Love Isn’t Supposed to Hurt: Warning Signs of Teen Dating Violence

How would you define a healthy relationship? Trust? Faithfulness? Support? Communication? Although some may feel these values should be ideal, not everyone ends up in a stable loving relationship. For instance, during adolescent years, individuals are in their most influential stage. This is the time teenagers begin to develop dating habits that may influence their future relationship decisions into adulthood. Among adult victims of sexual assault, physical abuse, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, 22% of women and 15% of men initially encountered a form of partner violence between the ages of 11 and 17 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, [CDC], 2011). For this reason, it is important for teenagers and parents alike to be able to identify the warning signs of teen dating violence.

Some indicators of dating abuse include:

  1. Partner is very controlling (ex. ordering you around, dictating what you may or not may not wear, making all of the decisions concerning you)

  2. Quick temper (lashes out, blames you for everything he or she does to you)

  3. Tries to isolate you from your loved ones and friends

  4. Will not let you end the relationship

  5. Forces you to perform sexual acts

If you do recognize any of the signs or behaviors, there are resources available to help you end the unhealthy relationship. If you are in immediate danger, call 911. In addition, confiding in a friend, family member, counselor or teacher who is supportive can also encourage you to leave. Another accessible resource is a 24/7 domestic violence hotline, where trained domestic abuse counselors and volunteers are equipped in helping you make the appropriate choices to get out of the harmful relationship. Remember love should never hurt.

If you or someone you know is experiencing dating violence, please call National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-866-723-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

You may also call the Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-866-723-3014 or 215-456-1529 (TYY).

For additional information visit:

Break the Cycle




Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick,

M.T….Stevens, M.R. (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey

(NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and


Break the Cycle: Empowering Youth to End Domestic Violence. Teen Dating Violence

Awareness Month. Break the Cycle. Retrieved from:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Understanding Teen Dating

Violence Fact Sheet. CDC. Retrieved from:

McGhee, S. (2014). Early Warning Signs of Teen Dating Violence.

Missouri Families. Retrieved from:


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