Relationships can be fun and enjoyable, but they also can be hard, especially with a controlling partner, and there can be a fine line between looking out for your safety and wanting to control what you’re doing. Here are 7 signs that you might have a controlling boyfriend, and what to do if he is.
One thing to look out for is constant criticism. Someone who wants to control their partner may start by trying to lower their self-esteem, and this can be with comments about your insecurities, such as your weight or appearance. Or they might try to put you down about work, such as you getting a promotion but they say that the pay or hours isn’t enough, or maybe they compare it to one of their own achievements to make yours seem futile.
Wanting access to your social media
This sign is something that might seem obvious, but love can be blinding. It can start with them just asking to message your friends for a joke or looking over your shoulder when you’re on your phone with them. Or maybe they want your phone password, and they might even try to use the argument that if you didn’t have something to hide then it wouldn’t be a problem. Even in a relationship, you are allowed to have privacy, and don’t have to show your partner everything.
Isolating you from friends
In order to gain more control, they may start trying to isolate you from your loved ones. If they start asking you to go out less or accusing you of spending more time with your friends than them, they could be showing controlling behaviour. They may even start to ignore you when you do go out with them. If he does this, don’t try to think of things to say to your bf when he is ignoring you as this is what he wants. Instead, it is best to ignore them and enjoy yourself with your friends.
Someone who is controlling has a hard time hearing the word ‘No’. They’re going to want everything to be their way, no matter how you feel. It can be something as simple as them not stopping tickling you when you’ve told them no or even be them forcing you to go to a restaurant of their choosing after you’ve told them you don’t like it. If you notice any of these behaviours in your partner, you need to sit down and talk with them about respecting boundaries.
Jealousy is a big sign of a controlling boyfriend. And this doesn’t just mean being jealous of other guys giving you attention, it can also mean being jealous of your friends, or you spending time with family, or you being in any setting where you have to interact with other men. If they start acting possessive of you, or tell you to not hang out with certain people as it upsets them (with no valid reason as to why), then it might be time to consider ending your relationship.
Intimidation isn’t just in the form of the threat of physical violence, it can also be emotional. One example is if you’re going to do something and they “joke” that they’ll break up with you if you do. This is a form of intimidation, as it is an attempt to use scare tactics to make you do what they want, and one way to deal with this is by not showing you’re scared of the threats they are making.
They gaslight you
Gaslighting is a common tactic of abusers, and it can be hard to tell when it’s happening to you. If you accuse them of doing something to hurt you, they will deny it ever happening, or tell you that you’re overreacting or misremembering it. If you boyfriend does this, it is best to start writing everything down so you can have proof of your memories, and not fall for their lies.
If you notice any of these signs in your boyfriend, it might be best to talk to someone you know like a friend about your concerns and try and talk it out with your partner too. If they refuse to change their behaviour, it may be in your best interest to leave.