The 5 Red Flags to Look Out for in a New Relationship

5 min read

The whirlwind of a new relationship is exciting but we have to remember to take notice of any red flags waving.

Having an eye for red flags not only makes it safer to meet strangers, but also means you’re less likely to  get involved with someone unsuitable, regardless of how much they wow you at the start. That’s why they’re called red flags: they stand out from a mile away, even if everything else seems hunky-dory.

These 5 red flags highlight that the person has either an unstable personality, an insecure attachment type, or a dating history fraught with unhappy or unhealthy relationships—of which you could become the next if you don’t keep an eye out.

1) Desperation

Meeting someone amazing, whether online or off-, is seriously exciting. You tell your friends, eagerly await their messages—perhaps even wonder if you’ve finally met The One. But you also try to temper your excitement and expectations, not only so you don’t get ahead of yourself, but also so you don’t scare the person off. Most people know intuitively that being intense early on is a big no-no—but some either can’t help themselves or seem genuinely unaware that acting that way is a red flag.

If someone is desperate to move things as fast as possible, presses for personal information, or even starts saying they love you after no time at all, the connection they apparently feel probably isn’t based on knowing you well, but rather on their own insecurity or fear of being alone. The problem is, getting into a relationship doesn’t magically solve these psychological issues. At best it sweeps them under the rug—and it will be you tripping over it in the not-too-distant future.

2) Overbearing or unpredictable communication

If you’re constantly hearing from your new romantic interest and feel like you have no room to breathe, this could point to our first red flag, desperation. But it could also reflect the fact they simply have little else going on in their life—and is that someone you really want to get involved with? Perhaps they’re also texting you at a time when you’ve already said you’re busy, maybe at work or a social occasion. This may be a sign they don’t respect a partner’s boundaries or commitments.

The polar opposite can also be a red flag, of course. If things are going swimmingly and then they go AWOL for days on end, only to return to texting like nothing happened, that may signal a lack of consideration for a partner’s emotional wellbeing, as well as a sense of entitlement, that they can drop everything and come back whenever’s convenient. Of course, life happens, and people are busy, but if unpredictable communication goes hand in hand with a lack of explanation, that’s a red flag.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: if your dynamic with a person is off to a rocky start and you barely know each other, there’s a good chance they’re not worth investing in. Why focus on someone who’s already signalling their potential to cause you doubt and anxiety? Relationships need genuine and sustained interest to grow and flourish. If someone can’t provide this, that’s their prerogative—but they’re not right for you.

3) Reassurance seeking

‘Are we okay? ‘How come you haven’t responded?’ ‘Did you see my last text?’

Receiving one of these messages in a committed relationship is par for the course. In fact, if someone’s partner feels the need to send it in the first place, the relationship may require further scrutiny.

But receiving a text like this from someone you barely know—who you may not have even met yet—likely reflects that they’re needy and struggle to filter and manage their feelings.

4) Intense anger at an ex

Everyone has had difficulties in their dating history. Some a lot more than others. And every relationship, good or bad, shapes us, leaving lasting marks—or scars—long after it’s ended.

But when a new romantic interest is overt in their discontent with their ex, that’s a sign there’s some rage bubbling away below. And moreover, it’s a red flag in itself that they’ve had no qualms in showing you this anger so early on. This may signal unprocessed emotions—and these could fly off in a wayward trajectory and come right for you. Additionally, if someone is expending time and energy scouring their past, how much can they really invest in you here in the present?

5) Forcefulness

Respect for boundaries is a cornerstone of a healthy relationship. If a new person in your life struggles with this principle right from the get-go, they’re probably one to avoid.

Forcefulness can manifest in all sorts of ways:

  • going through your possessions, phone or social media
  • broaching a topic of conversation you’ve made clear is off limits
  • aggressively trying to change your mind about something that’s obviously important to you
  • disregarding your boundaries in the bedroom
  • consistently putting less effort into the relationship than you.

You deserve a lot more than red flags

Separating red flags from simple quirks of personality or annoying habits can be tricky, especially if you’re a cautious individual or have a history of poor relationships. But if in doubt, look out for the 5 red flags we’ve explored today—and trust your instincts.

Ask the opinion of those you trust, and aim to maintain transparency with your new romantic interest. If you’re uncomfortable but still like them a lot, make it clear they’re walking a fine line. And if the red flags are positively billowing out in every direction, do what you need to do to resolve the situation, even if it means cutting contact and blocking their number.

If you feel you can, you might want to explain that their behaviour has changed your mind about the relationship, and hope they understand and respect your decision. But they may not do this—precisely because they’re the kind of person who’s emanating red flags left right and centre.

Maclynn International is an elite, multi-award-winning international dating agency. Our world-class team of experts carefully vet every individual we accept onto our books—and they have a keen eye for red flags. Get in touch today, and meet your dedicated matchmaker who, among our vast network of attractive and eligible singles, will find you someone remarkable, grounded, and more compatible than you ever imagined possible.

female, Maclynn team

About the Author

Rachel Vida MacLynn

Founder & CEO

In 2011, Rachel took a leap of faith. Following a series of serendipitous events, she founded Vida (now known as Maclynn) in London and never looked back. Rachel is a Chartered Member and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and holds a Master’s degree in Occupational Psychology. Her own values around integrity, delivering the highest standards, inclusion, and self-empowerment are at the core of Maclynn’s unique matchmaking model. Described by clients as calm, compassionate, warm and wise, she continues to be fully immersed in the business, working with a select number of VIP clients. In recent years, Rachel’s personal life has focused on raising her two young sons with her partner, Jamie. Rachel has also achieved her personal goals of running the New York Marathon and reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro.

Read More by this Author
Decorative banner


Enter your email for expert dating advice, exclusive offers, and events.

Related Articles


Curious to learn more about how we can help you find your ideal partner?

Award-Winning Matchmaking

UK Dating Awards 2015 finalist badge
Euro Dating Awards 2016 badge
Forbes New York Business Council official member badge
The British Psychological Society Chartered Psychologist badge
Matchmaking Institute certified matchmaker badge
Matchmakers Alliance badge
Euro Dating Awards 2017 winner badge
UK Dating Awards 2017 winner badge
iDate Awards 2016 finalist badge