Signs you may be in a relationship with an abusive partner

Your Partner:

  • Physically or sexually touches you against your will or hurts you in any way
  • Verbally degrades, threatens, or intimidates you
  • Tells you not to talk to anyone about the abusive behavior; threatens to hurt you and/or anyone you reach out to for help
  • Has a reputation for controlling and abusing past partners
  • Reads your text messages, emails, or social media messages without permission
  • Attempts to control what you wear, where you go, or who you see
  • Demonstrates extreme jealousy and/or checks in on you frequently
  • Has extreme mood swings, acting angry one minute and sweet the next
  • Tries to control your social media, like who you can be friends with or linked to on Facebook
  • Blames you for their problems
  • Doesn’t allow you to spend time with other people
  • Questions how and where you spend money, or takes your money and refuses to give it back


  • Feel like you’re walking on eggshells around your partner, and the smallest thing can set them off
  • Feel afraid to not respond to a text message or call from your partner
  • Hide bruises or injuries your partner inflicted
  • Feel you have to constantly apologize for your partner’s behavior
  • Regularly avoid or make excuses to others who express concern about your safety within the relationship
  • Avoid people or places because your partner has told you to do so
  • Feel depressed or anxious at the thought of seeing or hearing from your partner
  • Change the way you dress, the food you eat, how much you weigh, or anything else about your physical appearance because your partner has told you to do so
  • Change short- and long-term plans to be with your partner because you feel obligated or afraid not to

What to do if you think you are in a relationship with an abusive partner

If you think you might be in a relationship with someone who is abusing you in any way, you can:

  • Reach out to someone you trust – a friend or family member.
  • Contact the Center for Safety and Change (a local victim service provider), Human Resources, Public Safety or the Title IX Coordinator to discuss what your community and employer can do to help you. Contact information for on-campus and off-campus resources are available.
  • Create a safety plan and think about discussing it with someone you trust or a local victim service provider. Whether you are still in a relationship with your partner or have broken up, it is helpful to have a plan. For help creating your own safety plan contact Human Resources or Public Safety.
  • Know your rights for Orders of Protection. You can get an order of protection from Family Court if you are (or have been) in an intimate relationship with the abuser.