If your boyfriend is hurting you physically or emotionally, you are in an abusive relationship. Recognizing this is the first step to reaching out for assistance to separate from him. Dating violence is often centered around power and control; the abusive behavior generally escalates over time. Although you may feel you are alone, dating violence is common. According to the Center for Disease Control, the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey conducted in 2010 revealed that one-third of women have been physically assaulted by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
Even if you deem your boyfriend's behavior to be "not so bad," remember it is likely to get worse. If your gut instinct tells you this relationship is wrong, try not to push it aside. If you are able to, confide in a trusted friend, teacher, parent or other adult to help you to determine your safety. If that isn't a safe option, contact your school counselor or a therapist. Together you can determine how isolated you've become. While having a boyfriend takes up more of your time, abandoning your social life is a red flag. Threats, rigid gender roles and expectations as well as coming on strong at the beginning of a relationship are all examples of red flags in an abusive relationship, according to the article, "Cycles and Tactics in Violent Relationships," published on the University of Texas at Austin website.
End the Relationship
Recognize that it is not normal to fear your boyfriend. Although you may have confused his extreme jealousy and control issues as care and love, you deserve to be respected and loved for the person that you are. You have done nothing wrong and you will not be able to change his behavior on your own. If you are able to safely leave him, do so before he hurts you again. Show your family or friends any wounds or injuries you might have as well as any emotional or sexual abuse you might have encountered. Tell them how you feel and get the necessary medical, psychological or legal help that you need to feel safe and secure again, advises TeensHealth.org.
Remaining Safely Together
There are numerous reasons you may not feel you are able to leave your boyfriend at this point in time. It could be emotional issues, such as fear, love or betrayal or not feeling strong enough to break up with him permanently. Whatever the reasons, you can still increase your odds of maintaining your safety while continuing to be in a relationship, according to the article, "Should We Break Up?" published on the Love Is Respect.org website. Plan to ride home from parties or events with a group or another friend to avoid being alone with your boyfriend. If you do plan to be alone with him, tell a friend or family member when you will return and where you'll be. If you don't check in by a specific time, she will know to look for you.
There are steps you can take to devise a safety plan to break away from your boyfriend's abuse. Continue to maintain your regular schedule; go to work and school as you usually do to avoid drawing attention to yourself when you do decide to leave, according to the website, Family Violence Prevention Fund. Other tips include keeping your gas tank filled, understanding public transportation routes that can take you to safety, having your own cell phone plan so he is unable to track you, and packing and hiding a getaway bag for a quick escape. Enlist a friend or family member who can pick you up at a designated safe spot.
- National Center for Injury Prevention and Control: Division of Violence Prevention: The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report
- Break the Cycle: Dating Violence 101
- TeensHealth: Abusive Relationships
- The University of Texas at Austin: Cycles and Tactics in Violent Relationships
- Family Violence Prevention Fund: Create a Teen Safety Plan
- Love is Respect.org: Should We Break Up?
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images