Don’t Ignore These Pink Flags in Your Relationship
Most of us have heard of red flags in a relationship that can lead to danger, but we often avoid or overlook pink flags. Pink flags are common, especially in new relationships. Marriage therapists define them as gentle warnings that something is amiss between you and your partner; however, because they aren’t as well-defined or blatant, we push them out of our minds or find excuses to explain them away. In time, when left unattended, pink flags may transform into red flags that result in the end of your relationship.
Identifying and discussing pink flags in your relationship can help you and your partner use them as opportunities for growth rather than allowing them to wreak havoc on your communication and ability to resolve issues. As you examine the pink flags in your relationship, I have listed six of the most common ones and why they’re important to address.
You suspect your partner is hiding something or being dishonest. It’s normal for partners to confide in each other about past experiences. When your partner holds back, seems to forget, or doesn’t want to talk about their past experiences, it builds a wall that excludes you rather than helping you feel more connected to them. If you feel as though your partner is holding back, the simplest method to discern whether you’re projecting your anxiety onto them or that you’ve identified a real concern is by telling them how you feel and discuss ways to increase your comfort opening up to each other.
You’ve never engaged in an argument. Arguments act as a healthy way for couples to express their emotions and collaborate to resolve issues. The absence of arguments may indicate that one or both partners lack authenticity in the relationship. If you’re afraid of vulnerability, the relationship cannot sustain depth and will begin feeling superficial and unsafe. When couples avoid arguments, important uncomfortable discussions are evaded, leading to dishonesty and reduced trust. Rather than avoiding difficult conversations, address tough topics and learn how to disagree. Create a plan to negotiate solutions that appease the two of you.
Your partner hesitates to define your relationship. If you and your partner have seen each other for several months and you continue to lack clarity in the status of your relationship, that’s a problem. This may indicate insufficient or ineffective communication of your needs and expectations. When partners remain unsure of their feelings but stay in a relationship to avoid loneliness, they hurt themselves and their partner. Talk to your partner and advocate for yourself by being honest about your needs.
Your partner is unreliable. If you notice your partner lacks follow-through, this can indicate an absence of full commitment to the relationship. While this might not necessarily signify you aren’t a priority, it does mean you must communicate your observations. Rather than engaging in accusations, check in with them. Unclear messages or inconsistency often indicate someone feels pressured or has difficulty deciding what they want.
Your partner prioritizes their gadgets over the relationship. Is your partner constantly distracted with their phone, computer, or television during intimate times, such as date night or when you engage them in conversation? This is a sign of emotional immaturity or addiction to their devices, meaning they may be incapable of holding a fully healthy relationship. If your partner is unable to limit their screen time to support your emotional needs, they may not be prepared for a committed relationship with you. When you feel second to your partner’s electronic devices, it’s important to engage in dialogue, work together to limit gadget use, and show priority of your relationship.
You don’t feel emotionally safe in your relationship. Feeling safe in your relationship is essential for trust building. When you feel unsafe, you often hold back and feel discounted or misunderstood. In a relationship, safety means your partner respects you and your family. They validate your feelings and desire to understand you. Safe relationships hold space for partners and keep the boundaries of the relationship sacred. Each partner must know their most closely held values are prioritized by their significant other. If you feel as though your partner expresses carelessness in your relationship or takes risks that may ultimately harm the relationship, it’s important to address it up-front. An unsafe relationship is unstable and not built to last.
Recognizing one of these six pink flags does not mean your relationship is over, but it does indicate areas of concern. The best way to approach a nagging pink flag is with honesty and open discussion with your partner. The surest way to create a problem in your relationship is to ignore the pink flag until it becomes red, which may lead to blaming your partner for the problem. When couples use problems as an opportunity to work through solutions together, they create a stronger connection and grow in their commitment to each other.