10 Signs Of A Controlling Boyfriend And How To Deal With Him

The sooner you identify the indicators, the lesser your chances of a nightmarish crash.

Reviewed by Michele Waldron, Psy.D, LADC-I, CSCT Michele Waldron Michele WaldronPsy.D, LADC-I, CSCT facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MA (English) Subhrojyoti Mukherjee MA (English) Experience: 4 years
Fact-checked by , BSc Reshma Latif BSc Experience: 5 years

It is very difficult to understand the subjects like jealousy, dominance, and control in a relationship as they are very complicated. Here, we have listed some of the signs of a controlling boyfriend to make it easy for you to check if you are in a relationship with one or not.

You can use these behavior patterns and traits to understand your boyfriend and take necessary preventative measures. Some of the behavioral traits of a controlling boyfriend include domination, manipulation, and intimidation. They don’t honor your wishes. Instead, they bulldoze their wishes on you.

We have also mentioned tips like setting new rules and helping him to learn healthy relationship practices to deal with a controlling boyfriend. But if he doesn’t respond well to your advice and instead tries to intimidate or harass you, you have to think seriously about the future of your relationship. Scroll down to learn more about the subject.

How To Recognize A Controlling Boyfriend

How to recognize the signs of a controlling boyfriend
Image: Shutterstock

A controlling boyfriend intimidates or dominates his partner into doing things that he wants or prefers instead of honoring the partner’s wishes. The signs your boyfriend is abusive and controlling won’t be laid out in the open when you are getting to know each other. Rather, they appear after quite some time, especially when you have crossed your honeymoon phase and spent at least a few months with each other.

People need space, and if your boyfriend becomes aggressive when you ask for it or accuses you of cheating on him or not being in love with him, you may be dealing with a controlling boyfriend. The next section talks in detail about various ways to identify controlling behavior. Read on.

10 Signs That Your Boyfriend Is Controlling You

Signs of a controlling boyfriend
Image: Shutterstock

Look into his actions more carefully to understand if your boyfriend is controlling you. Below are a few signs that may lead you to the answer:

1. There Is No ‘You’ Without Him

A controlling boyfriend cannot bear to see you being self-dependent. If most of your activities don’t revolve around or involve him, he tends to get upset or even angry. When you want to do something on your own, he belittles you by assuming you shall not be able to do it without his help. He is dissatisfied with anything you do and rushes to help you do a better job. You are slowly made to believe that he completes you, and you need him.

2. He Is Overprotective Towards You

There is a thin line between care and overprotectiveness. If your boyfriend monitors your every move — from the friends you meet to the places you visit — he wants to control you. You may put him through a short is-my-boyfriend-controlling-me test by not receiving his calls when you go out with someone else. If he is more angry than concerned or tries to accuse you of not being committed enough to him, it is a sign that your boyfriend is trying to control you.

3. He Makes Your Decisions

“Don’t talk to your colleague; I don’t like it.”
“Don’t meet your friend. I don’t want you to.”
“Why are you uncomfortable? Do it.”
“What is the big deal? Just do it. You would if you loved me.”

If you are familiar with any of the above statements, you might be in a relationship with a power imbalance and have a controlling boyfriend. He makes all your decisions for you — from the food you eat to the clothes you wear and the people you meet, he decides everything. If he wants a say in everything you do, regardless of your opinions, it is time to ask yourself if you really want to be with such a possessive, controlling person.

4. It’s Always Your Fault

A controlling boyfriend will always make you feel guilty for everything instead of taking responsibility for his actions. He will gaslight you into believing that his negative or hostile behavior is for your own good and that he would not have been angry had you behaved in a certain way. He may turn the entire discourse around to make you feel like you are in the wrong here, and before you know it, you are apologizing to him.

He hurts you
Image: Shutterstock

5. He Hurts You

If your boyfriend has frequent outbursts, abuses you when he is upset even when it hurts you in the process, or gives you silent treatment as a form of punishment, he is trying to control you. No one deserves to be a victim of abusive behavior, and if your boyfriend hurts you emotionally, physically, verbally, or sexually, you need to get away from him.

6. He Doesn’t Respect Your Boundaries

From checking your phone to reading your journal, if your boyfriend does not respect your boundaries, you should see it as a sign. If he gets angry when you don’t let him get his way with you or blames you for not sharing your social media passwords with him, they point towards the signs of an emotionally controlling boyfriend. Before being a partner, you are an individual who needs their privacy, and no one is allowed to breach it. Disrespecting boundaries may also include pressuring you into having sex with him or even forcing you to do things you are uncomfortable with while making you think you agreed to it.

7. His Love For You Has Conditions

Withholding affection if you do something your boyfriend disapproves of is a warning sign of an emotionally controlling boyfriend. If he loves you only when you behave in a certain way, you have a controlling boyfriend. In these cases, it is common to think, “My boyfriend is controlling, but I love him,” mainly because he does shower you with affection occasionally. However, you must realize that you are worthy of unconditional love.

8. He Isolates You From Others

If he cuts you off whenever you talk about other people or dislikes when you speak to them, he is a jealous and controlling boyfriend. Does your boyfriend complain or set a deadline when you spend time with others? Is he almost always in a crisis that needs your immediate attention whenever you hang out with someone else? If these things happen repeatedly, you should look through the guise and save yourself from being manipulated.

protip_icon Quick Tip
You may know you have a controlling boyfriend if you start hiding your innocent social hangouts from him like running into a friend, office gossip, or visiting someone after work.

Once you are sure that your boyfriend controls and manipulates you, it’s time to deal with it. The key is to deal with the situation carefully instead of being angry. Head to the next section for some pointers on tackling a controlling boyfriend.

9. Public Humiliation

If your boyfriend embarrasses or belittles you in public, it is a major red flag. In a healthy relationship, respect should come first, and public humiliation is a clear warning sign. If you see this happening, it is important to talk to your partner about it. Keep an eye on how you are being treated, and do not hesitate to address any behavior that makes you feel uncomfortable or disrespected.

10. Micromanagement

This happens when your boyfriend is overly involved in every little thing you do, trying to control even the smallest details. It feels like he is watching your every move. Healthy relationships give space, so make sure you are not feeling overwhelmed and can have an open conversation about what is bothering you.

How To Deal With A Controlling Boyfriend

How to deal with a controlling boyfriend
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At times, people may not realize that their behavior is being perceived as problematic as it is something they are doing unknowingly. So, the best way to approach them is to talk about the issue.

You may even discover that they think you were a controlling girlfriend when you didn’t mean to be so. Setting boundaries and having open communication with your partner can nip the concern in the bud. You can also ask yourself, “Why am I so controlling towards my boyfriend?” and think of ways to stop this behavior immediately.

Similarly, if he was controlling you without realizing it, you can start setting clear boundaries and guide him on the practices of a healthy relationship. You can also seek professional advice to help him get rid of this behavioral pattern.

However, if you talk to him about the issue and he gets angry with you instead of understanding the situation and thinks his behavior is completely normal and not toxic, you need to get out of the relationship.

Angelika, a blogger, shared her experience of being engaged to her controlling fiance, who served in the military. She mentioned that due to past experiences, her fiance exhibited controlling and hot-headed tendencies, but it has always been a protective response, where he might say something harsh to others without considering their feelings. She notes, “After writing this I have finally understood why he acts like he does. It is not acceptable, but it is something we have to work on (i).” She did not justify his behavior but rather hoped to overcome this hurdle together with her fiance.

How To Leave A Controlling Boyfriend

How to leave a controlling boyfriend
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What happens when you break up with a controlling boyfriend? He realizes that you are leaving for good and does everything to make you stay. From begging for forgiveness to being even more hostile and threatening to hurt you, he will try everything. He might even try to isolate you from your loved ones so that you only have him to depend upon.

Is your boyfriend controlling to the point that you feel you are living in isolation or it affects your safety? If so, reach out to the people you trust and seek help from them before dumping him so that they can protect you.

No matter what he does or says, don’t let him manipulate you into thinking he will change for you. Leave for good and block him from every social media platform. Block his phone number and email too. Let friends know in case he tries to communicate with you through them. It is best to stop visiting places with high chances of meeting him, at least during the initial few weeks. You may also consider moving to a safe place if he is physically violent.

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You may also seek a law enforcement or a restraining order option with you before you are ready to leave the controlling boyfriend.

Infographic: How To Set Strong Relationship Boundaries

If you have a controlling boyfriend, chances are you already know the importance of setting clear boundaries in your relationship. Healthy boundaries from the beginning of the relationship ensure that you don’t feel smothered or controlled. The infographic below suggests the steps one can take to enforce boundaries for a lasting relationship. Scroll down!

how to set strong relationship boundaries (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Excessive possessiveness, monitoring and inquiring about every tiny detail, and offering to do things for you despite your will may be signs of a controlling boyfriend. As much as it is important to know when and how you connect with a person, it is also important to be aware of toxic relationship signs. Mutual respect, care, and trust are important to keep a relationship going. If you find yourself feeling alone, left out, disrespected, or abused in any way, it is important to identify the toxic traits and take a stand for yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is he controlling or caring?

Caring is rooted in love and selflessness while controlling stems from resentment or insecurity. If your partner supports your wants and needs, he is likely caring. However, if he forces his ideas on you and expects you to follow, he is likely controlling and you may be undergoing emotional abuse.

Is a controlling person insecure?

Yes. Controlling behavior helps people feel powerful and in control over others and cope with their insecurities.

What causes a person to be controlling?

Among the causes of controlling behavior include low self-esteem, past traumatic experiences, the desire to feel in control, or a superiority complex.

Key Takeaways

  • A controlling boyfriend always wants to dominate the relationship. He forces his partner into doing things that he likes and does not respect her wishes.
  • Care and overprotectiveness are different. If your boyfriend is watching all your moves and checking your phone often, it is certainly not a good sign.
  • Set boundaries and communicate openly to nip the concern in the bud.
signs of a controlling boyfriend

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Do you think you are in a controlling relationship but are in doubt? Click on the video to learn 15 signs of a controlling boyfriend.

Personal Experience: Source

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Michele Waldron

Michele WaldronPsy.D, LADC-I, CSCT

Dr. Waldron is a licensed clinical psychologist, certified couples counselor, licensed alcohol and drug counselor, and sex therapist. with 16 years of experience. She received her Psy.D from Antioch University, New England. She has a group practice that supports adults’ relationships and sexual health. Dr. Waldron is passionate about reducing sexual shame, which causes significant mental health challenges. She helps...read full bio

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