The Thing About Red Flags + Relationships



There will be a point, probably many times, that you will feel challenged to stay in relating (in friendship, family, or partnership), where you might perceive a "red flag." You will think, this person could not possibly be right for me, it could not possibly be right for me to stay through this, there is nothing that can be done to bridge this chasm in understanding/relating. Sometimes this is actually true -- a person or relationship can truly not be right for you... Definitely important to see clearly here. And, I would like to convey a thought that there may be a way in which we defend against love/intimacy in ending whenever red flags are spotted.


If that's a pattern, that eventually (or fairly quickly) you spot a "red flag," and you immediately think, this could not possibly work, it may be a way in which you stay just shy of the *deep* intimacy, where everyone is allowed, permitted, and blessed to be in the shit of humanity together. On the other hand, if from an untriggered, open place, there is a deep upwelling, a low but persistent rumbling, that has the quality of The Big Love speaking important things within you, there is likely readiness and completeness around the connection that is actionable.


When absolutely untriggered, when in a state of total openness and love, when you can see the person's absolute beauty and gold despite this "red flag" (which I would more happily describe as unsavory behavior/relational patterns), then, it's possibly actionable. Especially if you find that there is no longer anything in it for you to stay in connection with this other person's humanity... It can take a lot of work and true willingness to truly get to that point, where the instinct to leave is no longer an urgent impulse, but a deep truth, that does not feel like an emergency or crisis. It is not typically, "oh, I found this out about them or we had this exchange and then I knew it wouldn't work." Hardly ever is it most true to get up and run out of the door when something is hard, except for when it is. Sometimes it is literally correct to get up and run out of the door.


For me, I have done both... I have stayed for years in many unsavory relational dynamics (though not so long after that deep rumbling began). This isn't necessarily wrong -- sometimes we see the red flags but we are not yet ready to leave... I have also stayed through moments that truly felt like I would not survive emotionally/energetically and made it through the other side to a level and realm of intimacy with myself and other that I didn't know was possible, even in relationships that eventually ended.


And THAT, is what I'm getting at. Sometimes we are skirting intimacy/deep knowing because it is uncomfortable, and that discomfort is not actually harm or unhealthy but just really confronting and scary... What if there's more *for us* in our partnerships, friendships, etc. on the other side of this incredibly unattractive/unsavory/uncomfortable moment? What if while our impulse may be to cut and run, there is more joy, bliss, connection, and knowingness than we can imagine on the other side of staying (while practicing truthful and honest communication)...?


Only you can know if it's "right" for you to stay. But, it's not just "is this a healthy, positive dynamic?" or "does this always feel good?" but rather, "Is there still material here for me to be with, within myself, that is being brought up in this dynamic? Am I still drawn to feeling through all that arises for me here?" Because likely, if you cut and run "too early," before you've sorted through the shit of your humanity that this person's human shit has stirred, your innate spiritual intelligence will find that same dynamic/behavior/red flag somewhere else... And that's totally okay too!


Note: Obviously this is not an approach to be applied to any relationship or dynamic in which abuse is present. This is meant for the run-of-the-mill (and quite wide range) of difficult dynamics and behaviors which are frankly to be expected in long-term intimacy.

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