In today’s video, I’m going to share my personal views about “relationship red flags;” things that I look out for when considering a long-term relationship, or marriage.

Read on or watch below to hear all about my “relationship red flags.”

Zachary Stockill: I received a comment recently from a viewer asking me about my own “relationship red flags,” and I thought I might as well share it with you.

So first off, I want to make it clear that these are my red flags, and they may not be (and probably won’t be) your relationship red flags.

And if you disagree, that’s okay, because the whole point of this video is to inspire you to think about your own red flags. Think about your own dating standards when it comes to who you invite into your life on a long-term basis. There’s endless research that says this is the most consequential decision you will ever make for your entire life. So, it’s important to be extremely picky and choosy.

And frankly, I am very picky and choosy, not because I think I’m so amazing and wonderful, but because I know that this is a big deal in terms of who I’m I’m making my girlfriend or potential future wife. But, I am not looking for perfection; the goal is not to look for perfection because perfection doesn’t exist.

Relationship Red Flags

A pretty good way to think about this is using something that my mentor talks about called “the 10% rule.” The 10% rule stipulates that there’s going to be 10% of anything you love which is going to be kind of a challenge. It’s going to be kind of a pain in the neck every once in a while. But hopefully, it’s only 10%; the other 90% of good stuff hopefully makes up for the 10% of headache.

The goal is not to look for perfection; the goal is simply to have standards in the first place, and consider them carefully.

And to look for someone who is around maybe 90% compatible with you, your goals, and your dreams of the future.

My number one red flag is impulse control. I’m not necessarily interested in someone’s exact “number,” or other specific quantifiable metrics… What I’m way more interested in is impulse control. Because if you have someone without a lot of impulse control, it will likely lead to all kinds of problems, complications, and chaos in the future. And I don’t want that in my life; I want to keep that far away.

So, what is impulse control?

Impulse control is the ability to say no, and to think rationally in highly-charged emotional situations. The ability, sometimes, to deny your own worst instincts and impulses. Some examples of someone with poor impulse control is when someone gets in an argument in a relationship, and they immediately say they want a breakup, they leave the house, they don’t answer their phone, or something like that. Or maybe worse, they start breaking your dishes and throwing them at you and saying you’re a horrible person.

Another example of someone with poor impulse control is someone who goes to bed with all kinds of people, even though it’s not really making them happy or satisfied. They’re deeply miserable people, and when you ask them why they’re doing this to themselves, they say “I just I couldn’t deny that impulse.”

Personally, when I meet someone and it’s clear that they lack impulse control, that gives me serious pause when I think about entering into a long-term relationship with them.

However, of course, there’s a difference between being a fundamentally impulsive person prone to making bad life choices, and giving in to the occasional bad impulse.

If we’re in a long term relationship or marriage, and we’re being tempted by someone else, or if someone flirts with us, there’s an urge to send a flirty text back or like their photos, there are all these temptations that come up in a long term relationship, and frankly, I want to be with someone who has the self-awareness and discipline to deny those kinds of fleeting superficial instincts; to focus on what’s really important, and has the ability to say no.

My second red flag is a lack of self-awareness. Someone who’s making choices in life without any real consciousness and any awareness of where they’re going, and where they want to go.

I want to be with someone who’s relatively self-aware, who knows their strengths and weaknesses.

Someone who’s aware of all these things, so we can actually have a mature adult relationship. In terms of red flags, I want to be with an adult. If you want to have a mature relationship, be with someone with who you can bounce ideas off with, and build a long-term future. I want to be with someone who’s aware of their strengths and weaknesses. I don’t want to be with someone who defines themselves as a victim, the kind of person who’s always complaining.

Relationship Red Flags

I’m not so interested in talking to victims; show me survivors. We’ve all been through some difficult experiences. I have scars, both literally and figuratively, but I don’t like thinking of myself as a victim of anyone or any situation. And I don’t want to be with someone who describes herself as a victim and who thinks of themselves as a victim.

Another red flag is a lack of shared values.

A value is something you value in life; it could be related to your morals, goals, the things you aspire to, or the personality traits in yourself (or others) that you’re proud of.

I want to be with someone who I share multiple values with, and one of my values is honesty. I believe in honesty, and I know fundamentally, that if I meet someone and there’s habitual deception, habitual little lies here and there, I can never believe what they’re saying. And frankly, if you have a partner like that, who’s just habitually lying all the time, you don’t have a relationship either, because you don’t really know who that person is, and they don’t know who you are. Because the entire relationship is based on lies and deception.

I don’t care how wonderful that person is; if you’re lying to me on a consistent basis, I don’t want to have anything to do with you.

Another thing I value is a great sex life. If I meet someone, we have a great intellectual connection, they’re very nice, we get along great but if there’s no sexual connection there, or perhaps her sex drive is much, much lower than mine, we don’t have that shared value. They don’t value sex the way that I do, and if so, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s about having personal standards. And if someone doesn’t share that value, that’s absolutely fine. It’s “goodbye, and God bless.”

Another value that’s very important is money, right? There are a lot of things in the world that I value way more than money, like time. Some people don’t feel that way; some people really do value money above all else. And if so, that’s fine, but it’s probably not going to work out because, again, we don’t have that shared value.

Religion is another one.

I am not a militant Christian or Muslim or Jew; I don’t belong to any established religion. I’m not a devout believer or follower of any one sect or faith. And if I met someone who had ironclad religious convictions, that probably wouldn’t be a great match for me.

The final red flag that I’ll mention is I want someone with shared family values. So for example, I have met certain people who came from dysfunctional families, a family background that was radically different from my own. And they still cultivated that energy and dysfunction into their adult years. If we don’t have shared family values, a shared vision of the future, a shared vision of the family that we may one day want to create, it’s probably not going to work out, so it’s best to move on.

In summation, I would ask you: what are your red flags? What are your relationship red flags? What do you look out for? If you’re on the dating market, what kind of things are you looking for in your dating life? I’d love to hear from you.

Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.