9 signs you're dating a controlling boyfriend

Do you feel like your boyfriend is always telling you what to do? Does he get angry if you don't do things his way? These and many more signs could be indicative of a controlling boyfriend. We've put together a list of some of the most common signs so you can be on the lookout.

Dating Expert Janet Smith October 3, 2022 • 7 minutes read
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Many people may not realize that they are in a controlling relationship until it is too late. Controlling relationships are often very subtle and can be hard to spot. However, there are some signs that can indicate that your boyfriend is trying to control you.

Sick of feeling like you’re the only one struggling in your relationship? Check out our guide for relationship advice that can help improve your situation!

What does an abusive controlling boyfriend look like?

Abusive partners come in all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds. They can be male or female, rich or poor, employed or unemployed, religious or non-religious, and of any race or ethnicity.

What all abusive persons have in common, however, is that they want to have power and control over their partners. A controlling partner is not just a control freak. They will try to control every aspect of their partner’s life in order to feel powerful. This excessive control is abusive behavior and is very common in toxic relationships.

If you think your boyfriend might be controlling, here are some common signs to look out for:

9 major signs your boyfriend is too controlling

It can be difficult to tell whether or not your partner is controlling. Often, the signs are subtle and may not be easy to spot. If you think your partner is being too controlling, there are some things you can look out for. The following are some signs of a controlling boyfriend:

1. He always wants to know where you are and what you’re doing.

One of the signs of a controlling boyfriend is that he always wants to know your whereabouts. He may call or text you frequently to check up on you, or he may drop by unexpectedly to see what you’re doing.

This constant monitoring is a way for him to control your behavior and make sure you’re doing what he wants you to do. It’s also a way for him to keep tabs on you, so he knows who you’re with and what you’re doing at all times.

2. He gets angry if you don’t do what he wants.

Abusive partners often use anger as a way to control their partners. If you don’t do what your boyfriend wants, he may get angry with you. He may try to intimidate you or make you feel guilty for not doing what he wants.

Whether he’s yelling at you, giving you the silent treatment, or physically harming you, his goal is to make you feel bad so that you’ll do what he wants. This is not a healthy way to communicate and is a major sign of an abusive relationship.

3. He constantly puts you down and makes you feel inferior.

Abusive persons are usually skilled manipulators and will often try to make their partners feel bad about themselves in order to control them. If your boyfriend is always putting you down, making negative comments about your appearance or intelligence, or telling you that you are nothing without him, these are all signs of an abusive relationship.

Emotional manipulation is a very common form of abuse and can be just as damaging as physical violence. If your boyfriend is constantly making you feel bad about yourself, it is important to reach out for help.

4. He makes all the decisions for both of you.

A controlling boyfriend will often try to make decisions for both of you without consulting you first. Whether it’s about life decisions or small everyday choices, a controlling partner will want to have the final say. This can be extremely frustrating and can make you feel like you have no say in your own life.

If your boyfriend is always making decisions for you without taking your opinion into account, this is a telltale sign of an unhealthy relationship. You should be able to make decisions together as a team and have a say in what happens in your relationship.

5. He gets angry if you talk to other guys.

Jealousy is a common emotion, but it can also be a sign of a controlling boyfriend. If your boyfriend gets angry or jealous when you talk to other guys, this is a red flag. A healthy relationship should be based on trust and respect, not jealousy and insecurity.

Jealousy can lead to controlling behavior, as your boyfriend may try to limit your interactions with other people. This can have a negative impact on your social life and your relationship. So if your boyfriend is jealous, talk to him about it and see if he’s willing to work on this issue.

6. He doesn’t let you spend time with your family or friends.

One of the most common signs of a controlling boyfriend is that he doesn’t want you to spend time with your family or friends. He may try to control who you see and how much time you spend with them. He may also get angry or jealous when you talk to them.

A controlling boyfriend may try to isolate you from the people you love in order to have more control over you. This can be extremely damaging to your relationship and your mental health. So if your boyfriend is preventing you from seeing your loved ones, it’s important to reach out for help.

7. He tells you what to wear and how to style your hair.

A controlling boyfriend may try to control your appearance. He may tell you what to wear and how to style your hair. He may also criticize your appearance and tell you that you need to change the way you look.

Your appearance is a personal choice and no one else should have a say in how you look - period.

8. He expects you to be available whenever he wants you.

A controlling boyfriend may expect you to be available 24/7. He may get angry or withdraw his affection if you don’t drop everything to be with him. He may also try to control how much time you spend with other people.

It’s important to have a life outside of your relationship and you should never have to sacrifice your own happiness for your partner’s. So if your boyfriend is demanding all of your time and attention, it’s important to set some boundaries.

9. He checks your phone, email, or social media without your permission.

Well, this one should be a no-brainer. If your boyfriend is snooping through your personal belongings, it’s a huge red flag. No one has the right to invade your privacy like that, regardless of how “in love” they are.

A healthy relationship is based on trust, not control. So if your boyfriend doesn’t trust you enough to respect your privacy, it’s time to have a serious talk.

These are just some of the signs of a controlling boyfriend. If you’re experiencing any of these things in your relationship, it’s important to reach out for help. There are many resources available to you, and you don’t have to suffer in silence. Remember, you deserve to be in a healthy, happy relationship. You deserve to be treated with respect. And no one has the right to control you or make you feel bad about yourself.

Secrets to a healthy relationship: Books every couple should read

It's no secret that a healthy relationship is key in a long-lasting and fulfilling relationship. This list of books about healthy relationships will help you learn how to communicate better, resolve conflict, and deepen your connection. From classic self-help books to more modern reads, these titles will give you the tools you need to build a strong and healthy relationship.

  1. Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships
  2. Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of Every Healthy Relationship
  3. Love More, Fight Less: Communication Skills Every Couple Needs: A Relationship Workbook for Couples
  4. Infidelity Recovery Workbook for Couples: Tools and Exercises to Rebuild Your Relationship
  5. Healthy Me, Healthy Us: Your Relationships Are Only as Strong as You Are
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Dating Expert

Janet Smith

Janet Smith is a freelance writer who writes about psychology, relationships, and dating. She has always been interested in understanding the human brain and how it affects our …

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