Don’t Ignore These Dating Red Flags

February 23, 2024

According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, almost 1 in 10 teens reported being physically abused by their boyfriend or girlfriend last year. That’s almost 68,000 teens! 

With February being Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, we’re sharing five red flags to look out for that signal abusive behavior, based on data from RAINN (with a special message for parents to consider, too). 


🚩 They Ignore Your Boundaries

No means no. If your partner ignores or tries to talk you out of a boundary you’ve set, it’s time to distance yourself from them. You should never feel uncomfortable, guilty, or like you have to explain yourself for saying no. Your boundaries should always be respected! 


🚩 They Avoid Accountability

Controlling and abusive partners have a hard time taking accountability for their actions. They may try to spin the situation around, so it looks like you’ve done something wrong instead. Or they may set a boundary with you that would otherwise be ignored if the tables were reversed. 

In a healthy relationship, your partner would be able to recognize what they did wrong and apologize or change their behavior. They would also value your comfort and thoughts on how to improve the situation at hand. 


🚩 They Control What You Wear

While it’s normal to want to look good for your SO, and even take suggestions from them on what to wear, there comes a point when their suggestions turn into demands. 

If you find that every outfit needs to be “approved” by your partner or that you are forbidden from wearing certain clothing items, you’re staring at a giant red flag. 


🚩 They Make Demands on Your Time

Abusive partners view your time as theirs and feel justified in making demands on what you can do with it. That can include: 

  • Enforcing a curfew on you
  • Creating schedules where you must “check-in” with them throughout the day
  • Making decisions on when and where you can be
  • Supervising when you go out with friends or family

These demands don’t always take place face-to-face. They can happen through text or over the phone. If you find that your SO’s messages resemble some of the behaviors listed above, take screenshots and send them to a trusted adult. Then, take the proper steps to block them and distance yourself. 


🚩 They Control Your BC 

If your partner tries to control how, when, and where you use BC, this is called reproductive coercion. It’s one of the more severe signs of abuse and dating violence. Unfortunately, this type of abuse is becoming more common among teens. 


Data from the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NVDH) showed a 98 percent increase in calls from 13 to 17-year-olds about reproductive coercion between 2022 and 2023.


Reproductive coercion can be physical, psychological, or emotional, and relates back to the controlling and manipulative nature of an abusive SO. Here are a few examples of what reproductive coercion can look like:

  • Destroying, hiding, or tampering with your BC
  • Preventing you from attending doctor appointments
  • Forcing sex or intimate contact
  • Talking you out of treatment or refusing treatment for STIs

If any of the above situations are occurring, you must take action. Tell a trusted adult, call a helpline, and be sure to separate yourself from your SO. 


A Note to Parents

Talk to your kids! If your child is dating, make sure you have a good sense of who their partner is and what their relationship is like. If you notice any signs of abuse, intervene and get help. 

And if your child approaches you with concerns about their relationship, listen to them, show them you care, and reiterate your support for them. It’s hard for teens to talk to their parents, so when they do talk to you, listen and create a plan of action together! 


Share & Advocate

Teen dating violence is a serious issue in Mississippi and across the nation. Be sure to share what you’ve learned with others and help increase awareness. Because everyone deserves a loving relationship, that’s all green flags.

For more information, and to access additional resources, check out the resources below. 


Websites & Articles: 

FNF – Breaking Down Dating Violence

Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence

CDC – Preventing Teen Dating Violence

Love is Respect



Crisis lines: 

National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline


Text “LOVEIS” (22522)

Chat online


State of Mississippi Hotline 



National Domestic Violence Hotline

1.800.799.SAFE (7233) 

Chat online


National Dating Abuse Helpline


Don’t Ignore These Dating Red Flags - Fact Not Fiction