You may think that your boyfriend loves you a lot. But is it love or did you miss out on the signs of a controlling boyfriend?
There’s a thin line between a loving and a controlling boyfriend. Sometimes you may mistake caring and protecting for controlling because most of us don’t know the difference between them.
In most cases, all of us try to control our partners on some level, especially if we feel like our relationships are not going in the right direction or they’re drifting.
On the other hand, the obsession that we have to help our partner lead a better and healthier life can turn into a scary infatuation for all the wrong reasons.
Maybe your boyfriend showers you with nice words, expensive gifts, and luxurious trips, but my advice to you is to take a moment, step back and ask yourself whether you’re being deceived by a really controlling boyfriend.
The thing is, we’re constantly bombarded by this intense romantic love from Hollywood movies like Titanic to literature like Wuthering Heights – all telling us that real love is about possession, obsession, and manipulation in one way or another.
And while that obsessive love makes a good narrative for a blockbuster, in real life, qualities such as manipulation and control aren’t signs of true love.
The signs of a controlling boyfriend are subtle
You might think that you’ll never fall into a trap of a controlling boyfriend, but don’t get ahead of yourself.
The signs of a controlling boyfriend are really easy to miss at first.
Why? Because you’re blinded by all the love he showers you at the beginning of your relationship.
You see, controlling boyfriends have a knack for hiding their true colors at first.
They do that because they want to get underneath your skin and trap you in a toxic relationship with them.
And once you fall into his trap, it’s very difficult to get out of it.
Different types of controlling boyfriends
The first type is the physically abusive boyfriend – he’s really easy to spot.
If your boyfriend ever raised his hand to you for whatever reason, even the smallest one, then he obviously belongs to this group.
He may love you with all of his heart, but he has this urge to dominate every aspect of your life and he’ll definitely have a tough time changing!
That’s why I urge everyone who faces physical abuse to do whatever they can to leave their partners and find their happiness elsewhere.
On the other hand, there are those caring, sensitive boyfriends who secretly want to control you emotionally.
He’ll never dominate you, but he’ll find a way to get underneath your skin.
You may never realize that you’re dating a controlling boyfriend until it’s too late.
Falling for a controlling boyfriend is very scary and intense at the same time.
He’ll treat you like you’re the only one for him and he’ll be deeply in love with you (for the wrong reasons).
You’ll never know that he secretly plans to destroy your dreams and manipulate your life.
Eventually, you’ll start to be protective over him and fall more in love with him.
Along the way, you’ll see signs of a controlling boyfriend, but you’ll have a difficult time resisting.
If you think that your boyfriend might be possessive and a control freak, then you have to put a stop to his behavior.
Walk out of the relationship if that’s your only option.
Remember, not every single emotionally controlling boyfriend is a bad guy.
Most of them experienced a traumatic event that made them feel insecure and possessive.
That’s why they forget where to draw the line when it comes to their partner.
Signs of a controlling boyfriend that can help you realize it’s time to reevaluate your relationship
If you recognize any of these subtle signs, then you might want to confront your partner about them and ask him to change them.
If he doesn’t see that he has a problem, then your only option is to walk away.
1. He guilt-trips you after you spend time with your friends
When we say controlling boyfriend, most of us think about something dramatic, like a TV villain that tells his wife she’ll never see or talk to her best friend ever again.
But real life doesn’t reflect those fictional scenes. Controlling partners usually do that more subtly.
Rather than directly saying to your face that you can’t spend time with your friends, a controlling partner might slightly nudge you away from them.
He’ll make sure that you feel bad because you spent more time with your friends than with him.
Many women who love their partner dearly will accept his terms out of love and they’ll think that he’ll reciprocate.
That’s why they’ll alter how they behave, where they go, and who they hang out with.
These are classical effects of being subject to manipulative behavior.
Maybe your partner nags about how you spend too much time with your friends.
Or maybe he makes negative comments about your friends until you start believing him.
This behavior can take many different forms and shapes.
But it always has one purpose – to strain and eventually end your relationship with other people (especially those who are close to you) until he knows he’s the only one you have in this world.
2. He always criticizes you
There are two types of criticism that you’ll get in your life.
The first one is the so-called “positive criticism” from your close friends and honest love partners, whose only intention is to be sincere because they want you to become a better person.
It’s better to hear the truth than to be lied to.
It’s better to hear that you made an error so that you can improve yourself and not make the same mistake twice.
These types of people you should definitely keep in your life.
On the other hand, there is bad criticism from your controlling partner whose only intention is to knock down your every move and word.
He’ll never help you improve or have any good influence on you. He’ll do everything he can to put you down.
This guy will make every nasty comment about you, even about those little things in your life such as the way you walk, eat, talk…
You’ll feel attacked by him and his personality.
And after some time, you’ll become scared of doing anything because you’ll have him inside your head telling you what you’re doing is wrong and you’re incapable of doing anything right on your own.
You’ll learn to expect that kind of a reaction from him.
He’ll humiliate your education and world views, and he’ll say stuff like you don’t know how to handle yourself or your finances, and everything else under the sun.
One thing is certain. He does this intentionally.
He wants you to feel as sad and helpless as possible so that he can feel like he’s better than you in every aspect.
3. He portrays himself as the victim
Does your boyfriend quickly turn the situation around and make himself look like the victim?
If you’re looking for signs of a controlling boyfriend, look no further.
Whenever you feel low and sad, a controlling boyfriend will do anything he can to twist the situation so that he looks like the victim and not you.
He’ll use any manipulative technique that he has in his arsenal to get you to feel sorry for him.
Often controlling boyfriends use guilt as a way to keep you in check.
That’s why your boyfriends might use issues from the past and hold them against you.
You’ll always have arguments and fights, and the problems you have will never be resolved with this kind of partner.
And if you try and use certain situations against him, he will blame you for playing the victim card, even though he knows all too well that he’s the one using it and not you.
4. He withholds information from you
A controlling boyfriend will go to extreme lengths to make sure you stay by his side.
That also includes withholding information like, for instance, your brother called you and he didn’t tell you about it.
Or if your mother came by to see you but you weren’t there, so your controlling boyfriend neglects to tell you.
These are all the surefire signs of a controlling boyfriend.
His end goal is to make you feel like he’s the only person that cares about you and no one else.
As I mentioned before, a controlling boyfriend tries to detach you from your friends and family.
He’ll use anything he can so that you only think about him and about his well-being.
He doesn’t want you to be “bothered” by your family member.
So if you suspect your boyfriend is keeping something from you, next time you come home, ask your parents and friends if they stopped by to see you.
5. A controlling boyfriend lacks a social life
Your social life shouldn’t stop the minute you’re in a romantic relationship with someone. There’s life outside of a relationship, you know.
A controlling boyfriend won’t have a fantastic social life. That’s rarely something a person like him can do successfully.
Maybe he never mentions to you his buddies or coworkers. If this is the case, then that’s definitely a red flag.
This happens because he wants everything under his control.
If he has someone around him who he can’t control, he feels threatened by them.
This is the reason why a controlling boyfriend usually has zero social life.
Having friends and colleagues who like you means putting yourself out there and trusting other people.
That’s something that possessive people fail to do.
That’s why he’ll rather have you in his life and nobody else, because he thinks that a relationship with you is easier to control than a couple of “untrustworthy” friendships.
6. He demands every bit of information from you
A controlling boyfriend will never trust you. That’s a fact. He hates secrets and wants to know everything about you.
That’s why he’ll try to find out every last detail about you and that includes your social media passwords.
And why does he do that? Well, in addition to not trusting you, he wants to make sure you have no one else besides him.
The thought of you being with another guy freaks him out, so he’ll do whatever it takes to ensure you stay his.
He’ll even try to find out every single detail of your daily life just so he gets to know your routine if anything out of the ordinary pops up.
And if he finds out that you haven’t told him something you’ve done, he’ll get offended and hurt – and make sure you know it.
7. He pretends to be your protector
Every girl dreams of her Prince Charming. Some guy who’ll come and sweep you off your feet and protect you from any problems for the rest of your life. Sounds appealing, right?
Well, a loving and caring boyfriend will undoubtedly do that. It’s his duty to protect his lady at any cost.
And we typically bend over backward over those people who are close to our hearts, so they don’t suffer in any way.
But if you’re suspicious about your boyfriend and think that he might be controlling, then think about what his idea is of “protecting” you from others.
Does it include having your back at all costs?
Or does he insinuate situations, telling you that he’ll take control of your savings account and that he’ll chase away the friend you’ve been fighting with?
If it’s the second, then you’ve got yourself an obvious sign of a controlling boyfriend.
He’ll always make sure to keep close tabs on where you are and what you’re doing.
He’ll use “protecting” a lot as an excuse for his behavior. But his end goal is to make you dependent on him.
8. He makes fun of you
Guys who have a sense of humor are really attractive, right? You’ll definitely enjoy your relationship if you find a guy who can make you cry from laughter.
But this happens when we’re talking about positive humor.
What if your boyfriend’s jokes are intended to hurt you? What if his humor is inappropriate and spiteful?
Well, if that’s the case, then it’s a clear sign of a controlling boyfriend and you should reevaluate your relationship with him.
If your boyfriend is sarcastic and ironic most of the time, then you’ve got good reason to worry that he might be a control freak.
Maybe he’s not like that with other people, but he uses those jokes to mask the insults directed toward you. And that should concern you.
Truth be told, this guy is making fun of you at your expense. He’s not trying to make you smile or be funny.
In fact, he’ll humiliate you whenever he gets the chance. He points out your flaws and imperfections, and even magnifies them.
The sad part is that he only does this when you’re surrounded by other people. It’s like he boosts his ego off of it.
He uses every opportunity he gets to use your darkest and deepest secrets against you.
That’s why you don’t trust him in the first place. He’s bullying you and you can’t do a thing to stop him.
Even if you muster the courage to confront him about his behavior, he’ll make fun of your kind heart and sensitivity, and tell you how you can’t handle a little joke.
He might say that he’s only goofing around and that he’s not being serious, and that you should just chill and toughen up a bit.
But you know that’s not true.
9. He’s obsessed with your exes
A little jealousy is a good thing to have in a romantic relationship. It shows that you care for each other.
However, if your current boyfriend is obsessed with your ex-boyfriends, then that’s going to be a problem for you.
He won’t be only jealous of other men that are present in your life, he’ll also fight with you about your past.
Sometimes it might seem to you that he can’t accept the fact that you dated other men before him.
He’s obsessed with each and every one of your ex-boyfriends and relationships.
He’ll ask you every single detail about your past because he lives in a constant state of paranoia where he’s afraid that one of your exes might come back to ruin your relationship.
He’ll torture you by demanding you tell him everything that you’ve done and where you went with your ex-boyfriends.
Once he gathers all the information that he needs from you, he’ll use them against you and rub them in your face.
The sad thing is that he compares himself with all of your exes.
He needs to be assured that your love for him is the greatest, stronger than you ever loved before.
His controlling behavior intertwines with his narcissistic qualities. He always seeks validation from you.
Don’t think that you can stay friends with one of your exes and that your controlling boyfriend will be okay with it, because he won’t.
He’ll go crazy if he sees that you’re following them on social media.
10. He’s very insecure about himself
Another sign of a controlling boyfriend is his insecurity. This is also a common trait of narcissists.
Maybe he charmed you with his self-confidence at first, but deep down he actually has issues with it yet doesn’t want anyone to know them.
To the ordinary eye, you won’t notice that a controlling boyfriend is insecure.
He’ll securely hide his traumas and vulnerabilities so no one knows his weaknesses and, God forbid, uses them against him.
You’ve probably fallen for him because he portrayed himself as this alpha dog and tough guy.
But as time passes, you’ll realize the unspoken truth.
This controlling boyfriend of yours has deeply rooted insecurities, and he clearly projects them onto you.
He hides his weakness by intimidating you. He tries to hide the fact that you’re better than him and deep down he knows he doesn’t deserve you.
He puts all of his efforts to drag you down with him since it is his only way to feel superior to you.
He wants to shatter your confidence so that you question your worth and emphasize your insecurities, all so that he can feel like your equal.
The truth is, he’s scared you might leave him for good. He knows that’ll happen sooner or later, that you can do better.
That’s why he’ll make sure you’re on his level so you don’t even think of dating someone else.
11. He forces you to change
True love means loving one’s partner despite the imperfections and flaws.
A real man will love you because those quirks and imperfections make you, you. You wouldn’t be so gorgeous if it weren’t for those parts too.
But a controlling boyfriend will do everything he can to break your spirit and change everything about you.
He’s not in love with who you are but rather wants to shape you into whatever fits him.
He obviously can’t accept the fact that there are some parts of your personality that he can’t control and that sends chills down his spine.
So, what do you do when you recognize these signs of a controlling boyfriend?
Well, first talk to your close friends and family. You never know, they might be in the same boat or have experienced similar things in their life.
Another thing that you can do is to honestly talk to your boyfriend about those issues.
Tell him how you feel and you never know – he might even recognize his toxic behavior and start working on himself.
Lastly, leave if you feel unsafe! Show him that you have the freedom to leave him if you want to.
If he becomes abusive and you fear for your security, then leave him immediately!