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Is this a comtrolling relationship? Should I get out of it?

Hi Sam

I'm very confused about something. I'm a teen girl in a romantic relationship with someone the same age as me.

Things were sweet at the start. We were cute and didn't really fight. But that changed

Over the past 2 months, my girlfriend has been saying the kind of things I should wear. She doesn't like me seeing friends. She doesn't even like me spending a lot of time with my little sister.

She puts me down. Everytime I want to talk about a problem I'm having, she will just ignore me and talk about her favourite dancers or singers.

Everytime I achieve something, she doesn't seem to care.

What should I do?

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there

It can be confusing when things change in your relationship. If you’re worried and not feeling respected by the other person, it’s possible that the relationship is abusive or controlling.

Your partner might tell you what to wear, put you down or ignore you. Any controlling behaviour is wrong and there doesn’t have to be violence for a relationship to be abusive.

You have the right to choose what you wear and who you spend time with, and it’s important to stay in touch with friends and family. No one should try to change you or to isolate you.

Most relationships are good at the beginning, even those that become abusive later on. When someone starts to treat you badly it can be difficult to understand why things have changed. Sometimes it’s part of the pattern of control. Remember, you probably wouldn’t have agreed to get together if they were abusive from the start.

Spending a lot of time with someone who’s being abusive might mean you start to believe that you deserve to be treated badly, or that you’re to blame for their behaviour towards you. It can take time to build your confidence and self-esteem and the first step is to recognise that you deserve to be treated with respect. You’re not responsible for what someone else does or says, even when they tell you that you are.

You might decide to end the relationship or decide to stay together. Talking to friends, family or a counsellor at Childline can help you decide what’s right for you.

If you stay in the relationship, you’ll probably need to talk to your partner about how their behaviour is affecting you and tell them what changes you’d like to see.

You might decide to end the relationship and that’s okay too. You don’t have to continue with a relationship that you’re not happy to be in.

I hope this advice has helped.

Take care,

Sam

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