Please note: Entries within this blog may contain reference to instances of domestic abuse, dating abuse, sexual assault, abuse or harassment. At all times, Break the Cycle encourages readers to take whatever precautions necessary to protect themselves emotionally and psychologically. If you would like to speak with an advocate, please contact one of our 24/7 Love Is Respect advocates at 866-331-9474. Online chat and texting are also available.
With school starting back up, so does the opportunity for new or continuing romances. While relationships or casual hookups can be exciting at first, it’s extremely important to know the warning signs of dating violence. Recognizing these signs can help prevent a dating partner from becoming hurt or help them communicate better with their dating partner.
No two relationships are like. Relationships exist on a spectrum, while some aspects of a relationship may be healthy others may not be. These warning signs may not necessarily apply to every relationship. However, there are many aspects to pay attention to in any dating relationship. These are common warning signs that can potentially lead to unhealthy and abusive relationship behaviors:
- Checking tech without permission: Sneaking peeks of incoming texts, reading email, or logging in to social networks without explicit permission is a red flag because it signals a need to exert power and control over one’s dating partner’s digital life.
- Constant belittling: In a healthy relationship, both partners respect each other’s feelings. By constantly putting someone down, one partner may begin to believe the negative comments. This is a demonstration of exerting emotional control and lowering a partner’s self-esteem.
- Explosive temper: Getting extremely angry for seemingly no reason or over a small inconvenience is a major warning sign. Rapid changes in temper can translate to verbal or physical abuse.
- Extreme jealousy: Again, this feeling can stem from a lack of respect or trust for the other dating partner, and is a way to exert power and control.
- False accusations: Similar to jealousy, a dating partner may claim the other was with someone else when they were with family, or say a partner is always lying to them. It’s a lack of trust and respect that could translate into other forms of abuse.
- Inflicting physical pain: Any kind of physical hurt, even small acts — for example, shoving someone into a locker or against a wall for a kiss — is a warning sign of further physical abuse.
- Isolation from family and friends: If a partner tries to isolate the other from their family, friends, work, school, social situations, or other leisure and extracurricular activities, it’s a warning sign that they could use other abusive behaviors to exert control.
- Mood swings: Erratic or constant mood swings may seem like someone is just being dramatic, but it’s a warning sign for relationships as they can use those mood swings to justify unhealthy behaviors.
- Possessiveness: Acting possessive can lead to other unhealthy relationship behaviors like isolation. In a healthy relationship both partners respect the other’s time and who they want to spend time with or what they care about doing.
- Repeated pressure to have sex: Asking to have sex or using any kind of emotional manipulation or physical force to initiate sex is a red flag for potential sexual abuse or assault.
- Telling someone what to do: Ordering a dating partner around, or saying they can’t eat something or wear something, is a warning sign that they will continue using controlling tactics and unhealthy behaviors that could lead to emotional abuse.
If you want to talk to someone about a dating relationship or have more questions about these common dating violence warning signs, text “loveis” to 22522 to chat with a peer advocate.