We have all been warned to steer clear of abusive relationships.

Whether the abuse is emotional, physical, sexual or financial, we know how negative these relationships can impact our lives. However, very rarely are we told about the precursor to potentially abusive relationships.

Abusers are often charismatic individuals that gradually increase their tactic and level of abuse. At the beginning of a relationship, an abuser may be on their best behaviour. They may seem like an unlikely suspect. It can be increasingly difficult to narrow down whether your relationship will spiral into unhealthy toxicity and abuse.

So, what’s a major red flag to watch out for when you’re in the midst of a whirlwind romance?


Controlling habits can be a major red flag of an abusive relationship. Simply put, abusers need to feel a sense of domination over their victims — the first step to this: controlling their actions.

So, what are some tell-tale signs of control in a relationship?

Your significant other is creating distance between you and other loved ones in your life.

They may not be supportive of your friendships or family relationships. The more isolated you are from other people equates to the greater chance they have to control you.

Your significant other is overly invested in your daily activities.

Of course, they will have a genuine curiosity and care for what you do. However, an over-investment in your activities can be a sign of control. If you find yourself frequently receiving multiple texts when you haven’t responded for a while or a keen interest in your exact whereabouts, then you have a red flag.

Your significant other pokes you with subtle negative comments.

They may try to pull on your insecurities as a form of control. The more vulnerabilities you have, the less like you are to stray. You should be supported and treated as an equal – not criticized continuously.

Your partner uses guilt against you.

Guilt is a powerful emotion that can make you do drastic things. Manipulative people know this (and use it to their advantage). You shouldn’t make decisions based on guilt – so, be wary when your significant other pulls the guilt card at any capacity.

Your partner snoops.

Trust should be a free-flowing river in a relationship (assuming it hasn’t been severely damaged – which may be a reason to re-evaluate the relationship in itself). If your significant other is snooping through your phone, personal belongings, or your location frequently, it’s a sign of control and distrust. If you started a relationship without trust, then the future likely won’t magically build some.

Your significant other struggles with extreme jealousy

See above… Trust is key!

Relationships are always tricky to navigate. It is a matter of two separate people merging their beliefs, habits and thoughts entirely – and hoping somewhere down the line it finds balance. They aren’t going to be easy. However, it is your responsibility to make sure that you are treated fairly and respectfully.

Being aware of potentially dangerous red flags are an essential key to the dating world. Access your relationships and the people you chose to have them with.

Written by Celina Dawdy