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Controlling Relationship – Definition, Signs, Causes, What to do, and Everything Else

Controlling Relationship – Definition, Signs, Causes, What to do, and Everything Else

Updated on Oct 11, 2023

Reviewed by Katina Tarver, MA (Mental Health and Wellness Counseling) , Life & Relationship Coach

Controlling Relationship – Definition, Signs, Causes, What to do, and More

Do you think you’re in a controlling relationship? Is your freedom slipping away from your hands like sand?

Oh gosh… I wish you didn’t have to face this situation ever! But since you did, I’m glad that you’re finally ready to get help!

Don’t you ever feel you’re alone in this journey… because through this think-piece, I’ll hold your hand till the end.

So, have faith and fight for healthier relationships with me…

What is a controlling relationship?

In a controlling relationship, only one of the partners has all the powers and authority in the relationship.

When your partner dictates or dominates everything about your life without your consent and you’re bound to follow the rules without a choice, it’s a controlling relationship.

The controlling partner makes selfish decisions in your life which makes you feel guilty, insecure, or intimidated.

Since control is a type of abuse, it can take place physically, sexually, emotionally, psychologically, financially, verbally, or spiritually.

So, if you feel unsafe, call or text “START” to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) or 911.

However, it usually starts with innocent-sounding pleas like “You can’t wear that… wear this type of outfit from now on.” Or, they make you feel guilty for spending money on yourself.

Sometimes you even fear talking to them because of their reaction. They might make you feel ashamed publicly or in front of your friends and family… to the point that you question your sanity.

People initially accept this attitude in relationships as they find the little requests cute, think these small demands are normal, or that their partner only wants the best for them.

But there’s a small connection between codependency with controlling relationships. So, let’s know it in depth here…

Codependency and Controlling Relationship

Like controlling partners, codependent partners also prioritize themselves over their partner and judge their partner’s love and loyalty based on attention. Often, codependent people fall for controlling people and pick on their controlling tendencies.

Controlling tendencies and codependency in relationships are quite similar.

For instance, a controlling person aggressively demands your attention and obedience. A codependent person assumes that controlling in a relationship is equivalent to loving their partner. So, if the partner gives attention, they love them… otherwise, they don’t.

The dependent part of codependency shows that someone will prioritize their own needs and desires before yours. They want you to be a people-pleaser and caregiver to them.

However, codependent people might also get into relationships with controlling people… and then become controlling themselves.

Anxious if you’re also in a controlling relationship? Let’s find out here…

Signs of a controlling relationship – when your partner is controlling

If you suspect your partner controls you, then you must have a pretty good reason behind it. However, sometimes you might even make mistakes.

On the other hand, people might be in a controlling relationship for years yet not notice it. So, it’s always better to check with these…

1. They try to pull you away from your circle

Your partner is controlling if they frequently insult your best friend and talk negatively, especially about friends that advise you to break up.

They’ll convince you that they only want to harm you until you feel emotionally isolated.

They want you to feel so helpless that you believe that you can trust and depend on nobody other than your partner.

2. It’s always destructive criticism

In healthy relationships, partners constructively criticize each other to help each other grow. However, if your partner always criticizes you destructively, that’s another sign of emotional abuse and control in a relationship. 

For instance, you seek your partner about problems in your social circle. Instead of soothing you, they’ll make you feel it’s completely your fault and make you believe you’re wrong.

3. You’re becoming codependent day by day

One of the major red flags of a controlling relationship lies in your feelings. You’ll feel you can’t do anything right by yourself every passing day and you were self-sufficient before being in the relationship.

You need your partner’s guidance even about the clothes you’ll wear and how you’ll style your hair.

4. You feel threatened

If your partner threatens you in any form to follow their rules and decisions, that’s a glaring sign of a controlling and abusive relationship.

They might say, “If you don’t agree with me, this is the end for us” or “If you leave me… I’ll cut my wrist”.

At this point, the relationship is no longer sane and you NEED to get out of it.

5. There’s only conditional love

Another red flag of controlling behavior in a relationship is when they shower you with love and affection… but only when you accept their demands.

They might say “You won’t wear that dress if you love me” or “I’d treat you well if you don’t meet your friends today”. If you don’t feel loved when you live life your way, that’s enough!

6. They guilt trip you for your opinions

A major sign of controlling and toxic relationships is when they try to manipulate you in every step of your life with guilt. They make you feel guilty for your choices.

They bring examples of the times when you didn’t listen to them and it backfired. And, they make you feel bad for even having opinions.

7. You have zero privacy

Some couples share their devices and passwords just because both partners don’t mind it.

However, if your partner snoops around your devices, texts, phone calls, emails, social media, or demands you to share passwords… they’re downright a control freak with trust issues.

They might even question you about your contacts, and texts, and force you to block people.

8. They’re quite jealous

When you talk to a stranger, if they accuse you of flirting or cheating, and get overly jealous of your friends from the opposite gender… that’s a tell-tale sign of a controlling relationship.

You might initially think it’s cute because they’re insecure and want them all to themselves… but it’s a major unhealthy sign.

9. They won’t let you have a life

When you make plans to spend time without your partner, notice how they react.

If they frequently want you to stay back and cancel your plans… or they try to convince you that spending time without them is unnecessary, that’s another red flag.

If you stick to your plans despite that, they might even accuse you of infidelity.

10. They make you feel guilty for having family time

If there are control issues in a relationship, your partner won’t even allow you to meet your friends or family members with peace of mind.

For instance, they might say “Why do you need others when you have me?” “Am I not enough for you?” They’ll manipulate you into thinking they need you more than your loved ones.

11. They’re a master at turning tables

Even if you know they’re at fault and confront them about it, a controlling partner will always blame you for their toxicity and control issues.

They’ll somehow make you a bad person and play the victim. You always get blamed for their wrongdoings. For instance, if they abuse you, they’ll say your hurtful actions compelled them to do it.

12. You question your sanity frequently

Another sign of manipulative and abusive behavior in relationships is gaslighting. Suppose, they do something wrong and you confront them about it.

They’ll either deny that completely or say that you misinterpreted it. You start questioning your mental health and memories.

If this happened more than once in your relationship, it’s time to call it quits.

13. They decide major things for you

Some decisions in your life are solely personal. You can’t let others interfere in it.

For instance, they can’t change your wardrobe without your permission or schedule or cancel your friend’s outing without your permission.

Or, if they revamp your space without taking your feelings and choices into account, that’s just crossing the limit.

14. They act overprotective

Often, people in love become blind. They misinterpret signs of controlling behavior as being caring.

For instance, your partner might treat your friend of the opposite gender badly because they want to get in your pants.

They might even forbid you to meet them without your partner around. They’re just being controlling and not looking out for you.

15. The “micro-management” is too much!

If your partner always

  • chooses your clothes,
  • how to style your hair,
  •  sets your diet against your wishes,
  •  pressures you to maintain your weight,
  •  controls or denies access to your own money,
  • stops you from getting medical help,
  • takes away your important documents in the name of “keeping them safe”
  • always oversees what you take from the fridge
  • asks about your phone conversations

…these are eminent signs of controlling and abusive behavior.

16. They ritually violate your boundaries

If you refuse something strictly, that’s your boundary. And if your partner incessantly tries to make you change your mind whether by hurting you or themselves, that’s a boundary violation.

They want to make you feel bad for your choices and manipulate you into changing your mind… which is another sign of control issues.

17. You know you’ll face hell if you don’t respond

Whenever you’re outside without your partner, your partner always blows your phone with texts and calls to know your whereabouts… It’s a glaring sign of a controlling relationship.

It’s even worse if you feel afraid of their reactions when you can’t respond to them, so you always keep your phone close to you.

18. They keep count of their actions

Healthy relationships include a balanced give-and-take policy.

However, if your partner keeps count of each other’s loving actions… and it’s always them who did more for you… that’s another warning sign. This is just another way of trying to convince you of their demands.

19. They make you indebted to their favors

Everyone likes to receive surprises from their lovers. It makes them feel cherished and loved. However, if your partner spoils you with gifts and favors only to ask you to pay them back later with something… that’s a red flag.

They want you to feel you owe them something and make you feel you can’t leave without paying these debts.

20. You feel your insecurities intensified

Everyone has insecurities but nobody ponders on them all the time. However, whenever you’re with your partner, if you feel extremely insecure because of the way they act and speak, they want to make you feel you’re inferior to them.

This is a way to say “you better stay grateful for having someone as amazing as me and follow my lead”.  

21. They make you tired of fights

A controlling partner will fight with you so often and so violently that you either get tired of fighting with them or you’ll be scared of fighting ever again.

You might become extra cautious as if you’re walking on eggshells… all so that you guys don’t fight and you feel emotionally drained again.

22. They force you to share things against your will

You have the right to keep your social media passwords, your device pin, your bank account details, your conversations and texts, and even your whereabouts to yourself.

However, if your partner always forces you to spill sensitive info through emotional blackmail or threats to abuse you, that’s another warning sign of your partner’s unhealthy power and control in relationships.

23. The shame you until you submit

In romantic relationships, teasing each other within limits is quite sweet.

However, if the teasing crosses the limit and your partner tries to make you feel ashamed and ridicule you. If they make you think you’re incapable and must depend on them, that’s another malicious sign of a controlling partner.

24. You feel they don’t listen to you

Think about how much authority you have in the relationship.

If you feel that you don’t have much power, your partner hardly listens to you, they don’t try to understand you at all, and you always follow their lead, that says it all. You’re controlled by them big time!

25. They limit your development

Once you become financially stable, you’ll be independent and can leave your partner at any time.

So, your academic, professional, and financial growth and development are the greatest resistance to a controlling partner.

If they try to slow you down from reaching your goals, know that your suspicions are correct.

26. They control you with sex

If your partner tries to control you even in the bedroom, those are one of the warning signs of a physically and sexually controlling relationship.

For instance, they might refuse you sex and make you beg for it for days… and pressure you into sexual activities you’re uncomfortable with. You feel that if you refuse them, you might face some consequences.

27. You feel you must earn good treatment or trust

Trust is a valuable foundation of a solid relationship and it takes a long time to earn it.

However, if your partner doesn’t trust you even after years of togetherness… or if they mistreat and doubt you all the time… these are also signs of a controlling relationship.

28. They make you feel stupid for your choices

Romantic partners have multiple differences like faith in political parties, morals, favorite sports teams, etc.

If your partner belittles your long-held choices and acts all high and mighty, you feel bad for even “being fooled and tricked” into trusting these choices. You feel insecure and drown in self-doubts which leads to blind dependence on your partner.

29. They pressure you to practice bad habits

There are different forms of controlling in relationships depending on the controller’s insecurities. For instance, if you’re health-conscious and have particular fitness goals, your partner gets insecure.

Because if you stay fit and attractive, they’ll be afraid you can get away from them at any time and find a new partner. To undermine these strengths, they might force you into addictions to keep you under their paws.

30. They make you doubt your qualities

Perhaps you plan on getting a master’s degree… or you want to try your luck at a new job or business. A controlling partner will make you doubt your qualities so you lose confidence.

They’ll even force you to make the wrong decisions and fail. That way, you’ll have no spirits left to try again and will be under their control forever.

31. You find out different versions of the same story

If your partner ever tells you about an incident, but their friends slip out another version of it… with only minute differences but nothing too different to get hyped up… that’s a major sign.

You’re being controlled with half-truths and you just got a glimpse of that by mistake.

32. They hold double standards

He hates it when you wear short dresses and keep your hair down… but he’ll check out other women that do the same. She’ll hate it when you talk to other women, but it’s fine if she talks to other men.

If these sorts of double standards are evident in your relationship, that’s also a sign of control.

33. You feel trapped in the relationship

The scariest sign of being in a controlling relationship is when you feel that you can’t escape from it.

If they control your finances, make you grow apart from loved ones, keep you locked in, don’t allow you to earn your living, and have their tabs on you 24/7… they all signal that you’re dealing with a controlling partner.

34. They lock you in after fights

Controlling partners especially become aggressive after full-blown fights. They won’t let you step out of the house because you have friends that might rescue you from them. Even worse, they might lock you in somewhere to make you reflect and never raise your voice against them.

35. They ignore or withhold affection until you submit

All controlling partners aren’t physically abusive. They might simply ignore your presence, withhold affection, and give you silent treatment.

It’s a way to manipulate you into thinking it’s your fault. They make you apologize and submit to them in this manner.

But if your partner calls you the controlling one, here’s a way to check it…

Signs of a controlling relationship – when you’re controlling

If you get accused of being a controlling partner, it might not sound so good. But don’t get defensive. Instead, take your time to understand whether your partner misunderstood you or if there’s a serious hidden issue…

1. You criticize them too fast

Whenever your partner says something went wrong with their day, notice your reaction.

If you immediately think that it happened for a reason, your partner was wrong, or they probably deserved it… even before they tell the entire story… you don’t trust much. You’re controlling because of your trust issues.

2. You do everything to keep them from their folks

When your partner thinks about meeting their family or hanging out with their friends… if you usually try to convince them to bail out at the last minute, that’s another sign of controlling your partner.

You want them to focus on you and your relationship and want to isolate them… and you probably defend yourself by saying you miss your partner.

3. You always want to keep tabs on them

Another sign of being controlling is that you want to know about your partner’s whereabouts all the time. You force them to share their live location with you.

You stalk them on social media, who likes and comments on their posts… and later on, you fight about what kind of relationship they have.

4. You want all the attention

When you’re out together and someone starts talking to your partner, observe your reaction. If you suddenly feel a surge of jealousy and feel your partner is flirting or cheating on you, that’s another sign of controlling behavior.

You want your partner to look at nobody but you… even if they need to be rude to others!

5. You think digital privacy isn’t important

If you feel your partner doesn’t deserve digital privacy and demand them to share their social media passwords, that’s a toxic and controlling sign.

Unless your partner cheated on you or you have solid proof of their adultery, this is a serious issue.

6. You want to do everything together

If you expect your partner to not even breathe without your permission, that’s another urgent sign of controlling tendencies.

For instance, you think deciding on anything like their clothes, hair, or even their dinner without you is immoral.

If yes, you need help from mental health professionals ASAP. You still have time to fix everything.

7. You’re way too probing

Questioning your partner can help you know each other better. But, when you guys spend time together, if you always keep asking questions, that’s harassment and a sign of being controlling. 

It might ask about their friends, who they spend the most time with, whether any of their friends have a crush on them, whether they can do anything for you… even leave their friends for you.

8. You make your partner feel guilty

During fights, if you always try to gain the upper hand by reminding them about past favors, that’s another red flag.

You want them to feel guilty about what you did for them and expect them to repay you by allowing you to control their life.

9. You choose everything in their life

If you always boss your partner around about who they can be friends with and what they can or can’t do… even though they don’t do anything that might harm your relationship, trust, or you… it shows you’re controlling your partner.

10. You feel suspicious when they want freedom and space

Whenever your partner tries to spend time away from you or steps out of the house, if you get suspicious, that’s another sign.

Moreover, if you frequently call them, ask them to share your location, or get angry when they don’t pick up your calls, you gotta stop being so controlling!

Wondering why controlling dynamics even kicked in? Let’s know the truth here…

What makes a person controlling in a relationship?

In relationships, people become controlling due to inner issues like fears of losing control, abandonment, intimacy, the unknown, or even relationship OCD. However, people don’t notice their issues and project their anxieties on others which leads to toxicity.

People exercise power and control in relationships to cope with their insecurities as a defense mechanism. Some people need a lot of work to do on the inside. But since it’s a tough job to even identify such deep issues, they want to change their external world instead.

Some of these internal issues are fear of abandonment, fear of losing control, fear of intimacy, relationship OCD, fear of the unknown future, and so on.

A controlling person might not always be straight off unacceptable. Because it might be due to a personality disorder, depression, or trauma due to childhood or past relationships. And all of these are fixable with the help of mental health professionals.

However, that never implies it’s OKAY to stand and accept controlling behaviors… only because they might not be bad. And of course, never doubt yourself for your partner’s controlling nature… even if they convinced you that for so long.

So, your partner is controlling and you don’t know your next step? Let’s know it here…

What to do in a controlling relationship?

The shock that your partner controlled or manipulated you for a while might freeze you. However, it’s time to save either your relationship or yourself. So, snap out of it and follow these…

1. Always keep an eye for the signs

The moment you start doubting your partner, you must compare with the signs right away. Even if it’s a misunderstanding, don’t wait and waste your time. Your freedom and safety might be endangered if you delay this.

If you’re in a new relationship, you must look out for signs right away.

2. Take your time to know them

Never make major decisions like marriage, moving in, investing in joint property, or even having a baby too fast in a relationship. Take your time to know your partner.

Wait until you find out whether they’re controlling or not. Otherwise, you’ll get yourself in a big mess with such a person.

3. Understand how extreme the situation is

You probably think there are two types of people: Controlling and not controlling. However, there might be a spectrum of possibilities, instead of only two answers.

If your partner is slightly controlling and open to changing their ways, you can make the relationship work. But if they aren’t ready to accept their flaws and blame you all the time, it’s a big NO. So, understand your situation.

4. Don’t forget to communicate

If your partner is controlling, communicate with them about the situation. However, don’t guess their reactions. Give them a fair chance to show their true colors.

Share the link to this piece and ask them to think about it. If they’re ready to take it seriously and communicate about it calmly, you can still work things out. If not, then you must walk away.

5. Be prepared to leave it all

If your partner isn’t ready to change or compromise at all, call it quits. But what if you invested lots of time, energy, feelings, and even money in your relationship? The answer doesn’t budge.

Leave them no matter what. If they promise you to change only when you get serious about the relationship, know that’s just another manipulative trick.

Wondering how to take control of the relationship once again? Well, it’s easy peasy once you know this…

How to set boundaries in a controlling relationship?

If you’re in a controlling relationship, the answer isn’t always a breakup. So, if you want to make the relationship work, you must first regain your control and get rid of the power imbalance. So, follow these…

1. Start the convo with “I”

“I” statements help you sound neutral. Your partner won’t think of it as an attack, so their defensive side won’t be activated. For instance, say “I don’t feel safe when you…” The neutrality will also keep their manipulative side in check.

2. Take time and space to understand them

Don’t allow your partner to demand anything from you. Instead, whenever your partner requests you to do something, don’t accept it right away. If the controlling dynamics are on for a while, you can’t refuse right away. Take time and space to think whether it’s alright to accept it.

3. Don’t let your feelings waver your choice

Whenever they ask you to cancel plans, refuse them. But if you’re used to being manipulated, you might think they only care for you. However, stand tall and stick to your plans. Don’t give up on your desires.

4. Be clear and direct about negotiations

When you negotiate your demands, be clear. Don’t leave anything unclear as manipulators and controllers take advantage of those. For instance, “I’ll answer what kind of connection I have with that FB friend, but you mustn’t ever draw conclusions.”

5. Take notes of everything that concerns you

If your partner frequently gaslights you, take note of your conversations in a journal right after having them. Make sure your partner doesn’t know about your journal. If they ever try to gaslight you again, check your journal, and don’t doubt yourself.

6. Deal with your finances independently

If you have joint finances, ask them for your share of money and withdraw. Don’t let them withhold your credit cards even if they say they’ll keep it safe or it’ll stop you from excess spending. Study, work, and stay financially independent.

7. Secure your online accounts

Change your password to all social media platforms, emails, and devices. If they ask you why you changed it, say it’s for privacy and security. Or, if they demand your passwords, refuse. If they threaten you, it’s time to step away.

8. Stay close to your loved ones

Meet and talk to your friends and family regularly. Keep a strong and secure inner circle with people that truly care for you. Regularly stay connected and talk about the basic things in your relationship. If they see anything off, they’ll tell!

9. Seek online support groups

Check for online support groups for controlling relationship survivors. Know about their stories and learn how they dealt with controlling patterns.

Real-life examples of controlling behaviors in relationships will help you be more aware. You can also get better advice for boundary setting from them.

10. Consult with a therapist

If you still feel confused, seek a licensed therapist. They can give you professional medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment required for this. If you’re mistaken, they can also help you understand that. You can also go for couples therapy if your partner is ready to get help.

Wondering when it’s okay to just quit? Know it all here…

When should you end a controlling relationship?

All controlling relationships can’t work out till the end… even if you give them infinite chances. Your partner might take your chances for granted or even worse: think they own you. Let’s check when to call it quits…

1. Your partner becomes abusive and threatens your life.

2. They’re always jealous and suspicious. You’re always accused of cheating with all acquaintances.

3. You believe you’re unlovable and don’t deserve respect and freedom due to your partner’s manipulation.

4. You feel anxious every time you meet your partner.

5. Your partner gets defensive when you say they need help and even blames you for it.

6. They’re so self-centered that they can’t see what’s wrong. You feel there’s no future for you guys.

7. They emotionally drain you and you can’t focus on other areas of your life.

8. They don’t even pay attention to your feelings.

9. Even after telling them everything, they’re still disrespectful, controlling, and secretive.

10. The situation became worse after talking to them.

Did you find your situation here? Let’s step away tactfully here…

How to get out of a controlling relationship?

Stepping out of a controlling relationship isn’t an easy feat. Your partner will try to manipulate you repeatedly… and since you’re so disappointed, you’re vulnerable to their sweet lies. So, learn to protect yourself and get away here…

1. Make sure it’s truly controlling

This is the hardest step: Be honest about how you feel in the relationship. Seek a trustworthy person and share your experiences with them. Show them the signs of a controlling relationship/partner and ask them if they also think the same.

You might mistake a perfectly functional relationship as controlling just because they insist on things that are actually right for you.

2. Understand what you truly want and need

What is important in your relationship? Peace, money, or sexual satisfaction?

You mustn’t stay back in a poor relationship just for money or sex. These can cloud your emotions. You can satisfy these needs elsewhere too.

On the other hand, peace is non-negotiable. Make up your mind once and for all. Don’t delay your decision for too long.

3. Don’t expect your partner to change

Once you have the breakup conversation, don’t expect your partner to magically change. In movies and novels, after a breakup, toxic partners change when they understand the value of love.

But this is no fantasy. So, don’t hold such unrealistic expectations. If you expect such miracles, you’ll get hurt even more.

4. Don’t react to your partner’s provocations

After the breakup or pre break up conversations, they’ll try to rile you up in multiple ways. They might air your dirty laundry, spread false rumors about you, or even slander you for abusing them. Take legal actions wherever needed and don’t do anything by yourself.

5. Cut off connections

Once you split, block them from every platform you’re connected on. Get a divorce if you’re married. Take shelter from your loved ones if you feel unsafe at your place. If you work or study at the same place, have the bare minimal contact. If they threaten you, call the authorities.

6. Don’t take them back no matter what

If they can’t scare you back into the relationship, they might appear at your doorstep with a tear-stained face. Their friends or family might call you at the midnight saying your ex will attempt suicide if you don’t get back. Don’t even mistakenly take them back.

7. Remind yourself of the negatives when you waver

However, if you feel they’ve changed and want to return to them, remind yourself of the painful times. How did they react when you asked for space? If they never respected you, don’t expect any miraculous change now. Things might worsen once you get back.

8. Compare them with your other loved ones

If you still can’t convince your mind, think about how your parents, siblings, friends, and other loved ones treat you. You don’t deserve a toxic and manipulative relationship.

If your loved ones cherish you so much, why must you get back to that loser? You deserve a partner that’ll cherish you as much as your loved ones.

9. Ignore the self-made excuses

So, you think you were wrong for hiding things? No! Your partner made you feel unsafe to be truthful which made you keep secrets.

Do you feel you were too stubborn to not listen to your partner? Well, you’re your own person… you don’t need to listen to them always.

Stop justifying their faults!

10. Focus on self-love

They made you feel you’re unlovable but that’s wrong. Learn to love yourself once more. Build your self-confidence, indulge in activities you love, and focus on your career.

Let bygones be bygones… don’t let it affect your self-worth. If you can’t get over the pain, it’s time to seek professional help.

However, if you were the controlling one and want to know how to release control in the relationship, check this…

How to stop being controlling in a relationship?

If you admit that you were too controlling and want to change it, that’s a lot of progress. However, that’s never enough. To cherish your partner, give them a healthy relationship with these steps…

1. Request instead of demanding

If you want your partner to act a particular way or follow your lead, give them the reasons. If it’s truly for their best, let them decide that. Let them independently choose and don’t pressure them into anything. You don’t want them to be talked into it but consciously accept it.

2. Show gratitude without ulterior motives

When your partner does something for you, thank them or show gratitude with gifts. However, if you spend excess on them, don’t expect them to be indebted to you. You can’t use your gifts in exchange for controlling them. Instead, let them show gratitude as they desire.

3. Try to listen without jumping to conclusions

Whenever you guys have fights, listen to your partner’s explanations. Don’t assume the worst of them and never interrupt them in between. Moreover, they don’t owe you anything so accept it when they don’t want to share something… without assuming. Don’t get passive-aggressive about it!

4. Don’t lead the relationship alone

You’re used to deciding everything in the relationship. You plan everything all alone. But, next time ask your partner what they want. Accept their plans without any criticism. On your dates, take the lead alternatively. Let your partner’s self-confidence and joy soar this way.

5. Dive deep inside you

Your controlling tendencies might be due to hidden insecurities, anxieties, and fears. Try to identify them and work on them. Accept that everything isn’t controllable in life, but you can change these extreme feelings. If you can’t figure it out yourself, seek a therapist for better help.

6. Don’t chase perfectionism

Everyone in this world is flawed… so accept your partner as they are. Don’t push change in their life forcibly… because that’s absolutely unfair. Since your partner can accept your flaws, you must too. Think about their optimistic traits and stop criticizing them for everything.

Remember, if you chase perfectionism, you might lose love. So, choose wisely.

7. Lower the bars of expectations

Never ask your partner to be someone. Let them be how they are… you can expect them to improve themselves. But don’t have unrealistic expectations. They’re unique, just like you. Focus on your partner’s good traits and realize that you already have the best partner for yourself.

8. Allow them privacy

Loyalty, love, and care are important in your relationship. But don’t force your partner to prove that by invading their privacy.

Don’t make them share their social media or email passwords. Don’t check their chats. If you feel suspicious, confront them directly. If you still feel they’re unfaithful, break up. Privacy and personal space invasion won’t win you true love.

9. Accept that they have a life without you

Your partner has friends of all genders… that doesn’t mean they might cheat on you with one of them. If they want to hang out with them, let them do it. Allow them to live their life. Don’t check up every 10 minutes about their whereabouts and their company.

10. Let them grow in life

Perhaps you have everything to provide your partner with a secure life. Though that’s great, don’t stop your partner from chasing their dreams and earning for themselves. Let them be self-sufficient. No… they won’t leave you just because they earn and meet new people. Get over these anxieties.

Are you short on time? If you want to know if you’re in a controlling relationship quickly, here you go…

Controlling relationship quiz

If you truly have a controlling relationship, I doubt you can spend a long time on your phone. You’re probably scared your partner will find you and start arguing again. So, hurry up and answer these to quickly find the truth…

1. Does your lover keep you away from meeting your people as you desire?

2. Do they forbid you from stepping out of the house alone, working, or studying?

3. Do they limit your access to your own finances?

4. Do they often want to track your locations when you’re out or insist on dropping by and picking you up?

5. Do they often check your phone and conversations on text, mail, or call and/or limit your access to communication methods?

6. When you return home, do they ask you so many questions after returning home that you feel insulted?

7. Do they limit your access to medicines or your medical health professional?

8. Do they also order you about your clothes, diet, hobbies, and such minute things?

9. Do they make you feel afraid of expressing yourself in the relationship?

10. Do they force you to drink and take drugs against your wishes?

11. Do they want you to undergo body modifications like tattoos, piercings, and surgery against your wishes?

12. Do they not allow you to have any opinions about the type of sexual activities you guys have?

13. Do they threaten to harm your loved ones or blackmail you otherwise to keep you in the relationship?

14. Do they get aggressive with inanimate objects during fights and scare you?

15. Do they withhold affection for too long?

16. Did they physically hurt you or threaten to do so?

17. Do they physically harm you as punishment?

18. Do they make you feel you’re unworthy of them?

19. Do you feel they think you’re their possession?

20. Do they remind you of your mistakes whenever you defy them?

21. Do they accuse you of cheating and flirting?

22. Do they get defensive when you talk about their controlling nature?

23. Did you find out they lied to you?

24. Do they gaslight you?

25. Do they insult your beliefs?

If you answered “yes” to most questions, you’re in a controlling relationship. It’s time to take a step ASAP.

If you answered “no” to most questions, it might not be a controlling relationship. But don’t ignore your guts completely.

However, if you’re still confused or curious about the topic, have a look here…


Being in a controlling relationship might haze your sense of judgment if you were intensely controlled for a long time. You might expect your partner to change or assume they’re just being sweet. So, find all the answers here…

1. Can controlling partners change?

If your partner gets twisted satisfaction from controlling others, there’s hardly any chance of their change.

However, if their controlling tendencies are due to their childhood or past trauma or if it’s a personality disorder, medical attention might help them change.

2. How do I differentiate between a caring and controlling partner?

A caring partner will do everything for you because they love you. Their actions will help you feel optimistic. They’ll also help your personal growth.

However, a controlling partner’s “caring” actions will make you feel uncomfortable. You’ll feel anxious and miserable as they do everything to satisfy their ego.

3. Who’s more likely to fall victim to controlling people?

People with controlling tendencies usually target introverted and submissive people. However, they might prey on anyone close who blindly trusts them.

4. What are the effects of controlling relationships?

If you get controlled in a relationship, you might experience these:

– Poor self-confidence and self-worth
– Lack of confidence in decision making
– Depression and anxiety
– Fear of losing the controlling your partner as you grow extremely dependent on them
– Complex PTSD for prolonged control and abuse
– Lost will to live

5. Which sign is the strongest proof of a controlling relationship?

If your partner full-blown abuses you daily in any form, those are surefire signs of controlling relationships.

However, the other ones in minor amounts don’t prove you have a controlling relationship. This is because there’s a spectrum of controlling behaviors.

If someone accidentally or unconsciously controls you, that is easily solvable. So, follow your gut instead of one or two signs.

A word from ThePleasantRelationship

If you’re in a controlling relationship, reach out to someone trustworthy ASAP. You can’t think straight if you’re around a manipulator. 

If you already walked away from one, stop beating yourself over the past. Work on yourself and become someone that can help others.

However, if you’re the controlling partner and feel guilty, make sure you try your best to treasure your partner. If your partner already left you, try your best to woo them back… but don’t have high expectations.

Learn your lessons, stay safe, and thrive for better lives.

Are you interested to know more about ‘Relationship Anarchy’ then click here?