When you find that person who seems to love you for who you are, there’s nothing better. However, later down the line, it can turn out he’s actually a manipulative person, whose aim is simply to control you.Toxic relationships can sneak up on almost anyone. And controlling behavior on the part of a partner knows no boundaries—people of any age, gender, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status can be in controlling relationships, playing either role.
Controlling people use a whole arsenal of tools in order to dominate their partners— whether they or their partners realize what’s happening or not. Sometimes, the emotional manipulation is complex enough that the person who is being controlled actually believes that they themselves are the villain, or that they are extremely lucky that their controlling partner “puts up” with them. Whether controlling behavior leads to more severe emotional or physical abuse or not, it is not a healthy situation. If you notice more than a couple of these signs within your relationship or your partner, take it seriously.
- Protective vs. Possessive
There is a very fine line between having a protective lover and a possessive lover. It’s natural to protect someone you care about, so if he keeps you in close sight and his arm around your shoulders while you two are out at the club, great. If on the other hand, he refuses to let you go anywhere alone or starts fights with men who try to talk to you, he’s possessive and, like a dog uses aggression to defend what’s “his”.
- Respectful vs. Tolerant
A partner who loves you will respect you for your strong opinions, opposed to a man who will not believe that your opinion is as equally valid and important as his but still tells you that you are right.
- Encouraging vs. Controlling
A man who loves a woman would encourage her to pursue new opportunities and experiences. He may introduce her to plenty of new things, but he’ll never force her into something she’s uncomfortable with or make her feel bad about herself for not doing something he wanted her to.
- Serious vs. Interested
A man who is interested in you will talk to you when the times are convenient for him. If the relationship is brand new, this is to be expected. But if you two have been official for a while and he still only seems to talk when it’s good for him, then chances are he’s not in love, even if he does use the “L” word. Men who are in love will make serious commitments and efforts. When they say they’ll do something, they follow through.
- Affectionate vs. Clingy
Now we’re moving into a different territory where your man may text, call and want to be with you 24/7. You might think that sounds great, but constantly checking up on you and needing the reassurance of their place in your life is a sign he’s in this more for himself than for you. A man who loves you will certainly let it show both emotionally and physically, but a man who is clingy just has emotional issues and wants to talk to you so he feels validated, not so you feel good.
- Honest vs. Cruel
If you ask him how you look in a pair of jeans and he says you should change, that doesn’t mean he’s evil or thinks you’re gross. Men who love women will tell them what they need to hear. The truth may sting a little in certain situations, but his words never should. A man who tells you to lose weight or insults the things you like, your style or anything else about you, doesn’t do so out of love; he does it because he doesn’t respect you and knows he can get away with treating you that way.