Love Island is back on our screens and bringing with it more conversations about toxic relationships and red flags.

As Women's Aid issue statements about the behaviour of some islanders and get in touch with ITV over complaints raised by viewers, now is the perfect time to discuss how to spot red flags.

Sex and relationship therapist Rachel Cooke joined the Jennifer Zamparelli Show to share her insights.

Women's Aid in talks with Love Island producers

Rachel says that there are "tonnes" of red flags, but the main ones are "controlling behaviour, someone with serious anger management issues, substance dependance is a really big one, someone who shows themselves to be highly narcissistic".

She also notes it could be "someone who has a real inability to deal with conflict either by avoiding it or by blowing up or blaming the other person".

Red flags can range from "lovebombing", where you lavish attention on someone early on in order to manipulate them, to speaking badly about all of their exes.

Read more: Dating Dictionary: Cloaking, ghosting, haunting & more

Central to this, however, are what she calls the Big Four: contempt, criticism, stonewalling (also known as the silent treatment) and someone who is especially defensive.

For those of us who are long in the tooth, spotting these relationship red flags will be easier, but how do you notice these in time if you're new to dating?

Cooke says that "taking into account your gut feeling" is key, but adds "what we need to be aware of is that most of us have had bad experiences in the past, whether that was with exes, with friendships, with colleagues, it could have been with our own family".

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These can lead us to have issues around trust and vulnerability, she says, but also that we'll have "triggers" that might be activated by other people's behaviours. They "might not be necessarily red flags but it might be simply that they're reminding us of people who haven't been great to us in the past".

For this reason, she says take into account your gut feeling but don't necessarily "interpret it at face value".

Asking yourself whether you feel emotionally safe, whether the person's words line up with their behaviour and whether they're giving you mixed messages is one way to ensure your gut feeling is correct.

How do you tell the difference between a red flag and an orange flag? Cooke says they "will tend to indicate a problem area that needs to be addressed" rather than a clear warning sign.

"An orange flag is not necessarily a reason to end a relationship but it absolutely requires acknowledgement from the people involved and a desire to negotiate that", she says. This might not completely resolve the orange flag issue, but it might get it to a more manageable place.

"Realistically no relationship should cause more harm than good or have you on edge all the time or constantly focusing on the relationship."

Stock image courtesy of Getty

If you're new to dating, it can be easy to mistake early dating nerves for ongoing problems between you. Cooke says that some people can start to "accept red flags as part of the package rather than warning signals", leading them to being vulnerable to possible abuse.

She says you should give people a bit of time before making judgement calls, but to keep an eye on patterns in the person's behaviour. She suggests jotting down some notes after early dates if something happened that made you feel uncomfortable or uncertain.

Confusion, Cooke says, is the easiest way to suss out whether someone is available for a relationship. "That you feel confused because the other person does not provide clear, consistent, reliable, verbal, non-verbal communication. You're getting mixed messages, the words and actions are often not aligned.

"Or, they actually openly tell you that they're not available for what you're looking for but you're not particularly willing to listen."

For the full interview with Rachel Cooke, click here.