"He wants sex more than I do!": red flag or no big deal?

My upcoming workbook, RRF: The 10 Secrets You Need to Know, is a highly individualized workbook that arrives in your inbox as a downloadable PDF. Easy! In it, I talk about the red flags - the 10 Secrets- but also the skills that YOU have which will support your awareness of the red flags. The red flags are what you need to be aware of as you search for your next safe, healthy relationship. But what about things that are frustrating, upsetting or disappointing?

I get asked about this A LOT: “how can I tell the difference when some behavior is upsetting to me? Is it a relationship red flag or not a big deal?”

“Elizabeth, what about…”

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  • differences in religious preferences…

  • sexual interest or drive…

  • differences in how common household tasks like dishes are completed or the frequency to which they are done.

Are these “serious”?

RRF are warning signs that should be taken seriously because they indicate an unhealthy, unsafe or abusive tendency or behavior. They are universal. Relationship red flags are not unique to you or me. It doesn’t matter what your religious background is or how you identify for example. They are universally true, no matter if you are a non-English speaker or live in Dubai. Relationship red flags are universal.

Things like:

  • differences in religious preferences…

  • sexual interest or drive…

  • differences in how common household tasks like dishes are completed or the frequency to which they are done.

...are examples of individual differences. They are imperfections. I call them imperfections because they aren’t a perfect fit for you. I often refer to them in coach-y language as differences in “personal values”. They are places that you and your partner don’t connect. But they are not inherently healthy or unsafe. They are also not universal. They are unique to you…or them. Imperfections, differences in personal values are not the same as RRFs. 

Now if there was:

  • coercion to engage in sex…

  • intimidation to engage in a certain kind of sex…

  • threats involving sex or pressure to go faster than a partner was ready for….

Those are ALL relationship red flags.

Can it be nuanced? Yes! Is the difference always clear? No!

“So how do I tell?” you might say.

When it’s hard to tell that’s a relationship red flag and what’s an imperfection-—and it is OFTEN hard to tell when you are in it—-one idea is to ask someone on your money team as a hypothetical. What do they think? The fact that they are a trusted, safe person for you makes them an ideal person for an outside, impartial perspective.

What imperfections have you noticed in your relationships or others’? Leave a comment below.