Two Dating Red Flags

Jasbina Ahluwalia asks Ty Tashiro, author of The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love: You mentioned emotional instability and novelty seeking.

Let’s say that someone finds themselves in a relationship where they’re seeing some potential red flags.

What are the red flags that could indicate more serious problems down the line?


Ty Tashiro

Two Dating Red Flags

  1. Demand/Withdraw Pattern
  2. Capitalization

We’re fortunate that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of studies on relationship processes that can help us identify red flags. These are things that come up in dating relationships in longitudinal studies where they follow dating couples into their marriage.

The behaviors are pretty stable. If you see it in your dating relationship, you’re also likely to see it in your marriage. It’s not going to change.

Two Dating Red Flags: Demand/Withdrawn Pattern

One thing to watch out for is what we call a demand/withdraw pattern.

One partner is always asking for something and the other partner is blowing them off.

Two Dating Red Flags: Relationship Dysfunction

This pattern is the hallmark of dysfunctional couples when it comes to interaction. There’s nothing wrong with asking for something. Sometimes there is nothing wrong with not fully tending to certain requests.

What happens is that people keep asking for the same thing. The person who is doing the demanding has to increase the strength of their demand.

Two Dating Red Flags: Demand Effects

Eventually, this ends up with yelling or screaming. Sometimes throwing things can be involved as well.

Sometimes it can start with something innocent, like humor. Interestingly, men’s sense of humor is associated with less marital satisfaction.  That’s partly because they use the sense of humor to try to get out of things.

Two Dating Red Flags: Withdrawal Evolution

The withdrawal can look relatively benign at the start. It ends up to the point where people aren’t even giving a verbal response to what’s being asked for. It can end up with people doing things like storming out of the house, slamming the door and leaving the situation.

Watching out for that is a big red flag. If someone is a strong demander or strong withdrawer, it’s something to be brought up early on.

If it’s something that doesn’t change, that’s usually a pretty bad sign.

Two Dating Red Flags: Capitalization

Another thing that’s more positive and that couples have a chance to look for every day is something called capitalization.

Shelly Gable, who is at UC Santa Barbara, has a great line of research on this. Shelly has found that, over 75% of the time, when couples sit down at night, they will tell each other about something that went well that day.

Two Dating Red Flags: Big and Small News

That could be something big, like getting a promotion.  It could be something small, like that they found a lucky penny or someone was nice to them.

This provides an opportunity for the other partner to capitalize on that. They can show that they’re also enthused about what it is that their partner has.

Two Dating Red Flags: Positive Reinforcement

It feels great when we tell someone about something positive and they respond in a really enthusiastic way. They get it. It makes that good thing even better.

Shelly finds that it not only improves satisfaction that night, but it also predicts better satisfaction the next day and even a week later.

This tiny act of capitalizing on your partner’s good news can actually have a really profound impact on a relationship.

Two Dating Red Flags: Capitalization Failure

Sometimes people fail to do it. We’ve probably all had it happen where you tell someone some good news and they keep flipping through the channels on the TV or just don’t respond in a positive way.

That can be a real let down. If you have a partner who capitalizes on these positive opportunities, I think that is a great sign. That is not a red flag. It’s a great sign of good things to come.


Jasbina Ahluwalia

Two Dating Red Flags: The Cycle

That’s interesting. It’s about being willing to share and the partner who receives it is attentive and empathetic to it. That’s a great cycle.


Ty Tashiro

Yes. I’ve heard some couples say that their partner won’t share things often. You’re right.

There are two things. We need to share those positive things. It’s also a great opportunity for the other person to receive an easy pitch that they can hit out of the park on a consistent basis.


Tell Us:

Ty Tashiro shared two dating red flags, have you spotted either behavior in your relationships? Drop us a line in the comments section below.


The above is an excerpt from Jasbina’s interview with Ty Tashiro

The entire interview transcript is at: Ty Tashiro Interview – What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love

Listen to the entire interview on: Intersections Match Talk Radio – Jasbina’s Lifestyle Show

Listen to the entire interview on Blog Talk Radio: The Science Of Happily Ever After – Ty Tashiro

Listen to the entire interview on iTunes