Love Shouldn't Hurt: Recognizing and Preventing Teen Dating Violence

For teens, navigating the world of relationships can be exciting and confusing at the same time. While butterflies and stolen glances are often the focus, it's crucial to remember that a healthy relationship should never involve hurt, control, or fear. February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and unfortunately, teen dating violence (TDV) is more common than you might think, affecting 1 in 3 U.S. teens.

What is Teen Dating Violence (TDV)?

TDV is any pattern of physical, emotional, sexual, or digital abuse used to gain power and control over an intimate partner.

This can include:
•    Physical abuse: hitting, kicking, shoving, or any other form of physical harm
•    Emotional abuse: name-calling, insults, threats, making you feel worthless
•    Sexual abuse: forcing or pressuring someone into sexual activity
•    Digital abuse: texting threats, spreading rumors online, controlling online accounts

Why is Teen Dating Violence so serious?

TDV can have lasting negative consequences for both the victim and the abuser.

It can lead to:
•    Depression and anxiety
•    Low self-esteem
•    Poor academic performance
•    Unhealthy relationships in the future
•    In extreme cases, self-harm or suicide

Recognizing the Red Flags:

It's not always easy to tell if you're in an unhealthy relationship. But here are some warning signs to watch out for:
•    Jealousy and possessiveness: Your partner constantly checks your phone or social media, gets angry if you talk to other people, or tries to isolate you from your friends and family.
•    Pressure and manipulation: Your partner makes you feel obligated to do things you're not comfortable with, threatens to break up with you if you don't do what they want, or makes you feel guilty for saying no.
•    Unhealthy communication: You can't talk to your partner without them getting defensive or shutting you down, you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around them, or you're constantly arguing.
•    Ignoring your gut: You have a feeling something isn't right, but you're afraid to leave the relationship.

If you're experiencing TDV:

•    Reach out for help. Options include:
o    Calling Safe Alliance's 24/7 Greater Charlotte Hope Line at 980.771.4673.
o    Text loveisrespect advocates by sending "LOVEIS" to 22522
o    Chat online at
•    Stay safe: If you're in immediate danger, call 911.
•    Remember, you're not alone: There are people who care about you and want to help.

Preventing TDV:

•    Educate yourself: Learn about the signs of TDV and how to build healthy relationships.
•    Talk to your friends and family: Let them know that you're in a relationship and encourage them to check in on you.
•    Set boundaries: Communicate your needs and expectations to your partner and be willing to walk away if they don't respect them.
•    Trust your gut: If something feels off, it probably is. Don't be afraid to end the relationship if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

Remember, healthy relationships are built on trust, respect, and communication. You deserve to be in a relationship that makes you feel happy, safe, and loved.

Additional Resources:
•    Love is Respect:
•    Teen Line:

Please note: This blog post is not intended to be a substitute for professional help. If you are experiencing TDV, please reach out to a qualified counselor or therapist for support.

Tagged as Greater Charlotte Hope Line, Teen Dating Violence.

In an emergency please dial 911

Call the Greater Charlotte Hope Line 24/7 for info on parenting, domestic violence and sexual assault 980.771.4673.

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