When you enter into the vulnerable entity that is relationship, the first thing that you relinquish is control. You no longer have control over whether your heart gets broken, you no longer have total control over your weekend plans (if you want to see bae), and you no longer have control over when you can pick your nose shamelessly (unless that’s something you and your SO do in front of each other because you’re super progressive or something).
The problem is that human beings love control. I don’t know a single person who loves not knowing what the F is going on in their lives. That said, controlling someone else is not cool at all. It’s possible that the person you are dating is controlling, and you might not even realize the signs of a controlling partner.
Let’s face it, there’s a fine line between being protective and being overprotective. So how can you tell if someone is a controlling partner? What actually makes someone truly controlling, and not just a worrywart who loves you? Elite Daily spoke to Monica Parikh, dating and relationship coach at School of Love NYC about three red flags that indicate that the person you are dating is controlling.
1. They Believe They Have A Right To The Private Parts Of Your Life
Yes, you are dating this person. No, that does not guarantee them an all-access pass to everything you do, everyone you text, and every event on your calendar. If your partner is inserting themselves into the parts of your life outside of your relationship in an aggressive way, it’s not a great sign.
“We are all entitled to our private thoughts and intimate relationships (with other people). A controlling partner may feel entitled to have access to your email, phone, or internet history,” Parikh explains. “It’s a violation of your privacy. More importantly, this behavior — if not stopped — will make it hard for you to feel safe and secure within the relationship.”
So, if you live together and your partner logs on to pay your cable bill, that makes sense. But if you catch them checking your internet history or cracking the password to your phone? Huge red flag. The person you are dating should trust you, and if they can’t, they should talk to you about their fears. There is absolutely no need for them to infringe on your privacy.
2. They Think They Have A Say In How You Act
In a healthy relationship, your partner could mention that he thinks you should both stop watching so much Netflix on Sundays and start exploring the city you live in, and that would be pretty normal and cute. In an unhealthy relationship, your partner might start giving unsolicited advice on ways that you can alter your lifestyle, or even encourage you to make changes by shaming you for your current behaviors.
“Controlling people may say that they are interested in helping you to ‘improve.’ He may comment about your hair, clothing, perfume, or personality,” Parikh says. “No matter how small the comment, it will chip away at your self-esteem. You will walk on eggshells and be afraid of every move, which makes it hard to deepen intimacy or feel safe.”
Does your partner ask you patronizingly, “Why don’t you get your eyebrows done more frequently?” or even just, “Why don’t you post many Instagram pictures of us?” Take note. A controlling partner has an image of you with boxes that they want you to check, while a healthy partner is happy to accept you for who you are.
3. They Don’t Encourage Your Independence
This is the ultimate difference between a partner who is worried about you when you go on a flight because they love you, and a partner who doesn’t want you spending too much time away from them because they’re afraid of losing control over you.
“Your controlling partner may not like your best friend. He may even complain you talk to your family too often,” says Parikh. “The goal is to isolate you from your support network, making you an easy target for emotional manipulation and abuse.”
If you feel like you need your partner’s permission to go to a work happy hour, or meet up with a male — or even female — friend, that’s someone having control over you, as subtle as it may feel. Does your partner hold you to a different standard than they hold themselves when it comes to being independent? That’s a sign of someone who is looking to control you.
Pay attention to your family and friends’ responses to your partner’s behavior: Are they expressing concerns? Do they worry about the influence your partner has over you? Listen to them.
When a partner’s words or actions change your behavior in major ways, you are in an unhealthy relationship. If you are in a controlling relationship, talk to a trusted friend or family member about what you should do. Healthy food is good for our bodies, and so are healthy relationships. Time for a green juice.
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