Time to make a change.
By Daisy Grace
While a healthy relationship entails mutual respect for each partner, some tend to project a more “in charge and in control” demeanor, sometimes without even realizing.
Often, people mistake their control issues with being “decisive”—two behaviors that are totally different. If you're decisive, your partner can negotiate and compromise with you; but if you're controlling, you want things done your way, irrespective of everything (and everyone) else.
If you're not exercising fairness and equality in your relationship, chances are that it will lead to an unhealthy partnership or a breakup, so it's important to identify warning signs before they escalate into a problem.
Here are seven clear signs you're being controlling in your relationship:
1. You fail to give attention.
Sometimes relationships can become rocky if you project yourself as the no-nonsense type. Your partner may fail to give the response you want, however hard you push them. You stay numb and decline attention until they comply with what you want or need. Don’t think you're a winner here—this type of behavior shows you're being controlling.
If you need some calm before you speak, let your partner know you need time; but, keeping silence or failing to give attention will foster an unhealthy relationship.
2. You need to be in charge.
One way the need to be in charge manifests is when you don’t give your partner a chance to air their concerns with you. While everyone enjoys having things done their way, it's our obligation (as 50% of a partnership) to allow our partner the same freedoms. Consider their wants, their ideas, their methods. They will, in turn, let you have yours.
3. You shun their friends.
If you find yourself limiting interaction with your partner’s friends, you may be headed down a path of controlling behavior. Sometimes this looks like declining invitations to hang with them or attend certain events like family gatherings; other times (and in more severe cases) you voice displeasure or forbid your partner from seeing their friends—this is a huge red flag.
You can (and should) share your concerns, but you can’t dictate which friends your partner can/should have.
4. You pick everything.
Are you the one who decides which channels to watch, music to listen to, food to take out, or drinks to have? Sometimes you even decide what your partner wears on a day out, the restaurant to go to, or where you will go for vacation?
Unless your partner explicitly notes their unwillingness (or lack of desire) to make these decisions alongside you, this is another sign of being controlling. Both your contributions are required before a final call is made.
5. You pry their phone.
If you snoop into your partner’s phone, you're being controlling. Apart from invading their privacy, it demonstrates a huge absence of trust.
Unless your partner wants to share this information with you, you don’t have to know who your partner calls or texts. Mistrust is one of the unhealthiest habits to break if you are after a strong and lasting relationship.
6. You're mean.
If you're mean, you fail to meet your partner’s needs. Period. Being unnecessarily cruel (as if any cruelty is necessary) you're putting your partner in a position to be submissive and easily manipulated.
7. You're always correcting.
Do you interrupt and correct your partner when they're speaking? If yes, you're subtly trying to influence their thoughts and direct the conversation — another clear sign that you are being controlling. It’s like forcing them to tell you what you want to hear, which is rude.
Encourage your partner to speak their mind freely, opening healthy dialogue and fostering trust in the relationship.
If you now recognize you’re engaging in controlling behaviors in your relationship, now is the right time to start working on yourself. You should also initiate some sort of dialogue with your partner if s/he has used the same habits in controlling you. Couples should express mutual respect with one another if their relationship is to last.
This article was originally published at MeetMindful. Reprinted with permission from the author.