Over time I’ve learned to confront the infamous “red flags” when it comes to the dating world.

There may have been a tiny voice inside my head that said “this doesn’t seem right,” but because I didn’t truly want to believe that was the case, I’d push it aside and move on. Well, one of the more pet-peevish warning signs that always left me clueless was when the other person (in my situations it was a guy, but I don’t want to target the whole male species here) could not express how he felt.

It’s also unfortunate when the silence goes beyond just articulating feelings, and he simply can’t communicate… at all. Your messages and texts go ignored, and you’re left wondering how you didn’t foresee this issue to begin with.

We all know communication in relationships is important, but in the early stages, is a tight-lipped manner a red flag signaling you to run the other way?

I’d say yes, considering a block in communication is fatal in serious, long-term relationships. “The degree of block can vary with the severity or repeating of the communication stop,” Daniel Evans writes in his article, “The Importance of Communication in Relationships.” “A block in the relationship exists or will grow when communication is just flat out avoided.”

Evans grew up with the notion of not wanting to upset others; however, that only propelled him to avoid communicating on touchy topics altogether. “In adult relationships, this behavior only avoided the hard issues that people have to work through for the relationship to be healthy and grow.”

Along with avoidance, diversion is another troublesome communication tactic. If the other person’s questions and curiosities are not addressed, the relationship will no longer be able to move forward.

Anna Solo, a freelance photojournalist, asserts that a lack of communication in any stage of a relationship should be constituted as a red flag. “People often wait to expose their flaws until after they’ve gotten comfortable with someone, so if that quality pops up right at the start, I feel like it can only go downhill from there,” she says. “There’s a difference between being shy and being a bad communicator, and if someone can’t communicate well or can’t push themselves to from the beginning, what other foundation can there be for a good relationship? There’s no way to cultivate a healthy relationship if you can’t discuss things.”

Ashley Knox, who has a master’s degree in social work, wasn’t as quick to throw in the towel. She believes that communicating effectively may take time. “You have to learn about the other person’s communication style and how it works with your own or how it conflicts with your own,” she notes. “As a couple, all of that needs to be discussed. If communication cannot be improved, then there is no relationship to begin with. Being a couple means being a team and working on things together and growing together. Not every couple that gets together is going to have the same communication pattern. Everyone is raised differently and deals with problems differently.”

Freelance writer Shaheen Darr previously wrote about red flags in relationships. Darr believes that a lack of communication definitely needs to be taken care of before moving on. “A partner who is withdrawn and not willing to show any love, either through communication or in a physical sense, will leave the other partner feeling unfulfilled and insecure.” Insecurity in itself definitely is not beneficial to relationships either.

Whatever the circumstances causing insufficient communication, when you start to feel that uncomfortable inkling that the dynamic is off, it probably doesn’t hurt to follow your intuition.