Trust and respect are foundational elements of successful relationships. So are communication, passion, friendship, and shared interests. Getting to know someone is a process of uncovering each of these things, which takes time. But early on, it can be helpful to look for these "Green Flags" that may indicate the relationship is off to a good start.
Relationship green flags can be super hard to discern if abuse and drama have become your norm. From childhood, perhaps witnessing some toxic behaviors with caretakers, to the last long-term connection that may have left you riddled with self-doubt and perhaps even self-loathing, know that you are not alone. Nearly all of us have to learn how to navigate out of a conditioned mindset to discover a new way of honoring our intuition. This brings us to the question…
How Can You Recognize Green Flags in a New Relationship?
Before we really begin let us remember that you are worthy of love. But you must first understand what that means for you. Self-examination via journaling, meditations, and long walks are where you can meet yourself to uncover your light, your gifts, and your value. In other words, what do you bring to a union? Ask yourself if you are free of drama and if not—are you in the process of healing these wounds? Make a pact with your inner child that you will not allow anyone to harm you! Then trust yourself.
The first relationship green flag is to trust what you feel. You might say, but I thought what I felt was real and now look. It may have been real, or it may have been you pushing away. The opposite of green flags are red flags. This includes wanting it to work so desperately that you gaslight yourself (more on that soon). But, you are never going to do that ever again. Through your inner healing, you will develop heart coherence and then your job is to trust what comes through without having to explain it to yourself. What I mean is: if it feels right, go for it and if it feels off or too good to be true, then keep moving on.
Inner Child Healing
You have heard of inner child healing, but please take this quite seriously as it is an enormously powerful stage of your healing journey. Start by asking how old is your inner child? Four, maybe five, perhaps eight years old? Whatever age, pick the age that comes to you and visualize who you were then. Then promise that child that you are their protector and that you have learned so much since you last connected with them. Talk to them on a bended knee as if they were standing right before your eyes. Why is this important? Because many of your romantic relationships you have experienced were your childhood unhealed wounds from family dynamics being played out with past partners and lovers.
Do Not Become a Gaslighting Victim
This is the pact you make to them and to your adult self: You will not allow anyone to gaslight you.
Gaslighting means that a partner or lover discounts what you heard or what you saw by telling you that you are crazy and made the whole thing up in your head. Nor will you allow anyone to triangulate you (comparing or pitting you against another person) or make you feel as if you have to give and give to maintain that connection. This pact is the first dating green flag that you are to give to yourself.
Love is often confused by people pleasers and most often abused by takers. While we want to explore the relationship green flags, remember not to ignore the red flags that might appear. Do not ignore those red flags, no matter how many butterflies flutter within your belly. Instead go deeper into the feelings being revealed to you about those red flags. To think of it another way, don’t ignore red flags in love just as you would never speed through a red light in your car. When love feels right, it just feels so good and easy. Though problems will still come up, they do not become wars within a relationship, and they do not deplete you.
A song that I love and want to share with you says it best. It’s called “I Can See Now” by the band Dead Can Dance. Check it out while you continue reading this article.
Relationship Green Flags List
1. The Ex. Probably the least understood relationship green flag is how your person talks about your ex with respect. I know you do not want to hear that, but this is key! It is not to make you jealous. It’s to show you that they are not bitter with their past lovers, but rather that they saw the lesson and are still grateful for the experience. That is a big green dating flag not to be misunderstood with something known as triangulation, which is to pit you against another person. Don’t confuse triangulation with speaking well of their ex.
Here is an example of triangulation: “What I miss about my ex is she/he did <insert something here> and I wish you would do that for me in our connection.”
In contrast here is a dating green flag that supports their ex. “She/he were supportive while I went to college but in the end, we just didn’t have the same goals and so we had to part ways.”
See the difference?
Try not to get triggered and realize that speaking respectfully of any of their ex speaks volumes on their own integrity and values. It also hallmarks a low amount of drama in their love life which brings us to…
2. Minimum Drama. You feel safe in their presence because there is extraordinarily little drama in their life. They do not constantly take you on a roller coaster ride of high and low emotions which can be quite addicting. If your past relationship was high drama remember how stressed and unhappy it made you. Being with a low drama, calm and cool person is a huge contrast offering you the understanding that you are safe to be yourself because…
3. They Accept You as You Are. They see both your lights and your shadows and accept them all. They do not make any comments to force you to change. If you ask them for an opinion, they will honestly give it to you, to raise you up, not to denigrate you or belittle you. But in the end, they will love every part of your juicy self and that is a priceless and healthy relationship green flag.
4. Home is Not a Dwelling but a Feeling. When you are near them it feels like home, no matter where you actually are. When you are in their arms it really feels like home. You adore their scent, the sound of their voice, their look, their vibrational essence just feels right and very comforting. When in quiet moments with them you feel such a peace envelop you that you do not want to leave their side. But when you do, you still feel safe that they will not betray you. This relationship green light proves you have found a keeper.
5. Any Self-improvement is Done for You. Have you heard the saying “You make me want to become a better person?” Here is the thing, you should not be improving yourself for fear of losing them, rather you are improving because you want to be the best version of yourself to enjoy more of the nectar of your union with your person.
They are not making comments like, “if you worked out more you’d have those kind of legs” by comparing you to another person or making you feel like competing with an ex (see point #1 above). They love you as you are right now. But being with them inspires you to become the best version of you that you can become for YOU and that is a huge gift. You feel safe, seen and appreciated by your partner.
6. Communication is Key. Since hardly anyone actually speaks on the phone today, let’s say they text you back within minutes or even hours, but not days. They text you random love notes and loving emojis. They check to make sure you got home safe. They send you links to make you laugh, smile, or think. They communicate no matter what is going around that could distract them. So yes, there are even green flags in texting these days!
7. The Sex Feels Right. Let’s talk about sex, baby. A true green flag in a relationship is when you feel satiated and safe while engaged in love making. It does not feel like they might be fantasizing about someone else. You feel as if your sexual needs and theirs are being met and if not, you both can talk about it without being defensive, angered, or shut down.
8. You Love Who You Are When You Are with Them. I know it sounds strange but how do you feel about yourself when you are around them? Do you feel powerful yet soft? Seen and cherished? But most importantly, how do you see yourself?
Here’s a little healthy relationship green flag exercise…
Write down five things that makes you feel good about yourself when you are around them. If you are struggling to put together even just five things, that right there might be a red flag. A partner that supports those red flags is a warning not to continue. However, if you have a partner that wipes away those inner doubts with encouraging words and cuddles then you are with the right person and have another sign it is time to take the relationship to the next level.
9. Are You Their Top Focus? Ask yourself these questions:
Are you their number one priority?
Aside from any children in the relationship, are you their top focus?
How do you feel when you are apart from them?
Do you feel safe and unconcerned and are able to focus on your dreams and goals?
Do you trust them without a second thought?
Do they respond to your jealous meltdowns with compassion and patience?
Being apart should not throw you into a state of anxiety thinking they will meet someone new and abandon you. When you are apart, do they call you every day until you are back together? If you are each other’s best friends and it is you they seek to spend their free time with, that is a dating green flag.
Love is not an easy path to walk upon. Though we all want to find love, we must be prepared to walk a path with courage and the ability to have faith that love is an unknown filled with either doubts or joyous discoveries. Anyone who raises your vibrations and excitement even further then you have established before you met them is the ultimate relationship green flag and a sign you found a serious relationship.
Go for it and do not hesitate! Celebrate and live that love to the fullest.