Why We Actively Choose To Ignore The Red Flags

When relationships fall apart, we often tend to blame ourselves, and sometimes we have reason to. In a lot of cases, it’s not that we missed the red flags. We saw them loud and clear, but we chose to ignore them. Now we’re left thinking “but why?”

Well, before we get too hard on ourselves, there are actually a multitude of reasons why we choose to actively do this to ourselves.

We Are Afraid What They’re Warning Against Is True

girl ringing grimace
Photo Credit: Moose Photos / Pexels
Photo Credit: Moose Photos / Pexels

The most ironic reason all: We ignore a red flag because we’re afraid of its truth. We’d rather live in blissful ignorance than actually confront the uncomfortable and certain feelings that follow recognizing a red flag. The truth is too painful.

Maybe we hope they’ll magically go away or sort themselves out.

The Answers Don’t Quite Fit

woman is thinking with hearts
Photo Credit: Jonathan Andrew / Pexels
Photo Credit: Jonathan Andrew / Pexels

Red flags don’t always make sense, nor are they supposed to. Just because someone donates to charity doesn’t mean they’re incapable of cheating.

Even when we do confront our partners about their red flags, their defensive answers confuse us enough to stop questioning. Even when they don’t fit.

We Dread The Change They Would Lead To

woman hiding her face in fear in black bakground
Photo Credit: Melanie Wasser / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Melanie Wasser / Unsplash

If we were to act on red flags, the consequences could lead to big changes in our lives. Maybe it means moving out, filing for divorce, deciding on who gets custody of children, or figuring out the management of our finances.

There are so many variables that we’d need to adapt to that are just easier not to deal with.

We Don’t Trust Ourselves

woman standing on rocks hiding her face
Photo Credit: Jake Pierrelee / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Jake Pierrelee / Unsplash

We’re often our own worst enemies. Even when our own intuition is using our bodies and our minds to protect us, we doubt it and think it’s wrong.

We don’t have enough confidence in ourselves to believe that our experiences have taught us enough to be able to recognize a red flag when we see one.

It’s Easier To Live In Denial

woman drinking wine on the floor sitting agsint the counter
Photo Credit: Zachary Kadoplh / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Zachary Kadoplh / Unsplash

Noticing a red flag presents us with two options. Either we have to admit something is wrong, or we can deny it and pretend that nothing is happening.

We’d often rather push through the pain, even when it leads to more pain, because we fear that it would hurt even more to do something about it.

We Don’t Want To Accept That Those We Love Can Hurt Us

woman holding flowers with man behind her in a field
Photo Credit: Dziana Hasanbekava
Photo Credit: Dziana Hasanbekava

We dream of being able to love our partners blindly and being loved back unconditionally. After all, the person that we trusted with our heart could never actually hurt us on purpose, right?

We believe so much in someone’s potential, or we hold onto their past behavior so much that we refuse to look at the version right in front of our eyes.

We Gaslight Ourselves And Take The Blame

woman laying in the grass and hugging herself
Photo Credit: Diego Rezende / Pexels
Photo Credit: Diego Rezende / Pexels

This is often reinforced when we try to express our concerns to our partners and they make us feel like we’re crazy for even asking.

We try to justify their behavior and minimize our own feelings. We drop our standards and set aside our values, and we think it’s a compromise.

We’re Conditioned Into Thinking Relationships Are Hard Work

woman looks upset as man tries to talk to her
Photo Credit: Keira Burton / Pexels
Photo Credit: Keira Burton / Pexels

It’s true that relationships aren’t meant to be easy, but they’re not meant to be so hard that you feel confused, helpless, or stuck.

You’re not supposed to always struggle and compromise and be at war with your own intuition. There’s a limit that you need to set for yourself and respect.

We Hope They Won’t Repeat Their Actions

woman holds up her hands to her face in prayer
Photo Credit: Audrew Badin / Pexels
Photo Credit: Audrew Badin / Pexels

One of the most admirable traits in humans is their ability to find hope in even the darkest situations. Yet having hope in some cases also means mentally living in a future situation that doesn’t necessarily align with the current state of affairs.

Hope makes sense when the situation is out of our control, but we can’t keep holding on to hope when we have the option to walk away.

We’d Rather Have Someone Than No One

man and woman gaze into each other on the street
Photo Credit: Anete Lusina / Pexels
Photo Credit: Anete Lusina / Pexels

At the end of the day, we all want to be with someone. Often, that means we’ll put up with someone who gives us just a glimpse of it, rather than waiting for the person who will give us all of it.

Even in a relationship full of red flags, we hold on to the moments of perceived, temporary happiness.

We’re Too Infuitated To Notice

couple cuddling on fouton
Photo Credit: Toa Heftiba / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Toa Heftiba / Unsplash

Sometimes, even though our mind notices red flags, it’s too busy sorting through the euphoric feeling of infatuation.

This is an actual flood of hormones released by your body that gives you a natural high feeling. Its downfall is that while your brain is flooded with happy chemicals, it also clouds your judgment.

We Let Our Relationships Move Too Quickly

couple on a date holding hands over table
Photo Credit: Rene Ranish / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Rene Ranish / Unsplash

They say it takes six to 12 months for the honeymoon phase to fade and for the rose-colored glasses to come off. By then, couples have already caved to the infatuated feelings and progressed their relationship too fast to take a moment to acknowledge any red flags.

Their lives are intertwined already at this point, and extricating yourself isn’t easy.

We Don’t Like Admitting When We’re Wrong

woman crossing her arms in bed
Photo Credit: Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash

We’re better at trying to fix it than admitting that we’re incapable of fixing it. We try to turn our red flags into green ones.

We’re simply too proud to admit that we made a mistake staying with this person or that we failed at making the relationship work with them.

We Don’t Know Any Better

man has hand resting on his face sittingon a log
Photo Credit: Nathan Cowley / Pexels
Photo Credit: Nathan Cowley / Pexels

We see our friends in toxic relationships, we come from divorced parents, we see toxic behavior normalized in movies, and basically, we think that this is just the way things are.

We assume perfection doesn’t exist anyway, so we might as well be grateful for what we have.

We Mix Up Character With Personality

man kisses woman on the cheek as she lays on him
Photo Credit: Nycolle Suabya / Pexels
Photo Credit: Nycolle Suabya / Pexels

We often assume that if someone has a good personality, then they also have good character. However, personality is surface-level and doesn’t reflect our outward actions.

Someone can be funny and confident but still be a jerk. It’s our character that influences how we treat people.

Not All Red Flags Are Universal

man holding newspaper to his face while leaning over bridge
Photo Credit: Maksim Goncharenok /Pexels
Photo Credit: Maksim Goncharenok /Pexels

A relationship issue that looks like a red flag to one person may not be a red flag for another individual. That’s because we all grow up with different needs and values which create different desires and limits.

This means that sometimes we don’t actually understand what our red flags are until we reach a breaking point.

We Desperately Want To Be Loved

woman hugs man in the snow
Photo Credit: Freestocks / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Freestocks / Unsplash

Some people are in love with the idea of being in love. There are many layers to this.

Not only are we surrounded by media that equate happiness with love and ideals of it, but many of us also put our value in how loveable others find us.

We Think The Good Outweighs The Bad

woman leaning against window looking out
Photo Credit: Juan Pablo Serrano / Pexels
Photo Credit: Juan Pablo Serrano / Pexels

“Usually people ignore them because what they get out of the relationship is worth more than the negatives. I hate nuts in my brownies, but I’ll still eat a brownie with nuts in it because it’s still a pretty good brownie.” —Chimerond95 / Reddit

At what point is enough enough, though?

We Don’t Want To Hurt Their Feelings

man and woman standing back to back in front of wall
Photo Credit: Henri Pham / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Henri Pham / Unsplash

Some of us, when we really care about someone, tend to put our feelings second to theirs.

Even when their actions hurt us, we fear that if point out what they’re doing wrong—or worse, if we walk away—we’ll end up hurting or abandoning them.

We Don’t Think We Can Do Better

woman holding coffee by the water
Photo Credit: Engin Akyrt / Pexels
Photo Credit: Engin Akyrt / Pexels

This is also linked to our self-confidence. We think that even though they have their flaws, this is as good as our relationships can get.

We fear that we won’t find someone without red flags or someone to love us with ours, so we take what we can get.