Counselor, M.S

6  min read

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore the Relationship Red Flags Irrespective of How Compatible You Are

Are you dating with purpose? Or just wasting time?

Millions of single people right now are in the world of dating.

From dating apps to dating websites, there is much pressure for many people in this world to be in love, to be in a relationship, and may feel that  if they are single, time is running out.

But are they dating for a positive end result or just to kill time?

How we end up in terrible relationships

A number of years ago I remember a counseling session with a client that I’d worked with over the past several years on a variety of different topics.

She first came in so that I could help her build her business.

Then she came in to lose weight.

After achieving those two goals she came in and said that she was really looking forward to fall in love with the man of her dreams.

I was as excited as she was, because she seemed so certain of her new goal.

But then, like most people in the world of dating, calamity struck.

She came in all excited about a new man that she had met and how compatible they were, and how they  laughed for hours upon hours upon hours on their first, second and third date.

This all sounds perfect right?

It is, or it was, except for the fact that she didn’t want to pay attention to the red flags in her relationship telling her that this was not a compatible match at all.

No wait a second, what did I just say?

Didn’t I  just say that she mentioned to me that they were so incredibly compatible that she couldn’t believe it?

So here’s the number one rule we need to understand if you’re looking for a long-term relationship: compatibility is not the answer. There can still be red flags in a relationship.


I know I’m walking on sacred ground here, but I’m willing to dust things up a little bit so that we can get to the truth in life and identify the red flags in a relationship.

And here’s the truth.

If you have compatibility with  someone even at 97%, but they have characteristics or traits that would never work for you, the reality is the relationship is dead unless that person chooses to correct the traits that you cannot stand. Compatibility does not ensure that there are no red flags in a relationship.

And what were the traits this new boyfriend had, outside of the 97% compatibility, that would surely end the relationship at some point in the near future?

The answer is something that is common with so many couples, they had no idea how to agree to disagree, they had no idea how to fight fair, they had no idea of what topics they should just let  go to talk about at another time and what topics should they stay focused on to try to heal the relationship. These are all red flags in a relationship.

As a counselor and Life Coach for 30 years I’ve been telling couples the same thing: I don’t care how compatible you think you are, I want to know what traits does your partner carry that will not work for you now, and will never work for you in the future. Beware of the red flags in a relationship.

She found out that their  consistent bickering that began on week three, and now had continued for over a year, was the source of the relationship challenges.

Neither of them knew how to let go of resentments. Neither of them knew how to fight fair. Both of them knew quite well how to call names and get defensive… But neither of them had a clue of what it really meant to be in a relationship with healthy communication.

Make sure none of your partner’s traits are deal breakers

Make sure none of your partner’s traits are deal breakers 

Compatibility in relationships of course is important, but it’s nowhere near as important as the traits  your partner may carry that will never work for you. Red flags in a relationship should not be ignored.

In my new, number one best-selling mystical romance novel, “Angel  on a surfboard“, the lead character Sandy Tavish is on a tour of the Hawaiian islands looking for the keys to deep love. He runs into a retired surf  queen named Jen, who quickly started to share her negative beliefs about men and love on the very first day they were walking along the beach.

She was talking about her ex-husband who was a former surf  king, and a lazy alcoholic… Then she went on to talk about other guys she dated and even women she had dated, that never worked out, and she was extremely jaded in the world of love.

Sandy at that time mentioned right away that her negative attitude towards men and or women will be repeated in future relationships if she didn’t clear up her resentments.

Now how about you?

As I mentioned with my client above, she went into this relationship all excited about compatibility, instead of going into the relationship with an open mind, and realizing while the man she chose she had a lot of compatibility with, his willingness to argue and fight over every discussion was way too much for her to handle. Falling prey to the red flags in a relationship is inevitable.

And her role, she was absolutely codependent, was that she never wanted to end the relationship and be alone again.

And why is that?

She felt  in her 40s that it was too late to be starting over with a new man. So she stayed in a terrible relationship way too long, where he berated her and she berated him, instead of deciding that they  just were not a good match and letting it go with that. She overlooked all the red flags in the relationship.

We call this in my work as a counselor,  as well as talking about it in our brand new romance novel listed above, something that I trademarked 25 years ago called “the 3% rule of dating.“

3% Rule of dating

The 3% rule of dating simply states that you can have 97% compatibility with someone, but if they hold any of your deal killers, like someone who drinks too much or smokes, maybe someone that has multiple former wives or husbands that they’re supporting via alimony, may be a deal killer for you. Some red flags in a relationship have the power to ruin everything. Some relationship red flags are deal breakers.

Maybe you could never be with someone from a different religion… It doesn’t really matter what they are but we need to know them, so that we can avoid all of the future chaos and drama that most of us walk into relationships with.

Slow down. If you want to date with purpose, take a moment and write down all the characteristics of someone that you would not be compatible with.

Maybe they’re totally into sports and they spend the whole weekends in front of the TV, and you know that will never work for you.

Maybe they love theater, and they love to dance and you hate theater and you hate to dance, there probably isn’t a good chance of that relationship staying solid.

Use common sense. Especially in the beginning of a relationship, where commonsense is rarely used, that’s when we need it the most. Red flags in the beginning a relationship are easy to spot and can spare you a lot of heartache.

Lust, erotic desires, are all part of the initial dating scene, but if you don’t infuse logic into the world of dating, we will probably end up with what we’ve had in the past: unfulfilling relationships.

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David Essel, M.S. is the best selling author of 9 books, a counselor and master life coach and inspirational speaker whose work is endorsed by celebrities like Jenny McCarthy, Wayne Dyer, Kenny Loggins and Mark Victor Hansen. David accepts new clients monthly via Skype and phone sessions from anywhere.

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