the BLOG of stuart mcdonald

Do You Have These Red Flags In Your Relationship?
February 19, 2010, 11:11 am
Filed under: Relationships | Tags: , , , ,


In every dating relationship, the time comes when we must examine the other person’s character, integrity, and personality in order to discern whether or not we want to spend the rest of our lives with them. During this examination, we sometimes easily spot things that send up what is often referred to as a “red flag,” or a warning sign. But sometimes there are blatant things that we simply overlook for whatever reason. I know I’ve done it before and chances are that you have too.

So in hopes that we can all learn from my mistakes and hopefully be more aware these flags in the future, I’ve compiled the following list of a few of the major red flags that I look for when considering a relationship with someone. While these are all important and should be examined at some point in the relationship (preferably sooner rather than later), they are listed in no particular order.

1) They make bad or irresponsible financial choices.

I don’t know where my paycheck went.” (Would you like me to tell you which store you spent it in?)

Why this is important: Someday it’ll be your money. Even if you have separate banks accounts, your spouse’s finances affect yours. You wouldn’t want other people making rash, frivolous decisions with your money would you? Solid decision making is an important quality for someone who wants to raise a family and looking at a person’s money is a great way to see this in action. (Remember: money does not change a person’s character, it merely amplifies it.)

You can tell a lot about a person and what they value by where they put their money. If they spend exorbitant amounts of money on cars or clothes, they may be covering low self-esteem/insecurity or they may simply be shallow and superficial. If they spend an unusual amount of money on food, they may be an over indulgent glutton in other areas of their lives as well.”

2) They lack direction, ambition and life purpose.

I don’t know what I want to do with my life yet… I guess I’ll figure it out sooner or later.” (Sounds like it’ll be later rather than sooner.)

Why this is important: Ladies, a man can’t take you anywhere if he doesn’t know where he’s going. Generally, we think that the idea of having a vision is exclusive to men, but it works for women as well. A woman that don’t have any kind of plan, vision, ambition, or drive is equally as unattractive to men as a man with the same qualities (or lack thereof) would be to a woman.

If dating, courting, and relationships are all supposed to be leading towards marriage, how will you know if you can take the journey with this person unless both people know where they’re going as individuals? And don’t let them use the excuse that they’re waiting for a spouse before they get moving. Each person, as well as each couple, has a specific life purpose and mission that only they can fulfill. That mission will not find you; you have to actively pursue and fulfill it yourself. As you’re working on that, this will likely be when you find a person who’s walking the same path.

3) They have close friends who exhibit any one of these other symptoms.

I mean, yeah, we hang out a few times a week, but we’re not really tight like that.” (You become like those you spend the most time with.)

Why this is important: You become those you associate with on a regular basis. This is a simple, yet profound truth. You can tell a lot about a person by observing their friends. If their friends are constantly causing drama and complaining about everything, chances are good that the person you’re interested in will do the same thing. Misery loves company right?

The same is true with their spiritual walk — if their friends are committed and passionate about getting God’s best for them, chances are good that they’re the same way. Hang out with their friends, see how they interact with one another and you’ll have a good clue about what you can expect from them.

4) They tend to burn bridges and leave behind a streak of badly ended relationships.

So what I keyed his car and got his lights turned off by telling the power company he died? I saw him out with another girl last week!” (Is it really that serious?)

Why this is important: It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. This is as true for relationships as it is anything else in life. I’m not saying that you have to have an incredible relationship with all your exes; what I am saying is that you should at least be able to coexist, even in the same room, without a brawl breaking out.

View your new relationship like a job interview where you had to disclose “previous employment” or “references”. If the new relationship called some of the people in your past, what kind of “recommendations” would they get?

5) They blame everything that goes wrong on someone else.

I know I got fired because my boss doesn’t like me.” (Didn’t you get fired for smoking weed in the bathroom?)

Why this is important: People who can’t take responsibility when things go wrong have a character issue; it’s a sign of immaturity. Constantly making excuses and justifications for your actions is childish and something that would benefits no one involved. Adults in responsible relationships should be able to solve any problems that will inevitably arise. But problems don’t get solved unless people take responsibility for their own actions and allow themselves to be held accountable.

You’ve probably noticed I left a very obvious one off the list. The red flag of “they don’t share my faith”. I thought long and hard about including this one, but decided not to because it’s normally not something we’re as quick to overlook. This is a more obvious warning sign, and personally, the first, or perhaps second, thing I would consider.

So what’s missing from the list? What are some other red flags or even deal breakers for you in terms of romantic relationships?

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

This is a great blog. I agree with EVERYTHING and looking back at my last relationship I’m shaking my head and saying “if I would have known these things…” But life is all about experiences which shape you and help you grow right?!

I would also add pay attention to how they interact with their parents. Now I know not everyone has the best relationship with their parent(s) for whatever reason. However, if things in the past are keeping them from moving on and building a relationship with the person who gave them life, it leads you to wonder how they will treat you should things not amount in their favor. If they aren’t forgiving *which is definitely something that takes practice*, then what makes you think they will be forgiving towards you should a major event take place in the relationship which may have offended them personally? So yes… how they deal with their parents and even family members in general will speak volumes on how they deal with you.

Again, great blog!

Comment by Krystle

Good stuff, that last one is a killer – in my life, when things went wrong, it was always everyone else’s fault. I was guilty of this for most of my life. When I started taking responsibility (I didn’t even know this was a problem until my wife, Margo pointed it out), my marriage and my life immediately started to improve.

Comment by Nelson McDonald

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