Home  >  Love Couch  >  Better Love

How to Stop Being Possessive in a Relationship and Love Better

A controlling and possessive partner is not someone anyone wants to be with. Learn how to stop being possessive in a relationship and calm things down.

how to stop being possessive in a relationship

If you find yourself wondering how to stop being possessive in a relationship, it is likely brought on by trust or control issues. Both are poison to any relationship. They cause distrust, dysfunction, and a lot of manipulation.

We understand the desire to hold onto someone in your life. You want to make sure they don’t cheat or leave. You want to know what they’re doing just in case. The thing is, it is a method for disaster. Lacking trust in your partner and their choices will not only ignite jealousy, suspicion, and resentment but will lead to a fiery end for your relationship. [Read: Is your relationship stress getting to you? It’s time to fix it or get out]

What is possessiveness in a relationship?

You might not be sure if the behavior you’re exhibiting is possessive or not. For that reason, you need to know what possessiveness is and what it looks like in a relationship.

Possessiveness is, as we’ve already mentioned, when you’re desperate to hold on to your partner. As a result, your behavior can become problematic. You might not want them to go out and see their friends or to be away from you. You may become jealous or angry when their attention isn’t on you. It’s also possible that you want to know every small detail about their life and what’s going on. [Read: Possessive relationship – Signs you’re in one & how to change it]

Basically, you’re terrified you’re going to lose them or they’re going to walk away from you for their own reasons. You think that by hanging on so tightly and borderline controlling them, means they’re more likely to stay. The truth is, they’re more likely to leave.

Why are you possessive in a relationship?

Now, understanding the cause for your possessiveness can require years of therapy. It can also take a lot of introspection and self-realization. [Read: 20 non-clingy ways to stop being a possessive friend and give space]

Look back to your past. Maybe your family or a prior relationship. What happened that made you feel like you had no control? That pain or loss is what pushed you into a zone of possessiveness. Once you get hurt, you consciously and subconsciously go into protection mode and try to take control of your life.

Some people may do that by not opening up to anyone. Others desire that companionship but cannot handle the parts that are out of their control, like their partners.

If you’re reading this, you are probably one of these people. And we get it. You may not have gotten to this point purposely. And you’re probably reading this because you want to treat your partner with the respect and trust they deserve. [Read: These signs of a lack of respect in a relationship should not be ignored]

That is a good sign. You are on the right track. Letting go of what brought this behavior on is what can help you move forward without such a strong need for control.

Repeat to yourself that every relationship is different. What happened in the past is not what’s happening now. And even if something repeats itself, it isn’t because it was out of your control but because it was meant to. [Read: How to get over trust issues in a relationship and heal from within]

What is relationship possessiveness doing for you?

If we haven’t already convinced you that being possessive in a relationship won’t get you anything but unhappiness, let’s analyze how it is working out for you.

Desiring control over your relationship and your partner might seem like a good way to protect yourself from being hurt. In reality, it causes a lot more harm than good. For instance, how has your partner reacted to you being possessive? Are they tired of telling you where they are and who they’re with 24/7? Do they have to check in with you? Are they afraid to tell you tiny things because you might react badly? [Read: Early signs of a possessive man – 23 red flags]

If you are possessive of your partner, you are not letting them be free. Healthy relationships require two individuals, not one individual and someone owned by the other. If you don’t trust your partner, how do you expect them to trust you?

Does controlling your relationship make you feel better? Do you actually feel like you have control over your partner? Does that make you feel secure or more suspicious and anxious?

Usually, maintaining control over another person is not just exhausting but impossible. So, even trying will make you feel even more on edge. You are expecting the worst. There is a reason you came looking for this article. We’re guessing it isn’t because you being possessive in a relationship is working out well. [Read: 18 bad habits that’ll make your partner want to leave you]

How to stop being possessive in a relationship

Unlearning everything your mind has programed into you about protecting yourself will not go out the window overnight. You can’t stop this behavior by simply wanting to. You really need to put it into practice and work on your relationship with your partner, so you are on the same page.

1. Trust yourself

Before you can start trusting your partner, start to trust yourself. Usually, if you have trust issues and need to feel in control, you have issues trusting your own judgment.

You need to realize you chose this person to be with for a reason. Let them be with you on their terms. [Read: 15 subtle signs of a possessive and controlling boyfriend girls don’t like]

2. Learn to communicate

Talking is the best way to start building trust. Talk to your partner about how you’re feeling and be sure to listen to them. Sharing what you need and expect from each other and actually acting on it is so important. [Read: How to help a possessive girlfriend to go from clingy to amazing]

3. Set boundaries

If you are having a hard time figuring out what is acceptable and what isn’t, sit down with your partner and discuss what is over the line for them. Should you be checking in with each other a few times a day when you aren’t together?

Figure out what works for both of you. You can try to compromise and meet in the middle and slowly pull back as your trust grows.

4. Talk about your feelings

We know this sounds mushy and cheesy, but actually talking to your partner about how you feel can help you let go of some of the anger or anxiety you hang on to. Once they know how you feel, they will understand. You will feel a weight lifted. [Read: 8 problems that will make your relationship stronger]

5. Do things with other people

Don’t just hang out alone, but join with friends and other couples. This will let you be together without being on top of each other. It also lets you get to know each other’s friends, so you know who they spend their time with.

6. Tell them what you need

Your partner may be tired of you controlling them, as they should be. If you let them know what you need to let go of that control, they will want to work with you.

If you need to see them more often or hear from them more throughout the day at first, to let go of that possessiveness, find a way to work on it together. [Read: Controlling vs caring – The thin line clingy people love to cross]

7. Ask what they need

Understanding how to stop being possessive in a relationship isn’t just about you. This is a partnership. Work with them too. Ask what they need from you to trust that you are trying to be better.

8. Live your own life

One reason it can be hard to let go of being possessive in a relationship is due to the fact that your relationship has taken over most of your life. Maybe you see family and go to work, but if your life is consumed with the relationship, it can be hard to lose control over something that is so prominent in your life.

Go out with your friends. Take up other hobbies or more responsibilities at work. If you are independent and don’t rely on your control over partner to be fulfilled, you can both live well-balanced lives. [Read: How to give space in a relationship without drifting apart]

9. Don’t try to change them

When someone is possessive in a relationship, they try to change their partner to how they picture them or want them to be. You may silence a partner that has strong opinions or make someone who is independent rely on you to help you more easily control them.

These things are not just manipulative but are ways to change someone for your benefit. If you don’t truly want to be with the person they are, then you are in the wrong relationship.

10. Tell your partner where these feelings came from

It can be hard to open up about why you have these hangups with trust and control. But, letting your partner know what experiences you went through will give them a deeper insight into why you have this behavior so they can work with you. [Read: How to fix the lack of communication in your relationship]

11. Consider trying therapy

If all of this doesn’t do the trick and you can’t help but continue being possessive in a relationship, think about going to therapy.

There is no shame in it. You haven’t lost control. It means you are asking for help to take control of your life. You don’t want your emotions controlling you but to control them so you can be in a healthy and equal relationship. [Read: Relationship therapy – 25 clues to know if it’ll help your romance]

Possessiveness won’t keep them, it will cause you to lose them

At the heart of learning how to stop being possessive in a relationship, you need to realize that holding on tightly doesn’t do what you think it would. You’re not more likely to keep your partner because you’re being possessive and clinging on for dear life, you’re more likely to lose them. People need to be able to breathe! They need to be trusted to live their lives inside and outside of the relationship.

Trust is so important in relationships for many reasons. It may be that your partner hasn’t done anything to make you distrust them, but that someone in your past has caused you to have trust issues. In that case, work on yourself and don’t pour the burden onto your partner. [Read: Am I toxic? How to tell if you’re the toxic one & not everyone else]

If you want to keep your partner and have a healthy and long-lasting relationship, possessiveness has to be a thing of the past.

[Read: 18 critical signs of an unhealthy relationship]

You can learn how to stop being possessive in a relationship with patience, practice, and a partner who is willing to work with you. Try a few of these steps and work your way up, and you will get there soon.

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life.

Samantha Ann
My name is Samantha Ann. I am 28 years old. It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding...