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How to be aware of relationship ‘pink flags’, and use them for a happier, healthier relationship

Despite what the Disney movies of our youth might have taught us, the biggest hurdle between us and finding a relationship based on true love is not a wicked stepmother or an unbreakable curse, but rather a minefield of mind games, personality traits and modern-day app-related faux pas. From getting ghosted, hesidating and gaslit to just struggling to think of your opening line on Bumble (help available here), add in a global pandemic and you’ve got yourself a pretty sour-tasting recipe at times. 

And just when you thought you were on top of all the dating terms and must-knows, ready to swipe with a vengeance, a new dating term has made it’s way out of the wood work: pink flags. 

We’ve all heard of red flags – major warning signs that you should head for the nearest exit (even if you haven’t yet finished your cheesy chips) –  but now, dating experts warn that we should also start looking out for pink flags, more minor areas of concern.

If you’re wondering why minor concerns should be the nail in the coffin for your latest crush (I mean, we all have flaws, right?), the thing about pink flags is that they could develop into something bigger. For example, watching too much TV could constitute a pink flag as it might be a sign that you’ve run out of things to talk about, or immediately rolling over and onto your phone after a steamy session, which could lead to a lack of intimacy and investment in each other. 

Even, wait for it, not arguing could be classed as a pink flag. Of course, screaming at each other constantly isn’t exactly relationship goals either, but a lack of arguing altogether could potentially mean that you’re just coasting without having any real passion.

Crucially, pink flags are not deal breakers, and the good news is that pink flags can be worked on and resolved before they become major problems in the relationship. 

“The interesting thing that I notice with my clients when we discuss pink flags is that often women who are dating tend to use pink flags as an excuse to discount man who actually might be a good fit for them. Interestingly, they also tend to completely overlook red flags which obviously are indicators of a much bigger problem,” Kate Mansfield, a top dating and relationship coach, tells Glamour

“This is because red flags often show up as avoidance or someone unavailable, and this triggers wanting to chase. By contrast, pink flags are smaller and less problematic challenges which tend to have the effect of putting us off someone. This is especially the case if there is no established bond yet. I help women to slow down their dating, to notice red flags and stop painting them green. But as importantly, I help them to work through pink flags, learning to be more authentic and to see the value in speaking up and working through these kind of minor challenges. As a result many of them find an ideal partner in someone that historically they would have given up on or completely overlooked.”

In short, no relationship is immune to taking work sometimes and, though it can feel like the best thing to do, doing a cut and run at the first sign that things aren’t perfect isn’t always the best route.

Long-term relationships, the ones that matter, are all about weathering the peaks and the valleys, and so while pink flags are worth noting, they’re also an opportunity to steer ourselves back on course and nurture a good thing. If it’s something worth having, don’t let a pink flag put you off for good. 

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