As you bask in the romantic glow and passionate heat of your new relationship, you often fail to pay attention to warning signs at these early stages. After all, the last thing you want to do is to disrupt or threaten the excitement and fun of the newness. However, it is much more dangerous to live in denial; you have a better chance of establishing a healthy and successful relationship by acting on your fears and discomfort and asking the tough questions. The problem is that—especially as women—we have been socialized to be “coupled” and to avoid being alone. As a result, many of us feel panic and anxiety with the prospect of being single. If you feel desperate to be in a relationship, you will often not see warning signs, even if they are staring you in the face.
So let’s first look at some of the most common red flags in lesbian relationships. And remember, red flags are not necessarily deal breakers, but they are telling us to STOP, ask questions, and evaluate our new partner realistically. Here are some examples:
- She drinks alcohol and/or smokes weed every time you meet—often to excess.
- She talks constantly about her ex and she still lives with (even owns a house with) her.
- She is very closeted with her family and/or at work.
- She has a low-paying job, but drives an expensive vehicle, always picks up the check, and goes on luxury vacations frequently. Or she never seems to have money to pay at the movies.
- She’s nasty and condescending to restaurant workers.
- You share openly with her but her answers are brief, almost to the point of being secretive.
- She gets defensive very quickly and blames others versus taking responsibility for her own actions. She rarely apologizes.
- She violates your boundaries. For example, she shows up at your home unannounced (as a pattern) when you’ve specifically told her to let you know first. Or she constantly blows up your phone with unwanted texts.
- You catch her in one lie after another.
- She does not like your friends and they do not like her.
- She is uncomfortable with physical affection and avoids sexual intimacy.
- She speaks critically of others in a harsh, judgmental way. She is a gossip queen.
What to Do
Short of hiring a private investigator, having a long talk with her ex, or doing an advanced Google search, we have a suggestion to help you get to know the new woman in your life! Get two journal notebooks and for a week individually list as many questions as you can that you’d like to ask your new honey. They can be general or specific, political or personal, fun or serious. From “what is your favorite kind of cake?” to “what was your worst childhood trauma?” to “how do you envision retirement?” The agreement is that both of you must answer all of the questions as honestly as you can. This tool was an integral part of our growth! So take a deep breath, give it a try, and remember this: if your new love wants no part of participating in communicating with you at this level, that’s the brightest red flag of all.