If you have ever gone on the internet before, you will have noticed that, on sites like Pinterest and Instagram and Tumblr, it is impossible to escape what can often feel like a deluge of relationship goals. You know, like pictures of mushy-ass texts. Pictures of expensive gifts. Pictures of photogenic, heterosexual, fashionably-dressed couples. These are fine. They can be cute and they can be annoying (mostly annoying), but, for the most part, they’re just fun. But some of them? They’re, um, a little abusive. Or, a lot abusive, actually, but in a way that doesn’t really seem like a big deal at first. Low-key abusive, if you will.
To be clear, there is nothing that is ever actually “low key” about abuse. Abuse in a relationship is serious and worthy of validation no matter what end of the spectrum it lands on. But, at the same time, there are some common relationship behaviors that might not set off your alarm (or anyone else’s) because they’re often seen as being desirable–you know, like, being extra-possessive. Not letting other guys look at you. Requiring you to send a text before you go to bed and as soon as you wake up. Sound familiar? If so, check out these little signs that your boyfriend is kind of abusive:
1. They send you texts like this:
If someone is controlling what you wear–because, according to them, they love your body too much to let other people see it–that’s abuse.
2. They manipulate your surroundings to control your behavior:
Is cuddling abusive in and of itself? Obviously not. But if someone is altering the temperature in the house simply because you’re mad at them (other than, I don’t know, trying to figure out why you’re mad at them and seeing what they can do to fix it), that is abusive.
3.They control who you can and can’t be friends with:
And threaten to literally break your jaw for suggesting something that goes against what they want.
4. Their behavior is so erratic, you don’t know whether they’re going to hit you or kiss you:
Behavior like this is often presented as being cute and desirable in movies. But in real life, it can cause you a lot of emotional distress, even if they never actually do anything physical, because you’re always walking around with the feeling that they’re only a few seconds away from actually hurting you.
5. They only let you go to parties alone under certain conditions:
You are…your own person? Anyone who tries to compromise this–and make you feel guilty for wanting to maintain your own autonomy–is abusive.
6. They constantly grab you without warning:
7. They see your relationship as “Harley and Joker” adjacent:
The Joker has literally tried to kill Harley Quinn multiple times. If your boyfriend compares your relationship to this one, that’s a huge red flag.
8. They’re, like, super possessive:
NO ONE IS ANYONE’S. STOP THIS.
9. They treat your body as an object:
An object to make other people jealous. That’s…not good.
10. They make sure you know that they’re stronger than you:
Which means that, if you ever get in an argument, there’s a threat hanging over your head.
11. They text you aaallllll the time and time–and expect an immediate response:
Late-night texts can be cute. But if they always text you at 2 AM, and they always expect to get a text back in return, they’re holding you to a standard that you shouldn’t be held to.
12. They make it clear that they think you’re always the one doing something “wrong”–not them:
Basically, if you ever do anything that vaguely upsets them, it’s your duty to make it up to them. At the same time, if they do something that upsets you, any reaction you have is an overreaction. It’s lose-lose.
Have you ever experienced any of these “goals?” Are there any other ones that I left out? Let us know in the comments!