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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
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.