Can a line be drawn between triggers and red flags, or is it all the same? Let me help you by answering with a simple no, triggers and red flags are not the same. If you’re wondering what the difference is, keep on reading.
First of all, let’s clear it up – what is the difference between these two? Well, a trigger is something that prompts you to involuntarily remember or relive a previous trauma. The trigger itself may or may not be a negative thing on its own – what may trigger one person may not phase others at all.
A red flag, on the other hand, is a warning sign of danger ahead, and is considered a real issue in a relationship.
If your partner raises his voice during a heated argument, for example, your gut feeling may warn you that it’s a red flag. However, if he playfully hit you with a pillow while you were discussing something, and you don’t like it when someone does that, it’s simply a trigger.
Both of these can be hard to spot and even harder to differentiate. We’re both aware that I’m not a relationship expert, but you can trust me on this one since I have personal experience in both of these, plus I’ve picked up a couple of key things from my friends’ love lives.
Today, I’m bringing you some everyday scenarios that can be either emotional triggers or red flags in a relationship. You’ll be able to figure out which one of them your boyfriend is doing and leave him on time if things are bad.
So without further ado, let’s discover that fine line between these similar relationship problems.
1. He makes fun of you
If you’re joking with each other and he playfully teases you, that’s okay. There are times when he may remind you of your insecurities simply because he wants you to accept them. It’s not a red flag unless he’s pointing out your weaknesses and mocking you for them. I’m sure you’ll notice the difference.
Also, if he’s provoking you in front of your friends or family members or purposely shaming you, that’s a red flag. Leave him right away!
2. He’s in contact with his ex
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t approve of being in contact with an ex, but if they’ve built a friendship afterward and you know about it, you shouldn’t be worried much. Try talking with your boyfriend. Explain to him that it bothers you and give him valid reasons if you feel he shouldn’t be close friends with her.
However, if he continues talking with her and maybe even hiding it, then we’re talking about a serious red flag. Maybe one of them is second-guessing the breakup. And if he avoids updating you about his friendship with her, something serious is happening and you should be cautious.
3. He withdraws
Has he been shutting off emotionally recently? Simply stop for a second and think about it. Is he withdrawing because he has a bit too much on his plate? Perhaps he simply needs a bit of alone time and he’ll be back to normal soon enough.
But if you notice he’s not talking with you about his day or his feelings, you should monitor him. Try to find out what’s bothering him, because honestly speaking, he may just be cheating and silence is his way to hide his guilty feelings.
4. He doesn’t answer your message
Don’t panic if he doesn’t answer your message for a couple of hours. He may be busy cleaning the house, working, or taking a nap. He’s not necessarily cheating on you, he simply doesn’t have time to quickly send you an answer.
On the other hand, if you feel like he’s ghosting you, don’t even try talking with him. Don’t double text him; simply stop answering or contacting him at all.
5. He’s spending time with his friends
Okay, they were hanging out before you came into the picture. He had a life before you and in order to be the individual you fell in love with, he has to keep some of his habits and old customs. So, if it means them having a boys’ night on Saturdays, you have to “let” him go.
If he’s ditching you to be with them or cancels your dates constantly just to go out with his buddies, though, then something’s off. You should consider if you want to spend any more of your time with a guy whose priority is obviously NOT you.
6. He’s busy
Take some time to listen to him and determine if he actually has a heavy workload or if that’s simply his excuse. Everybody has time for things and people that matter, nobody’s busy all day long. If he can’t find at least an hour to see you, perhaps it’s best that you leave him.
But if he indeed has a zillion things to do and he tells you that he’ll call you later, or proposes another day for your get-together, that means he genuinely cares, and he’s genuinely busy right now.
7. He requires more attention
When a guy requires more attention it’s not alarming, since you’ve probably been the one neglecting your relationship’s needs. Flying solo for quite some time can make you a bit selfish and you may want a lot of time for yourself, but you have to remember that it’s two of you now.
If he’s pushing you to spend more time with him, and rushing things, that may be a red flag in your relationship. Pay attention to his behavior so the relationship doesn’t become toxic.
8. His behavior is odd
For example, if he suddenly does some things that he usually would never do, like staying a bit late at work or going out with his girl best friend often, don’t automatically count it as a red flag.
That may very well be a sign that he bought an engagement ring! Or that he’s preparing a surprise for you (especially if some important dates are around the corner).
However, if he starts repeatedly giving you lame excuses, you’ve found some possible evidence that he may be cheating. In that case, confront him. A woman’s intuition is rarely wrong.
9. He checks out other women
The last thing that can be either a trigger or a red flag is if he checks out other women. If he’s simply complimenting them in your presence (often solely to you), that’s not a big deal. He simply recognizes and appreciates beauty.
But if he’s behaving differently, or even starts flirting with them, you know what you have to do. Yes, you can slap him and then leave, but make sure that idiot knows he has to show his respect and that you won’t compromise your worth.