5 Red Flags Teens Should Avoid in Relationships


5 Red Flags Teens Should Avoid in Relationships

by Emani Brooks
July 14, 2022
A teen couple sit on the top of a hill hugging their knees with their backs to one another.

Dating is normal and it can teach many valuable lessons about life. Dating as a teenager is something that can be enjoyable and fun, but also sometimes hard to deal with. When dating as a teen, it’s important to know who you’re dating and determine whether or not they have qualities that you like or dislike in a partner. There will be ups and downs in any relationship no matter what, but no one should ever feel like they’re not happy; especially at a young age, so you should always pay attention to things your significant other does that make you feel unhappy or unsafe. Here are 5 red flags teens should avoid in relationships:


Communication connects you and your partner using verbal, written, and sometimes physical means in order to fulfill each other's needs. If you can’t talk to your significant other without them getting offended or angry, that’s a red flag. 

In any relationship, you should never feel that you cannot speak up and express your feelings about any situation. Pushing aside your feelings or your partner’s feelings can lead to bigger problems in the future. That’s why it’s important to always be clear and direct, tell your partner what you think, need, and feel and your partner should be able to do the same.

Sometimes, you won’t be sure about your exact feelings and that’s okay! Being clear to your partner about the fact that you’re unsure counts as good communication. Talking through problems is one of the most important aspects of a relationship, and any person you choose to date should be able to communicate and talk to you about anything. Frequent talks with your significant other can bring about a healthier relationship and ensure that there is no void, and that doesn’t just apply to “big” talks. Small talks are also important to have and can create great communication in a relationship.

Pressuring You

People talk about peer pressure and how as a teenager your friends can convince you to do bad things, but many don’t mention that your partner can also pressure you into doing things. In a healthy relationship, your significant other should never force you to do anything that you don’t agree or feel comfortable with. 

Sexual activity is one of the most common situations where people feel pressure from their partner. If you’re not ready, that’s okay! Don’t let your significant other pressure you into having sex (or engaging in any other physical intimacy). It’s okay to say no, and it’s a red flag if your partner is rushing things and moving too fast, forcing you to do things you don’t want to do, especially early in the relationship. 


Another red flag to look out for is someone who gets jealous very easily. It’s normal to feel a little jealous every now and again, but it should never get to a point where they become obsessive and controlling. If your partner doesn’t want you to be around your friends, certain family, or anyone else besides them, that is a problem. A relationship should be built on trust, you and whoever you date should be able to have faith in one another where jealousy shouldn’t create an issue.

It’s easy to forget about everyone else when you’re in a relationship. Of course it’s nice to spend time with your partner, but you also shouldn’t neglect your friends and especially your family for your significant other. There should be a healthy balance in the quality time that you spend with each person in your life. If your partner gets angry when you spend time with someone other than them, that is an immediate red flag. You should never let someone take you away from other people that are a part of your life and whom you love. 

Controlling Your Social Media

Social media’s very popular today and on almost every platform, you can make friends and interact with different people, locally and from around the world. Now, of course, out of respect for your significant other and yourself, you shouldn’t make inappropriate comments or post inappropriate pictures. There are some things that don’t need to be shared with social media. However, if your partner controls what you post, who you follow, who you interact with, and watches your every move, that is a red flag. Your partner controlling your social media isn’t healthy and can lead to major problems in a relationship because it shows that there’s no trust instilled within it. Sometimes, couples make the decision together to delete their social media accounts completely, and it works for some but not all. If you want to keep your social media accounts and your significant other wants you to delete them, that’s not something you should have to do in a healthy relationship and may be a sign about how jealous a person may be that social media is a threat to them. 

Physical and Mental Abuse

I know it can be hard to believe, but physical and mental abuse can start at any age, not just as an adult. Some teens have anger issues, and in most cases people experience abuse for the first time by their significant other before the age of 24. Also, according to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, about 10% of students report having been physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the past 12 months. In any relationship you’re ever in, it’s very important to watch for any signs that your significant other may have anger issues or show signs of abusive behavior. Many abusers test their partners boundaries by threatening to physically harm them to see if they can actually get away with doing so. It is never okay for your partner to call you names or physically hurt you. Abuse is something no one should ever have to deal with, no matter the form of abuse. 

Physical abuse; isolation and intimidation; sexual abuse; stalking; and verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse are all ways that someone may control or abuse their significant other. You should never deal with any of these things no matter how much you feel like you love that person. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please do not hesitate to tell a trusted adult or contact loveisrespect.org to get any help or advice that you may need. 

Dating in your teens should be fun and enjoyable for everyone in the relationship. Red flags are something you should look out for early on to prevent problems later. Communication is key, and if you do not feel like you can talk to your partner about your feelings, that’s not healthy. You should always be able to speak your mind, and you both should allow each other to be a safe space where you can talk without any anger starting to form. In a relationship, you should also not be pressured into doing things you don’t feel like you’re ready for; never let someone rush you, instead move at a pace that is comfortable for you. Jealousy is also something that can be a red flag when it comes to relationships. Controlling your social media ties into jealousy and shows that your significant other doesn’t trust you. Abuse is never okay, and someone who says they love you would never mentally, physically, or emotionally try to hurt you. It’s important to know that sometimes people have issues and trauma that they bring into their relationships, don’t blame yourself or feel guilty and think that the actions of your partner are your fault.

No relationship is perfect, and many couples do have problems. But as a teenager, now is the time to figure yourself out and what you like or don’t like in relationships, every relationship is a learning experience and a chance for you to grow in order to become the best version of you possible. 

Emani Brooks is a senior at Suitland High School in Maryland. She currently is the President of the Suitland National Honor Society Chapter for the class of 2022. Emani plans to study Business Administration upon graduating high school and hopes to pursue a career in social media management.