Watch out for red flags in dating scene
February 11, 2021
Sometimes spotting red flags in people is easy. A lot of people may have a good radar for who is and isn’t partner material. However, some red flags are subtle and harder to spot, especially considering the nature of hookup culture.
Here are a few red flags you should look out for in a relationship or considering someone as a potential partner.
Intermittent attention (also known as “breadcrumbing”)
Intermittent attention, or “breadcrumbing,” usually occurs in the talking phase and even shows up in relationships from time to time. This happens when someone sends you texts or Snapchats every now and then (inconsistently) to keep you on the hook. People might do this to keep you around while talking to other people if they don’t work out. They might also struggle with keeping constant communication out of fear of commitment.
This can be difficult for the receiver because when people breadcrumb you, they send you two contradictory messages that you perceive as equal. The first message occurs when a person isn’t interested in you, since they are ignoring you or leaving you on read for a while. The second message occurs when the person is interested in you because they will eventually reach out to you after days, weeks or months of limited to no communication.
Often, when this happens, people will start looking for other information that validates the belief that the other person is actually interested in them, which can lead to an obsession of proving to themselves that the person likes them, when in reality, they might not.
If you think someone is breadcrumbing you, it’s important first to acknowledge the two different messages you are receiving and decide whether or not that bothers you. If this does bother you, you can reach out to that person and ask what their intentions are. Hopefully, that person will be honest with you so that you can decide what to do next.
You notice changes in your self-esteem
Changes in self-esteem aren’t always easy to notice because they can happen so gradually. A few low self-esteem signs can include self-doubt, constantly comparing yourself to others, overly criticizing yourself and feeling sad, anxious or depressed. These are just a few ways self-esteem manifests itself emotionally. If you notice that, since you’ve started dating someone, you’ve been feeling some of these or have been having a lot of negative thoughts about yourself, that could be a sign that your partner is contributing to your low self-esteem.
One sign that your partner might be contributing to your low self-esteem is a need for your partner to be overly competitive with you, whether that be by undermining your accomplishments or always trying to one-up you. Another sign is blaming you in situations or constantly making you feel like you did something wrong.
We often judge our self-value based on the ways other people treat us, so if your partner puts you down or doesn’t seem to value you, that will reflect onto you and lower your self-esteem. If you notice this is happening to you, you can tell your partner that you don’t believe you are being valued or appreciated the way you should and remind your partner what you expect out of them as a romantic partner.
Any signs of gaslighting, a form of emotional abuse where someone makes someone else feel “crazy” or question their sanity by manipulating them, should be taken seriously. If you believe you are experiencing emotional abuse, you can call the National Domestic Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
You’re running out of things to talk about
This can happen with a lot of people. Sometimes people have days where they aren’t very talkative, and that’s OK. This can become a red flag when you either struggle to open up to your partner or hesitate to tell them something you might tell other people or want to tell your partner. You might feel a disconnect when you find you and your partner running out of things to talk about, and this might be a sign that you maybe aren’t compatible.
Similarly, if you feel that your conversations are one-sided or that your partner doesn’t seem to be interested in what you’re saying, you might want to talk with them to make sure both of you are on the same page in your relationship.
These are just a few red flags that, though subtle and often easy to miss, could be very telling signs that someone either isn’t right for you or isn’t partner material.