If your stomach tells you loudly and clearly that this is not going to work, walk away. Period. Don't stay around forcing a square pin into a round hole.
However, if you are not entirely sure, there are a number of things to keep in mind, and Page says that this requires a certain amount of wisdom. "We need to develop our ability to discriminate, which basically means trusting ourselves," he says.
Do you recognize your own relationship patterns? Nuñez and Page agree that this is crucial. If you find yourself repeating the same old patterns and attracting the same types of people, don't assume this time around will be any different. Likewise, if you've been injured before, you'll want to recognize your own triggers. What you might perceive as a red flag could very well be a projection, Page notes.
It's also important to understand the difference between workable and non-negotiable differences, explains Nuñez. It can help clarify what your non-negotiable items are and what your "green flags" are. If a relationship has some minor challenges but meets all of the non-negotiable and green flags that you are looking for, then you may be able to handle them. You know you deserve what you're looking for and you never have to put up with it, Nuñez adds.
Page recommends relying on your support system and speaking to friends or loved ones who you think have a good sense of what a healthy relationship looks like. Your insights can help you see things clearly when your blinders are on, he adds.
All of these things then come down to communication. How do you react when you share your concerns with this person? Are you ready to work on it – and actually pull it off? Can they communicate effectively and show emotional intelligence? If not, Nuñez and Page say the relationship is unlikely to be a successful one.
Sometimes we are so desperate "that it works" that we abandon ourselves, and when that happens, Nuñez says, it is time to walk away. Here, too, healthy relationships involve equal give and take and should contribute to our happiness, not take it.
She adds that the red flags we spot early often turn out to be significant problems in the relationship. Without professional help, like couples therapy, it's not uncommon for behaviors to worsen with warning signs.
Long story short, "If you're not sure, talk to the person," says Page. He offers his best mantra for communication, which is: "Say what you mean; mine what you say, and don't say it threateningly." And if you do that and they don't respond well, "that's a sign of what your future is going to be," he says.