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Spotting The Signs of Teen Dating Violence

Teen dating violence (TDV) - it's not just about physical blows; it's an invisible force that can seep into relationships in many forms. From face-to-face interactions to the digital realm, this type of intimate partner violence goes beyond what meets the eye. Many times when we think of the word "violence" we go straight to the physical; however, it's not just about that, it can be a silent, damaging force that doesn't require a touch at all.

Did you know that 1 in 12 individuals experiences dating violence between the ages of 11-17, and this number spikes to a startling 1 in 3 for those aged 18–24?* Take a closer look at some signs of an unhealthy relationship below.

signs of an unhealthy relationship

Understanding the signs of an unhealthy relationship is like peeling an onion – the layers reveal themselves slowly over time. As the relationship grows, so do these signs, often intensifying without immediate notice. It's not uncommon to miss the red flags or to convince yourself that "it's not that big of a deal" in the early stages. The truth is abuse can be subtle. It can creep into your life bit by bit, without you even noticing. Recognizing and acknowledging unhealthy patterns, no matter how small they may seem, is a crucial step toward positive change. No one deserves to endure mistreatment. If you or someone you know believes they're in a dangerous situation, trust your gut and seek help.

Immediate Resources:

If you need help immediately, here are some things you can do:

  • Leave the relationship, set clear boundaries, and make a safety plan.

  • Don't be afraid to build a support system and consider legal options if necessary.

  • Reach out to resources like the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 (call/text/chat), Love is Respect (for Teen Dating Violence, online chat, and blogs), One Love (teaching teens about healthy relationships), MyPlan app (for safety planning), Texas Advocacy Project (free legal help for victims), and TTP (free counseling and hotline for those who've experienced sexual assault, including teen groups).

Remember, support is available for you.

This blog was a contribution from Sara Healey, M.A. LPC-A, TTP Staff Therapist, offering valuable insights and expertise on Teen Dating Violence.


*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Teen Dating Violence." Fast Facts. Accessed [2/20/2024]. Link to the CDC Fast Fact.

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