6 Romantic Gestures That Are Actually Major Red Flags

Falling in love is a feeling like no other, and when it comes to romance, it’s all too easy to get swept away by grand gestures and sweet promises. But what happens when the fairy tale turns into a nightmare? We’re left wishing we could’ve seen the signs earlier on, right? 

When you’re head over heels for someone, it’s easy to overlook the warning signs that there’s trouble in paradise. But if you want to save yourself the potential heartache, here are 6 “romantic” gestures experts warn us to look out for:

Overwhelming Affection

Have you ever been with someone who showers you with compliments, gifts, and overwhelming affection almost immediately? While it might feel like a fairytale come true, this intense affection — known as lovebombing — can actually be a tactic used to manipulate and control. Love-bombing is when someone floods you with affection to fast-track intimacy in your relationship, then withholds it all of a sudden to make you dependent on their affection and approval. It’s important to be cautious if your partner seems to be rushing into things too quickly and overwhelming you with affection before truly getting to know you.

Too Much Quality Time

So, you met someone you like and now you want to spend all your time with them? That’s perfectly normal! You’re in the honeymoon stage of new love, after all. But keep in mind, there’s a difference between spending time together and suffocating each other. An excessive need for constant togetherness can keep you isolated from the other important relationships in your life, and may very well be a sign of controlling behavior and unhealthy attachment. 

Saying I Love You Too Soon

Those three little words hold a lot of weight in any relationship, and a person with healthy attachment and boundaries will want to get to know you better and take the time to cultivate a meaningful conneciton with you before they say it. So if someone tells you they love you before you’ve had the chance to truly connect on a deeper level, it’s likely that they’re more infatuated with the idea of love than actually in love with you. According to psychologist Dr. Mariana Bockarova, this behavior is also common among controlling, abusive, or narcissistic partners (although this isn’t always true). 

Constant Texting

In the exciting early stages of a relationship, it’s totally normal (and pretty thrilling!) to chat up a storm. But when those messages become a non-stop flood, arriving every single minute of the day, it’s time to take a step back, especially if they start to get upset with you for taking a while to reply. It shows that this person is getting too attached to you too quickly, which can signal underlying issues like insecurity, a need for constant validation, and tendencies of co-dependency. Remember, healthy relationships allow for independence and respect each other’s space. 

Constant Monitoring

Another red flag that people mistake as romantic is constant monitoring. Whether it’s checking your phone without permission, tracking your every move, or insisting on knowing all your social media passwords, this behavior can quickly escalate into a controlling and abusive dynamic. Remember, trust  is the foundation of any healthy relationship, so it’s important to be wary if your partner is constantly monitoring your whereabouts, activities, and interactions with others.

Jealousy & Possessiveness

Ever felt a twinge of anxiety when your partner sees you chatting with someone of the opposite sex? Or maybe they insist on approving your outfits? Or get prickly at the mere mention of a new friend? While it’s easy to mistake these behaviors for signs of intense affection, there might be a darker truth lurking beneath the surface. According to relationship experts, jealousy and possessiveness are glaring red flags for potential manipulation and abuse. Genuine care isn’t about control — it’s about honoring boundaries and trusting each other’s judgment. And when your partner starts to take away your sense of autonomy, it might mean that they don’t respect you enough to be your own person and make your own decisions. 

So, did any of this resonate with you? Some red flags aren’t so easy to spot, especially when we’re blinded by love, but recognizing these warning signs early on can help you to take proactive steps to protect yourself and nurture healthier, more fulfilling relationships. 


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