Please note: Entries within this blog may contain references 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 a 24/7 peer advocate at 866-331-9474  or text “loveis” to 22522.

When Young Men Are in an Abusive Relationship

People view dating abuse victims as being overwhelmingly female. However, one in three teens experience some form of dating abuse, including male victims. And 35 percent of girls reported being the perpetrator at some point in their lives, while 37 percent of boys reported victimization.

Unfortunately, many young men are often reluctant to report abuse due to feelings of shame, embarrassment, or fear they won’t be believed. There are often fewer resources available to young men who have experienced abusive behaviors. They may face skepticism from law enforcement, or an overarching cultural view that men who say they’re in an abusive relationship are either lying or aren’t really “men.”

Many young men stay in abusive relationships because they feel ashamed as though they’ve been beaten down by a woman or failed as a provider. They may be in denial about the state of the relationship, believing the abuser can change their behavior, or they may feel the need to protect their children and fear they won’t be able to obtain custody of them.

Whatever the reasons, abuse has no boundaries. It affects everyone, regardless of gender, age, socioeconomic status, religious affiliation, cultural background or sexual orientation.

Even if someone identifies as gay, bisexual or trans* they can experience dating abuse. A dating partner exhibiting abusive behaviors may threaten to tell their family, friends or colleagues about their sexual orientation or gender identity, or say the authorities won’t help them because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Whether physical, verbal or emotional, sexual, digital or financial, it’s still abuse. Here are some of the warning signs of a young man with an abusive partner:

  • Physical violence, such as hitting, kicking, biting or slapping
  • Verbal abuse, such as belittling or humiliating in front of family and friends
  • Acting possessive and jealous
  • Constant accusations of being unfaithful
  • Controlling spending or finances
  • Constant checking in, whether by text, email or phone call
  • Naming false allegations to family, friends, employers or the police
  • Isolation from family, friends and work
  • Saying that leaving the relationship means their partner is admitting to being gay, bisexual, or trans*, or that those relationships are deviant
  • Justifying abuse by saying their partner is not really gay, bisexual, or trans*

Call 1-866-331-9474 or text 22522 to “loveis” to talk with a trained peer advocate and get help. Remember, everyone deserves the right to a healthy relationship.