A “Concerned Mother” asks:

Q: What are some of the signs of a potentially harmful dating relationship?

This is a long and complicated question to answer but I have compiled a list of bullet points that might indicate a possible problem in a dating relationship.

Early Warning Signs that may eventually lead to dating violence:

  • Overzealous jealousy-about who you talk to and what you do when you aren’t around them.
  • Controlling behavior- tells you what to wear, say, act like, what to do.
  • Quick romantic involvement-love at first sight, talk of forever, wants to see you exclusively from the first date on.
  • Unpredictable mood swings-that seem to occur without warning.
  • Intimidation or impersonation of you on social networking sites- constantly commenting or contacting you on Facebook, Twitter, or other social networking sites.  The potential offender impersonates you and creates fake profiles on networking sites in order to spread lies, create rumors, post pictures, or pressure you to do what they want you to do.
  • Alcohol and drug use-though it is never the cause of dating violence it can and does magnify its effects.
  • Explosive anger-tells you that your behavior is what makes them angry and they wouldn’t get so mad if you would just act the right way.
  • Isolation from friends and family-wants you to be with them all the time so you very seldom get to see family and friends.
  • Uses force in an argument-breaking or smashing things near you or shoving/hitting you.
  • Shows hypersensitivity-to what you do, say, wear, act like.
  • Believes in rigid gender roles and responsibilities
  • Blames others for their problems or feelings
  • Cruel to animals or children
  • Verbally puts you down-yells at you in front of others or privately
  • Has abused former partners
  • Threatens violence-because of something they feel you did or are doing against them.
  • Suspicious about everybody you speak to-thinks you are cheating on them.
  • Unfair expectations- you have to forgive and forget their actions immediately.
  • Puts down everyone you know-including your friends, family, and/or job or activities.


These are just a few of the characteristics that might be exhibited by an abuser.  IF you are reading this and recognize these traits in a partner of yours or another relationship you have witnessed, there might be a problem.  Learning the signs to watch for and educating yourself and your friends is a good start to ending the violence.  You have a right to decide what you will and won’t accept as behavior in your relationship.  Remember that you get to set boundaries and guidelines about what you want out of a healthy and positive relationship.


I will be  happy to answer questions from teens or adults.

Feel free to submit a question; email to:  [email protected] and put “HWT Question” in the subject line.  You may remain anonymous.

“It’s About Your Teen”

Susie Kroll specializes in speaking about Teen Dating Violence and Healthy & Safe Dating.  She conducts workshops, keynotes, trainings, and seminars on issues specifically related to teens and their relationships.  To schedule Susie for your next event, contact ImaginePublicity, 843.808.0859, [email protected]