How to spot the warning signs when your relationship doesn’t feel right

Alexia works for Safe in Sussex, a charity that supports women who have experienced any form of domestic abuse. 

How to spot the warning signs when your relationship doesn't feel right

You know that boy who pulled your hair in the playground because he liked you? Well guess what? He didn’t. 

The idea that boys behave badly towards girls they like is such a damaging concept.

From the start we are fed messages that if boys are embarrassed, or if they like us, they may overcompensate and appear cocky, or be unkind to mask their true feelings.

This is nothing more than an excuse for poor behaviour and lack of healthy communication skills. 

Trust your gut instinct

If someone likes you then they should treat you with kindness and respect from the beginning.


When starting a new relationship, we often have an idea in our mind of what that relationship might turn into.

We may daydream about what might be, how the relationship might develop and all the romantic things we hope for.

This is all very normal and no issue, except when we hold firmly onto the idea of the person or what the relationship might be and excuse them for all the things that we are not happy with, because we so want the dream.

It’s easy to play down things we don’t like or make us uncomfortable because we wonder if we are being too harsh, or over dramatizing things. The truth is all we have is our gut instinct to tell us what’s okay for us. 

The warning signs

Here are a few early warning signs to watch out for when you are in relationship that doesn’t feel quite right. 

  1. Can you be your true yourself? Do you have to worry about what you say or how you behave in case they don’t like something?
  2. Does your partner comment on what you wear or how you look in a negative way or make you feel uncomfortable about these things?
  3. Can you say how you feel, or challenge them if they make statements you don’t agree with?
  4. Do they have negative things to say about your family and friends, even if they don’t really know them yet?
  5. Do you have to please them to make life easier for you, do their needs or plans come before yours?

All these things are good indicators that something is not quite right.

Of course when starting a new relationship we are just getting to know the other person. Initially we may worry about what we say or how we behave because we want the other person to like us, but if that means you can’t be yourself is that really the right relationship for you?

Respect in relationships

It’s also important to be able to say what’s ok for you and how something makes you feel with no fear of any repercussions.

So, for example if you say to your partner “I didn’t like it when you laughed at me because of my outfit” they will respond sensitively and appropriately and not with statements such as “can’t you take a joke?” or make you feel like you are insecure or over sensitive. That’s respect. Respecting your opinion as you would respect theirs.

Dating can be challenging and nerve-racking time, but it is also a wonderful, fun adventure, a chance to meet new people and broaden our horizons. But ultimately do listen to what your gut instinct is telling you.

If something doesn’t feel right from the beginning the chances are those issues will only grow.

Feeling happy, content and secure about yourself in a relationship is how you know you are onto a good thing.

To find out more, visit:

Read moreHow to end an unhealthy relationship

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