Collecting Red Flags to Save the Relationship

This post was written by Rhonda Wasserman

Original content by Ashley Berges

We all know what red flags are in a relationship, but do we know what it means to collect red flags? Instead of just seeing the red flags we collect them. We walk through life holding these red flags, which in turn cause us stress, anxiety, resentment and question our reality. 

Many times, when we are in a relationship, one of the partners may be doing questionable behaviors, and in doing these behaviors certain things come to our attention. We start collecting signs that cause us to wonder what is going on in their lives. When we find these pieces of information, it can be overwhelming for us. Most often what we find are the things that we do not want to find. 

When we are in relationships, we care for and love the other person, and we want to make the relationship work. Often, we may see the red flags, but we minimize them and don’t make a big deal about them to keep the relationship. We may also make excuses as to why our partners may have done what they did.

What is very interesting is that the person collecting the red flags is usually upfront and honest. It can be very disheartening when you realize that the other person might not be telling you the truth. They may be omitting the truth more often than not. 

How do we begin to confront the fact that this is not just their issue, but to a degree, it is our issue as well?  After all, we are holding on to the red flags. Sometimes we hold on because when we have confronted our partner about them they denied it, or turned it around on us. We end up becoming the reason for the action that they did. It is easier for someone to turn something around and blame us. We then end up trying to figure out how we can make up for what happened, which will allow us to accept this type of behavior. 

We begin to feel that if we do better, and express ourselves more clearly to them, then maybe they will begin to open up and change the way that they act. We all hope that the other person will wake up and be honest in the relationship and do the right thing. 

The big questions are, will they be able to be honest, and how long do we hold on to wait and see if this person can do that? If we are collecting red flags, it is because we do not want to leave the relationship. It is as though we need to have more red flags and things have to keep getting worse for us to finally see things for what they are. Often this never really happens. Sometimes there can be huge red flags, but people still stay in the relationship. 

The red flags indicate a consistent disregard, disrespect, and consistent lies that we are dealing with. We begin to internalize this and start lying to ourselves about what we will and will not accept. We start lying to ourselves about their behavior and accepting their behavior. We tell ourselves that it is ok and that we can deal with it. In the process, people who are collecting red flags, are most likely very unhappy. The issue is that there are times in the relationship when they are very happy. This happiness leads them to omit the red flags when things get challenging. This happiness also provides an opportunity to forget all the previous red flags. 

If you find yourself in this type of relationship, you need to be aware that you may be feeling overwhelmed. You need to realize that you have amazing highs and horrible lows. These things are beating you up and making you question everything around you. You are collecting the red flags but do not want to see the reality. This causes you to believe that there must be something you can do to change these behaviors. We cannot control the situation; the other person must be able to control their behavior. 

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