10 Relationship Red Flags You Shouldn’t Ignore This Holiday Season

Last Updated:
December 29, 2023

While not yet scientifically proven, for the most part, love is blind. This means the faults that others see in your partner, you might be completely oblivious to, and vice versa. And while some warning signs such as being rude to your family members or completely ignoring your cultural traditions can be obvious, there is a whole range of red flags worth knowing - most of which might become more apparent over the holidays. 

In this article, the experts at Ritual have put together a list of the top relationship red flags this holiday season (and every season), that you shouldn’t overlook. 

#1 They avoid important discussions 

We have said it before and we’ll say it a million times more - effective communication is the cornerstone of a successful relationship. When one or both partners avoid discussions or withhold information, it can create a breeding ground for misunderstanding and resentment. This might look like avoiding meaningful conversations with you or your loved ones over the holidays or not being open about your plans for the new year and beyond.

#2 They want to control your choices

Mutual respect is one of the key foundations of a healthy relationship. If your partner is showing controlling behavior such as dictating who you can spend time with over the holidays, what you can wear to your family get together or what time you should arrive home from your annual girls/guys' night, it is a major red flag. Controlling behavior can lead to a completely toxic and unbalanced dynamic, breaking down your sense of independence and self-worth. 

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#3 They don’t trust you 

Constant suspicion, jealousy, and accusations without any proof - if this all sounds familiar, it is usually an indicator that there are underlying trust issues. A strong and healthy relationship requires trust to grow and flourish, without this, the connection between partners and the stability of a relationship can deteriorate. If your partner is showing signs of a lack of trust over the holidays, it might be a relationship red flag.

#4 They constantly criticize you

Feedback is essential for personal growth and in fact, it’s generally encouraged in a relationship. However, constant criticism can be harmful. This might look like questioning whether you are really the right person to host dinner this year or consistently focusing on flaws rather than your strengths. If your partner consistently belittles you or undermines your achievements - it is a red flag for a toxic and unsupportive relationship. 

#5 They are abusive

Abuse in any form is never acceptable. Emotional, verbal, or physical abuse has no place in a healthy relationship. If you find yourself in fear, intimidated, or emotionally drained, it’s important to speak with someone you trust and seek help to remove yourself from the situation. 

Physical, psychological, or sexual abuse is a clear red flag. If you are the victim of domestic violence and need support, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233) for help 24/7.

#6 They’re not emotionally available 

The holiday season can be tough for many and it’s important to have someone you feel safe turning to. Emotional intimacy is about feeling comfortable sharing your thoughts, feelings, and vulnerabilities with your partner. If there’s a noticeable absence of emotional connection, it can be a relationship red flag. A lack of emotional intimacy can lead to feelings of loneliness and detachment which can have a major negative impact on your relationship. 

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#7 They bring up old arguments, and refuse to resolve new ones

Every relationship faces challenges and conflicts, but it's how these issues are resolved that matters. If conflicts consistently go unresolved or are swept under the rug, it can lead to resentment and a buildup of unresolved issues. Healthy relationships require open communication and a willingness to address and resolve conflicts together. This means if you notice past conflicts coming to light consistently over the holiday season (or any other time of the year), it might be a sign that your relationship is in trouble

#8 They can never follow through with a plan or promise

Consistency is key in so many aspects of our lives, including our relationships. If you find your partner’s behavior is unpredictable and they generally fail to follow through with commitments, it may be a red flag. Maybe they promised to meet you for a festive dinner and bailed or they didn’t pick up that gift for your parents that you consistently reminded them about. Unreliable behavior can break trust and create an atmosphere of uncertainty, making it challenging to build a stable and secure connection.

#9 They don’t respect your boundaries 

Showing up at your friends' night over the holidays, reading through your texts when you’re away from your phone, or insisting on spending every moment of the holiday break together; if your partner ignores your boundaries in any of these ways or similar, it can be considered a red flag. Boundaries are set to ensure both partners feel safe and respected and disregarding them can result in feelings of both violation and discomfort. 

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#10 They don’t motivate you to be the best version of you 

If you want to continue growing in your relationship, it’s important to encourage personal growth and development too. If you look back on the past year and find yourself stagnant or held back in your pursuits, it could be a relationship red flag. A supportive partner should celebrate your successes, encourage your ambitions, and be a source of motivation for your personal growth in and outside of the relationship. 

Ritual is on a mission to make good relationship care accessible to all. Our model was designed to remove barriers like cost, tight schedules, and partner participation. We do that with scientifically validated methods, supported by the most up-to-date research from the strongest names in the field.

Here’s how it works:

  • You will work with a trained professional who can offer a wide variety of evidence-based interventions.
  • In between your sessions, you will receive weekly videos with tried-and-tested knowledge and exercises focused on your specific needs and goals.
  • The sessions with your dedicated expert will help you integrate what you learned into everyday life.

Start your journey with Ritual today.