In last year’s blog observing National Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month, Doris Pakozdi, LMFT, clinical therapist at The Guidance Center, shares the potential warning signs of domestic abuse and resources for survivors and their loved ones. 

February is National Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month, a national effort to raise awareness and to educate about teen dating violence. Unfortunately, dating violence is more common and starts at a much younger age than expected. One in three teens in the U.S. will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse by someone they are in a relationship with before they become adults. And nearly half (43%) of college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors. 

In today’s blog we share red flags to look out for and tips to prevent dating abuse before it starts. 

Dating Red Flags

  • Overly jealous, invasion of your privacy, constantly monitoring you or tracking you
  • Getting sad or upset when you don’t post about them online
  • Getting mad if you don’t text them back right away
  • Manipulative or making you feel bad if you don’t do something that they want
  • Pushing boundaries, not respecting you, asking for inappropriate pictures or sending inappropriate pictures without your consent
  • Controlling who you are friends with or who you talk to
  • Harassing you or making threats of humiliation or violence

Safe Dating

  • Be aware of cat fishing and people who might not be who they portray themselves to be online
  • Ask to Facetime or video chat before meeting in real life
  • Tell your friends and loved ones who you are talking to or planning to meet
  • If meeting someone for the first time or just getting to know them, meet in a public or group setting
  • Know your boundaries
  • If you’re dating someone and start noticing red flags, reach out to someone you trust for support

Online Tips

  • Be mindful of what you share to someone online; only be vulnerable with people you know you can trust
  • Keep your socials on private and only accept friend requests from people you know
  • Block people who make you feel uncomfortable and report accounts that are inappropriate
  • Know your worth, don’t let anyone convince you to do something you’re not comfortable with
  • Don’t send explicit pictures or messages online
  • If someone is harassing you, block their profile or number and if you feel unsafe call 911

If you think you may be in an abusive or unhealthy relationship, or have experienced any of the red flags mentioned above, there is support available. Consider reaching out to a trusted friend, parent, school counselor, therapist or calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233)

Here is the link for the national domestic violence hotline:


Additional resources:


Doris Pakozdi, LMFT, a clinical therapist in The Guidance Center’s San Pedro Clinic, where she helps guide children and families struggling with mental health conditions or abuse toward positive and productive futures. Before joining The Guidance Center team in 2019, Ms. Pakozdi worked with survivors of domestic violence facilitating the Domestic Violence Women’s Empowerment Group at 1736 Family Crisis Center. Ms. Pakozdi earned a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2019 at California State University, Dominguez Hills.