You and your boyfriend have just recently made your relationship official, yet he already wants to spend a lot of time with you. And he’s interested in learning everything there is to know about you. And he wants to make sure you get home safely—or even safe to and from work. If it feels excessive, it is probably signs that you have a controlling boyfriend
“You feel like you’re being sought, which is fantastic and feels amazing—until it feels dreadful,” says Megan Bruneau, RCC, a therapist in New York City who specializes in millennial relationships and other challenges.
It’s not always easy to tell the difference between pure love and the signs of a dominating lover. In fact, according to Heather Lofton, Ph.D., a therapist at Northwestern University’s Family Institute, “a lot of signs of a controlling boyfriend can be extremely romanticized during the beginning of the relationship.”
Signs of A Controlling Boyfriend
You may believe your partner adores you. Is it, however, love or a means of dominating you? When a guy cares about you, it’s always romantic and sweet. Protectiveness and care, on the other hand, might be a thin veil that masks the signs of a controlling boyfriend. And chances are you won’t recognize the difference until you start to feel stifled or unpleasant for no apparent reason!
This is all too prevalent these days, especially with social media promoting control and scraps of attention as love rather than what it is – a sham relationship built on bogus romantic gestures, control, and game-playing.
Signs of a Controlling Boyfriend Quiz
It might be difficult to spot dominating behavior in a relationship. Unfortunately, it takes various forms, and depending on your vulnerabilities or boundaries, your boyfriend may use a variety of strategies to exert control over you.
Controlling can take the form of physical, emotional, or psychological control, among other things, so it’s crucial to pay attention to all the subtle signs that are sometimes easy to overlook. If you’re detecting some signs of a controlling boyfriend and want to know for sure if you have one, take this quick quiz to find out.
1. How does your partner express his admiration for your new hairstyle?
A. “Your hair looks fantastic!”
B. “I liked your previous hair; who are you trying to impress?”
C. “I’m astonished it looks so well on you; I wasn’t expecting it.”
2. How does he react when you challenge him about his actions?
A. We have disagreements from time to time, but he tries to console me by promising to improve his conduct.
B. He becomes accusatory and tries to infer that there is another man present.
C. He becomes panicked and begs me not to leave him, stating that he is only acting this way because he cares so much about me.
3. Which of the following is the most likely thing he’ll say to you?
A. “I admire your dedication to your profession, and I am rooting for you.”
B. “I value your job as well, but I don’t want you to forget about me if you’re too preoccupied with work or meeting someone else.”
C. “Perhaps if you finished college, you’d be able to have a real career and share some common interests with my pals.”
4. Does your partner interrogate you about every move you make, demand to see who you’re talking to, and demand complete access to your social media accounts?
5. Has your lover caused any squabbles or harmed any friendships or family relationships?
A. No, not really
B. A few squabbles, but nothing serious
C. Yes, there aren’t many people I can turn to these days.
6. Do you ever feel alone?
A. No, I don’t think so.
7. Does your boyfriend ever threaten you with consequences if you leave or “disobey” him, making you feel trapped in the relationship?
A. Infrequently / Not at all
C. Quite frequently.
8. Does your lover impose “rules” on you that he never follows?
A. I don’t believe so.
9. Does your boyfriend call you when you’re out with your pals on purpose?
A. He checks in to see whether I’m having a good time, but it may be frustrating at times.
B. He’s always texting and contacting me to see how I’m doing.
C. If I don’t respond straight away, he becomes irritated and usually asks that I come home when he wants me to.
10. Do you and your lover have a lot of fights?
A. No/On occasion
C. He exaggerates everything and regularly has uncalled-for verbal outbursts.
Warning Signs of a Controlling Boyfriend
Keep an eye out for these subtle signs of a controlling boyfriend, and if you notice your boyfriend’s conduct veering toward any of these signs, speak out and ask him to change. If he’s a genuine good guy, he’ll understand your point of view and work to resolve it. If, on the other hand, he’s one of those guys who are purposefully manipulating you with his vulnerable act, he’ll keep doing so and try to control you even more!
Is he a wonderful person who is full of love, devotion, and genuine concern? Is he attempting to exert control over you? Read through these warning signs of a controlling boyfriend and see whether you’ve ever encountered any of them, no matter how minor.
1. He humiliates you
When you’re too independent, a controlling boyfriend doesn’t like it. When you do something on your own, he puts you down and makes it appear as if you can’t do anything without his support. He finds weaknesses in everything you do and helps you improve.
2. He doesn’t like it when you get out with your pals, either.
Is he accusing you of being influenced by your friends, or is he suspecting one of your male friends of hitting on you? He begins to pick your pals for you and tells you who you should hang out with. You’d eventually lose touch with the majority of your buddies.
3. Always insecure and has reservations about you.
He plays mind games with you and attempts to catch you off guard with obnoxious inquiries. He also tries to persuade you to give him contradicting replies, making you feel like you’re the evil guy in the relationship.
4. He also wants to know everything there is to know about you.
He despises keeping secrets. You think this is sweet and charming at first! He shares all of his passwords and secrets with you, and he wants you to do the same with your phone, email, and social media accounts. He wants to know everything about your everyday life, and when he discovers that you haven’t told him certain things, he becomes irritated and hurt.
5. Follows you around
He wants you to contact him frequently and keep him up to date on everything you’re doing, even if it’s simply taking a coffee break with your buddies.
6. He also doesn’t enjoy it when you have a good time without him.
This is a straightforward and easy-to-understand example. He sulks or seems grouchy and makes up another excuse for why he’s displeased if you go out with your own friends for a night out without him. He may even blame you for his bad attitude, claiming that “you didn’t call me enough” or “you ignored me.”
7. He paralyzes you
He searches for any opportunity to make a point. If something offends or irritates him, he’ll wait for the perfect opportunity to bring it up and make his point. If your friend is in a car accident, he might brag about it and tell you why he doesn’t want you riding with that guy. He enjoys stating “I told you so” and makes you feel adrift in life without his help.
8. He’s envious of you.
This may be cute at first, but his jealousy may develop into an obsession that borders on lunacy with time. Do you have an attractive coworker who wants to connect with you on social media? Your boyfriend thinks he’s a jerk and wants you to block him on social media. You’re texting a friend, happy to yourself, when he accuses you of having more fun with other people than with him.
9. Without him, you won’t be able to accomplish anything significant.
When you accomplish something without his assistance, he acts as though it were no great deal. He acts as if your professional advancements, self-taught abilities, and personal accomplishments aren’t significant in your life.
10. He’s never wrong.
But you’re always the same. Even if he gets into an accident on his way to work, he blames it on someone else or the morning fight you had. If you make a mistake, however, your controlling partner will make sure that you are repeatedly reminded of the incident – in a “kind and caring” manner, of course!
How to Deal with a Controlling Boyfriend
If you’re dating or married to someone who continuously attempts to control you, or if you feel like nothing you do ever pleases them, you might be trapped with a spouse who has major control issues. Use these steps to gradually transform them and, in the process, become a better person.
1. Consider your partner’s point of view.
Don’t merely take your partner’s advice when he or she warns you not to do anything. Instead, ask your partner for an explanation in a calm manner. You can better understand your partner by reasoning with them. Simultaneously, if their rationale is rather poor, you can take a position and offer your own reasoning.
2. Refrain from retaliating.
No matter what happens, maintain your composure. Your partner may attempt to exert influence over you, but only if you let them to. Don’t yell or become furious when you’re debating with your partner. Calmly express your point of view, and as long as you believe you are correct, you will be able to get your message over.
3. Don’t make hasty decisions.
It’s impossible to change your partner overnight. It could have taken years for their conduct to evolve and overcome them. Take these suggestions one at a time, letting your partner see your side of the story along the way.
4. Avoid doing favors on a regular basis.
Requesting tiny favors that are never repaid is one of the simplest methods to gain influence over a relationship. If you’re easily irritated by your lethargic partner’s continuous requests for favors, avoid being in the same room with them if you know a request is coming up soon.
5. Remind him of circumstances where he has been in a similar predicament.
Allowing your lover to control you will lead to you acting like a slave. Favors should never be given only to one person. If you do something nice for your sweetheart, and they don’t return the favor, they’re trying to control you.
6. Get up and stand on your own feet.
The more you rely on your relationship for survival, the more you will be manipulated. Have a few personal accomplishments to be proud of, and you’ll feel better about yourself and gain your partner’s respect.
7. Have more self-assurance.
When your partner exerts control over you, it’s because they believe you never stand up for yourself or are easily influenced or pushed around. Become more self-assured in yourself and your thoughts. If you honestly believe you are correct, don’t change your mind.
8. Switch the control to the opposite side.
This may appear deceptive, but sometimes staring in the mirror is all it takes to comprehend how someone else feels. For a change, look for ways to exert power over your partner. After all, even the most domineering partner has a vulnerable side. Don’t put up with your partner’s nonsense or their rules any longer.
9. Discuss the issue with your partner.
Your partner doesn’t want to be in charge of you. However, the circumstances and the way you allow your partner to treat you may make them feel like they’re doing responsibly. Your partner’s dominating behavior could be a sign of insecurity, or it could be a long-standing issue from their background.
10. Assist him in becoming a more responsible boyfriend.
When it comes to guys, they may simply do what they’ve been told to do, whether it’s by their friends or relatives. Sometimes a man needs to be taken by the hand and taught how to be a good spouse or boyfriend. He could come from a patriarchal family where a man’s word is definitive.
Controlling Relationship Signs
The following are some signs of a controlling relationship:
1. They get angry when you make plans without them.
Your companion may not appreciate it if you make plans without them or leave the house without them. They may not appreciate your desire for alone time and may not want you to have a life outside your partnership.
2. Making you feel guilty for spending time with your loved ones.
Similarly, your partner may make you feel guilty for spending time with those you care about. “These forms of control can appear to be quite compassionate at times, or you may believe that your partner simply wants to spend time with you alone,” Val explains. Stay at home with me, she says. ‘How about we simply do it?’
3. Excessive enmity and allegations
A controlling partner may be unreasonably jealous and accuse you of flirting or cheating with other people without providing evidence or explanation. While this could indicate that they are dealing with their own anxieties or prior infidelities, it is unjust and harmful for them to repeatedly accuse you.
4. Going over your phone and personal belongings
Everyone, whether single or in a committed relationship, is entitled to privacy. A spouse who reads your texts, call logs, emails, or searches through your possessions without your permission lacks trust and respect for your personal space.
5. Continual rebuke
A controlling boyfriend may destroy your self-esteem and insecurity by putting you down in private and/or public. They might, for example, criticize the way you dress or spend your time, exaggerate your ‘flaws,’ or make fun of you in front of others while claiming it was “only a joke.”
6. I’m going to blame you for everything
Controlling people enjoy playing the ‘blame game.’ They may assume the victim position right away, blaming you for everything that goes wrong, even if it has nothing to do with you.
7. Inducing you to question your own reality
Some controlling spouses go beyond isolating you from your friends and family; they also try to make you doubt your own sense of reality. “Gaslighting” is a popular manipulative technique and kind of emotional abuse. When a partner bends the truth to make you doubt your memories, intuition, and feelings, this is what happens.
Emotionally Controlling Boyfriend
While physically controlling or abusive boyfriends are simple to spot, the emotionally controlling boyfriend is the worst since you will never, at least not at first, recognize him!
A frightening boyfriend is one who is emotionally domineering. He is smitten by you and treats you like a princess all of the time. And the entire time, he portrays himself as helpless and weak in the absence of you. You’ll begin to feel more protective of him as time goes on, and you’ll begin to fall in love with him.
You’ll start to notice a couple of these signs of a controlling boyfriend sometime along the line. Put a stop to his behavior if you see these signs, and it worries you. If he doesn’t change, you should end the relationship.
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It’s important to keep in mind that emotionally dominating boyfriends aren’t necessarily negative. They’re merely possessive and insecure. When it comes to attempting to manipulate you, they just forget where the line is drawn. At the end of the day, the choice is yours whether to fall for his ruse or to help him change for the better.
A relationship should not alter who you are, particularly if you are already content. Only you should have the power to change who you are. If you want to, you can change your dominating lover. Simply be on the lookout for these signs of a controlling boyfriend and put a stop to it as soon as possible. If you don’t, you might as well lose yourself!
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a controlling boyfriend look like?
If your partner is controlling, for example, they can claim that they’re simply directing you to act, behave, or make a decision because they “know what’s best for you.” Controlling people may use gaslighting as a strategy to make you believe you’re insane.
What are the red flags in a relationship?
Excessive jealousy and dishonesty are both red flags in a relationship. You should be wary of a partner who constantly criticizes or dismisses you. A refusal to compromise is another huge warning signal — relationships should not be one-sided. For additional information, go to Insider’s Health Reference Library.