Is it a red flag if someone has never been in a relationship?

The winter edition of Love Island is here to brighten up the colder months – and although we’re just a few episodes in, it’s already got us talking.

On Monday night’s contestant introductions, 21-year-old Haris Namani claimed he’d never had a girlfriend or been in love, before coupling up with Anna-May Robey, 20.

When asked why he hadn’t found love so far, Haris told host Maya Jama: ‘I’m not too sure. I’ve never been turned down by a girl. I know it can happen, but my strike rate is 100%. I’ve just not found the spark.’

Fans discussed whether this may be a red flag, following similar conversations around last year’s series, where Brett Staniland was called a ‘robot’ by Priya Gopaldas for being a relationship virgin aged 27.

And if that wasn’t enough drama to get our teeth into, the Doncaster TV salesman’s admission was then called into question, as eagle-eyed viewers dug up evidence that Haris had actually been dating model Courtney Hodgson before entering the villa.

‘I didn’t see her as like actually being my girlfriend,’ he responded in a statement before his debut. ‘We were just sleeping together and then I just called it off.’

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From the label avoidance to the (somewhat glaring) lack of relationship experience, Haris’ behaviour may be setting off alarm bells in your head.

But are these automatic deal breakers when it comes to dating? Or should you give the benefit of the doubt?

According to Anna Richards, relationship expert and founder of frolicme, it’s important to make decisions on a case by case basis

Speaking about Haris specifically, she tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Having a serious committed relationship does take time – and youth is still on his side for openly socialising.

‘He will no doubt have had relations, but the term relationship brings with it a greater commitment to another which is viewed differently between individuals.

‘Most people find the idea of being sexually involved much easier than being romantically involved and therefore the term relationship can create a different understanding.’

There’s every chance a relationship newbie has been waiting for the right person before getting serious. They may have prioritised their studies or career ahead of focusing on love, or just aren’t bothered by labels. It’s all about how these past experiences inform their behaviour in the here and now.

On the positive side, think of a date who’s not had other relationships as a baggage-free zone, as their outlook on romance has yet to be sullied by a past partner.

‘There are no preconceived beliefs,’ says Anna. ‘You can feel fresh and new to a newfound relationship.’

That’s not to suggest those who’ve had previous relationships are in any way inferior – it’s merely a different skillset. The experience of both the good and bad parts of being in a couple can be invaluable in teaching you about communication.

Regardless of either of your histories, being on the same page is what will help your relationship last.

Anna says: ‘Communication is the cornerstone to all relationships to prevent misunderstanding and ensure you are on the same path and journey together.’

It’s if your date fibs about their past that may give you justified cause for concern.

Natasha Ivanovic, Intimacy Expert at Kiiroo, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘If a new partner isn’t honest with you from the beginning, it’s likely they will continue to lie to you, eventually causing you to develop trust issues.

‘If a partner’s dishonesty becomes a problem once you’re already in a relationship, then that is something that can be worked through in couples counselling, but if the very first thing that comes out of a new dates mouth turns out to be a lie, my advice is to save yourself the trouble and run a mile.’

At the tender age of 21, Haris is perfectly normal in not yet having a relationship. But if he wants one in future, his best bet is to put his cards on the table and be honest.

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