It’s wonderful when someone you care about is sensitive to you and shows concern for your well-being.
However, sometimes that protectiveness is just a facade for deeper issues.
In other words, it can mask the signs of a controlling boyfriend if you’re not aware enough to notice it.
It can be difficult to recognize the difference until you start feeling depressed, overwhelmed or unhappy, without understanding why.
Remember that a healthy relationship involves mutual respect and trust.
It’s hard to remember that, especially considering that the signs of a controlling boyfriend can be subtle.
Then there is emotionally controlling behavior and physically controlling behavior.
And while physical abuse is easy to spot, emotional abuse can be much harder to detect.
Emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse, and it often goes unnoticed because it’s not as visible as a bruise or a cut.
If you think you might have a controlling boyfriend, here are signs of a controlling boyfriend to look out for.
Table of Contents
- Signs of a controlling boyfriend can be subtle, leaving you confused and even making you less likely to detect them.
- Emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse.
- Signs of a controlling boyfriend include isolation, conditional love, stalking, and financial control.
#1: You’re Always Apologizing…For Nothing
Do you find yourself apologizing all the time, even when you haven’t done anything wrong?
Does your man make you feel like you’re always in the wrong, even when you know you’re not? These are signs of a controlling boyfriend.
Being overly apologetic is a symptom of being controlled by someone who is toxic.
Your boyfriend may be manipulating you into thinking that everything is your fault, even when it’s not. T
This is a tactic that controlling people use to make you feel like you’re always in the wrong, and they’re always in the right.
Ask yourself these questions to determine if your boyfriend’s controlling behavior is causing you to be overly apologetic:
- Do you apologize for things that aren’t your fault?
- Do you feel like you’re always in the wrong?
- Does your boyfriend make you feel guilty for things that aren’t your fault?
- Do you find yourself apologizing just to keep the peace?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate your relationship.
Being controlled by someone else is not healthy, and it’s important to recognize the signs before things escalate further.
Remember, being in a controlling relationship can be dangerous, and it’s important to seek help if you need it.
Also make sure you test every man you date, as this is a way of ‘vetting’ abusive and controlling men before you get involved with them.
I don’t mean ‘test’ as in, manipulate him. I mean, test his intentions.
The best way to test men’s intentions is to banter with them – why?
Because high value banter is a way of introducing playfulness and spontaneity into your interactions which always exposes toxic men.
Because they have a pattern of behaving, a way of luring women in.
Banter also exposes the low value men and narcissistic men, as they do not connect with playfulness, and hate spontaneity due to its ability to expose their script or their toxic “game” with women.
Curious about how you can start using high value banter to expose toxic partners?
(…Even if no man has ever given you any love and all you’ve encountered so far are pen pals, ghosts, booty calls, and duds!)
#2: He Puts You Down
One of the most common signs of a controlling boyfriend is when he puts you down.
This behavior is meant to reduce your self-esteem and make you feel like you can’t leave the relationship with confidence.
You might not even realize it’s happening at first because it can start out subtle.
He may make negative comments about your appearance, your intelligence, or your abilities.
He might say things like “you’re not that smart” or “you’re lucky to have me because no one else would want you.”
These comments might seem like harmless jokes or playful teasing, but they can have a serious impact on your self-esteem over time.
When he puts you down, it can make you feel like you’re not good enough for anyone else, which can make it harder for you to leave the relationship.
You might start to believe that you need him and that you can’t make it on your own. This is exactly what he wants – to have control over you.
If your man is putting you down, it’s important to recognize this behavior for what it is and to stand up for yourself.
Remember that you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness, and that no one has the right to make you feel bad about yourself.
In the next section, we’ll look at another common sign of a controlling boyfriend: isolating you from your friends and family.
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#3: He Isolates You From Friends And Family
One of the biggest red flags of a controlling boyfriend is when he tries to isolate you from your friends and family.
This is a tactic that controlling men use to gain power and control over their partners.
They know that the less connection you have with others, the more powerful they are. It’s a way for them to make you dependent on them and to limit your options.
If your man is trying to control who you spend time with, or if he’s trying to convince you that your friends and family are not good for you, it’s a sign that he’s trying to isolate you.
He may also try to control your communication with others, such as by insisting that you always check in with him or that you let him read your messages.
It’s important to remember that having a social network is important for your mental health and well-being.
Being cut off from your friends and family can leave you feeling lonely and isolated. If you feel like your man is trying to isolate you, it’s important to talk to someone you trust about what’s going on.
Next, we’ll discuss another sign of a controlling boyfriend: he only gives you unconditional love.
#4: It Feels Like His Love Is Conditional
When your man’s love feels conditional, it can be a sign of a controlling partner.
If he only shows you affection when you do what he wants or when you meet his expectations, it can be a warning sign.
Conditional love can make you feel like you have to earn his love and approval constantly.
This type of behavior can be difficult to spot at first because it can be disguised as love and care.
For example, he might tell you that he loves you but only if you behave in a certain way or meet his expectations. He might also use his love as a tool to control you.
According to Psychology Today, conditional love is a form of manipulation that can be used to control someone.
It’s important to remember that inside of a healthy relationship, you shouldn’t have to change who you are to earn their love.
Conditional love is not real commitment from a man. Even if he gives you money, attention, or validation, he’s not really committing to you emotionally.
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Know that you deserve to be loved for who you are, not for who someone wants you to be.
If you feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells to keep your man’s love, it’s time to reevaluate your relationship as well as your own intentions for staying in it.
#5: He Stalks You
If your guy is constantly checking up on you, showing up unexpectedly, and making you feel like you’re being watched, it could be a sign that he’s stalking you.
Stalking is a form of controlling behavior that can escalate quickly and become dangerous. It’s important to take any signs of stalking seriously as he may even be unhealthily obsessed with you.
Some signs that your guy may be stalking you include:
- Constantly calling or texting you to check up on you, even when you’re busy or have told him you can’t talk.
- Showing up unexpectedly at your home, work, or other places you frequent.
- Following you or watching you from a distance.
- Monitoring your social media accounts or online activity.
- Making threats or engaging in other intimidating behavior.
If you’re experiencing any of these behaviors, it’s important to talk to someone you trust and seek help. You can also contact a local domestic violence hotline or a stalking advocacy organization for support and resources.
Remember, stalking is a serious crime and should not be taken lightly. It’s important to take steps to protect yourself and get the help you need to stay safe.
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#6: He Treats You Like A Child
One of the classic strategies of a controlling partner is to treat their partner like a child.
This can manifest in a variety of ways, such as telling you what to wear, how to do your hair, or even how to walk.
Your boyfriend might also make decisions for you without your input or try to limit your independence by not allowing you to make your own choices.
When your boyfriend treats you like a child, it can make you feel powerless and dependent on him.
This is exactly what a controlling person wants.
By making you feel like you can’t make decisions for yourself, he can gain more control over your life.
It’s important to recognize this behavior early on so that you can either address it, move on or set boundaries.
#7: He Is Jealous (…And It Makes Him Unhinged)
Jealousy is a common emotion that everyone experiences, but controlling people tend to get the most jealous.
If your man gets jealous when you talk to other guys or even when you spend time with your family and friends, it could be a sign that he is trying to control you.
Sometimes the jealousy gets out of control, and it may even seem like your boyfriend is unhinged.
He may start accusing you of cheating or flirting with other guys, even when you’re not doing anything wrong.
He may try to isolate you from your friends and family, making it harder for you to leave the relationship if things get worse.
It’s important to remember that toxic jealousy is not a sign of love. In fact, it’s a sign of insecurity and lack of trust.
It can also be a symptom of an anxious attachment style in a man, which is technically not his fault, but the behavior can wreak havoc on your relationship.
If your man is constantly jealous and trying to control you, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate the relationship.
#8: He Has One Set Of Rules For Himself And Another For You
One of the signs of a controlling boyfriend is when he has one set of rules for himself and another for you.
This can manifest in various ways, such as him being allowed to hang out with his friends whenever he wants, but you have to ask for permission to see yours.
Or he might expect you to dress a certain way, but he doesn’t follow the same dress code himself.
If your man is constantly making rules for you that he doesn’t follow himself, it’s a sign that he’s trying to control you.
This behavior can be a form of manipulation that makes it easier for him to get what he wants.
He may be trying to make you feel guilty or ashamed for not following his rules, while he gets to do whatever he wants.
It’s important to remember that you are your own person and have the right to make your own decisions.
You don’t have to follow his rules if they don’t make sense to you.
If your man is trying to control you in this way, it’s a sign that he doesn’t respect your autonomy.
According to a study published in the Handbook of Self-Regulation Research, Theory, and Applications, good self-control is a crucial aspect of interpersonal functioning.
It’s important for both partners to have good self-control in order to maintain a healthy relationship.
If your man is not able to regulate his own behavior and instead tries to control yours, it’s a red flag that he’s not ready for a healthy relationship.
#9: He Doesn’t Let You Decide On Anything Important
A healthy relationship is one where both partners are equal and have an equal say in decision-making.
However, if your man is controlling, he may not let you make any important decisions, big or small. He may try to dominate every aspect of your life, from what you wear to where you work.
This is a sign of an emotionally controlling boyfriend and an emotionally abusive relationship.
Here are some signs that your man is controlling when it comes to decision-making:
- He doesn’t respect your opinions: If he always dismisses your thoughts and ideas, it could be a sign that he doesn’t value your input. He may make decisions without consulting you or simply ignore your preferences altogether.
- He makes all the decisions: If he always takes charge and makes all the decisions, it could be a sign that he wants to control the relationship. He may not let you have any say in important matters, such as where to live or what to do with your money.
- He belittles your choices: research into emotionally abusive relationships has shown that if a boyfriend constantly criticizes your decisions or makes you feel bad for choosing something he doesn’t like, it could be a sign that he wants to control what you do. He may try to make you feel guilty or ashamed for making choices that he doesn’t agree with.
Remember, it’s important to have a say in your own life. If your man is controlling, it’s important to address the issue and set boundaries. If he refuses to respect your opinions and choices, it may be time to reevaluate the relationship.
#10: You Constantly Feel Guilty
One of the classic tools used by controlling people in relationships is inducing guilt.
If you find yourself constantly feeling guilty, it’s a sign that you may be putty in the hands of a controlling boyfriend.
Controlling people often use guilt to manipulate their partners into doing what they want.
They may make you feel guilty for spending time with friends or family, or for pursuing your own interests and hobbies.
They may also make you feel guilty for not doing things their way or for not meeting their expectations.
This constant guilt can be emotionally draining and can make you feel like you’re walking on eggshells around your boyfriend.
You may start to feel like you’re never doing enough or that you’re always letting him down. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.
If you find yourself constantly feeling guilty, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate whether you might be in a controlling relationship.
Ask yourself if your boyfriend is being reasonable in his expectations and if he’s respecting your boundaries.
#11: It’s His Way Or The Highway
If your man always insists on having his way, disregarding your opinions and feelings, it could be a sign of a controlling boyfriend.
When your man insists on having his way, it means that you have no say in anything. It can make you feel powerless, as if your thoughts and feelings don’t matter.
If you try to be more assertive, you may be discarded by him, as he may see you as a threat to his control.
It’s important to remember that a healthy relationship is built on mutual respect, trust, and compromise.
If your man is not willing to listen to your opinions or consider your feelings, it’s a red flag that he may be a controlling boyfriend.
According to a study published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, controlling behavior is a predictor of intimate partner violence. It’s important to recognize the signs of a controlling boyfriend and take action before the situation escalates.
#12: He Snoops On Your Phone, Emails, Money And Phone Calls
If your boyfriend is constantly checking your phone, emails, and bank account, it could be him trying to infiltrate all areas of your life (without your permission).
This type of behavior is not only a violation of your privacy but also a red flag for potential abuse.
It shows a deep sense of insecurity and a lack of trust in the relationship.
What are some signs that your boyfriend is snooping on your phone?
If you notice that your boyfriend is constantly checking your phone or asking who you’re texting or talking to on the phone, it could be a sign that he is snooping on your phone.
He may also ask for your phone password or try to guess it without your permission. This behavior is a violation of your privacy and can be a sign of controlling behavior.
What are some signs that your boyfriend is monitoring your emails or bank account?
If your boyfriend is constantly asking about your emails or bank account, it could be a sign that he is monitoring them without your permission.
He may also ask for your email password or try to access your bank account without your knowledge. This behavior is a violation of your privacy and can be a sign of controlling behavior.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can You Tell If Your Boyfriend Is Trying to Isolate You from Friends and Family?
Not entirely sure if your boyfriend is trying to isolate you from friends and family?
Here are some things to look out for:
- He discourages you from spending time with your friends and family: If your boyfriend is always finding reasons why you shouldn’t hang out with your friends or family, this is a red flag.
He may tell you that your friends are a bad influence or that your family is too overbearing.
Over time, you may find that you’re spending less and less time with the people who used to be important to you.
- He tries to control your schedule: our boyfriend may insist on knowing where you are at all times and what you’re doing.
According to Pamela Jayne, author of “Ditch That Jerk!”, one of the early signs of an abusive partner is that they may also try to dictate your schedule, telling you when you can and can’t see your friends or family. This can make it difficult to maintain your relationships with the people you care about.
- He makes you feel guilty for spending time with others: If you do manage to spend time with your friends or family, your boyfriend may make you feel guilty about it.
He may say things like, “I thought we were going to spend time together tonight” or “I can’t believe you’re choosing them over me.”
This can make you feel like you’re doing something wrong by spending time with the people you love.
- He tries to turn your friends and family against you: In some cases, a controlling boyfriend may try to turn your friends and family against you.
He may tell lies about you or try to make you look bad in front of them. This can make it difficult to maintain your relationships with the people who used to be important to you.
If you’re experiencing any of these signs, and you feel comfortable talking to him, then try to talk to your boyfriend about your concerns and let him know how his behavior is making you feel.
If he’s unwilling to change, it may be time to end the relationship.
How Can You Recognize If Your Boyfriend Is Trying to Control Your Appearance or Behavior?
It’s not uncommon for a guy to want his girlfriend to look her best, but there’s a difference between wanting her to look good and trying to control her appearance.
Here are some signs that your boyfriend might be trying to control your appearance:
- He criticizes your clothing choices and insists that you wear certain outfits or styles.
- He makes negative comments about your weight or body shape and pressures you to lose weight or change your appearance.
- He insists on accompanying you when you go shopping and tries to control what you buy.
- He makes you feel guilty or ashamed for not looking a certain way or for not wearing makeup or dressing up.
If your boyfriend is trying to control your behavior, here are some signs to look out for:
- He tries to isolate you from your friends and family and insists that you spend all your time with him.
- He makes all the decisions in the relationship and doesn’t consider your opinions or feelings.
- He constantly checks up on you and wants to know where you are and who you’re with.
- He tries to control your finances and insists that you share your money with him or give him access to your bank account.
Remember, a healthy relationship involves mutual respect and trust. If your boyfriend is trying to control your appearance or behavior, it’s a red flag that something is not right.
What Are Some Red Flags That Your Boyfriend May Be Trying to Control Your Finances?
Money can be a sensitive topic in any relationship, but a controlling boyfriend may take it to another level. Here are some red flags to look out for:
- He insists on paying for everything. While it’s nice to have a man who wants to treat you, it can be a sign of control if he doesn’t let you pay for anything. He may use this as a way to keep you indebted to him and feel like you owe him something.
- He criticizes your spending habits. If your boyfriend is constantly criticizing how you spend your money, it could be a sign that he wants to control your finances. He may try to make you feel guilty for buying things you enjoy or make you feel like you’re not responsible with your money.
- He demands access to your bank accounts. If your boyfriend wants to know every detail of your finances, including your bank account passwords and balances, it’s a red flag. He may use this information to control how you spend your money and make you feel like you can’t make financial decisions without his input.
- He wants you to quit your job. A controlling boyfriend may try to convince you to quit your job so that he can be the sole provider. This can make you financially dependent on him and give him more control over your life.
Remember, it’s important to have at least some level of financial independence in a relationship, especially if you suspect that you’re in a controlling relationship.
If your boyfriend is trying to control your finances, it’s a sign of a bigger issue within himself.
What Should You Do If You Suspect Your Boyfriend Is Being Controlling?
If you suspect that your man is being controlling, it’s important to take action to protect yourself. Here are some steps you can take:
#1: If possible,
Remember, it’s never okay for someone to control you or your actions. If you’re in a relationship with a controlling boyfriend, it’s important to take action to protect yourself and your well-being.
Penny is a writer and part time dating coach. She lives in Brisbane, Queensland with the love of her life, their two daughters and their three dogs. Penny is passionate about helping women realize their high value and harness the innate feminine energy that they were born with.