Here are seven of the most subtle, but no less severe, kinds of abuse — ones we often dismiss because, at first glance, they seem a lot like ‘love’…
1. Moving unusually fast.
Love at first sight is supposed to be the ideal, isn’t it? It’s fairytale territory: the thing we’re all after. But this is how abusive relationships often start out. He’s instantly smitten with you; your first date might even last the whole weekend. The intensity ramps up fast, and suddenly you’re spending absolutely all of your time together. Before you know it, it’s like you’ve known each other forever, even though it’s only been a couple of weeks.
Of course, not every relationship that starts out this way will turn out to be abusive, but if things are moving this fast, there’s reason to be wary. Try not to get swept up in the romance and drama of it all at this stage. An abusive relationship shifts from exciting to terrifying faster than you can imagine, so if your date’s declaring his undying love for you before the two of you have had enough time to truly get to know each other, try putting on the brakes a little and slowing things down.
2. Wanting to know everything about you
It feels amazing to be seen, and heard, and known, and loved for who we really are. In fact, there’s no better feeling in the world. But that’s also part of how an abuser insinuates himself into your life. He wants to hear all your stories; never gets tired of listening to you confess your darkest fears, your secret ambitions, and your most intimate fantasies. He makes you feel like the most fascinating person on earth. And because you can say anything to him and nothing scares him off, you grow to trust him deeply and feel close to him quickly.
But watch out, because an abuser will remember everything you’ve told him, and down the road, he’ll use it against you. Anything you’ve confessed becomes ammunition that he can use to threaten you or hold over your head. The saying ‘A little less history and a little more mystery’ should generally be adhered to in the initial stages of dating someone. There’s nothing wrong with taking your time and even leaving a few things to mystery, it’s actually part of the fun!