New relationships are very exciting, but after that newness and so-called "honeymoon period" wears off a bit, you can start to see the relationship for how it really is, without the assistance of rose-colored glasses. If you start to get a feeling that something just isn't quite right in your relationship, you might want to know about the signs your relationship is shady, which could reaffirm your suspicions that something isn't quite right, encourage you to reflect on your relationship a bit more carefully, or give you the push you need to bring up your concerns with your partner.
If things seem off, your mind can start to jump to conclusions. Just because something seems a bit strange or gives you pause doesn't automatically mean that there is truly something wrong. But recognizing some of the signs of potentially shady behavior can be an important first step in determining if something might actually be wrong or not. In some cases, it might just be that you and your partner are actually still getting to know one another, that they're going through something, or that the reason they're being a little bit shady really doesn't have anything to do with you personally. Still, addressing the behavior can help you sort things out and determine whether the two of you can move forward together or it's better for you to go your separate ways.
1. Your Partner Has Been Shady In The Past
"People do change," Emily Mendez, MS, EdS, a writer and mental health expert, tells Romper by email. "However, if the person minimizes or lies about things in their past, then this is a warning sign. Also, if they keep doing the same thing, such as having repeated episodes of cheating, for instance, then this is even more of a warning sign."
Just because your partner has done something shady in the past, that doesn't mean that that's definitely what's happening again, but if you know of an incident from their past when they did something shady, it could definitely indicate that they've done so again.
2. You're Giving More Than You're Getting
Reciprocity is important in a relationship — one partner shouldn't be giving all of the affection, gratitude, or attention and making all of the sacrifices.
"If you find yourself always being the giver in the relationship, but you aren't getting any of your needs met, this is one sure-fire way to identify something is up," Nikita Banks, LMSW, a psychotherapist and author of Finding Happy: Seven Steps to Relationships That Will Not Steal Your Joy, tells Romper by email. Getting what you need from the relationship is important too.
3. You Just Have A Feeling
If you find that you have a feeling, you shouldn't just dismiss it. "The number one sign people ignore is their gut feeling," Stephanie Roth Goldberg, LCSW-R, a New York City-based psychotherapist, tells Romper in an email exchange. Your intuition really might be on to something.
"If you have a gut feeling there is usually a reason for it," Roth Goldberg says. "There are signs you are seeing, but don't want to acknowledge."
4. Their Cell Phone Battery Always Seems To Be Dead
"In this world of the cellular phone attachment disorder, anyone who has difficulty finding a way to consistently keep their cell phones charged cause you to become a little suspicious," Dr. Stephanie E. Wilson-Coleman, PhD, founder of Champagne Connection, tells Romper by email. "After all, don’t we depend on our cell phones to conduct business, connect with friends, and to inform others of emergencies?"
If you can't ever seem to get a hold of them, that might be a sign that something shady is going on.
5. You've Never Met Their Friends
At some point, it's natural to expect to meet your partner's friends. So if you're always doing things alone, that could be a sign of some shady behavior.
"You would naturally start being each other's plus one to simple things like a friends barbecue, and then later more significant events such as weddings or holiday parties," Roth Goldberg explains. So if you haven't met any of their friends, that could be something that gives you pause.
6. Their Words & Behaviors Just Don't Seem To Fit
You might also take notice if it seems that their words and behaviors don't really match. A disconnect there could be an indicator of shady behavior.
"If you find they make promises they don't keep or if they don't keep their word, this is an issue," Banks says. "You should judge people by their actions and their words and [they] should match or at least be close."
7. All Of Your Dates Are At Odd Times Or Never At Their Place
If you find that they never invite you over or that you only meet at strange times, like later at night, on your lunch break, or early in the morning, that could also be a potential red flag.
"If there is nothing shady going on, dating is easy — you can spontaneously meet up when one of you gets out of work early or has a change in plans," Roth Goldberg says. "If this doesn't happen, there is likely an obligation that is not being spoken of. Not going to someone's house is usually a sign that they have something to hide (someone else has a toothbrush perhaps) or that they are lying about something else (who they live with, where they live, etc)."
Suspecting shady behavior in your relationship doesn't necessarily really put you at ease, but recognizing the signs can help spur you to do something about it. Ensuring that your relationship is meeting your needs and reevaluating things if it doesn't can help you determine where to go from there.