Red flags are something to pay attention to BEFORE committing to a life partner. And a soulmate is just that – someone you choose, who also chooses you, to make it through the tough times together and enjoy the good times of which there will be plenty.
It’s all too easy to imagine that with your soulmate you’ll eternally get along, with zero conflicts. Unfortunately, that is a fantasy because no matter who you choose to partner up with, at times there will be friction and discord.
Red flags are something to look out for through the dating process. Unfortunately, most people are Dating Backwards™ giving a stranger the benefit of the doubt, seeing chemistry as a sign that you two are just meant to be together.
A lasting loving partnership requires that you two share the same values, not just the spark of attraction. When you value the same things, it is easy to get back on the same page when there is a conflict because you share a vision of where you’re going together.
Once you’re with your soulmate in a committed relationship, that is the time to give your partner the benefit of the doubt rather than scrutinizing their behavior for the red flags. The time for discernment is BEFORE you commit.
While conflict is not a red flag all by itself, what happens when there is a conflict can reveal some red flags that you’ll want to pay attention to. This is why it is so important to take your time with the dating process before entering into a long-term commitment.
The question isn’t whether or not you’re going to have a disagreement or a fight with your soulmate. The question is: How do you each behave when you do?
A soulmate is someone who you know you can count on to prioritize the relationship regardless of the conflicts that arise. If you iron out all the conflicts while dating, then you’ll have no idea if the relationship can be sustainable through the bumpy times.
Not All Conflicts Are Created Equal
There are disagreements between people that can be discussed calmly and then there are conflicts that have the potential to blow up into a fight. So what’s the difference?
It all depends on how resourceful you are at the time of the clash, and if the conflict triggers an old wound within one or both of you.
Stress makes you less resourceful. Whether you didn’t sleep well, you have a deadline at work, or you are feeling anxious about life, you are not at your best when under duress. When you are not at your best, you are less likely to be able to stay calm and present during a disagreement.
When you are grounded, present, and feeling good, you are more likely to be open to your partner and not take things personally.
Sometimes the nature of the conflict triggers a wound that isn’t about the person in front of you. It is important to be able to recognize and acknowledge when your wounds are triggered. Your mind is designed to batch situations together and jump to conclusions, linking things together that are not necessarily the same.
Red flags have nothing to do with a person’s resourcefulness overall, as every person will vacillate in their ability to be present and grounded throughout the day.
What Happens When You’re Triggered?
When you become triggered you are instantly less resourceful. That’s because you are no longer thinking calmly or logically. You are triggered into a fight/flight/freeze response and your big prefrontal cortex goes offline (like when your computer is no longer connected to the WiFi signal).
When triggered your focus narrows and you become unable to think clearly about the situation. Your habitual strategies for survival kick in. You may even perceive your partner’s behavior as a threat to your own safety.
In this state you are no longer the mature, centered adult you believe yourself to be. Instead, you are reacting from a wounded place and can potentially lash out or retreat looking for a way to feel safe or in control.
The irony is that when you are triggered you are most likely to say and do things that can cause damage to the relationship. Being triggered is not a red flag that your relationship can’t survive, it is actually part of being human. It is the part of you that is wired in for your own survival, so it is better to make peace with it and understand its purpose.
You don’t want to fall into the trap of judging yourself, or your partner, for getting triggered. The key is to recognize when you are triggered and to calm your own nervous system.
Conflict Isn’t A Red Flag, But What Happens After May Be
Conflict is unavoidable, even in your soulmate relationship. However, you both have a choice in how to handle your differences and how you clean up any emotional messes.
During the dating process pay attention to how your date behaves after a conflict to discover any possible red flags so you can determine if this person is a potential match for you or not.
It is unfortunate but not unforgivable if either of you behaves badly when you are triggered. If that bad behavior isn’t owned or cleaned up, then there may be a red flag that must be examined. Conflicts that aren’t repaired become the cracks that ultimately lead to the end of many relationships.
Being in a cold war or avoiding conflict leads to harboring resentments and will prolong the inevitable if the two of you cannot find a way to connect and heal.
You can and should be forgiving when your partner gets triggered in a conflict. However, if your partner continues to double-down on their choices instead of seeking to resolve your differences, then you’ll want to evaluate the potential of the relationship.
Dating Red Flags You Can Spot Due To Conflict
Your Partner Denies Your Feelings Or Experiences
Arguing with you about how you feel or what you experienced is not only disrespectful but can feel like gaslighting. Assess if your partner can acknowledge your feelings.
Your Partner Gets Defensive Or Doesn’t Take Responsibility
Many people have an initial defensive reaction to conflict. This is normal human behavior. Does your partner refuse to ever take responsibility? This red flag can leave you feeling like you are blamed for everything that goes wrong or that your partner has nothing but excuses. An ideal life partner will take responsibility for their actions.
Your Partner Refuses To Budge On Their Position
If your partner is chronically stubborn and refuses to budge, then you will be in a constant power struggle. This will leave you feeling exhausted and like you have to always compromise or give in. Choose a partner where there is a balance of give and take, and working things out doesn’t mean that you always have to be the one to compromise.
Your Partner Disrespects You And Your Choices
Disrespect is a relationship killer. This red flag should not be ignored. You want to be loved and accepted as who you really are. If your partner doesn’t respect you or your choices, then you will never feel loved and accepted. A relationship that has you walking on eggshells is not worth keeping.
Your Partner Stonewalls You
It is impossible to resolve your issues if you can never talk about them. Stonewalling or ignoring issues will not make them go away. It will simply leave landmines buried in the relationship that can blow up at any time.
Your Partner Agrees To Change But Doesn’t Follow Through
Avoiding conflict by agreeing to something without any intention to follow through is a conflict red flag. This passive-aggressive behavior will create mistrust as you will be unsure if your partner can honor their word.
Your Partner Focuses On Your Flaws But Ignores Their Own
Being in a relationship with someone who is critical of you and who constantly points out your flaws can destroy your self-esteem. This is especially insidious when your partner refuses to look at their own behavior. Find someone who lifts you up, not someone who tries to tear you down.
Turning A Conflict Into A Deeper Connection
Being with your soulmate doesn’t mean that you won’t ever be triggered, or never behave badly when there is a conflict. Conflict in and of itself is not a red flag. In fact, in a soulmate relationship you turn your conflicts into a deeper connection and heal wounds from your past.
This skill can turn an ordinary relationship into a soul-satisfying and long-lasting one. Here are some of the skills necessary to transform your relationship by navigating through conflict together:
Calm Yourself Down First
If you are triggered, nothing productive can happen until you calm yourself down. This is not your partner’s responsibility. It is up to you to get your nervous system back online.
Request that the two of you take a break from the conflict. Sit or lie down. Place your hand on your chest or on your navel. Breath slowly in and out until you begin to feel your body and mind calming down. Once you are present, grounded, and calm, you can go back to your partner and begin the process of repair.
Stay In Curiosity
Do your best to have an open mind and to not jump to conclusions about your partner’s behavior. When you are curious about what is going on with your partner, you are not only less focused on your own hurt and anger, but you are open to discovering what is going on with them.
Listen and resist the urge to interrupt, explain, or defend yourself. This way you can discover more about what is really going on with your partner rather than jump to conclusions or make assumptions.
Take Responsibility For Your 50%
Without responsibility there can be no real healing. You want to take 100% responsibility for your thoughts, your feelings, and your actions. However, you want to be aware of any urge to take responsibility for your partner’s thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Keep your side of the street clean and avoid trying to clean up the other side of the street. You are not responsible for your partner. You are responsible only for yourself.
Focus on sharing how you feel without providing your opinion of your partner’s actions. Authenticity has a high vibration and when you communicate authentically you invite your partner to meet you at the high level of authenticity.
When the two of you are authentic you can create true intimacy and connection.
Have Compassion For You And Your Partner’s Triggers
Everyone gets triggered. Everyone also has their own unique strategy for what they do when they are triggered. Have compassion for yourself and your partner when either one of you gets triggered emotionally and doesn’t behave well.
This compassion can be very healing for both of you.
Intimacy Doesn’t Require Agreement
Conflicts often arise when you are disconnected from either yourself or your partner. This disconnection can create misunderstandings and can be triggering. Restoring intimacy and connection doesn’t require agreement.
Agreement is an ego desire and it keeps you in the power struggle of arguing who is right and who is wrong. When the two of you are emotionally connected you may find the conflict is no longer important.
Ask For Or Offer Amends
Sometimes things happen in an argument that you later regret. Or your partner behaves in a way that is hurtful. Repairing this kind of argument requires more than just an apology. You may need to make or ask for amends.
Amends is a way of saying, “I screwed up and I regret my behavior and I want to make it up to you.” Amends can be a powerful tool for forgiveness and for creating a lasting bond because by making amends you are letting your partner know how important they are to you.
Clean As You Go
One of the least useful phrases about conflict in relationship is to “pick your battles.” You are not at war with your partner and keeping things to yourself builds anger and resentment.
Instead, clean as you go. Clean up the little misunderstandings and the minor annoyances before they become something bigger that can blow up like a volcano.
There is nothing quite like being in a soulmate relationship with someone who loves, respects, and accepts you enough to take the uncomfortable steps of repairing a conflict and creating a stronger bond.
In order to discover the potential for a soulmate relationship, pay attention to red flags when there is conflict before making a long-term commitment. Evaluate your partner when things do not go smoothly.
Never ignore red flags, particularly those that arise with conflict. Every relationship will begin with a Romance Stage where it seems like you’re just magically made for one another. Be prepared for the hangover of the second stage of relationship: The Power Struggle Stage.
No couple skips the power struggle, so it is important to date like a grownup and practice the skillset for lasting love through the dating process BEFORE making a commitment.
A soulmate relationship is not free from conflict, instead, it is a relationship where you can count on one another because you are bonded together in the knowledge that you are better together than apart.
If you are looking for more tools to navigate through all five stages of a relationship, download our free guide: The 5 Stages Of Relationship. You’ll get a map to move past the power struggle to create a lasting partnership filled with co-creation and bliss.
Orna and Matthew Walters are TV’s favorite dating and relationship experts. They uncover subconscious blocks to love so that you can select an ideal partner to share your life with. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.