Lagos - Is this real love, or are you on a shortcut to a private hell of abuse? Here’s how you can tell.
Love is blind – especially when you’re head over heels. But real danger could be lurking behind the flowers.
Abuse comes in many forms (emotional, sexual and physical). For an abuser, relationships are about control and possession and jealousy, but never love.
You may be able to escape and spare yourself a broken heart and a black eye if you look out for the following warning signs:
Too much, too soon
You’ve known the guy for less than a few weeks and he is starting to talk about moving in together, or marriage, or about kids. You feel flattered, but pressurised, and he keeps pushing.
If he’s pushing for commitment long before you’re ready to do anything of the kind, this guy is mightily insecure and is looking to formalise your relationship to give him a sense of worth and accomplishment and ownership over you. For him, this is not about your happiness. '
He wants to be with you all the time, and if you want to spend some time with your friends, he tags along whether he is invited or not.
He plans your weekends, your evenings and springs surprises on you. But he never really asks what you want to do.
You start to feel a bit claustrophobic, even though the attention is initially flattering. You start to get the feeling that his whole life is about this relationship.
He showers you with gifts – some of them huge and expensive and inappropriately large. This makes you feel uneasy. He is doing this to create a sense of obligation in you.
It’s difficult to say no to someone who is so generous to you. The odd bunch of flowers is fine, but jewellery and designer items are inappropriate at the beginning of a relationship.
Oh, it’s you
He shows up at your work constantly and comes to your home uninvited on a constant basis. This is a dangerous sign, as these could be the beginning stages of stalking behaviour.
It’s not so much that he wants to see you – he’s checking up on you.
He phones constantly (in fact, he probably phoned you the first time the very day after he met you) and sends text messages all the time. This is a preamble to possible future controlling/stalking behaviour. He gets agitated when he can’t get hold of you.
Your friends/family express reservations
More than one friend tells you to take it slowly. They can’t quite put their finger on it, but something about this guy bothers them. They might even find him a little creepy, but are too polite to say so.
He has road rage attacks, and is aggressive to people who do not do exactly as he wants them to.
He feels he is right about everything and things that go wrong are always someone else’s fault.
This guy has serious ego and control issues and is paranoid. He breaks things. The message behind this is clear: this is what happens when I don’t get what I want, and you could be next.
He has few long-term friends
His friendships all seem relatively recent. He fights with everyone and they stop being his friends. Once or twice, OK, but all the time? He will be fighting with you next. That’s a promise.
He is also quite secretive about his own life, friends, family and connections and says only nasty things about his exes if he speaks about them at all. This guy has a history he doesn’t want you to find out about.
He isolates you
He makes it uncomfortable for friends or family to visit, and starts isolating you by criticising everyone you know, or telling you they are not good for you. This is done very subtly, and is often noticed by others before you pick up on it. He also starts belittling you in front of others.
Jealousy makes you nasty
He watches your every move and starts accusing you of flirting with other men, or cheating on him.
He starts to try and exercise control over what you wear, how you do your hair, where you go and with whom. If you don’t comply he will start to insult you and possibly even start calling you names.
Get out, and get out fast. It gets more and more difficult the longer you stay. And no, nothing you do is going to change or placate this guy. He doesn’t want to be placated. Don’t even try. Just run.
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