Domestic Abuse Tips: Will Your Fairy Tale Romance Lead to an Unhealthy Relationship? by Michelle Jewsbury
Even the most loving relationships can be tough. While it’s normal to have the occasional spat with your significant other, make sure your new relationship doesn’t turn dangerous. Often, you get into a relationship and don’t see the red flags that everyone else sees. Through my nonprofit organization, Unsilenced Voices, I'm on a mission to end domestic violence worldwide.
I'm proof that domestic abuse can happen to anyone. I was a strong, independent woman when I began a relationship with my abuser in 2012. My head went through the drywall about four months into our relationship. Still, I believed I loved him and that he would change. I stood by his side while he emotionally, physically and financially abused me. But I Love Him is a first-hand account of my experience. I want to help people around the world avoid making the same mistakes I made.
The time to start protecting yourself is even before the relationship begins. And as the relationship progresses, start watching for other signs that should be taken seriously. Here are some tips:
- Do some research. Google him and make sure nothing bad shows up. Be sure to look at his social media profile. If possible, find out what his friends and acquaintances say about him.
- Schedule a date in a public place. Don’t let him pick you up at your house and don’t tell him where you live.
- Watch how he speaks to the waiter or waitress. Is he rude? Controlling?
- Consider how he speaks to you. Is he kind and caring or does he appear narcissistic? Does he blame other people for any problems he mentions?
- Tell someone where you are going. And have someone nearby on speed dial, just in case.
- Pay attention if he tries to tell you who you can or can’t hang out with. It’s also a red flag if he tries to turn you against your friends and family.
- Be cautious if he praises you and buys you gifts to the point of almost being overwhelming. While he may genuinely be a Prince Charming, be careful if he appears too good to be true.
- Take a step back if he tries to inappropriately accelerate his relationship with you when you are dating, prematurely discussing marriage or other commitment.
- Perhaps most important of all: If you have an intuitive feeling that you are at risk from this man, you should listen to your own instincts!
If you suspect that someone you know may be in a risky relationship, you may also want to access the helpful resources at UnsilencedVoices.org.
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