Noticing a red flag about someone you’re dating is always unnerving. It makes you pause and truly evaluate this person and your relationship with them. Some people may jump to conclusions and cut things off at the first sign of trouble. But what they may not realize is that there are two types of dating red flags and they require very different levels of attention and care. There are technical red flags and personal red flags, the former of which is more likely to end in a permanent split.
According to licensed marriage and family therapist Mari Summer, technical red flags are something about a person that most people would find concerning. Verano says they “indicate the relationship is fundamentally unsafe,” whether that’s physically or emotionally. Examples of technical red flags include signs that someone may be a narcissist or a psychopath, entitlement, controlling behavior, or “love bombing,” says Verano.
According to Healthline, “love bombing” is when a person tries to overwhelm you with excessive loving words, actions, and behaviors in an effort to manipulate you. This manipulation technique is “often used to win over your trust and affection so that they can meet a goal of theirs,” licensed marriage and family therapist Peykar Program told Healthline.
In the presence of a technical red flag, you may find that this specific quality is actually a dealbreaker for you. “With these red flags, it may even be healthy to block the person and pursue no further contact with them,” says Verano. If what you’ve noticed that is unappealing about your partner is fundamental to their personality and lifestyle, it may be difficult for you to carry on a healthy relationship with them.
The second type of red flag is a personal red flag. “These are signs that this person is not a good fit as a potential partner because they do not share your goals and values,” says Verano.
Personal red flags don’t indicate that the person is unsafe or generally unappealing, it just means you may not be romantically compatible with that person. For example, if someone does not want to have kids while you do, that is a personal red flag, Verano explains.
Although personal red flags are not as pressing, they should be addressed “out of respect for yourself and the other person,” says Verano. While this person may not be right for you romantically, they could continue to serve a special purpose in your life. “They could end up becoming a friend or a valuable business contact if you have other shared values and mutual respect for one another,” says Verano. And for more information on how to handle a red flag, check out This Is the No. 1 Way to Deal With a Red Flag, According to Experts.