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Is Your Boyfriend the Boss of You?

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In every couple, one of the two individuals tends to be more dominant. It’s only natural. But there’s a difference between being a dominant character and a bossy, controlling person.

Here’s how to figure out if your boyfriend or husband is too bossy and tries to run your life for you.

There’s a fine line between caring about you and controlling you

Sometimes, guys have the best of intentions and they’ll act in a certain way because they want to help you grow and improve. Maybe they need to work on communicating that kindly and respectfully, but in general, they’re not controlling. They’re just caring.

But other times, your boyfriend or husband truly isn’t really caring about you as much as he’s controlling you. Some men control simply because they need to be in control, period. Other times, partners control out of fear, jealousy or other issues.

This article will explore two different kinds of controlling boyfriends or husbands, as well as signs that will alert you to bossy behavior.

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The Physically Abusive/Controlling Boyfriend or Husband

The first type of boyfriend is obviously an unstable and bad partner to have. It’s easy to identify this type if he’s ever been physically aggressive toward you, or threatened you with physical harm.

The Emotionally Controlling Boyfriend or Husband

The emotionally controlling boyfriend isn’t as obvious to spot as the physically abusive and controlling one. The emotionally controlling boyfriend isn’t a bad guy, in and of himself. So, it’s easy to miss these signs. His behavior is driven by his insecurity, low self-esteem, and possessive nature.

So, if your boyfriend does any of these things on a regular basis, he might be the boss of you and is very likely an emotionally controlling partner:

  1. He gets jealous if you have fun without him, and that goes for other guy and/or girlfriends alike.
  2. He’s jealous, in general, and if left unchecked it can turn into a harmful obsession, with stalking, trying to hack your accounts and making you feel guilty for enjoying your time with other people.
  3. He makes decisions for you – and we’re not talking about small things, like ordering your coffee at the cafe. We’re talking about big life decisions that only you have the right to make.
  4. If you do anything important without him, he either dismisses it entirely or he acts like you betrayed him by not involving him in the process.
  5. He lives by double standards, and the same rules he applies to you don’t apply to him. This could be for your friendships, work commitments, family boundaries and more.
  6. He’s manipulative in so many ways. For example, if he doesn’t get his way, his tears will make you soften and cave. Or, he could take a more aggressive approach and make you feel scared with shouting, name-calling and inappropriate language.
  7. He tells you what you should wear, and is critical of your own personal style. After a while, you start dressing for him to avoid an argument.
  8. He pushes you to eat, drink or engage in substance abuse when it doesn’t align with your values and personal goals.
  9. He tells you what to do and isn’t interested in your feedback, especially if you disagree with him. This can apply to your favorite activities, hobbies, and even personal style.
  10. He pressures you to have sex when you don’t want to or without proper protection. Or, he pushes you to give him sexual pleasures that you’re uncomfortable with, such as photos, videos, role-playing, etc.
  11. His wants and needs start to supersede your own and after a while, you just don’t know what you want anymore. It’s all about him now.
  12. He is controlling when it comes to your financial business.

As you can see, there are many red flags that can alert you to having a bossy and controlling partner. It’s important to remember that not all of these signs indicate a controlling boyfriend, but some of them are clear messages.

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How do you know if your boyfriend or husband is the boss of you?

Every marriage is different, as are the dynamics within each couple. But bossy, controlling behavior shows up in pretty clear ways – if you know what to look for.

The best and surest way to know if you’re dealing with a controlling and bossy partner is to listen to your gut and trust it. You can find out what your gut is saying by asking some of the following questions:

  • Do you feel that you’ve lost your independence and freedom?
  • Do you feel safe?
  • Do you feel happy with him?
  • If you were to confront any of these issues with him, would it make your situation even worse?

What to do if your boyfriend or husband is bossy and controlling

When you start to show up and put yourself first, you’re silently showing him how you want to be treated.

Some people carry a lot of pain and trauma with them from past experiences. Until that is addressed, your partner will show up in his life (and yours) feeling pain, and what’s more, pushing that pain onto you with his bossy controlling behavior.

And while you can look at your bossy partner with love, compassion, and understanding, that is not the same as being a push-over or letting someone treat you with disrespect or even abuse.

You can stand up for yourself. And taking a stand for yourself isn’t a way to be mean to him. It’s a way to assert yourself and give yourself lots of self-respect. And when you start to show up and put yourself first, you’re silently showing him how you want to be treated.

Depending on the areas of your life that he’s controlling, it may be easier or more difficult to address his bossy behavior. For some issues, a sincere, heart-to-heart conversation may suffice. Other concerns may require professional help, such as marriage counseling, or counseling for him specifically.

If he balks at the idea of professional help, such as counseling, don’t force or push him to do this. Instead, consider helping him find outlets to support him in improving his character.

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