There are signs in a person's behavior that may indicate that that person will be abusive. We call these signs "red flags."
Some red flags of potential batterer are that may come on too strong and fast, say I love you too soon, or act too good to be true. Another red flag to look for is jealousy. Jealousy of other relationships past or present, real or imagined. Even in a relationship, one still has the right to have friendships.
Listen to how they talk about previous partners and family. Is there respect for these people? Family relationships can be a huge indicator of how they are going to behave in relationships. Look for consistency in behavior. Does this person say one thing and then do or act in another way? Do they blame others for their mistakes? Most important, trust your gut feelings. If something tells you this person is not all they claim to be, you are probably right.
Early on, many times victims will say these signs were not present, but in hindsight they will often say the warning signs were present. This is because often, these are things that make us feel special and are not looked at critically until things get abusive.