11 Signs of a Controlling Boyfriend

Finally, this is it! You have met the man of your dreams. 

The two of you are joined at the hip, and he is constantly guiding you in every move that you make. You can’t help but believe he’s madly in love with you. 

After all, he calls you throughout the day and wants to keep you all to himself every chance he gets. Isn’t he sweet? 

His attentiveness seems to show he’s basking in the newness of your relationship. However, there’s a side to this scenario that suggests your boyfriend is already starting to control you, and maybe you’re not fully aware of it. 

An emotionally-manipulative boyfriend often uses subtle tactics, making the unsuspecting woman think that he is acting in her best interest, when in fact, he always wants to have his final say in the relationship. 

It’s difficult to discern if this overly-attentive guy is being manipulative or if he just cares about you a lot. If you find it hard to tell the difference between the two, there are major telltale signs to see if your guy is micromanaging you.

Here are 11 signs of a controlling boyfriend you need to be aware of:

1-He wants your world to revolve around him and only him.

An understanding partner will appreciate that you have a life of your own and will be happy that you are able to nurture your friendships with other people. 

However, a manipulative man will subtly try to convince you to avoid your friends or stop you from talking to your siblings. He might also persuade you to cut back on your work, as it impacts your time together. 

Why this is bad: Aside from feeling jealous of your attention and time, he also wants you to cut ties with your network of friends and your support system, so that eventually he will be the only person you can depend on

2-He takes you on a guilt trip every time.

Guilt is a strong emotion that a manipulative boyfriend will use to get what he wants, whether or not you are in an argument. 

He will make you feel like you’ve committed an offense, even before you fully understand the situation. 

It can even be as petty as making you feel guilty for neglecting to tell him about having coffee with your officemate. 

In time, it reaches a point where even your bedroom activities feel forced, because you feel pressure to have sex every time he wants it — even when you are exhausted or not in the mood.

Why this is bad: Your boyfriend wants you to feel punished every time he doesn’t get his way. Because you don’t want to feel at fault in every situation that concerns your relationship, it comes to a point where conceding to your partner’s whims is your default action. By keeping your opinion to yourself and giving up your power to choose, you are empowering your boyfriend to be even more controlling

3-He does not respect your privacy. 

Those fifty missed calls on your phone when you’re not together, in addition to his constant checking up on your whereabouts, is not a sign of sweetness. Rather, it’s a sign that he wants to monitor all your actions. 

Pretty soon he will ask for the password for your email and social media accounts and will try to gain access to your phone. 

What’s creepier is how you’re always running into him in unexpected places. When you ask why he’s doing these things, his defense is blaming you, suggesting his actions shouldn’t bother you if you’re not doing anything wrong.

Why this is bad: If your partner shows this kind of unsettling behavior, it means that he’s suspicious of you and doesn’t have any interest in putting his trust in you. To appease him, you’ll make a lot of effort to prove your trustworthiness to him, which shouldn’t be necessary in a mutually respectful relationship

4-He blows every argument into epic proportions. 

A petty fight can be blown into a huge shout fest when it comes to your boyfriend. In healthy relationships, couples discuss their differences calmly and try to reach a compromise. 

However, when it comes to your partner, he sees it as a competition, and he needs to win every argument, regardless of whether or not it will sour the relationship.

Why this is bad: Manipulative people live for moments when they can be argumentative, because they always want to prove themselves right and make the other person relent. 

It’s exhausting to resolve conflicts with a controlling partner, and if you become passive about it, your partner will interpret this as a victory on his part and will make it a point to pick fights just to make himself feel better.

5-He makes you doubt yourself. 

Maybe it’s the way he questions your choice of friends, your career decisions, or even the principles that you have believed in your entire adult life that makes you doubt yourself. 

His criticisms feel like he is mocking your intelligence, or that your opinions on current issues are stupid and irrelevant.

Why this is bad: A cunning boyfriend will plant small uncertainties in your head, which eventually grow into fears of not being good enough. He wants to stop you from having an opinion of your own, so you will come to depend on him to make the decisions for you

6-He is insecure.

Although your boyfriend might seem confident, controlling men are often the most emotionally vulnerable beings on the planet.

His need to manipulate you stems from a pretense of power and deep insecurities. 

Why this is bad: When he lacks self-esteem, your guy will take it out on you to feel validated. The more he sees that he can control you and your relationship, the more he will crave this ego satisfaction

7-He makes you believe that you are undeserving of him. 

Once in a while, you can’t help but think that your boyfriend is too good for you, and that’s normal. 

However, if he constantly brings up that he is a “catch” and compares you to him or to his past girlfriends, then he is working his way to dominating you.

Why this is bad: A controlling boyfriend wants you to feel that you don’t measure up to him, and that you should be grateful that he is with you. In turn, he is egging you to work harder to prove yourself worthy by doing his bidding just to keep him satisfied with the relationship.

8-He uses threats when the odds are not in his favor.

In every fight that you’ve had, he brings out the “breakup card” or worst, the “suicide card.” He uses drama and threats to make you feel sorry for him or fearful he might leave or harm himself if you don’t comply.

Why this is bad: Threats are frequently employed by manipulative people, because they know that this is the easiest way to get what they want. 

By tugging at your guilt and suggesting that something bad might happen to your relationship or to him, your boyfriend wants you to know that the blood is on your hands

9-He gets jealous and paranoid.

Jealousy can be endearing in small and harmless doses. However, when he becomes overly possessive and picks a fight because he thinks that you were flirting with your officemate when you were just being polite, then his jealousy turns from endearing to controlling.

Why this is bad: Jealousy can lead to a harmful obsession and even make him physically abusive. It reveals a lack of trust in you, as well as a deep insecurity in him.

10-He requires his permission before you are allowed to do something. 

When you are in a relationship, you start to consider your partner’s opinions in making major decisions.

However, if he demands that you ask permission before doing mundane activities, then see this as a huge red flag.

Why this bad: Micromanaging your every move is a sign that your partner wants you to be dependent on his approval. It may start out subtle, but later on, you will realize that he needs a say on everything that you can and can’t do, stifling your ability to make decisions on your own.

11-His rules are one-sided.

Your boyfriend has unwritten rules in your relationship that were written for his benefit but not for yours. 

For example, he gets angry when you go out for brunch with your friends, but you can’t question him about spending the entire weekend in Vegas with the boys. Your relationship has become one-way — his way.

Why this is bad: Your boyfriend’s behavior reinforces the idea that you are doing the wrong things in the relationship. He wants you to do things his way, even at the expense of your own happiness.

Are any of these signs present in your current or past relationships? How did you find out that your partner might’ve been controlling? Do share your stories in the comments below.

Marla Rondo

Marla writes about relationship help topics. Marla lives in Bend, OR and enjoys hiking and reading.

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