, but it takes time, ownership and action.

While a relationship is between two people, your own sense of happiness and wellbeing should always be priority number one. Put yourself first by paying attention to those early relationship red flags you sense from the start.

When a friend goes through a messy breakup, you’ll often hear them confess that they wish they had listened to their gut earlier. By knowing the early red flags in relationships to keep an eye out for, you can save yourself from sticking by the wrong partner for too long — increasing the time you have to look for the right one 😊

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