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We’ve all been there – you're in the early stages of seeing someone new, and we really like them.
In fact, you like them so much that you let some of their more questionable behaviour slide – much to the chagrin of your friends and loved ones.
It’s something that seems to have struck a chord with many women while watching Married At First Sight UK, with viewers pointing out potentially troubling behaviour between Franky and Marilyse.
Franky, who has always said openly that he favours more traditional gender roles in relationships, left Marilyse, the matchmakers and the viewing public in shock when he told her “not to speak when [he] was talking.”
And while Marilyse was naturally unimpressed by Franky’s sharp tone, she decided to remain married to him in the next commitment ceremony, simply because she “wasn’t a quitter”.
Of course, we have to remember Married At First Sight UK is a TV show, and edited for more drama – but it’s unfortunately not uncommon for people to overlook incompatibilities or toxic traits in the early days in the relationship.
Relationship expert Sarah Louise Ryan believes there’s several factors as to why you’ll turn the other cheek when witnessing undesirable behaviour from a partner.
“Some people are in love with someone’s potential, rather than the reality of who they actually are, and what they can give or are willing to give,” she explains to Tyla.
“Another reason for ignorance is scarcity of being alone - maybe this is because in a relationship that has red flags peppered throughout they may have lost their sense of self, self-esteem, awareness of worthiness and confidence - they may feel they will be alone forever.”
Fear of loneliness, and a lack of self-confidence, is another contributing factor as to why red flags may be ignored, according to Sarah.
“Some people are also happy to settle for something that is less than love and deep fulfilment in romantic relationships because on a self-sabotaging level they do not feel they are deserving of true wholesome love,” she explains.
It’s important to note that red flags in a relationship differ from the ‘ick’ – the latter of which being somewhat nonsensical, idiosyncratic reasons why you don’t like someone (for example, one person on Twitter described ‘a man eating yoghurt’ as something that gave them the ick).
Red flags, rather, are toxic behaviours or traits that can have a detrimental effect on your wellbeing, and are a sign that the relationship “isn’t on the path to being healthy, loving, happy and fulfilled for both parties,” according to Sarah Louise.
“Some major red flags include: Not being able to communicate your thoughts and feelings for fear of your partners reaction emotionally, verbally or physically,” she says.
“Controlling behaviour is a red flag and that may show up in control of what you wear, where you go, finances, who you see, progression in your career, how you spend your time, what you do around the house or with children.
“Feeling insecure can be a red flag and that can be due to lack of trust or lack of fluid communication about having needs met. It could also be lack of clarity on common needs, wants, goals and desires.”
Sarah Louise also cites withdrawal as a method of control, and a deliberate lack of communication, as red flags that you shouldn’t ignore.
“Withholding information can be perceived as an untruth which doesn’t create solid foundations for trust, love and respect,” she says.
So if you find yourself in a situation where a close friend is disregarding, or explaining away, major red flags, Sarah Louise believes the best thing to do is to alert them to the problems by “calling them out kindly”.
However, if you’re the person choosing to ignore the red flags from your significant other, then Sarah Louise stresses communication, rather than turning a blind eye, is vital.
“If you spot red flags or anything that doesn’t feel like it’s going to grow you, serve you or make you happy - call it out, communicate it and make space to connect over it by understanding each others way of communicating better,” she says.
“By sharing what makes you feel uncomfortable you should also have the space to share what you need in the relationship - when you do this the two people within the relationship should be able to find a common ground tailored to them and the relationship about what is going to be right and work for them. It’s not one size fits all.
“If a partner is willing to move mountains to make things work for you both, they are for the keeps. Its regular, consistent communication that will keep cracks in relationships from turning to canyons.”
However, if your new beau is unwilling to listen to reason even when alerted to their potentially problematic behaviours, Sarah Louise believes this should be taken as a sign to call time on the relationship.
“When or if resent sets in, due to mismanaged expectations and needs being met, there’s no turning back from that, catch everything early and communicate it deeply,” she explains.
“If, when you bring up something that doesn’t make you happy and the other party doesn’t create space to hear you out, to see you and talk through it with you offering solution based compromises, then they aren’t the one for you.
“Life is too short to show up fully in your integrity for yourself and your happiness to have someone disregard or ignore what is true for you.
“Deep connection and intimacy is out there - start to look for green flags and anything that doesn’t feel good or right then you have to acknowledge and question if it is going to make you happy.”
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