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.

There are things you can do to ensure your safety at home and at school. For more information, see:


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.

For more information, go to


Source: Stephanie McGhee, Graduate Student, Human Development & Family

Studies, University of Missouri-Columbia