6 Non-Obvious Green Flags In New or Long-Term Relationships


The dating game is tough, because what are we even looking for? We can write lists, daydream about our perfect love, do quizzes, swipe right… but still, we’re chasing a feeling: love.

And often, that feeling of love is confusing. What we’ve been told love is: exhausting but exhilarating, passionate and painful, full of tension that drives you into insanity and potentially forces you to create art; is all an ideal.

Because actual love, the love you find in a healthy relationship, well, it’s not that “exciting”. It can be, but it’s also all on-the-table straightforwardness. It’s independence and companionship and honesty. As someone who has previously been annoyingly attracted to many a red flag, I’ve learnt —through my relationships since — that green flags are often less obvious, and often completely oppose our romantic ideals.

So, if you’re ready to leave the toxic love-bombing relationships behind you, these are five green flags I now know and think you, too, should get acquainted with.

They’re Not Constantly Available

We’ve often been taught to measure how much someone likes us based on how available they are to see us. Especially in new relationships, there’s this weird meaning around availability — you don’t want to be too available, or not available enough, as though it’s a game of tug-of-war. But it’s really not that complicated.

You might feel as though someone isn’t that into you if they say they’re busy or already have plans, but actually, that just means that they have a thriving, independent life, which is really attractive. Our lives are multifaceted and shouldn’t only revolve around one relationship, so, by them not being available 24/7, means they’re being responsibly and respectful of their own time and space. Independence is hot.

They’re Not Active on Social Media

Although we might be initially suss — because what are you hiding if you don’t have a social media presence, right!? But actually, if your new bae isn’t active on social media; you’ve kinda struck gold.

Imagine who you’d be without social media. Like sure, it’s amazing for transparency when it comes to sharing experiences and having tough conversations on a global scale, but it also makes us so judgemental, on-edge and provides us way too many opportunities to overthink.

From personal experience dating people that either don’t go on social media or have basically inactive accounts, they’re way better at communicating. They’ll always text me back and even pick up the phone to give me a call — often without hesitation. They’re straightforward and haven’t made assumptions about you based on your social media profile because guess what? They don’t care. They know the real you.

Plus, if you’re someone who likes using social media (and there’s nothing wrong with that), it’s really fab to have someone in your life that pulls you out of that world every now and then, and grounds you.

They’re Taking It Slow

If you’re used to being love-bombed, then the opposite is a real shock to the system. What do you mean you’re not totally besotted with me after one night and a few wines together? Your soul isn’t being lit up with fireworks like never before?

It might feel weird and a bit like rejection; if they’re more into getting to know you slowly and not jumping at the chance to be physically intimate and write you dedicated poems, but trust me; it’s a good sign. Taking things slow usually means someone is self-aware, knows what they want and are mindful of other people’s feelings, all pretty stand-up qualities in a partner. So, just give them time and try to enjoy it.

They Talk About Their Exes

It’s a common misconception that mentioning an ex means that you’re not over them, but in my experience; it’s the opposite. Of course, it varies case by case, but whenever I’ve mentioned an ex to a current lover, it means I’ve done the work to heal from it and am able to talk openly.

Without trash-talking or shaming an ex and being able to speak freely and respectfully about their past means that they have nothing to hide or be angry about. It’s true that it can go the other way — where someone isn’t able to stop talking about their ex; usually in a negative way — which is obviously a big red flag, but being able to have open and honest conversations about past relationships is important and healthy.

It’s Not Love at First Sight

There’s still so much pressure on the initial spark, but it doesn’t always have to slap us across the face. A love that builds over time, a spark that takes something random to ignite, a connection that develops and changes and evolves… those are the real love stories.

It’s super easy to confuse lust with love — especially if you’re a romantic like me — and get caught up in the excitement of sexual desire. However, don’t underestimate the people that don’t give you butterflies straight away.

They Don’t Sugarcoat Things

If you’re dating in this strange modern world, you’re probably pretty used to game playing, hot and cold behaviour, gaslighting, love bombing etc… which can be fun in a hot mess kind of way, but also exhausting and insincere.

Being used to this behaviour might make straightforwardness a little unnerving, but it’s good to be caught off guard sometimes. We’ve been taught to respond to pretty words, attractive sentiments and idealistic scenarios of romance, but honesty is way sexier.

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