Dating violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner.

A Pattern of Behavior

Calling dating violence a pattern doesn’t mean the first instance of abuse is not dating violence. It just recognizes that dating violence usually involves a series of abusive behaviors over a course of time.

Every relationships is different, but the one thing that is common to most abusive dating relationships is that the violence escalates over time and becomes more and more dangerous for the young victim.

Who Experiences Dating Violence?

Any teen or young adult can experience violence, abuse or unhealthy behaviors in their dating relationships. A relationship may be serious or casual, monogamous or not, short-term or long-term. Dating abuse does not discriminate – it does not see gender, sexual identity, economic status, ethnicity or religious preference.

See more of the statistics on dating violence.

What Does Dating Violence Look Like?

Teens and young adults experience the same types of abuse in relationships as adults. This can include:

  • Physical Abuse: Any intentional use of physical force with the intent to cause fear or injury, like hitting, shoving, biting, strangling, kicking or using a weapon.
  • Verbal or Emotional Abuse: Non-physical behaviors such as threats, insults, constant monitoring, humiliation, intimidation, isolation or stalking.
  • Sexual Abuse: Any action that impacts a person’s ability to control their sexual activity or the circumstances in which sexual activity occurs, including rape, coercion or restricting access to birth control.
  • Digital Abuse: Use of technologies and/or social media networking to intimidate, harass or threaten a current or ex-dating partner. This could include demanding passwords, checking cell phones, cyber bullying, sexting, excessive or threatening texts or stalking on Facebook or other social media.

If you or a loved one are in a violent relationship, please get help. Visit loveisrespect.org, or Tears of Love for more information, call the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline:866.331.9474 or text “loveis” to 77054.  Or call DVC at (661) 259-8175.

Ten Warning Signs of Abuse

While there are many warning signs of abuse, here are ten common abusive behaviors:

  • Checking your cell phone or email without permission
  • Constantly putting you down
  • Extreme jealousy or insecurity
  • Explosive temper
  • Isolating you from family or friends
  • Making false accusations
  • Mood swings
  • Physically hurting you in any way
  • Possessiveness
  • Telling you what to do

If you or a loved one is in a violent relationship, please get help by contacting us at (661)259-8175.

How You Can Tell the Difference Between a Healthy and an Unhealthy Relationship

Here are some things to keep in mind:

In healthy relationships, partners have an open line of communication and talk freely about their problems. They are respectful of what each other has to say and value each other for who they are. They are honest and can develop and maintain trust, but they are able to keep personal things to themselves. Both partners have a say in how things go in the relationship and make decisions together, especially those regarding sex. Healthy couples spend time together, but also enjoy spending time apart.

In unhealthy relationships, partners have trouble communicating and often fight when they try to talk about problems. They may just avoid talking about problems completely. Partners are disrespectful to each other, distrust each other and often tell lies. Couples sometimes feel crowded or notice that they are spending all of their time with each other and little time with their friends. In unhealthy relationships, partners may pressure each other into having sex. An important note — unhealthy relationships are NOT necessarily abusive.

In abusive relationships, the abusive partner communicates in a way that is hurtful or insulting. They aim to have power and control over their partner. Signs of abusive relationships include if one person denies abusive behaviors, intimidates them or isolates them. Abusive partners may force their partner to engage in sexual behaviors.

If you have any questions about the relationship spectrum, this quiz or your relationship in general, please call the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: at 1-866-331-9474 or TTY at 1-866-331-8453, text “loveis” to 77054.  All calls are confidential.  You can also chat confidentially with someone through www.loveisrepect.org.