Australian dating and relationship expert Louanne Ward understands how easy it is to let emotion take over and ignore signals that things might not be as they seem.
She said many people ignore these warnings and enter into a relationship that might not be suitable despite the fact red flags were there from the outset.
Here, Louanne offers an eight-step guide that will help you recognise some of the more common indicators.
1. Rushing a relationship
‘Sometimes we meet somebody who swoops you off your feet and tells you everything you want to hear and they whisk you off on this lovely, magical journey,’ Louanne said in a recent Facebook video.
And as intoxicating this can be, the expert said this situation can be fraught.
‘These people are trying to manipulate the outcome of how things are going to work out and they are controlling the situation,’ she said.
2. They are on social media but have no photos
If you’ve met through social media, watch for red flags, advises Louanne. One in particular is the person you’re dating has no photos of themselves online.
‘They say they are really private but often have lots of friends. They comment and like others’ posts but rarely post anything themselves,’ she said.
The reason this sort of behaviour suggests an issue is that it can indicate a person may have something to hide, the expert explained.
‘If you’ve connected with somebody on social media, this is something to be extra cautious about because if they’ve started a relationship with you on social media, it’s their potential fishing ground.’
3. They pursue you but tell you they don’t know what they want
There’s nothing more confusing than a person who makes the effort to date you but then says they don’t know what they want.
‘[They say] they really like you, they enjoy spending time with you, you’re really cool but they just don’t know what they want, or that they’re not even sure they’re looking for a relationship,’ Louanne said.
The coach is quick to point out that it’s important to read this as a sign this person isn’t available – and she recommends leaving as quickly as possible.
Louanne continued if you choose to ignore this type of behaviour because you believe the outcome could be different, despite their ambivalence, this may indicate you have a problem with self-esteem and self-worth.
4. Watch for sudden outbursts of anger
Anger can be a tricky emotion to express in a relationship.
However, a sign there’s a potential problem is when a person you’re dating appears to lose their temper too often – and for no reason.
‘You start dating a wonderful person and things are going well but they are very quick to anger for no reason and they can turn on you quite quickly,’ Louanne said.
She added this type of behaviour can take a range of forms including storming out of the room, sending nasty messages or hanging up the phone during a conversation.
Louanne said while a person might apologise and offer a range of excuses, this sort of inconsistency can become an emotional rollercoaster.
‘If this is repeated behaviour, this is a red flag. It’s a definite no for someone to put you on a rollercoaster of anger and apology.’
5. One person controls the contact
During the early stages of a relationship, it’s normal to send each other a flurry of messages.
But the issue is when one person appears to be more in control of the situation.
‘You might send them a message or phone them and they don’t pick up or they don’t reply to your message straight away. Sometimes they can leave you dangling for hours or days,’ Louanne said.
‘Because when somebody needs to control when they can and can’t speak to you, it’s often an indicator there is a third person involved.’
6. They keep you at arm’s length and won’t commit
The expert said an inability to commit is often masked in vagueness – something that should be seen as a red flag.
‘You ask them to do something and they will say “I will have to get back to you” or “I’m not quite sure” or they just avoid making plans.’
It might be that a few weeks have passed since you’ve seen them, and while they will stay in touch, there will be no concrete plans to meet, Louanne continued.
‘Another telltale sign and a big red flag that you may not be the only person that they are seeing.’
7. S3x is always a topic of conversation
There’s nothing wrong with talking about s3x but when this is the only topic of conversation or a go-to, Louanne says take note.
In particular, the coach said to watch for a person who might constantly question you about what you’re wearing or compliment you excessively on your body.
‘If these are people you haven’t sleep with yet, read this behavior as early stage red flags.’
Louanne also said another thing to watch for when being pursued by somebody who is highly s3xual is they may start sending you nvde photos of themselves and may expect you to send photos back.
‘As the relationship starts to develop, you may find yourself in a position where you’re sending photos that may make you feel uncomfortable,’ she said.
Louanne cautions: ‘It is a red flag when someone is asking you to do something that’s outside of your comfort zone.’
8. Constantly telling small lies
In the early stages of a relationship, white lies might seem small and insignificant, but these can indicate a pattern of dishonesty.
Louanne said there are a couple of different reasons this is a red flag.
‘One is the person may be a compulsive liar or the person could be potentially seeing others, or they are trying to manipulate a situation to get their own way.
‘They are used to using lies to get their own way.’