A girl meets her “prince charming” and falls head over heels for him. Then they get married and start a family. She had a dream and believes she has finally found it. Then comes the first poke in the shoulder, slap on the face or punch from her prince. She denies it within herself, blames it on something she must have done and never mentions it to anyone. An abusive relationship is one in which a partner abuses the other using verbal and/or physical assaults. This can be one of the most difficult and destructive kinds of relationships a woman can find herself in.

There are are some early signs that can help you to recognize if your partner may turn out to be abusive.  An abuser is not a devil, but a human being that has a destructive psychological complex that should not be underestimated.

Over-controlling and Possessive
This type of man will want to have control over everything you do, who you speak to, how you speak to others, what you wear or even how you walk. He controls your life to revolve around him. He will slowly cut you off from your friends and family. He may make you stop working, stop exercising or stop any personal project you had going for yourself because it takes too much of your time and energy instead of giving it to him. He convinces you this is love and jealousy.

Pressures You to Become Intimate
An abuser is a very selfish man and this is reflected clearly through sexual demands. If he doesn’t respect your morals and keeps pressuring you to become intimate by explaining it as love, this is a sure sign. This pressure doesn’t have so much to do with sexuality or sexual needs as it does with a lack of respect for boundaries, and an enforcement of his will over yours.

Rushes to be Serious
Every girl wishes for a man who wants a serious relationship with her, but be careful what you wish. When an abuser finds his victim he wants to possess, control and own her very fast. He will usually want to take serious steps in an unrealistically short time, and begin declaring his undying love for you before it’s logically possible.

Mom and Dad
How do your man’s parents deal with one another? What kind of childhood did they have? If his parent’s relationship also shows signs of abuse (verbal, physical or emotional) or un-healthy habits, then this is a sign of what you can most likely expect. Try to find out what you can by talking to him and observing, but also beware if he is closed off about family life or childhood.

Acts Disrespectfully
An important sign is how he reacts when he feels mad. This may be seen with others and not necessarily with you. Using insulting or humiliating language, throwing things, speeding if mad while driving, or punching walls are not optimistic signs. You may find that he talks badly or mockingly about people that may even be his closest friends.

Negative Towards Women
This type of man usually looks down on women. You may find him speaking negatively about women or not in favor of women’s rights, especially successful or empowered women and women’s movements.

Consumes Drugs or Alcohol
Lifestyle choices aside, if the man you are with shows many of the previous signs as well as consumes alcohol or drugs, then beware; substances can heighten unstable or aggressive behavior that already exist, making a dangerous, and possibly explosive, combination.

Do not mistake these signs as indications of a strong, tough man who loves you too much. This is the trap a woman’s naïve, sensitive heart falls into, and is also the image some Arab cultures draw when defining a strong, Eastern man. Take the time you need to know you partner well, before getting married. Follow your heart, live your dreams, feel the butterflies of love, but always allow your mind to guide you in the end. Most importantly, know and believe in your worth.