Every relationship is different but there are some things you should always look for. In any relationship you should feel safe, loved, respected and free to be yourself.
You shouldn’t feel scared, intimidated or controlled. You should never be bullied by someone who says they love you.
If you feel that way, you may be in an abusive relationship and need help.
Abuse in a relationship comes in different forms. It's mainly when someone tries to control, intimidate or hurt their partner. This can happen in lots of different ways, be caused by boys or girls, in a relationship with someone of the same sex or the opposite sex.
The abuse can be:
- Emotional – A partner restricting your freedom or controlling your behaviour; saying nasty and mean things to you; humiliating you, putting you down; isolating you from your friends.
- Physical – including punching, kicking, hitting, slapping or pushing you around. They may get angry very quickly, back you into a corner and hurt you.
- Sexual – forcing you or putting you under pressure to do sexual acts that you don’t want to do.
Whatever form the abuse takes it is NEVER OK. They might try to make you feel responsible but remember, it is not your fault if this happens to you. You have the right to get help.
Love is not always enough
If you’re being abused in a relationship you might have very strong feelings for your partner and may even love them. Love shouldn’t be a reason to live with abuse. It is better to miss someone than stay in an abusive relationship. Missing them does get better over time. Abuse often only gets worse.
Relationships can be amazing, but they can also be tricky. Sometimes, what feels like normal behaviour can actually be unacceptable and abusive. This film from Disrepect NoBody explains what abusive behaviour can look like.
Are you in an abusive relationship?
5 signs to look out for in your girlfriend or boyfriend
Your girlfriend or boyfriend is extremely jealous when you talk to other people, including your friends. They are even jealous of positive things in your life, like success at school.
Your girlfriend or boyfriend tries to pressure you in to having sex by saying ‘If you loved me you would do it’
Your girlfriend or boyfriend tries to monitor and control you, perhaps by checking your phone, telling you what you can wear, what you can say and who you can hang out with.
Your girlfriend or boyfriend hits you or threatens to self-harm to try to make you do things.
Your girlfriend or boyfriend gets angry when you try to spend time with your friends.
5 things you might feel if you're in an abusive relationship
You feel unsafe, pressured or frightened.
Trust yourself to know when something is wrong. If someone makes you feel unsafe, pressured or frightened, trust your instincts and get help.
Are you walking on eggshells?
We all have bad days but do you feel like you’re always tiptoeing around your partner? Are you worried how they will react to anything you do?
Is it harder and harder to make things good?
Do you feel like you have to make more and more effort to keep your partner happy? This might be a sign that they’re trying to control you.
Do you feel worse about yourself when you’re with them?
All relationships have their ups and downs but if generally you feel worse when you’re with your partner then you might want to talk to a friend or an adult you trust about your relationship.
Do you feel pressured into having sex or things you don’t want to do in the bedroom?
If someone really cares about you they won’t put any pressure on you. If you don’t feel you can say no, are you really in a safe situation?
Are you worried that you’re in an abusive relationship?
Trust yourself to know when something is wrong. If someone makes you feel unsafe, pressured or frightened, follow your instincts and get help.
Know where to get help. Keep contact details of an adult you trust with you and credit on your phone. It can also be a good idea to keep an overnight bag with a trusted friend in case you need to quickly find a place of safety.
If you are in an abusive relationship you should seek professional help and support to end the relationship and help you stay safe.
Talk to an adult you trust
Talk to an adult that you trust (e.g. a parent/carer, teacher or youth worker) about what you’re going through and to get help.
Get professional help
There are lots of organisations that offer confidential advice.
Information, advice and help for abuse in teen relationships. The website contains a directory of confidential support services for victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence, including those specifically for men and LGBT groups.
The UK’s free, confidential helpline for young people of all ages who are upset or in danger. Counsellors provide support over the phone and online 24 hours a day.
www.childline.org.uk or call 0800 1111
Free, confidential sexual health information and support services for young people under 25.
CEOP helps young people who are being sexually abused or are worried that someone they’ve met is trying to abuse them.
If you’ve met someone online, or face to face, and they are putting you under pressure to have sex, you can report to CEOP.
This might be someone:
- Making you have sex when you donʼt want to
- Asking you to do sexual things on webcam or over a live stream
- Asking for sexual pictures of you
If this is happening to you, or you’re worried that it might be, report to CEOP.