Navigating romantic relationships can be difficult at any age. Building and maintaining healthy romantic relationships is often a skill we build over time, developing as we grow and learn more about ourselves and others. Specifically, the added stress of surging hormones, peer pressure, and rapid life changes places teens at a higher risk of being in unhealthy relationships. Also, there are a lot of things that feel scary and overwhelming when you’re a teenager; your relationship shouldn’t be one of them.
Common red flags in teen relationships:
- Excessive jealousy, possessiveness, or repeated false accusations that a partner is cheating.
- Tracking/controlling social media usage, strict rules for what a partner can/cannot post or view.
- Pressuring, coercing, manipulating, or forcing a partner into sexual acts.
- Physical violence (hitting, punching, slapping, kicking, spitting.)
- Threatening to ‘out’ or expose an LGBTQ+ partner to humiliate them.
- Isolation from family, friends, and other trusted sources.
- Demanding that a partner dress, look, or act a certain way.
- Purposely hurting a partner’s feelings, exploiting their insecurities, or constantly blaming them for everything.
- Manipulating facts and distorting the truth to make a partner question their sanity and values. (Also referred to as ‘gaslighting.’)
This list is by no means extensive, as there are a lot of abusive behaviors that teens may experience every day. Sometimes, we don’t realize that a relationship was abusive until after we’ve left it. Keeping an eye out for red flags is extremely important, but it is also good to check in every now and then to make sure your relationship stays healthy.
Some good ways to check in with yourself include:
- Asking yourself…
- Does this person make me feel good about myself?
- Do I feel supported by this person?
- Do I always feel safe with this person?
- Can I be completely myself with this person?
- Does this person treat me as an equal?
If you answered yes to those questions, awesome! You’re on the right track. If you answered no, or aren’t quite sure, call our 24-hour Crisis Helpline at 314.531.2003. Additionally, our staff are trained to understand teenage relationships and are more than willing to talk.
Safe Connections 24-hour Crisis Helpline | 314.531.2003
Local and Online Resources for Adolescents
Teen Dating Violence by the Numbers
Love Is Respect – A website for more information about teen dating violence.
Break The Cycle – A guide on how to start the conversation about teen dating violence.
Project HART – Our prevention education program that teaches teens about healthy relationships.Back to All News