Five Red Flags in Your Relationship
By Khadija Sanusi
In the last episodes of #MTVShugaNaija, season four, Ebisinde and Cynthia and Frances and Chinedu, finally got together and are what we call “Couple Goals”. Ebi and Cynthia have decided to take their relationship slow, communicate and not rush into anything either of them is uncomfortable with. This is admirable – and we’re loving it – as sometimes we are often rushed into being intimate with our partners because “everyone else is doing” or because it will make them happy.
This happened to Simi, who had unprotected sex with Wasiu. When she insisted that they should use a condom, he ignored the request and threw it on the floor. Boys sometimes tell you things to persuade you to be intimate with them when you are not ready to do so. These are five red flags to look out for in your relationships:
- “Just the tip”
This is a BIG red flag in a relationship. The only time a boy says “just the tip” is when he has asked you if you could have sex with him and you’ve already said no. He then begs you; telling you it won’t hurt; that he won’t go all the way; that it’ll be “just the tip.” His insistence will make you uncomfortable and discomfort is not a sign of a healthy relationship.
- “My pull-out game is strong”
Boys say this, especially when their “pull out game” is – in fact – weak. They say this when you have reached a point where you want to have sex but there is no condom in sight. When you show signs of hesitation, he tells you of his strong pull out game to convince you to continue; that “nothing will happen”, “you won’t get pregnant.” But the thing is – even at the odd chance of you not getting pregnant – you can still get infected with several sexually-transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, syphilis, or even HIV/AIDS.
- “Don’t you love me?”
There’s this misconception that true love requires a sexual relationship. This is why Diana asked Cynthia if Ebisinde and she had kissed yet and why she laughed when the answer was obviously no. She even told Cynthia: “if he really wants you, something would have happened by now.” But the truth is, a sexual relationship (or the lack thereof) does not determine much; kissing does not mean there are feelings involved and abstinence does not mean he finds you unattractive. It is okay to not be ready to be intimate with someone and for a relationship to be healthy, both parties have to respect this.
- “No means try harder”
While communication is important, comprehension is even more so. It’s one thing for you to say “no”, but it’s a completely different thing for a partner to understand this and not think you’re “fronting” (saying no hoping that he would try harder). In a relationship, partners can choose to have a “safe word” that, when uttered, should signify a definite non-ambiguous “no.”
- “You’re just being paranoid”
Gaslighting is definitely a red flag in a relationship. Your feelings are valid and should be as significant as your partner’s. If your partner tries to make you feel or look like you are making a fuss out of something that isn’t an issue, it is definitely a warning sign. The partner might even tell you that sex “isn’t a big deal” and that “you are overreacting” to try and convince you to be intimate with him when you are not ready to do so. This is not a sign of a healthy relationship.
While there are a lot of signs that indicate your relationship is going faster than you want it to, you should know that you have a say in the pace too. If you are not comfortable, speak up, tell him and even avoid him – if you must. You can also share these concerns with a trusted friend or an adult that can counsel you. You do not have to do anything you don’t want to do because you think that love is about doing what he wants, even if it is at the expense of your own happiness and wellbeing. In Corper Yasmin’s words, “a boy that truly likes you will not pressure you into having sex.”