Long distance relationship red flags

Red Flags in a Long-Distance Relationship

  • Long-distance relationships require an extra level of thought and communication.
  • Because of this, red flags can often be more difficult to identify in long-distance relationships.
  • Reluctance to communicate, gaslighting, and frequent arguing can all be long-distance red flags.

Long distance relationships can certainly be tougher than local ones, but studies have shown that they actually have the potential for deeper bonds and stronger communication.

"In order to make it succeed, any relationship requires communication," says clinical psychologist and sex therapist, Cheryl Fraser, PhD. "A long-distance relationship just requires an extra focus on communication. It's not like it's a bad thing; it's just a relationship with a challenge."

When long-distance relationships face hurdles, communication can become strained, reluctant, or infrequent. And spotting these red flags when you're not in the same physical space as your partner is critical to understanding and resolving any issues.

Read on to discover six common red flags in long-distance relationships — and advice on how to handle them from Fraser as well as Antonia Hall, psychologist and relationship expert.

1. They don't initiate conversations 

If your partner isn't communicating as much with you anymore, it could be a red flag that something is bothering them or simply that "they are not very invested in the relationship," Hall says.

How often you should be communicating is unique to each couple. For some, it may be talking multiple times throughout the day. And for others, touching base once nightly might be enough. 

Fraser's recommendation is to check in in the morning as well as the evening each day if possible — and ideally on video. 

"Text is the worst for anything deep or important," she says. "Phone is a step up. Ideally you want videos where you can get those social cues, the nuances of facial expressions. You can see each other so you get a better read and you're less likely to go down a communication rabbit hole."

2. Communication feels exhausting

Communication is key to a healthy relationship, but when it persistently feels daunting, tiring, or downright stressful, that can be a sign that the long-distance relationship is in trouble. Healthy communication should not always feel so challenging, so when it does more often than it feels wonderful — that's a red flag. An inability to listen, empathize, or communicate without hostility can be signs of unhealthy communication. 

Hall suggests couples mindfully choose a good time for talking things through — whether the topic is light and cheerful or heavy and serious — "which means you both have the time and energy for the discussion and aren't stressed, tired, or distracted." 

Choosing a good setting for conversation is difficult, but important. "Don't try to talk it out during intimate moments or right before bed," she advises. "Allow time and space for each person to share their feelings." 

Practicing self-care before and during difficult conversations may help to prepare.

Also be careful to frame communications in a way that is non-judgemental, she says. It helps to introduce statements with the framing of "I feel" rather than "you make me."

3. You argue more frequently

Fighting in a long-distance relationship is not necessarily a sign of doom. 

"Arguments allow people to express and see varying viewpoints," Hall says. "Being able to disagree respectfully and with an open mind can be a bonding experience that ultimately strengthens the relationship." 

But the way couples fight matters. Here are some dos and don'ts:

Healthy fightingUnhealthy fighting
Hearing each other outHurling personal insults
Working together to mutually resolve argumentsAttacking each other, rather than the problem at hand
Communicating openly and honestlyFighting to wield power over the other partner
Fully listeningFighting with the goal of winning

But an increase in frequency or severity of fights — especially arguments from which nothing is learned or built — can suggest a long-distance relationship has issues.  

Fraser advises couples to make a plan for taking a 30-minute timeout as any argument begins to escalate, especially when it's over the phone or a video call because "anxiety can quickly get sky high" in these situations, she says. 

"This break is physiologically important because it takes about 30 minutes to calm down when you're upset. It takes time for a flooded body in fight-or-flight [mode] to calm down, for the blood pressure to come down," Fraser says.

4. They don't want to tell you about their life outside of your relationship

"It is important for couples in all types of relationships to have their own social lives, but that is particularly true when in a long-distance relationship," Hall says. "Having a good support system around you makes it easier to be separated from your significant other for prolonged periods of time."

But if one partner is reluctant to discuss their independent social life, it could be a relationship red flag.  

"As you do not have the luxury of sharing most of your time together, having openness and transparency prevents miscommunications from happening," Hall says. 

"Trust your intuition or gut if something feels off with your partner," Hall says. "It may be something in your partner's voice on the phone, or an energetic feeling you have that your partner is emotionally distancing themselves. One doesn't need to be in the same physical space to read such clues."

5. They gaslight you 

Gaslighting is a type of communication used to manipulate or exploit someone. In a romantic relationship, this might look like one partner dismissing the other's feelings, blaming and judging their actions, or accusing the other of excessive sensitivity or distrust.

In a long-distance relationship, a partner might:

  • Discount their partner's thoughts or instincts by calling them crazy.
  • Deny their partner is really feeling how they say they are feeling.
  • Lie to control the information a partner receives and processes.
  • Deflect blame for toxic behavior, citing the other partner's response to the behavior as the problem instead.

The mental health effects of gaslighting can be severe: When one partner is pushed to continually second-guess their own thoughts and impulses, consequences can include anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, impaired sense of self control, and other harmful fallout. 

"Gaslighting is targeted and consistent," Fraser says. "And it can have huge effects including massive self doubt and insecurity, and also lead to staying in a destructive or abusive cycle."

6. You feel anxious before talking to them 

Getting butterflies ahead of talking to your partner is different than a nervous sense of dread. 

"Clear your head and be honest first and foremost with yourself about why you are feeling anxious," Hall says. Recognize if the anxiety comes from a lack of trust or a fear about the future direction of the relationship.  

To cope healthily with any relationship anxiety, you should be able to work together with your partner to mitigate any undue anxious feelings. 

"Be honest with your partner in the most loving, respectful way about the cause of your anxiety," Hall says. 

Individually, partners can also cope with anxiety by rewriting the negative assumptions in their thoughts. This means communicating our needs to our partners, and then letting them respond with good-faith efforts, Fraser says – rather than immediately jumping to conclusions  about their bad intentions. 

For instance, if one partner asks for more regular communication throughout the day, and the other responds by dropping more frequent heart emojis through the course of a busy schedule, that demonstrates effort and should be welcomed rather than viewed with skepticism.

If these communication strategies still fail to satisfy both partners' needs, and the anxiety continues unchecked, it's a major red flag that a long-distance relationship is in trouble.

Insider's takeaway 

Long-distance relationship red flags are often linked to commitment, trust, and communication issues: Either one partner fails to initiate conversations, communication feels exhausting, or it  frequently leads to unproductive fighting. 

Gaslighting and a reluctance to discuss life outside the relationship can also signal trouble. 

Not only are these potential red flags that could point to significant problems in a long-distance relationship, but they can trigger anxiety and insecurities that erode one or both partners' sense of self and challenge mental health and wellbeing.

It's ok to move your relationship to a platonic friendship if a sexual or romantic connection isn't working out for you and you would still like to know each other. Every relationship is different, and ultimately you and your partner are the experts of your own needs. 

Alesandra Dubin

Freelance Reporter, Insider Reviews

Alesandra Dubin is a news and lifestyle editor and writer based in Los Angeles. A veteran digital journalist, she's covered travel, food, events, fashion and beauty, entertainment, home, parenting, and viral content for more than 15 years, for both consumer and business audiences. Her work has appeared in Town & Country, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Parents, E!, BravoTV.com, BuzzFeed, TODAY.com, and countless other online and print outlets.  Alesandra has a master's degree in journalism with an emphasis on cultural reporting and criticism from NYU, and a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley. An avid traveler, she trots the globe with her husband and twins. Learn more about how our team of experts tests and reviews products at Insider here.

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Red Flags In Long Distance Relationships You Should Not Overlook


Relationships & Love


Updated: Sep 07, 2022, 10:00 IST

Prerna Prakash




Long-distance relationships are hard to maintain, but they are also pretty important when it comes to figuring out what you want from your partner and what you're not getting. There are a lot of couples who give it their best when it comes to long-distance relationships.

However, not all are able to manage that. It’s critical to know and recognise warning signs in your relationships, so you can nip them in the bud, or learn how to make better choices. 

Here are some of the red flags everyone should be aware of in a long-distance relationship. 

Read iDiva for the latest in Bollywood, fashion looks, beauty and lifestyle news.




They’re less available

If your partner is beginning to miss your online/telephonic dates and is blowing you off more often without giving a valid reason, that’s an important red flag, especially when it comes to long-distance couples. Being there for each other, at least virtually, is critical. 




They don’t communicate

Long-distance relationships are based on trust and communication. No couple starts off with great communication, we all have to work on it. However, if your long-distance partner refuses to work on their communication and is AWOL for long periods of time (think hours, days, or even weeks), then that’s a big red flag that no one should ignore. 




They’re always out

Is your partner out 'hanging with friends’ every night? Is he always unavailable on call, text, or video? Are there no pictures of their ‘night-outs’ on social media? That’s a clear red flag! 




You feel unwanted

If you’re feeling unwanted in a long-distance relationship, it is important to have a talk with your partner. If you’re feeling lonely even when you are talking to them, then it's important to re-evaluate the relationship. Don’t let your partner take you for granted. That’s a huge red flag in a long-distance setup! 




They text/call you all the time

Every relationship should have individual space. Everyone in a relationship should have the freedom to learn and grow, meet new people, and become better versions of themselves. This is not possible if your partner refuses to let you have any time on your own. 




They’re jealous of your friends

Being too clingy is also not a good sign. If your partner comments about your friends in a jealous way, or says they prefer you don’t hang out with a specific gender (depending on your sexuality), perhaps it is time to rethink the relationship, or at least have a long chat. 




They refuse to video chat with you

Video chatting is one of the biggest boons that the age of internet and technology has given to couples who live far away. It makes your dates feel real and intimate. Not wanting to video chat sometimes is okay, but if your partner always says they “prefer texting,” that’s a red flag for sure! 




They don’t want to meet in person

Just because you're in a long-distance relationship doesn’t mean that you can never meet. In fact, the backbone of every strong long-distance relationship is meeting whenever possible. If your bae refuses to meet you, even when they’re not too far, or say they’re “too tired” to hang out, that’s a red flag. 




They ask for money all the time

Helping your partner out when they’re in a tight spot is one thing, but asking you for big (or small) amounts of money all the time is a completely different thing altogether. This is especially important to take note of if you’ve never met your partner or if there's not much intimacy in the relationship.




All you ever do is fight

Being in a relationship should make you feel good and happy. Every couple fights once in a while, but if you’re exclusively fighting with your long-distance partner all the time, make a face when they call, or just are exhausted with their arguments, that’s a red flag. Disagreements in a relationship are healthy, but only disagreements are not. 

Social and lead image credit: Excel Entertainment, Tiger Baby Films, UTV Motion Pictures, Eros International 

Prerna Prakash

Relationships & Love

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10 Relationship Red Flags You Shouldn't Ignore - HEROINE

We fall in love, let new people into our lives, and sometimes become so attached to them that we don't notice their flaws and the things that bring us discomfort and suffering. The lack of knowledge in the field of human psychology and how to properly build relationships between partners leads to the fact that even happy couples break up. We want to tell you about the 10 most important red flags that indicate the presence of problems in a relationship, and explain why you should not ignore them.

1. Your partner is your own big fan

Arrogance has never been an attractive trait. If your partner is able to see enviable qualities only in himself, then he is either a narcissist or a terribly insecure person whose complexes manifest themselves in such a passive-aggressive way. If you've heard stories about exes that he dumped because they weren't good enough for him, then it's worth considering whether such a person can love someone other than himself.

2. You are the center of his Universe

Living in perfect harmony is wonderful, but depending on each other financially, emotionally or psychologically is a big red flag that promises trouble. Each of the partners must, first of all, see themselves as a separate and accomplished person who is able to live a full life without a partner. Both of you can give each other a real and strong relationship only if you are complete separately and can take care of yourself on your own, because relationships are not an escape from loneliness, it is the choice of two people to be together.

3. He always looks for someone to blame

When a partner is not able to admit his mistakes and accept defeat, everyone around him becomes the culprit of his troubles and failures. It is very difficult to have a constructive conversation with such a person, as he will always shift the responsibility to you or someone else. This is a warning of larger problems.

If a man cannot control himself, how can he be responsible for a relationship? Can you be honest with him if you know how hard it is for him to admit his own mistakes. It is these people who most often refuse to compromise and work on relationships, so you are likely to experience a painful breakup.

4. You have to fit into his schedule

Being busy isn't a problem, but if your boyfriend expects you to fit into his crazy schedule, your relationship is more about convenience than desire. In a relationship where people care about each other, it is necessary to prioritize correctly. If he or you cannot sacrifice your worries for the sake of each other, then perhaps both of you are not yet ready for a serious relationship.

5. You have difficulty communicating

Not all people can openly talk about their feelings, but if you feel that your partner deliberately avoids answering, hides his thoughts and does not share the details of his life, then most likely he is not satisfied with the state of affairs, but he does not know how to tell you about it. Both of you should feel comfortable talking about what is important to each of you. Only then can you solve problems and feel real emotional closeness.

6. You suspect a lie

This problem is related to communication difficulties, but there is a big difference between a guy who has difficulty talking about his feelings and an outright liar. If your boyfriend does not finish, or gives you not completely frank answers about how he feels, how he sees the future between you and what stage of the relationship you are now, then this can turn into a problem that will only bring negative emotions. You will begin to build illusions, and he will be able to hide behind the fact that he never told you what you took for the truth.

7. He doesn't want to be labeled

If you've only been dating for a week, then labeling may indeed be unnecessary, but at certain stages, communication between you should be concretely defined. If your boyfriend is in no hurry to call you his girlfriend even after a month of “no labels”, then most likely he is either not sure that you are the right one, or does not want to commit himself to you, as he is not yet ready for a relationship or looking for another option.

8. He has no ambitions and goals

When a partner cannot say what he wants from this life and does not strive to achieve anything, then your relationship can and will be fun at the beginning, but soon you will realize that life is next to him boring and dull, and people without ambitions and interests only drag you down.

9. He doesn't know why he's with you

We don't ask you to give a clear idea of ​​every step in a relationship, because sometimes you want romantic nonchalance, but you and your partner should at least have a rough idea of ​​what exactly binds you together. If at the beginning it can be passion, interest, a thirst for something new, then later, each of you has the right to expect deeper feelings. If your partner still can't answer why he's with you, then maybe he's just using you as the only option at the moment and waiting for someone better. And even if not, then being close to a person who cannot decide on his desires and feelings implies that you yourself will understand and think out what should be in your relationship.

10. You have been warned about it more than once

Reputation does not appear with us by itself, it is deserved for reasons. If this is not the first time you have heard unflattering comments from someone about your partner, then you should listen to them and compare them with that one. what you have noticed. Only you can decide whether you want to be with him or not, but if people who have known him for a long time say that he is selfish or likes to embellish reality, then over time, you can understand that they were right.

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Red flags in relationships: learning from TV shows 🚩


Have you noticed how lately people are talking more and more often about red flags in relationships? This topic is raised by both bloggers and psychologists in their new videos, various board games with the same name go on sale, and TikTok even has a separate “Red flags” mask. But have you ever wondered what the term really means?

Let's start with the obvious: red is used both in sports and in everyday life (remember the same traffic light) as a signal to stop. That is, in fact, noticing the red flag, a person should put things on hold and think about what is going wrong at the moment. In a relationship, this phrase is used to recognize toxic manifestations in the actions of a partner (or pay attention to your own behavior) and leave in English. Well, now let's figure out what these flags are 👇

Jealousy for no reason

Who should not be like: Ross from Friends

Do not rush to throw tomatoes! Someone may say that jealousy is an indicator that you are not indifferent to a person, and one cannot but agree here. But to accept this point of view in full is also not possible. There are a few things to consider here: how often your loved one worries about competing for your heart, and how they express it in words and actions.

It is good if you calmly discuss such experiences and look for a way out of the situation together. But if, as in the case of Rachel and Ross from Friends, his jealousy turns into reproaches in your direction (and be honest with yourself) is unreasonable, then gracefully turn around and go to hell, girls! 😂

Constant control

Who should not be like: Joe from the series "You"

Does he have passwords for all your social networks, a house key and a pin code for a bank card? Run! Well, seriously, worrying about the safety of a partner, from time to time wondering how he is doing, and constantly holding a person at gunpoint are not the same thing. By the way, this is perhaps the final stage of jealousy, also known as insanity. The reason for this can be two things: low self-esteem of a partner (make sure that everything else a person does not assert himself at your expense) or stalker habits.

If everything suits you, then we will try to clarify the danger of such a habit with the help of the series "You". Even removing murder and stalking (you can't turn a blind eye to that, right?) from Joe's checkbox, he's still a toxic boyfriend. It is important for him to know everything about his partner and have complete power over his life, otherwise Joe is capable of the worst. Oh yeah, and let's not forget about gaslighting - a special kind of psychological abuse 🙅‍♀️

Disinterest in you

Who not to be like: Dean from Gilmore Girls

It's great when a person is interested in what is important to you and tries to remember the smallest details. But do not rush to get upset if you have to repeat something several times - we all have difficult days when our heads are full of extraneous thoughts and even the most important information is forgotten. And if a person prefers physical contact to ordinary heart-to-heart talk (absolutely always) and chooses a group of friends for communication, then here it is, the very red flag.

It's even worse if you have to hear the regular "don't make a fuss", see your loved one roll their eyes more often than rejoice at your accomplishments, and all your problems be unduly downplayed. I'm sorry, but this is anything but love, and you really deserve more. This is exactly what happened to Dean and Rory from Gilmore Girls: at first everything even went smoothly, and they did not part for a minute, but when the primary love passed, Dean became irritable, controlling and indifferent. And instead of expressing his opinion on Rory's work, he answered something like: "You know more about this than I do" 🤷‍♀️

Bad attitude of his friends towards you

Who should not be like: William from the TV series "Scam"

Or even easier, pay attention to how your acquaintance with them went. You see, guys always discuss their heart matters among themselves, but not in the same way as girls, of course. And you can easily determine the attitude of a guy towards you by the way his friends behave in your presence. Firstly, if you are important to him and he does not perceive you as another affair, then he will put a ban on all vulgar jokes and caustic comments addressed to you.

Also, if one of his friends is aggressive and reacts violently to your every word, then perhaps your boyfriend introduced you in absentia in a bad way, and it's worth considering. Unfortunately, Vilde from Skam did not know about this at the time and created the perfect image of a guy in her head. As a result, William took advantage of her, did not even remember her name, and made a mockery of her among his friends. But the worst thing is that Nura turned a blind eye to all this and trusted the guy. It turned out two-faced 👿

Endless addictions

Who not to be like: Elite's Valerio

No, this is not just a difficult period, and no, this is not temporary. It is convenient for a person to have someone on his side and continue to believe in him, no matter what. Of course, everyone deserves a second chance and you can’t score on your loved one ahead of time, but think a thousand and one times before getting involved in something like this. Otherwise, instead of a happy future, joint suffering awaits you, and it’s good if you don’t get pulled along with it. And remember, you can always find another way out of the situation, and ordinary pity has not helped anyone yet.

As much as we'd like to admit it, Elite's charming Valerio isn't nearly as lovely as his smile. Not only was his relationship with Lou illegal, but he also liked making promises more than keeping his word. Valerio didn't care much about how these feelings would affect his beloved or how his addiction would affect the most precious people in his life. And even when his friends forgave him for this shortcoming, he considered it appropriate to sell them drugs, playing on their weaknesses. Bring the best guy award here 😂

Games out of the blue

Who not to be like: Chuck from Gossip Girl

But we know them as emotional swings. They can be extremely exciting and bring a lot of interesting sensations to ordinary life, but what's the point? Such games will not make anyone happier, because under all the tinsel they are the most real manipulation. People are attracted to swings because it allows them to avoid responsibility for their actions and feelings. This includes being unreachable, being rude for no reason, or taking complete control of the relationship.

Chuck and Blair are one of the best Gossip Girl couples with many iconic scenes that we remember to this day. Their incredible chemistry and Chuck's devotion are just a small part of what makes this couple so special. However, the obvious red flags in both the guy's behavior and the basis of their relationship cannot be avoided. After all, their romance was full of unhealthy games, which then led to their endless quarrels and reconciliations. This, of course, adds interest to the plot, but spoils everything good that can be between two lovers 😥

Hot temper and aggression

Who should not be like: Nate from the Euphoria series

Frequent and uncontrollable. Someone who shows aggression towards you, loved ones, strangers, and even animals should be a serious concern. This indicates that he has not developed a healthy way to properly channel and express his emotions. It all starts with a sloppy word, a wave of the hand and leads to physical violence, such is the reality. So don't take it into your head to accept an apology and believe his promises to change, but pack your things and run away. This is not a joke!

Remember the same Nate. He is a tough man, but holds himself well most of the time. It is impossible to predict his outbursts of anger, as well as to calm him down with common sense. When he attacked Maddie at the carnival, he didn't care about her feelings because Nate knew she loved him so much she wouldn't tell anyone. He wanted to test his power over her and his sadistic plan worked until she passed out at school the next day 🤯

Steady lies

Who not to be like: Simon from The Bridgertons

Lying at the beginning of communication, even in such small things as talking about what he did last weekend, is like a trailer for what waiting for you in the relationship itself. If a person lies about something small, then most likely he will lie about something big. It definitely undermines trust both with your current partner and a possible future with other people. So instead of re-educating the guy, save your nerves and say goodbye to him once and for all 😌

One of the biggest problems with the relationships of the main characters of the Bridgerton series is that from the very beginning they are based on a lot of lies and secrets. This led to Simon dodging Daphne's intimate questions and pretending he was physically unable to have children instead of talking about the vow he made to his father.

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