Do You Have a Controlling Boyfriend?

We all love the honeymoon phase of a relationship. Your boyfriend pays you lots of attention, gives you compliments, probably sends you flowers often, arranges romantic evenings, and generally just can’t seem to get enough of you! You feel like you’ve found the one. This honeymoon phase could be just that, but it could also be phase 1 of your boyfriend’s plans to control you. If you find out that he comes from a broken home or that he was physically or emotionally abused as a child, these are warning signs. Controlling boyfriends are generally insecure and do not have a good family life. They want their girlfriends to become their lives, and vice versa. To do this, they need to be able to control everything and anything about their girlfriends. And they’re very clever about getting their own way!

15 Red Flags to Watch Out For

  1. You’re his world – In the beginning stages of love, you will probably enjoy this. He’ll spoil you, take you out, give you gifts, and tell you he loves you. But then you will find that he doesn’t want you to go out without him and that he wants to be with you all the time. You start to lose your independence and your freedom.
  2. You lose contact with friends and/or family – He admits that he doesn’t like your friends and finds ways of distancing you from your family. He might want to move to another city and then invent plausible reasons why you can’t go to visit your family or why they can’t visit you. He makes sure you see lots of his friends, and he keeps organizing events to keep you busy as a couple. This makes it difficult for you to find time for your friends and family.
  3. You have to give things up – You find that you have to give up sports or a hobby because it takes time away from him. He won’t give anything up, and you will probably have to accompany him to watch him play his sport.
  4. He checks up on you – He starts to check up on where you are. He wants to know where you are every minute of the day, and he checks your Facebook account and any messages you get on your mobile. Calls are monitored too. You feel he doesn’t trust you so you go out of your way to prove your loyalty to him.
  5. He gives you guilt trips – If you manage to arrange to go out with friends or family, he will make you feel bad so that you don’t enjoy yourself or you may decide to cancel and stay at home with him. He may even pretend to be ill to keep you with him – and away from them.
  6. He’s jealous – When you go out, you can’t look at other men, and other men can’t look at you. He behaves very possessively and it’s always your fault if other men are interested in you.
  7. He is critical – He finds ways to lower your self-esteem by either overtly or subtly criticizing your looks, what you wear, and how you do things. And as you want to please him, you do as he suggests. You start to lose yourself and feel like a failure if you don’t please him.
  8. Money issues – He pays for everything to make you dependent on him and then uses it against you when he feels he needs to bring you down.
  9. It’s always your fault – Nothing is ever his fault. He will always find a reason to blame you for anything in the relationship that is not to his pleasing. If you try to discuss it, you end up defending yourself and nothing else gets resolved.
  10. You are responsible for his happiness – If he’s not happy, it’s because you aren’t paying enough attention to him, or you’re making mistakes, or you’re not listening to him. You’re a failure. Everything you do needs to make him happy.
  11. He makes all the decisions – He manipulates you by ensuring that all decisions are made by him. Your needs and wants are unimportant – only he matters.
  12. There are different rules for him – He can check your emails or your phone texts, but you can’t do the same to him! He can go out with his friends alone, but you can’t.
  13. He makes you dependent on him – He can make you dependent on him either financially or emotionally, or both. He handles all the money and doles it out in small portions only. He probably won’t want you to get a job in case you become financially independent.
  14. Sex – He wants sex early in the relationship and it will be intense. As the relationship progresses, he decides when, how, and how often. He is disinterested in your suggestions or makes you feel like your needs are abnormal.
  15. He hurts you – Physical abuse can be the culmination of his attempts to control you. And you will feel like you deserve the abuse because he has eroded your self-confidence to such a degree that you think everything’s your fault. If you haven’t already figured out that you have a controlling boyfriend, now is the time to get out!

Controlling boyfriends can appear very charming, and after the arguments or physical abuse, he makes up for his behavior with gifts or special romantic outings. He can confuse you by breaking down in tears and professing his love for you. They are very clever and know how to subtly manipulate so that in the beginning, you don’t realize that he is starting to control your life. You think he’s just in love with you and wants to spend every minute of every day with you. If you start to back off, he becomes more intense and finds other ways to ensure he can control you.

If your boyfriend exhibits many of the abovementioned characteristics, then it’s important you understand that you are in an unhealthy relationship that will damage you physically, or psychologically, or both. When planning to escape a controlling boyfriend’s clutches, it’s important to first gather support from your family and friends. You need support to convince you that you are not a loser, that you are a great person, and that of course you will find a great guy in the future. Controlling boyfriends seriously undermine your confidence and that makes it difficult for you to leave.

Once you’ve left him, you will probably continue to love him for a time – do not fall into the trap of going back to him! And don’t expect him to change, as this is unlikely to happen. Look for a man who will treat you with respect and understanding and as an equal.

Find a safe haven when you leave him, and if he threatens or stalks you, report him to the police or go to a domestic violence shelter.