Knowing the Signs of Dating Abuse

It is a serious topic: Dating Abuse. We need to know the signs that someone we care about, a friend or family member, may be in trouble. Four Corners Health Department urges parents and other adults to have frank conversations with their friends and children about healthy relationships. Be sure to include how to spot abusive behavior.

Dating violence is physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse from a romantic or sexual partner. It happens to people of all races and ethnicities, incomes, and education levels. It also happens across all age groups and in heterosexual and same-sex relationships. Some people call dating violence domestic abuse, especially when you live with your partner.

Some signs of dating abuse can include:

  • Acting very jealous, including constantly accusing you of cheating
  • Being overly controlling, such as telling you what to wear and not letting you see friends and family. Or demanding to check your phone, email, and social media
  • Stalking, harassing, or monitoring
  • Putting you down, including your appearance (clothes, makeup, hair, weight), intelligence, and activities
  • Trying to isolate you from other people, including by insulting them
  • Blaming you for the abusive behavior and listing the ways you “made him or her do it”
  • Forcing you to have sex when you don’t want to
  • Refusing to take responsibility for their own actions
  • Apologizing for abuse and promising to change again and again
  • Not letting you end the relationship or making you feel guilty for leaving
  • Any physical violence, such as hitting, pushing, or slapping you

None of the behavior described above is OK. Even if your partner does only a few of these things, it’s still abuse. It is never OK for someone to hit you or be cruel to you in any way.

In a healthy relationship, partners should:

  • Respect each other’s individuality
  • Have an equal say in the relationship
  • Respect each other’s boundaries
  • Feel safe being open and honest
  • Have emotional and physical safety in a relationship

Need more help? Try these resources:

  • The Nebraska Family Helpline 1-888-866-8660
  • National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline 1-866-331-9474
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233

Local resources include:

  • Hope Crisis Center at 1-877-388-HOPE (4673), which serves Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Saline, Seward, Thayer, and York counties
  • Center for Survivors at 800-658-4482, which serves Boone, Nance, Platte, Colfax, Polk and Butler counties.

If you have questions about dating abuse or other topics, call Four Corners Health Department by phone at 877-337-3573, by email or go to