Below are some common "warning signs" that a relationship may be unhealthy.

Knowing the signs is the first step in ending relationship violence.

  • Checking your cell phone or email without permission
  • Needing to be in constant contact and know exactly where you are, who you are with…
  • Constantly putting you down
  • Extreme jealousy or insecurity
  • Explosive temper
  • Isolating you from family or friends
  • Making false accusations
  • Mood swings
  • Physically hurting you in any way
  • Possessiveness
  • Telling you what to do
  • Repeatedly pressuring you to have sex

Unhealthy Relationships may lead to relationship violence and abuse.  By recognizing the warning signs and the pattern of unhealthy  or abusive behavior, we can all play a role in preventing and stopping relationship violence, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking.  There is help.

Many survivors describe the abuse that they have endured as happening in a cycle, meaning that there seems to be a pattern that occurs.



Stage 1:  Tension Building

  • feeling as if they are walking on eggshells when describing the building tension and anxiety.
  • uncertainty as to what behavior to expect from their abuser.
  • tension is experienced by all members in the household.
  • Victims often believe they can still diffuse or calm their partner by using techniques that have been successful in the past.
  • When these coping techniques fail, the tension becomes unbearable and the couple moves into stage 2.


Stage 2:   Incident/ Acute Explosion

  • All of the built up tension in stage 1 escalates into an explosion.
  • The assault may be verbal and humiliating, attacking the victim's self-esteem and self-worth or it may be physical.


Stages 3 & 4:  Reconciliation / Honeymoon / Calm

  • A hopeful stage for the victim.
  • the abuser often will exhibit loving and attentive behavior in hopes of forgiveness.
  • may even try to justify his/her abusive behavior by blaming the victim for the abuse. (It is common for the victim to falsely believe the abuse is her fault)
  • The abuser's promises to change often encourage the victim to have hope and to stay in the relationship as the victim mostly wants the abuse to end, not necessarily the relationship entirely.
  • Denial of abuse and minimizing of abuser's behavior is common in both people.


For more information on the warning signs of relationship violence, please visit: