Signs of an Abusive Boyfriend

Do you know how to recognize potential signs of an abusive boyfriend? Certain behavior patterns can serve as a warning that the new guy in your life isn't all that he seems. It's important to identify such signals to determine if you should break it off before it gets out of control.

Does he respect your privacy? If he insists on reading all of your e-mails, checking all of your text messages, and listening to all of your phone conversations, ask him why. Is he insecure, or does he think you are untrustworthy? If you value your privacy, reassure him that you aren't engaging in any untoward activities. His continual refusal to leave your private life alone, however, might indicate deeper problems with trust.

Is he excessively secretive? He may have something to hide if he always leaves the room to take phone calls, clicks off Web sites when you approach, or refuses to introduce you to his family and friends. Be straightforward and honest when asking him the reason for these behaviors. If his reaction is aloof or angry, his secrets may not be worth your time.

Does he mix well with your family and friends? Ideally, he should at least attempt to be friendly and engage in small talk, even if he is not the life of the party. But if he slumps in the corner sulking while you are having a great time mingling, find out why. He may suffer from social anxiety, which is perfectly normal, but it's also possible that he is jealous of your other relationships. If he's pouting in an attempt to garner your sympathy and leave earlier than you'd like, ask yourself if you really want his emotions to dominate your social time.

Has he ever tried to prevent you from seeing or contacting friends or family? This is a major signal of abusive relationships. Cutting you off from your support networks is his way of backing you into a corner and making it harder for you to escape. Don't compromise here--throw in the towel on this relationship immediately.

If you know how to recognize signs of abuse, you have a much greater chance of protecting yourself. If you think your boyfriend might just lack trust, possibly after a bad break up, a frank discussion can head off some problems before they grow unmanageable. Don't hesitate to seek relationship help if you feel a third party could put things into perspective. Early action can either improve your relationship or save you from a bad situation.

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