Sex and Relationships, A BRAVE Column
By Hannah Thompson, BRAVE Peer Educator
Content Warning: This POST discusses sexual violence
We hear about toxic relationships all the time, whether it’s through someone else’s relationship, friends or even a fictional relationship on TV. Although we all may think we know what a toxic relationship looks like, it’s always harder to see red flags when we are infatuated with someone. It’s important to renew and refresh our knowledge of red flags, especially when it’s easier to ignore them when they are right in front of us.
One of the biggest red flags in a relationship is a constant state of jealousy. Jealousy can sometimes be perceived as a good thing because it can be validating to know someone feels so strongly about you and can therefore boost your ego. Jealousy can manifest into controlling behaviors. A prime example of jealousy and controlling behaviors is if you have to reject plans with other people in order to make sure your partner does not get upset. Jealous behaviors can also manifest as your partner accusing you of being with someone else, even if the relationship with someone else is strictly platonic. Jealous partners usually have a lack of trust, which causes poor communication and an overall unhealthy relationship.
Along with jealousy, poor communication skills in a partner can also be a red flag. In a relationship, it is natural to have arguments, but how those arguments are dealt with matters the most. Open communication and active listening are essential for a healthy relationship to thrive. If you find yourself worried about expressing to your partner how you feel about something because you’re scared of their reaction, that could be a sign of a toxic relationship. Another red flag within communication is if your partner does not attempt to listen to your feelings, and instead, they become defensive and attack with some type of manipulation like gaslighting. A healthy relationship is one where the people involved are open to hearing each other and working to be better for each other.
Another red flag is love-bombing. This is a term everyone should be familiar with, but I find many people have never heard of it. Love-bombing is a very straightforward red flag, as it centers around your partner becoming extremely invested in you during early stages of your relationship. This could be seen as showering someone with excessive affection, giving gifts frequently and talking about the future together. All of these tactics are used in order to make the other partner feel obligated to the person, and what follows after love-bombing is emotionally abusive and toxic behavior from that person. Lack of boundaries can result in love-bombing as well, so it is vital to remember that boundaries are necessary for every relationship, no matter how in love you think you may be.
These are just a few of hundreds of relationship red flags that are important to point out and confront. It’s not always easy realizing you are in a toxic relationship, but I promise it’s easier, in the long run, to get support from others and leave than stay in that relationship.
Missed BRAVE’s previous column? Check it out here: