Ah, college. A time to completely start over and reinvent yourself. With new people you can meet left and right, there is no doubt that you will make tons of new friends. Maybe you'll even meet someone that you consider yourself "talking to," casually dating or in a committed relationship with. After being in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship for well over a year and a half, I believe it is important to share with you the importance of looking for things that may not be right in a new relationship that could possibly lead to any type of abuse.
The guy I was dating was so mean and abusive to me on a daily basis that I was too scared to speak up to anyone in fear that no one would believe me since the guy seemed almost too perfect. Basically, his negative treatment became the norm, therefore I felt as though I became numb to everything I was going through every day with my significant other. Now, I couldn't be more relieved and glad that I get to have a fresh start once I go to college. This experience is something that I will always remember and all of the lessons I learned from it will allow me to be more wary of relationships in the future.
So take some time to read through all of these red flags that you should be looking out for while beginning a new relationship if you decide to do so this first year of college. Never EVER ignore these signs. More often than not, you will be glad you got out of a relationship before the relationship began to go south. An unhealthy relationship is the last thing you need when trying to start off college strong. It's the biggest distraction you could ever have.
Alright. Here they are. These are all things you need to look out for based on my personal experience and things that, unfortunately, my ex has done to me.
1. They can't stop telling you how perfect you are, and refuse to admit your flaws.
I decided to start out with this one because no one is ever perfect. Although being perfect is what you'd most likely want to hear, your significant other (SO) is merely putting you on a pedestal; they are only viewing you how they truly envision their perfect SO and not seeing you for you.
2. They seem very insecure about themselves.
Umm tell me if I'm wrong, but if your SO is constantly putting themselves down, they have major self-esteem issues. You can try to help them at first by reassuring them, but if their voiced insecurities about nothing go on, get out of the relationship.
3. They constantly question why you are into them.
This piggybacks off of the insecurity part. If they don't feel like they are worthy of you then they will begin you say you don't actually want them for them, you merely want them just to have a SO.
4. They text you around the clock.
Who is on their phone all of the time? Not me! My SO would text me all of the time: from the minute I woke up in the morning, then all day at school, then when I went to dance at night, then when I was doing homework and going to bed. Yes, a good morning and goodnight text is completely fine, as well as texts to make plans, but texting the same things over and over all day means that person is using their phone as a crutch.
5. They buy you gifts to make up for their wrongdoings.
I can’t tell you how many times my SO wronged me. Once he had, he felt obligated to buy me a gift. Whether it would be a cupcake or a pair of socks, he would almost immediately get me a gift to apologize. That's not how relationships are supposed to work!
6. They push your physical boundaries in what they call "innocent" ways.
While your SO might want to try to become close with you, you do need personal space. Does your SO tickle you or hug you or kiss you too much and you have to ask them to stop, but they won't? This is just a precursor for the future, as if they don't have respect for your body now, they might take that to the extreme in the future.
7. They try to move the relationship along too quickly.
Relationships are meant to be taken slow. Most of the time, the best relationships result from a close friendship of many years. That is certainly what happened with mine. But, on the downside, since my SO and I already knew so much about each other, he really tried to move everything along so quickly; from him saying he loved me to him getting way too physical with me.
8. They are obsessed with fairy tale endings.
My SO would constantly tell me, and write me in letters, that he wanted to get married and told me about what house we would live in and how many kids he would like. I got really creeped out, and if someone does that to you constantly, you should be too. The future is uncertain at this age of 18 or 19, so no one should be telling you their plans for years down the road.
9. They get mad when you are unable to do something with them because of another commitment.
Sorry your whole life doesn't revolve around them!
10. They make plans with you, then cancel the plans, then beg for you to come.
I never quite understood the point of why SOs do this. Maybe just to start a fight?
11. They try to drive a wedge between you and your family or friends.
Your SO wants to be the center of your attention all of the time and therefore takes away time that you spend with your family. Family is forever - SOs are not.
12. Their attitude changes way too quickly.
One second they could be the sweetest thing in the world and the next they could be too mean for words.
13. They call you names during arguments.
This one is just flat out immature. Calling someone else nasty names is just degrading.
14. They're always accusing you of cheating.
When you're not with them and your SO says you’re cheating on them and they don't trust you, get out ASAP. They're not worth it.
15. They try to guilt trip you into doing things they want but you are not comfortable with.
Hey, if they make you feel bad for not wanting to do something they want to do, whether that is something as simple as going on a run with your SO or something more serious like sexual activities you don't want to partake in, stick to your gut feeling. No means no.
16. They need constant reassurance.
If your SO appears to constantly be down when you don't give them compliments, or if you're not always reminding them that they are amazing, then get out. People don’t need those reminders 24/7.
17. They are either incapable of apologizing or apologize literally all of the time.
In unstable relationships, your SO might not even apologize because they are incapable of realizing what they have done wrong, or apologize all of the time even if they haven't done anything wrong. Most of the time, an apology doesn't even fix anything.
18. They are way too fixated on a time schedule.
This was one of the worst things that happened to me. So my SO would give me a time that we would meet to go out and give me a five minute time limit. If it took me more than five minutes after he came to pick me up, even if he was early to begin with, he would drive away. Sorry people have other commitments? Sorry I could have gotten caught up with something? Life happens.
19. They are mean to their parents.
Once you meet your SOs parents and you witness them be rude to them or even yell at them, end the relationship. That's just a reflection of how mean they can be to those they are close to, including you.
20. They confide all of their secrets to you.
Relationships are meant to be taken slow. If your SO almost immediately begins to tell you all of their deepest and darkest secrets, that's an issue.
21. They make you feel stupid.
If you make a little mistake, they will go on and on about it for weeks and even bring it up months later to try to belittle you. No one has time for that.
22. They physically hurt you.
This is abuse. If you two were married then that would be grounds for a divorce.
23. They play mind games with you.
While playing mind games might be fun for your SO, it won't be fun for you because of all of the unclear messages you will begin to receive. Don't waste your time.
24. They demand your passwords to your phone and social media accounts.
If this is the case, your SO most likely believes you are talking to other people through means of your phone. Your messages are your business and your SO has no right to know what is on your phone unless you give them permission.
25. They can't put their phone down while they are with you.
This one is kind of a no-brainer. If they are using their phone as a crutch while with you, they are too distracted.
26. They continue to get physical with you even when you said no.
As I said earlier, no means no. Your body is your body and no one has the right to come near it without permission.
27. They constantly want to either make out, have sex or touch you.
OK so this basically means they want you just for your body and want to fulfill their own needs before actually caring about you. They can only pretend for so long that they actually care about you before reality strikes them and they can't keep it up anymore. They're basically using you.
28. You two have nothing to talk about.
Yes, if you are dating someone for a while you've probably talked about so many things, but in most stable and healthy relationships it is unusual to have nothing to discuss.
29. They become obsessive and territorial.
It's really bad if your SO begins to become obsessed with you, and if someone does something as simple as look at you it can set them off. It happens, trust me.
30. They get jealous if you look at someone of the opposite gender.
If your SO expects you to only look at them and have no other friends of the opposite gender, something is seriously wrong. This can then turn into them accusing you of cheating, unfortunately.
31. They try to control your every move.
This is the biggest red flag in my opinion. Your life is your life, and you don't need anyone, and I mean ANYONE, micromanaging your life.
32. The relationship is built on the need to feel needed.
It is normal to have time away from your SO and not be in contact with them constantly. If your SO feels the need to be in touch with you all the time and constantly wants to be with you and gets mad if you aren't, begin to think whether the person actually wants to be genuinely dating them or they just want a person to have around their arms.
33. They lie.
If you constantly catch your SO in lies, you will never know when he or she is telling you the truth or when what they're saying is false. They could even be living an entire lie while they are dating you, not really being themselves. If you catch your SO lying on a regular basis, reconsider the whole relationship.
34. They get too close too soon.
Relationships are meant to be taken slow. If they kiss you on the first date or want to have sex too soon, you know what their motive is. They most likely don’t actually want a serious relationship and merely a hookup.
35. They make suggestions as to how to improve your looks.
Everyone has flaws, but you should honestly put your SO in their place if they start telling you how you can look "prettier" or "hotter." That definitely crosses a line and they are flat out telling you that you are not up to their standards.
36. They ask you to wear particular outfits.
If your SO is telling you what to wear all of the time, they are too into your business. Yes, if it is a special occasion like their birthday, it is totally acceptable for them to suggest an outfit they love on you, but other than that is just gets creepy.
37. They always think you owe them something if they do something they didn't want to for you.
Relationships are all about giving and taking. If your SO is into going to baseball games, for example, and you are into going out to a Broadway show, surprise him with two tickets to go see his favorite team and then at some point later he can surprise you with two tickets to see your favorite broadway show in NYC. If your SO keeps track of things like this and is telling you on a daily basis that you still owe them things, then they are way too into themselves rather than trying to please you.
38. They blame you for everything even though it is not your fault
If your SO does something blatantly wrong and then can't take blame for it, something is seriously wrong. People make mistakes. It's alright to fess up to them. Don’t go blaming your own mistakes on someone else. That is just manipulative.
39. They are hypersensitive.
There are some things in life that are worth stressing over and getting upset about and other things that aren't. If the seemingly little things in life that go wrong put your SO over the edge, then they're most likely going to overreact to a lot of issues. Not what you want in a SO, am I right?
40. They physically restrain you from leaving the room.
OK so this one happened to me a lot. Too bad I wasn't as strong as my SO and had a difficult time escaping. But nonetheless, restraining is a form of abuse and needs to be stopped immediately. Anyone who is that controlling is not worth an ounce of your energy.
41. They get so mad they go punch something.
This just isn't normal. Yes, there are times where you get so angry at someone or something going on in your life that you feel as though you want, and need, to get your anger out, but you shouldn't be doing that around your SO. My SO would often, without warning, get up and go to another room to punch a wall. He didn't even know what he was mad at when I asked. I was scared beyond belief.
42. They never want to go out in public with you.
So this either means they are embarrassed to be seen with you or just want you in a place where they can focus on their "desires." I think you know what I mean.
43. They don't have a lot of friends and their friends are primarily those of the opposite gender.
Well, my SO didn't have many friends and I was always his go-to girl when he needed someone to do something with. He also had a lot of friends that were girls that were measurably younger than him. Weird.
44. They make you cry all the time.
If your SO makes you cry on a regular basis, get out. Never look back. Ever.
45. They break up with you multiple times a day and then beg for you back.
This is obviously something that is not normal in a relationship. Healthy people in relationships should not be obligated to break up with you and ask for you back a couple of times in the same day. It's not worth playing those head games.
46. They constantly bring up mistakes you have made in the past.
People with issues tend to not be able to stop thinking about things that have happened in the past, even if they do not affect anyone anymore. If this is a recurring incident that keeps happening, then stop the relationship. You don’t need that constant torment.
47. They assume your family hates them.
This happened to me way more than I would like to admit. If my SO ever came over or was invited to come do something out with my family and I, he would constantly check if it was OK to come because he would tell me that he was almost 100 percent certain my family did not like him at all. That's not another thing you want to fight with your SO about, especially if it is not true.
48. You are always the one who apologizes to end fights.
If your SO will not stop fighting about something until they hear an apology, even if the fight was not your fault, your SO is just showing his or her power over you, unfortunately. Don't stand for that crap.
49. They make every situation negative.
The good times are supposed to outweigh the bad times in a relationship, yet if every day in your relationship is negative, then what the heck are you still doing in it?
50. After they are mean, they make promises that you will only get the "real them" from there on out.
This red flag is just sad. I completely understand someone trying super hard to impress you in the beginning of a relationship, but if they keep faking who they truly are then you have a problem, that's bad. If they are blaming their meanness towards you on a so-called "fake self," then get out ASAP. Your SO has dug themselves a hole so deep that you don't know whether or not they are telling you the truth and what their real persona is.
If you feel as though your relationship has turned abusive, listen to your instincts. Get help right away or else you may become numb to the situation, just like I did. I certainly never want to go down this road again relationship-wise, and I don’t want you to do it either. Don’t be afraid to speak to a friend, adult or family member you trust.
In cases where immediate help is needed, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline. Or you can even look on their website for help, which is thehotline.org. They are open 24/7, so someone is always available to answer your call. Their phone number is 1-800-799-7233.
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