What are the key differences between a protective boyfriend and a controlling one? If you think you have a protective boyfriend, you might want to think again. Is he protective or is he actually very controlling? There’s often a thin line between the two.
We tend to confuse these two terms simply because that same man will manipulate you into believing that he’s not doing anything wrong.
For a while now, you’ve noticed that his behavior is weird. You can’t put your finger on it, but somehow it always comes back to what he calls ‘protectiveness.’ But a protective man wouldn’t act like that. Or would he?
Because of that, you and many other women have to understand that there’s a distinct difference between protective and controlling behavior.
Having a controlling boyfriend is extremely toxic for your mental health because, in order to enforce his rules, he’ll be extremely manipulative. A man like that is so toxic for you and you definitely don’t deserve to be with someone who treats you that way.
So is he really just being the beautiful protective man you’ve always wanted or is he trying to control you?
He’s protective (and not controlling) if…
1. His rules apply to both of you
A man is definitely not just protective over you if his rules only apply to you.
If you’re not allowed to go out with the people you want, he can see whoever he wants. If he takes your phone without your permission and has a field day with it, you’re not allowed to touch his phone at all.
Things like this would never happen with a protective boyfriend. He would ask you questions if he was curious about something, but he wouldn’t invade your privacy like that.
At the same time, only a controlling boyfriend would set rules that he doesn’t have to comply with himself. Why would he stick to his own rules if they were set to keep you in line?
This is one of the main differences that you will see right away. Just think of all the rules he sets for you and if he has double standards regarding them.
A protective boyfriend would never do that to you. He would talk things through with you and there would be compromise and an absolute absence of double standards.
If he wants to touch your phone, he has to be willing to give you his as well.
2. He doesn’t try to keep you away from your friends for no reason
Are you a protective girlfriend? If yes, then you must know how you act when you’re being protective. You want to rationalize your fears and make him understand the points you make.
If your boyfriend has a female close friend, you’ll tell him if she’s flirting with him and try to explain it to him to the best of your ability. But it’s his own decision if he wants to talk to her or not about it.
A controlling guy, on the other hand, doesn’t even explain himself. He simply doesn’t let you see your friends. If you do, then he makes a scene or continues to be passive-aggressive for days because of it.
He’ll do anything and everything to convince you that they’re no good for you and his reasons make no sense. When you try to talk to him about this, he says that he’s just being protective of you.
This has nothing to do with protectiveness. To be honest, this is straight-up controlling behavior. You know this for sure because you wouldn’t act like this yourself.
This is a very big difference between a controlling boyfriend and a protective one. A protective boyfriend would never try to keep you away from your friends just because of his insecurities. He’d simply tell you when he thinks that someone is trying to do you harm but it would be you who would make the final call.
3. He can deal with the fact that you have fun without him
Do you really believe that a protective boyfriend would make a huge deal about you having fun without him joining in? If anything he would encourage it, as long as you’re safe.
On the flip side, a controlling boyfriend wouldn’t be able to live with himself.
He’d make you feel bad for experiencing anything without him (especially fun). He’s so insecure and self-centered that he can’t fathom why you’d do anything without him.
A protective boyfriend would encourage you to go and do what you enjoy, as long as you’re texting him to make sure that you’re fine. He’d probably call you and check on you, but he would be happy for you.
Someone who’s controlling will manipulate you into believing that having fun without him is an actual betrayal.
Which one of these sounds more like your boyfriend?
4. His compliments aren’t backhanded
What does he say when he compliments you?
Does he say something like, “Baby, you’re absolutely gorgeous! That dress makes you glow with confidence.” Or does he say, “That dress looked longer in the store. You sure like showing off your body, don’t you?”
The first example is a protective, secure boyfriend who makes sure to make you feel good in your own skin. The second one is a backhanded compliment that only makes you feel bad about yourself.
Do you feel like you need to change something about yourself whenever he compliments you? Especially when it comes to how much skin you’re showing.
If he always says something that makes you feel awful afterward, then it’s not a compliment. He might think that it is, but it’s not.
Which one of these sounds more like your boyfriend? Because if it didn’t feel like a compliment, then it probably wasn’t.
5. When you stick up for yourself, he can handle it
This is probably the biggest difference between a man who’s protective and someone who’s outright controlling.
Your protective boyfriend might hit a nerve sometimes, but he’ll realize when he crosses that line. He’ll know that he did something wrong and that he needs to work on himself as well.
If anything, he’ll be proud of you for standing up for yourself, even if it’s to him. He can handle it when you don’t share his views and he’ll even apologize if necessary.
A controlling boyfriend is a completely different story. He’ll become very passive-aggressive or might even start crying. He’ll pretend to be the victim in this story and make you appear as the bad guy.
Controlling men do this because they don’t know how else to soften you up and make you pity them. He’ll feel better if you pity him than if you’re angry with him.
So he’ll emotionally manipulate you into believing he’s hurt so that you’ll say that it’s fine and not question him again. At the end of the day, he’s the victim and not you, right? Well, at least that’s what he wants you to feel.
The line “I’m just trying to protect you” will be the constant in conversations like these with a controlling man.
Which type of man sounds more familiar? If you see that he’s actually not as good for you as you thought, then you know what to do.