If you’ve had a partner make a comment that just didn’t feel right, or they don’t get along with any of your friends or family, you might be spotting relationship red flags. In hindsight, bad behaviour is easy to spot, but when you’re feeling loved up, it’s easy to dismiss. In this blog, we cover six relationship red flags you shouldn’t ignore, and when to get help.
It may start with a few harmless white lies, until one day you feel the need to check their phone to understand their strange behaviour. If your partner is continually lying to you or being evasive about where they are, financial matters, gambling or substance abuse, this is a significant red flag, and demonstrates that they don’t trust you. Trust is the foundation of any relationship. So, it’s not a real partnership if you can’t share important matters such as finances, family matters or even day-to-day life with each other.
Jealousy often stems from an insecure and distrustful partner. It may appear like over attentiveness in the beginning, but jealousy can quickly lead to control and manipulation in the long-term. Is your partner saying you spend too much time with your friends and family, and not with them? Or that your work is more important to you than they are? These are all signs of jealousy, and whilst they are seeking validation and attention, they are removing you from loved ones and isolating you from your support network.
Have you ever been made to feel like you’re crazy? Or that you never remember anything your partner said or did? This is gaslighting. If your partner is making you question your sanity, accusing you of overreacting, using lies or distorting the truth or past, it’s a major relationship red flag that you shouldn’t ignore. This is emotional abuse, and often the only way to see everything clearly is once you are no longer under their control. You may need to engage a trusted lawyer to assist in orders so your partner can’t contact you. This might sound extreme, but anyone who makes you feel like you’re questioning yourself or your reality is definitely not a life-long partner.
4. Coercive control
You may have heard of coercive control, with victims and support groups bringing awareness to this type of abuse. Coercive control is a pattern of behaviours to control you, make you feel scared, isolated from your friends and family and your support network, and ultimately dependent on your partner. This can include financial control, monitoring where you are or what you do, and even restricting what you eat, what you wear and how you look. New South Wales has become the first Australian state to make coercive control a criminal offence, after parliament passed legislation on 16 November 2022. So whilst the signs may be difficult to read at first, know you aren’t alone and get help as soon as you can. White Ribbon Australia offer helplines and meet with your family lawyer to understand your rights and protect yourself and your family from your abuser.
5. Substance abuse
If your partner is drinking or using illegal drugs daily, or regularly becoming inebriated, this is a sign of a problem and possibly addiction. It may already be impacting their lives negatively, whether it’s work, relationships or friendships, or finances. If your partner is relying heavily on drinking or substances to get through the day, this demonstrates that they may not be coping, and often leads to criminal charges or even abuse and physical violence. Either they must get help from a doctor or drug and alcohol counsellor, or you need to safely remove yourself and your family.
6. Physical abuse
If you are suffering physical abuse from your partner, this is a serious red flag and you may need to engage the police to apply for an ADVO, and then talk to a trusted lawyer about how to further protect yourself, your assets and your children. Physical violence is never ok, and shows that your partner hasn’t developed the tools to cope with their anger, or they may be under the influence of illegal substances. In any case, make sure you get the support you need to remove yourself, and any family members or pets from the physical abuse and perpetrator.
If you’ve noticed one or more relationship red flags, and it’s time to separate from your partner, the team at Seton Family Lawyers can help.
We are experienced and accredited family law specialists. Contact us today to book an appointment and receive the help you need. Our Central Coast Law Firm is located in the heart of Erina.