Craziest Red Flags
It is funny how we can easily spot toxic relationships from the outside, but when it comes to our own, we are like sheeps without a shepherd. Chances are, we only realise that the “normal” behaviour from our exes were actually red flags after breaking up.
Below, we spoke to seven girls in Singapore to learn the craziest red flag stories that happened to them.
1. “Made me choose my own flower bouquet at the floral shop for our anniversary”
“As a person whose love language is gifts, I enjoy receiving and giving presents even if it is inexpensive ‒ it is always the thoughts that count.
However, I had to explicitly tell my ex-boyfriend that I would like to receive flowers on our anniversary since he wasn’t the most tactful person. He agreed and I thought he would buy it before meeting me to celebrate the occasion.
Instead, he brought me to a nearby floral shop and told me to pick from the pile of pre-made bouquets. Was I speechless? Of course. But I convinced myself that he was too busy to drop by the floral shop, and that was why he showed up empty-handed. I also didn’t want to ruin the special occasion by making a fuss.
Perhaps at that instant, I wanted to believe that he was still the same loving person that I fell in love with so I “psyched” myself to believe that everything was alright.
It only hit me after we broke up that there were many red flag moments in our relationship that I didn’t realise. He only wore our couple ring for a while before he stopped wearing it completely, and prioritised meeting his friends over me when he booked out from the army. If I had known earlier, I’d have probably initiated the breakup much faster so I wouldn’t have to waste my time.”
Advice to those moving on from a bad relationship: “You deserve love from someone who respects and treats you as an equal. It is never your fault to leave a bad relationship.”
– Jou, 29
2. “Believed that him telling me to lose weight to look hotter was a healthy conversation”
“For 2 years, I was with this ex-boyfriend, who both verbally and physically assaulted me.
It never occurred to me that things were off because I thought we were having “healthy communication” when he told me that I’d look so much hotter if I lost a bit of weight. In other words, I thought he was trying to keep me fit, and I believed that he was worried about my health. Yet, soon enough, he began to blame me for not keeping myself “in check”, and always told me to go and exercise.
Now that I look back, I realised there were many red flags. For instance, he would refer to other hot and cute girls as “his”, and made me apologise to him for feeling shitty when he locked himself in a toilet and punched the wall.
My last straw with him was when my grandmother passed away during the Circuit Breaker in 2020, and I wanted to be alone. But instead of showing care and concern for me, he threw a tantrum when I didn’t visit him.
The incident “woke” me up and I began to think about how my grandmother would feel if she saw me breaking my heart over a person who didn’t even respect me. Eventually, I told him that we had to call things off.”
Advice to those moving on from a bad relationship: “The sooner you realise that you shouldn’t allow people to treat you in ways that you won’t treat yourself, the faster you’ll be okay to set higher standards for yourself.”
– Cass, 25
3. “Didn’t let me hug or hold his hands when we were at Jurong East”
“There was once when I dated a guy who didn’t let me hug or hold his hands whenever we were at Jurong East because his mother worked at a hospital nearby. He explained that his mother would force him to end the relationship once she found out about us.
Since I was head over heels for him at that point in time, I believed his words and gave him time and space to sort things out. However, for the entire 3 years of our relationship, he didn’t even try to introduce me or tell his mother about my existence, which made me raise suspicions about him.
It turned out that my intuition was right ‒ my friends told me they saw him on a dating app. But when I talked to him about it, he told me that his phone was “hacked” and he didn’t download the dating app since we became official. However, my friends sent me screenshots of a conversation he had with a girl on Instagram, and I knew that he was lying and had to confront him.
Eventually, he admitted his wrongdoings, and wanted to break up since he felt he couldn’t be redeemed. But because I loved him too much and didn’t want to throw everything we had to the drain, I asked him to stay.
I only realised later that I made a mistake because it affected my relationship with my close friends since I defended his wrongdoings. They were the ones who were trying to protect me from getting hurt, but instead, they saw me walk back into the lion’s den.
In the end, we broke up because of how we drifted apart ‒ he was busy with school, and didn’t put in the effort to spend time with me.”
Advice to those moving on from a bad relationship: “Don’t throw yourself into something or someone if you’re not ready. Surround yourself with positive people like your family, friends or loved ones to make the whole process easier.”
– Tris, 25
4. “Changed my IG handle because he told me it was gay”
“Even though I only dated my ex-boyfriend for about a couple of months, I felt that the impact was rather strong because it was my first relationship.
Before the breakup, I noticed that he was always hanging out with a female classmate of his, and he assured me that nothing was going on between them. He even tried to lessen my worries and told me that they were spending a lot of time together because they were “entrepreneurs” working on projects.
The craziest thing that happened during our relationship was when he told me he didn’t want to post stories and photos on his Instagram because my handle was “gay”. TBH, I had no idea what he meant, but I went ahead and changed my handle for him.
However, when I swapped my old handle for a new one, he acted as if he didn’t know about it and ignored me when I asked about him too. Instead, he was always posting his classmate whenever they were out together.
By the time I shared it with my close circle of friends, they told me that his actions were all BS and to dump him immediately. Yet, at that point in time, I was too attached to him and still held out hope ‒ that was until I didn’t and gave up.”
Advice to those moving on from a bad relationship: “The most important thing is managing and living with the pain, and not letting it become your whole personality. Sometimes, you just need time and the right people around you to help you realise that fact.”
– Valerie Y, 23
5. “Told me I can go out to meet new people on dating apps”
“Before ending my 6-year relationship with my ex-boyfriend, he told me that I could go out to meet new people on dating apps. And if I found someone suitable, he would let me go because he wasn’t able to promise me the future that I wanted ‒ I planned to get married before turning 30.
NGL, that was the craziest thing I ever heard. Since I didn’t want to stick around and be his “companion”, I told him that I would rather break up.
During the early stages of our relationship, he also cheated on me and hid the infidelity for a year before confessing it to me. But instead of facing the music like a real man, he went on an exchange programme overseas to “escape” the situation. Back then, I was young and innocent so I even flew all the way there to confront him.
When I shared it with my friends, they scolded me and said that I was stupid to have believed in his lies. Since I only realised how I was manipulated after the breakup, I regret spending so much money and time on him.
It took me about a year to move on from the relationship, but now, I know what I want in a relationship, and I have no time to deal with flaky guys who refuse to commit.”
Advice to those moving on from a bad relationship: “Don’t jump straight into another relationship after ending one. Take time to completely heal because it isn’t nice to your future partner who may have to handle your emotional baggage.”
– Chloe, 27
6. “Told me to not take out my piercings, but only to let his father nag & call me satanic”
“I’m not the kind who cares about what others think of the way I dress, but there was an incident when I was called “satanic” by my ex-boyfriend’s father because of my piercings.
It started with meeting his parents for the first time, and instead of wanting me to make a first good impression, my ex-boyfriend told me to not remove my piercings. And when his father saw me, he began to nag at me and call me “satanic” ‒ all this while, he was just standing by the side.
Since his father was speaking mostly in Chinese, I couldn’t understand what he was saying. And I thought that it was “normal” for his parents to get defensive because of their religion, and perhaps be more conservative when it comes to piercings. However, I was definitely not expecting to get scolded by a stranger that I met for the first time.
It was only after we broke up did it dawn on me that he was a walking red flag. For example, he didn’t want to acknowledge that I was his girlfriend, and I had to keep asking him for an answer. Plus, he got angry very easily, and had the tendency to scold me disrespectfully. In the end, I broke up with him over the phone because he was behaving like a douchebag.”
Advice to those moving on from a bad relationship: “Know your worth! Don’t do girlfriend or wife duties when your other half doesn’t even reciprocate the energy back. Hang out with friends, and find new things to do!”
– Gwen, 23
7. “Didn’t allow me to join his friends for mahjong because it was a “friends” thing”
“As a person who enjoys playing mahjong, there was once when I refused to play the game for a year because of my ex-boyfriend.
During our relationship, he went to his friend’s house for mahjong five to seven times a week, and I was not allowed to join because it was only “exclusive” to friends. Since he didn’t spend much time with me after getting together, I thought that he was an independent person who needed his alone moment.
It turned out it was nothing like that ‒ he was hanging out with a female friend, who he thought was hot AF, and was spending hours swimming together at her house.
When I learned that he lied to me, I gave him the silent treatment at first, but it backfired because he didn’t even bother to contact me. He continued to share on his Instagram about his mahjong sessions despite knowing full well that I could see his posts.
The worst part was he actually called me a psycho, and said that I was “difficult to love” when I confronted him. In the heat of the moment, I dumped him and ended our relationship. When I told my friends about it, they were glad to know that the relationship was over.”
Advice to those moving on from a bad relationship: “There’s no shortcut to moving on since it is a long process. But, you should know that it is a process that will come to an end. Surround yourself with people who can help you get out of this dark period instead of people who are in it for the drama.”
– Joyce, 25
These Girls In Singapore Show That Not Every Relationship Is A Bed Of Roses
Despite the absurd stories shared by these girls, there’s no denying that many of us are still holding onto the hope that we’d be able to find a person who treats us with mutual respect and love. Don’t let the end of a bad relationship affect your future ones, and trust that good things will come to those who wait.
Cover: Images courtesy of Jou, Gwen, Valerie Y.