What Are the Early Warning Signs of Teen Dating Violence?
Researchers who study teen dating violence have identified several early warning signs that a dating relationship might be likely to turn violent. These warning signs do not mean a relationship will definitely turn violent. However, if you notice several of them in your relationship or partner, you may need to reevaluate your dating relationship.
These warning signs include:
- Excessive jealousy.
- Constant checking in with you or making you check in with him or her.
- Attempts to isolate you from friends and family.
- Insulting or putting down people that you care about.
- Is too serious about the relationship too quickly.
- Has had a lot of bad prior relationships – and blames all of the problems on the previous partners.
- Is very controlling. This may include giving you orders, telling you what to wear, and trying to make all of the decisions for you.
- Blames you when he or she treats you badly by telling you all of the ways you provoked him or her.
- Does not take responsibility for own actions.
- Has an explosive temper (“blows up” a lot).
- Pressures you into sexual activity with which you are not comfortable.
- Has a history of fighting, hurting animals, or brags about mistreating other people.
- Believes strongly in stereotypical gender roles for males and females.
- You worry about how your partner will react to the things you say or you are afraid of provoking your partner.
- Owns or uses weapons.
- Refuses to let you to end the relationship.
What can you do if you notice these signs in your relationship?
- Trust your intuition! If you believe there may be a problem in your relationship, you are probably right. Do not ignore the warning signs.
- Research has found that those who have a tendency to engage in relationship violence escalate their abuse over time. In other words, it gets worse over time, not better.
- Spend time with people you care about other than your partner. Stay in touch with your friends.
- Keep up with activities that you enjoy and that make you feel good about yourself.
- You might consider looking into what help or resources might be available in your school or area. You might also want to consider calling a domestic violence hotline or shelter for more information before you experience a crisis.
If you or someone you know is experiencing dating violence, call the National
Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-257-5765 or call 570-346-4671 in Lackawanna County or 570-278-1800 in Susquehanna County.
Source: Stephanie McGhee, Graduate Student, Human Development & Family
Studies, University of Missouri-Columbia