[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s one thing to love someone unconditionally; to fall madly in love and have the whole universe based around this one individual. From spoiling them, to PDA (public displays of affection), to a 500-day SnapStreak, it’s all about love, love, love.
But it’s another thing to have your entire life based around another individual. From the paranoia, to the possessive nature, to the text every minute of the day. The question is, where do we draw the line? When does “clingy” become “possessive”? When does “remembering the little details” become “obsessing over every single detail”? When does “love” become “worship”? When does the relationship become unhealthy?
According to a 2006 study by the Bureau of Justice and Statistics, “Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence, almost triple the national average.”
An unhealthy relationship can be described as “relationships in which physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence take place.” But we don’t always recognize the signs of violence right away. It can be a gradual process, where every subtle change in the relationships leads to the ultimate outcome of dating violence. Metaphorically: if you place a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will jump out. But if you place the frog in water and slowly turn up the heat, it will remain in the pot until it dies.
Abuse is a cycle, originating from the home life of a child. Approximately one third of abused children go on to become abusers, according to Daniel Goleman of the New York Times. These patterns of unhealthy behavior tend to stick with the child throughout their life. In romantic relationships, these behaviors and tendencies can manifest in the form of:
- accusations of cheating
- stealing and breaking into phones
- emotional manipulation (aka “guilt tripping”)
- playing the victim
- making claims that “no one else will love [them],”
- restricting social activities
- controlling where they go and who is with them
- insulting their appearance
- extreme jealousy
Lately, it’s become a trend to have a significant other who is absolutely obsessed with you. Sure, it’s a nice gesture – who doesn’t love attention? – but there comes a time when it may become too much. When said significant other claims that the reason they stole your phone and read all of your text messages is because “[they] love you” and “[they] just want to make sure you’re not cheating on [them],” how do you respond?