'Emotionally abusing' one's partner could be a domestic violence charge under Government plans duly announced on Wednesday.
This may include cutting up clothes or banning them from seeing friends.
Ministers are also considering saying that under-18s can legally be victims of domestic abuse for the first time.
It comes amid warnings that tens of thousands of teenage girls are being sexually or mentally abused by boyfriends.
The Home Office defines domestic violence as "any incident" of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse, whether this is psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional. It applies to adults only.
But Home Secretary Theresa May yesterday launched a consultation on broadening this to include "coercive control", which can be a pattern of events over a lengthy period, rather than a single act.
May pointed to the description of domestic violence used by authorities in Wales.
"Domestic abuse can go beyond actual physical violence. It can also involve emotional abuse, the destruction of a spouse's or partner's property, their isolation from friends, family or other potential sources of support, threats to others including children, control over access to money, personal items, food, transportation and the telephone, and stalking," the Daily Mail quoted May as saying.
May also said that abuse in teenage relationships could be treated as domestic violence rather than child abuse.
It is intended to reflect that teenage relationships are more similar to relationships between adults than that between an adult and a child. (ANI)