Sunday, March 11, 2007

Red Flags

I think it's time to recap some of the red flags girls should be alerted to regarding relationships.

First, before you hit me upside the head with criticism, I am well aware that it's not always the boy who is attempting these controlling behaviours. I am aware that this occurs in gay relationships as well.

That said, here goes:

Does he always decide where you go and what you do? Does he sulk or get angry if you want to do something different? Your relationship should be a partnership. If you're expected to watch NASCAR with him, but he won't watch a chick flick with you, something is wrong.

Does he want you to dress differently? More sexy? Less sexy? More sexy because you're a trophy and he wants to show you off. Less sexy because he's scared that other boys are noticing you. Either way, this is a bad thing. You and/or your parents are the ones who decide what you wear. If he is telling you what to wear, something is wrong.

Does he badmouth your parents and friends? Does he want you to quit hanging out with the people you have always hung out with? Does he try to talk you into doing things that he knows will upset your parents? If he is doing this, he is trying to isolate you from your support group. Eventually you will have nobody to talk to but him, and that's the way he wants it. If he is doing this, something is wrong.

Is he insisting on having sex? Have you told him you want to slow down but he won't listen? This is very important: you are the one to decide the sex issue. If he won't respect your decision, something is wrong.

Does he show up outside your class to walk you to the next one? Does he sit outside your jobsite to see who goes in and out? Does he call you many times a day? This includes IM and text. If he doesn't want to let you out of his sight, something is wrong.

Does he like to play-fight? Do you occasionally get slightly hurt, and he apologizes, saying he didn't mean to hurt you? If he is violent in any way, playful or not, something is wrong.

Does he want you to drink or do drugs? Something is wrong.

Does he set down rules? Are you not allowed to speak to other boys? Something is wrong.

Does he insult you, call you names like "stupid," or "ugly?"

Does he accuse you of cheating? Something is wrong.

Does he hit you, or smash things when he is angry? Get out, NOW.

Basically, what he is trying to do is control you. If you don't do what he wants, go where he wants, look the way he wants, he may sulk or get angry. In order to control you, he needs to remove other influences from your life, such as your family and friends. If you are older, and out of school, he may try to get you to move a long way from your family.

His behaviour is going to escalate. You are in for a lifetime of being watched, timed, criticised, controlled, denigrated, and, eventually, beaten. He may try to kill you. He may succeed.

There are two things to remember. First, it's easier to get out of the relationship now than it will be later. Second, no matter what he says, he is going to get worse.

He will make promises, bring flowers, apologize. Don't get sucked in. It takes very little time until he's back to his old tricks.

I know it's great to have a boyfriend, but there are worse things than being alone.

Being dead is one of them.

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