New relationships can be fun and exciting as you start a new chapter in your lives together. In the beginning, everything seems perfect, and you couldn’t imagine anything going wrong. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Sometimes your partner ends up having some flaws. And while some flaws are okay, like they love chocolate ice cream and you love vanilla, there are some red flags that can be unhealthy later on. Here are some behaviors to be on the lookout for in a new relationship:

Early warning signs of an unhealthy relationship


  1. Controlling: He or she is trying to control areas of your life. This can be anything from what you wear to who you hang out with, including your family and close friends
  2. Hostile: If he or she is easily set off, this can be a sign of hostility. If you find yourself acting different ways around them or avoiding certain behaviors to avoid “setting them off”, recognize that your partner may be hostile.
  3. Dishonest: Lying breeds distrust and hurt between partners; if they make a habit of lying to you or keeping things from you, be wary that this behavior likely won’t change.
  4. Disrespectful to you or others: Disrespect can include many things from not listening to what you say, interrupting you often, making fun of you, or not caring about boundaries you may have. It can even look like laughing at a hope or dream you may have for yourself.
  5. Overly Dependent: Dependence can take many forms, from being dependent on you for your time, money or attention. While being in a relationship implies a union, you should also both feel comfortable being individual units. If you feel like you have to keep everything perfect for them for fear they may fall apart, this can be a sign of dependency.
  6. Intimidating: If you are fearful of opposing your partner because of what they may say or do based on a past reaction, this is intimidation. They may use many tactics to intimidate you from threatening to break up or using physical force.

If you notice any of these traits or habits in a partner, this doesn’t mean you should immediately break up with them. There are some things you and your partner can work on and work through. However, if you bring something up with them and they refuse to work on it or do it again and again, you may need to think about whether or not this relationship will be good for either of you in the long run.

Most importantly, if they are physically or sexually violent towards you, find a safe way to get out of the relationship. Do not stay in a relationship if they are hurting you or forcing you to do something you are uncomfortable with. Everyone deserves to be in a healthy, supportive relationship.

If you need help getting out of a bad relationship, use these resources for free assistance, available 24/7, 365 days a year:

RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline

National Domestic Violence Hotline

  • 1−800−799−SAFE (7233)
  • Deaf/hard of hearing: 1-855-812-1011 (VP)  or 1−800−787−322 (TTY)
  • You can also visit their website at

If you are in immediate danger, call 911.


Visit 3rd Millennium Classrooms to learn about our Consent & Respect course for college or Respect & Resolve for high school