Early warning signs of teen dating violence
Stephanie McGhee, former Graduate Student, Human Development & Family Studies, University of Missouri
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 re-evaluate your dating relationship. These
warning signs include:
- Excessive jealousy
- Constantly 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 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, which 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 you are not comfortable with
- 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 are afraid of provoking your partner
- Owns or uses weapons
- Refuses to let you 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 Domestic Violence: Staying Safe
If you or someone you know is experiencing dating violence, call
the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224
Eastside Domestic Violence Program (2006). About Domestic Violence: For Teenagers. Retrieved March 29, 2006 from http://edvp.org/
National Center for Victims of Crime. (2004). Dating Violence. Washington, D.C.: National Center for Victims of Crime Retrieved March 23, 2006 from http://www.victimsofcrime.org/
National Center for Victims of Crime. (2004). If You Are a Victim of Teen Dating Violence. Washington, D.C.: National Center for Victims of Crime. Retrieved March 23, 2006 from http://www.victimsofcrime.org/
Last Updated 10/12/2015