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10 Common Yellow Flags in a Relationship & How Are They Different from Red Flags

10 Common Yellow Flags in a Relationship & How Are They Different from Red Flags

Updated on Sep 11, 2023

Reviewed by Julianne Cantarella, MSW, LSW , Certified Relationship Coach

10 Common Yellow Flags in a Relationship & How Are They Different from Red Flags

Yellow flags in a relationship are a new yet extremely viable dating term that primarily helps you get a deeper sight of compatibility.

Unlike red flags, yellow flags are not deal-breakers. Instead, they ask you to tread more cautiously in the relationship.

Here’s a more detailed explanation for better understanding.

What Are Yellow Flags In A Relationship?

Yellow flags are warning signs about your partner’s behavior, tendency, or pattern. They help identify traits that can turn into bigger issues or a habit that requires a discussion at least.

So, for example, if your partner seems extremely disinterested in meeting new people while you are a social bird, you both need to sit down and discuss to find a middle ground to this. Or if your partner is continuously in contact with their ex, it can hint towards their unresolved feelings.

Yellow flags may not be as glaring as red flags, but if ignored, they can lead to bigger damage in the relationship.  

Are Yellow Flags Bad?

It would be wrong to say that yellow flags are extremely bad and they mean that you call it quits right now. However, you must be cautious if you see several yellow flags in your relationship.

They are bad or alarming when they persist for too long, and the person fails to acknowledge them even after repeated warnings.

Most yellow flags can be resolved with proper communication, but avoidance can also turn them into red flags. So, be alert and take action promptly.

Yellow Flags vs. Orange Flags

Yellow flags and orange flags are primarily differentiated by the levels of seriousness. 

Orange flags are ones that must be treated sooner than yellow flags and require immediate attention. If the orange flags are ignored for long, it can be damaging to the relationship and also to both of your mental conditions.

Yellow flags, on the other hand, warrant observation which, if go unnoticed, can turn into an orange flag. 

Yellow Flags vs. Red Flags

Red flags are just what the sign on the streets says “Press the Stop Button”. They are issues and behaviors like physical or emotional abuse that are not just damaging the relationship but you as a person. It requires immediate action or simply “I want out!”

However, yellow flags are much more mellow that allow you the time to observe or even talk it out with your partner.

Some Common Yellow Flags In A Relationship

One of the most common yellow flags in a relationship is when your partner carries a lot of financial debt. It is common to have some, but if their entire earning goes into debt, it can be extremely alarming and proves irresponsibility.

Apart from this, you must know that yellow flags vary from person to person. So how would you identify the ones that are really concerning? Well, here’s a list of some common ones.       

1. They do not acknowledge boundaries

They do not believe in maintaining privacy in a relationship and often get into your personal space. This boundary may refer to financial or personal relationships with others.

So, if your partner demands to know everything that you have going on in your life, you need to sit down and talk about it.

2. They cannot forget about your past relationships

While maintaining contact with exes may also imply emotional maturity, it can also be because your partner is still hanging onto her past.

So, if your partner often talks about your ex and makes plans to meet them, a big yellow flag is waving at you.

3. They compare your relationship with others

Comparisons have long been the cause of relationship failures, but only when it is not discussed in time.

If your partner often makes sarcastic remarks and fantasizes about others’ relationships, it will be a problem for both of you.

4. They hide important information

It may be a remark that their family made about you or even a turmoil they are going through in the workspace. 

They also hide the good news, not only the information that troubles you – and that is when you need to address this yellow flag.

5. They do not share a good bond with their parents

You may think why should this be a point of concern for you? Because a person’s relationship with the family says a lot about them

So, if they don’t call or meet their family as often, don’t talk about them, and don’t even want you to maintain a good relationship with your parents – you certainly need to confront them about it.

6. They don’t want to share financial responsibilities

Either they want to take up the entire financial burden on themselves, or they want you to be the sole breadwinner. It is a big problem both ways as it violates the rule of “equals” in the relationship.

7. They haven’t been in a serious relationship before

A no-relationship or failed-relationships background displays fear of commitment. If a person hasn’t been able to commit to anyone for the longest time of their lives, there are high chances they wouldn’t easily commit to you as well.

8. They don’t communicate

They are extremely secretive and do not communicate everything with you. Neither do they feel the need to do that. It may seem like “it’s just who they are” initially, but later turn into grave problems. So the earlier you address it, the better!

9. They lack empathy

In a difficult or tiresome situation, when you need them to be empathetic with you, they instead behave cold or confused. With answers like “It’s not a big deal!” or “There’s nothing to cry about this!” you are often left to wonder about the future of the relationship.

10. They plan without you

They call all the shots in the relationship and don’t bother to consider you in it. Most times, they even inform you at the last moment and expect you to abide by it. If you confront them about it, they often come up with vague excuses and reasons.

How To Deal With Yellow Flags?

Every couple deals with yellow flags in their own way, and there’s no right or wrong to it – to each their own. However, here are a few ways that never fail.

Once you have identified the yellow flags, communicate them to your partner more without charging at them. Please do not engage in aggressive behavior, as it can harm the nature of your relationship. Try to explain to them that these yellow flags bother you and that it concerns the future of your relationship. 

Approach your partner in a tone that does not threaten them. This will help them to confide in you so that you both can figure out a solution together.

Blame games will make the situation much worse than you think. So, instead, reassure them that you are not judging them and really want to know the source of this behavior.

Spend quality time with each other. Start with watching something every weekend, or go on a short trip, or maybe just have dinner together. It will build up proximity and give you the comfort to talk about the issues

If things still don’t seem to work, seek advice from professional therapists instead of involving friends or family.

How To Make Sure You Don’t Miss the Yellow Flags?

If you want to identify the yellow flags sooner than they start damaging your relationship, you need to listen to the person who can tell you the most about them – you.

Don’t dismiss what your heart has to say, and be mindful of your feelings. And most of all, preach honesty, especially with yourself.

Can a yellow flag turn into a green flag?

Absolutely YES!

If you and your partner are committed to each other and aren’t afraid to sit down and talk about the yellow flags, then it definitely turns into a green flag.

Over to You…

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with yellow, orange, or red flags in a relationship. You have to identify the gravity of the issue yourself, take some inspiration, and follow custom plans to resolve them.

Remember, there’s no one who can decide what’s best for you, except for you, yourself.