Ever feel like your guy has you on a short leash? If you do, it may be time to read up on the subtle ways guys try to manipulate their partners.
It’s so easy to tell when we have a friend who is dating a guy with control issues, and it’s a no brainer the relationship is obviously not healthy. When we are the ones in a bad relationship, the signs and red flags become invisible to us for some reason. If you can’t tell if your boyfriend is in love with being in control, more so than he is with you, we’ll help you come to a conclusion.
There are some people out there who always want to be in control. This personality usually manifests itself in the way they behave in different situations. For instance, they always want to plan ahead or they always want to know all the details before coming to a decision.
In some cases, wanting to be in control is a good thing as it lessens the odds of things going wrong. However, when it comes to being in a relationship, control should be shared by both parties involved.
Are you dating a control freak?
Ladies, it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between a controlling boyfriend and a boyfriend who just loves you so much that he’d do anything to be with you. In the haze of love, we may sometimes see controlling behavior as a sign of love. But if you see the following red flags in your relationship with your guy, you’d better watch out, as you may be dealing with a control freak.
#1 Complaints, complaints, complaints. No one wants to be on the receiving end of complaints. Do you constantly receive complaints from your guy about everything from what you wear, who your friends are, what you like to read or what you do at work? If he does, then he probably already knows that when you get sick and tired of his complaints, you’ll eventually change these things so he’d stop complaining to you.
Of course, at first, you may think that he’s just looking out for you. But later on, you may realize that he’s complaining for selfish reasons, and he’s just doing that to make you change. Sneaky, isn’t it? [Read: The 22 early warning signs of a bad boyfriend]
#2 Passive-aggressive. A thinly veiled insult, passive resistance, deliberately not doing what you asked him to do. These are all common examples of things your guy might do to manipulate you to do something or to stop doing something.
Here’s an example of passive-aggressiveness that your guy might be doing: You’ve been really excited about going over to eat dinner at your parents’ house, and out of nowhere, you find your boyfriend to be silently sulking around the house. After repeatedly asking him what’s wrong, he finally tells you that he just wants to spend the night with you and not have to deal with your family. So what do you do? You cancel your plans and he gets his way by just being his sulky self.
#3 Abuse. Abusive behavior in relationships can take many different shapes, and one is no worse than the other. There is physical abuse, emotional, verbal, economic, mental, and sexual. If you are dating a guy who abuses you in any of these ways, it’s obvious he is controlling you, and that you are in a very unhealthy, unstable, toxic relationship.
#4 Befriends friends. It’s great to be dating a guy that all of your friends love and get along with. Who wouldn’t want that? But there are different ways that you can tell if you are dating a guy who really just likes your friends, or if he’s trying to get “in” with your friends, so he can just keep tabs on you.
For example, despite having met your friends only a handful of times and not really talking to them much, he’ll start adding them on Facebook. At first, it may be a friendly gesture. But later on, you may notice that whenever you go out with your friends, he wants to cross reference what you told him with the pictures and posts that your friends share. Talk about a stalker!
#5 Dresses you. There are guys who are keen on giving you constructive feedback on the clothes you wear. Some guys may not like it when you’re wearing a revealing top, but only because he knows that you might get a nip slip when you’re out dancing and partying. But the difference between a guy who looks out for you and a controlling boyfriend is the attitude.
A guy who genuinely cares about you will gently remind you that a top like that can easily have a wardrobe malfunction, and thus, he might suggest wearing a jacket or a different top. A controlling boyfriend, on the other hand, will adamantly insist that you change, leaving no room for argument. [Read: 18 signs of an overly dominating boyfriend]
#6 Isolation island. This one is a big one, and it involves the slow removal of communicating with your friends, family and anyone in your social circle, except him. For example, it can start out slowly. He might mention that he doesn’t like one of your friends because she’s trashy. Later on, he might pick a fight with you for still being friends with her. After a while, you give in and sever ties with her, just so your boyfriend won’t give you trouble.
Then, after he’s removed one friend, he starts bashing your family members. He might start feeding you lies about how he thinks your family members are just using you or relying on you too much. So you slowly isolate yourself from them. Eventually, he’s removed you from hanging out with anyone you love or care about, because “he just loves you so much and wants the best for you.” [Read: 16 signs it’s time to end your relationship]
#7 Makes you believe his jealously is just his way of caring. It’s great to care about someone so much. When you’re in love, that’s what you do. You care about the other person even more than yourself. But when you’re in a healthy relationship, you don’t let your love for someone consume you to the point of going into a jealous fit!
Your boyfriend might be controlling you through his jealousy, and manipulating you to think that it’s just because he cares so much. If you’ve ever heard something like “I’m sorry I got mad when I saw you talking to that guy, it’s just because I care so much about you” then you are probably dating a guy whose jealousy consumes him to the point of putting a strain on your relationship. [Read: 17 big signs of a possessive boyfriend]
#8 Always wants to drive and pick you up. This one should be a huge red flag. If you are dating a guy who never wants you to drive yourself anywhere, beware. He might say something like he just wants to drive you so that you don’t have to, which seems sweet on the surface.
But after a while, you realize he wants to take you and pick you up from places, because he wants to know exactly where you’re going, with whom, and how long you’ll be staying. This is fine if you’re the one who insists that he do this for you. But when it comes to the point that he shows up uninvited and insists that you come home with him ASAP, then you’re looking at a guy who wants a vise grip on you.
#9 Wants you to get pregnant. We’ve all heard of girls who get pregnant to keep their relationship, or to “trap” a guy, and guess what, girls aren’t the only ones who do this! Sometimes, guys will convince their girl to have a baby as a way to be connected and in communication with them.
One factor that really contributes to this is if the guy is dating a girl who is financially well off. By having her baby, she’ll also be obligated to take care of the father of the kid, so the guy just mooches off her until she figures out that he’s been freeloading for far too long.
If you are dating a guy who constantly has been bringing up having a baby together, or talking about wanting you to get pregnant, or trying to convince you to get off your birth control, be very wary of this, and know that this is definitely one way a guy takes control and manipulates you in a relationship!
Only you have the ability to teach people how you want to be treated. If you want to be treated with respect, then you have to stand up for yourself, even if it might seem nearly impossible.
So with all that said, think about this quote from the movie Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, “Someone once told me that the power in all relationships lies with whoever cares less, and he was right. But power isn’t happiness.”
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