Red flags can be a bit tricky.
I’m not very good at recognizing red flags, although I am better then I used to be. Naive, innocent, gullible, I’ve been called. Well, someone said I only looked innocent. The way I dressed, they said. I do like dressing modestly, when I put on clothes.
But, like I said, I am better than before. Because there is something I am quite good at– and that is recognizing, not red flags, but what lies behind the red flags.
Red flags are only warnings, remember.
They are not the behavior themselves. They are simply a sign. I may not be able to see the red flag waving in front of my face, but I can recognize when I am standing in the middle of a fire. It’s a helpful enough life skill, actually.
A red flag isn’t someone who isolates you from your friends. There is no reason anyone should ever isolate you.. That is not a sign of an abuse relationship. It is abuse. No, a red flag is someone who shows up an hour late for the first date. Does it mean they have no concern for your time? Maybe. Or maybe they simply got nervous and it took them that long to gain the confidence to come.
Similarly, a green flag is merely an indicator of a good partner.
It is not the behavior itself. While a red flag indicates a potential toxic/harmful behavior, a green flag is a possible illusion of a wanted behavior. Perhaps they communicate well; they listen to you; they make you feel wonderful. I am not saying to dismiss this out of hand. It’s good to place trust in a partner that consistently gives you love, affection, commitment, etc. That consistently follows through on their promises. Only, please know that it doesn’t always last.
Trust when warranted, but also, please do not let yourself be gaslit. If the person appears kind and wise from every outside appearance; if they treat you well in the beginning; if they do a thousand wonderful little things for you. Be thankful (in the sense of appreciation for what they do, not for being treated like a decent human being should be). But if they change?
If they change, please recognize it for what it is. Not the trait of a good partner, but merely a green flag.
It’s hard when a new partner treats you miserably. It’s even harder when they were kind or supportive at first. You think, “Maybe I’m making it up. They did everything -right- before.” This is how gaslighting can happen. All the green flags were there, but it turns out they are not what they seemed.
Please know that it’s okay to leave, no matter how good they used to be to you. Keep faith as long as you feel you should. Only don’t put up with years of neglect and mistreatment for the sake of the past. You don’t need anyone’s permission, least of all mine, perhaps a stranger to you. Still. If you need it or it will help, here’s a little gift for you.