Are you dating a control freak?
At first it might have been charming: he orders for you on dates, wards off creepy guys at the bar, and wants to protect you. What girl doesn't like being taken care of? But there's a thin line between wanting what's best for you and deciding what's best for you.
Whether he's jealous, chauvinistic or just plain insecure, there's no excuse for controlling behavior. A healthy relationship consists of respect and support, not one person calling all the shots.
After going through women's most cringe-worthy submissions, we chose the five biggest signs that you're dating a control freak. While these red flags may not be deal-breakers, we suggest you proceed with awareness. After all, if you pay attention, no one can tell you, "I told you so."
1. He critiques everything you do.
Often under the guise of wanting to help you — whether it's to improve an area of your life or to keep you from embarrassing yourself — men who find a way of criticizing your behavior and choices are flexing their control muscle.
"While out to dinner with a guy I had been dating for a few months, he asked if he could show me something. He then proceeded to teach me how to eat properly. Being British, he couldn't stand the vulgar way Americans hold their forks and knives while eating. After teaching me how to hold my silverware, he told me that he wanted me to eat the 'British way' for the remainder of dinner."
2. He tells you what to do with your own body.
Whether it's monitoring what you eat, convincing you to take pole dancing or preventing you from getting a tattoo, there's a point when his concern for your health and appearance can become obsessive.
"I once dated a guy who forbade me from using tampons. The reason? He didn't want anything inside me but him."
3. He puts down your girlfriends.
Controlling men have a way of isolating women from their gal pals. It could be that he refuses to accompany you on group outings with your friends, or that he demands to know where and with whom you are at all times. One of the tell-tale signs that he's slowly cutting you off from your friends is his readiness to bad-mouth them.
"In my early twenties I was engaged to a man who wouldn't let me sit at the bar with my girlfriends. Why? Only sluts did that."
4. He doesn't support your interests outside of him.
If a man is insecure and controlling, you can bet he doesn't want you doing anything to improve yourself — unless of course it's for him. God forbid you realize you're too good for him.
"After being at a dead-end job for five years, I decided I wanted to go back to school for a Master's Degree. I was super-excited about the programs I was looking into and thought my boyfriend would be thrilled to see me so happy. Instead, he told me he didn't support me going back to school because if I got a degree I might eventually make more money than him, which apparently 'isn't how it's supposed to be.'"
5. He doesn't trust you.
If you can't drive his car, make dinner reservations or walk your dog without him overseeing your every move, he's officially gone from protective to overbearing. When your man doesn't have confidence in your ability to do even the easiest of tasks, it's a sign that you'll always be a sidekick and never a soul mate.
"Broke, I planned to spend a quiet evening at home and steam some vegetables that were about to go bad. Having mentioned this to the guy I was seeing, I invited him over, saying I would also cook some chicken. To which he replied that he would bring the meat and prepare dinner because he was somewhat of a connoisseur (AKA picky about his food). Far from a romantic dinner, the evening turned into him cooking dinner for himself in my kitchen, complaining that I did not have all the right utensils."