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Red, red flags - All Woman - Jamaica Observer
All Woman

Red, red flags

THERE are the relationship red flags you're warned about before entering into anything serious with a person — those subtle hints that should awaken your intuition. Then there are also the red flags that arise once you're actually in the relationship, that you might have been too blind to realise existed before, but which become so glaring that you have to do a double take.

These include excessive jealousy, frequent lying, threatening behaviour masked as protectiveness, and unwillingness to compromise, which sometimes are enough for experts to advise you to leave.

“When you're entering a new relationship sometimes the butterflies, the excitement, can blind you to reality and red flags that other people looking on can spot easily,” Counsellor David Anderson said.

“But, when you're already invested, red flags like constant put-downs, emotional abuse, gaslighting, and the like can be signals that you need to get out if you can as these don't usually improve over time.”

Below women share some of the red flags that appeared when they were already deep into their relationships and what they did about it.

Natalie, 40:

I was travelling overseas and made plans to meet up for lunch with an old work colleague while in that city. I told my partner, who's ex-military, of my plans, and he said OK. But while there he called me and said he was warning me not to meet my friend because he had a friend do a background check on him and found out that he had a criminal record. He said he would know if I met up with him, and things wouldn't be pretty for me when I got home. He's now my ex because that just showed me that he's so paranoid and weird, that if he would do that to a friend I was meeting, what would he do if he suspected that I was cheating? Even after we broke up he kept showing up at my house, until I had to move.

Steffie, 37:

My ex-husband and I were having many fights because he was just so jealous that it was overpowering. I raised the possibility of separating for a while and even divorce, even though I was joking and really wanted to work things out if he would just cut back on the smothering. Well, when I mentioned divorce he said, “Not a problem”, but advised me that he would still come to the house when he pleased to see our children, that I couldn't, ever, bring another man there, and that no court, security, or police could keep him away, and if I understood that “is Jamaica this”. I took that as a threat, and even though I loved him, I made arrangements to leave the country and haven't been back.

Celia, 28:

My husband put a tracker on my car and I didn't realise until one day I had to do an alignment and the tyre guy pointed it out. When I confronted him he said it was for safety reasons, but I doubt that, because the man watch me like how puss watch bird. It was very disconcerting to know that he was keeping tabs on me, and for a long time I felt violated. I have not left, but I'm super paranoid around him because I have seen that he's capable of anything.

Althea, 42:

My ex-husband paid a guy to follow me and report back to him, and I didn't realise anything was amiss, I just thought it odd that he could always tell where I was when he called, but I always laughed it off as our minds being in sync. It was one day when he asked me why I was talking to a certain man in a store, and why I had to behave that way, that I realised something was off, because he was literally in another parish at the time. I asked him what was up, and threatened to leave, and that's when he advised me of the guy on his payroll. So the poor guy had to follow me around all day and send in daily reports like I was under police investigation.

Donna-Marie, 38:

He bugged my phone. I still don't know how he did it, but even when I suspected something was wrong and factory reset my phone, he could still hint at details of my messages, who I was talking to, the “inappropriate” conversations I was having, and the pictures I was exchanging and receiving. To this day I don't know what he did, but there was absolutely no other way for him to know so many details without having access to my phone. I was so turned off at the invasion of privacy, that I couldn't even bear to be around him, and the relationship fizzled.

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