10 Brutal Truths About Loving A Control Freak

If you're partner has to control the entire relationship and you, they might be a control freak.

loving couple hugging 1st footage/ Shutterstock

I’ve made out, had sex, been in love, and dated quite a few control freaks. I suppose it’s not unusual for control (power and decision-making) to be an issue in romantic relationships but when you’re a person riddled with low self-esteem like I once was, you tend to attract and allow people to come in and take charge ... even of things they shouldn’t be taking charge of.

I've been on both sides of the fence: both the controlled and on occasion, the controller (although, for the most part, I can sadly say I’ve been the marionette on someone else’s strings).


I adamantly believe that while it’s normal and common for one partner in a relationship to be the more dominant partner, neither party in any relationship should seek to control the other. With that said, here is some advice for those of you who love control freaks.

Here are 10 brutal truths about loving a control freak :

1. Prepare to be subjected to your mate’s fashion police antics

I once dated an incredibly handsome and smart (but extremely narcissistic) man who loved to play "let's tell Laura what to wear" — except his parameters weren’t clear.


One night, we met at a restaurant. I had on a flared miniskirt and off-the-shoulder top, both in a bright pink, which was very cute but not risqué. As I got up to go the bathroom, he seethed with anger because some men at a nearby table were "looking at me," according to him.

Anytime I moved that night, he got angry. How could I wear that outfit? Then, a few weeks later when we went out for drinks with one of his guy friends, he picked apart my outfit because it wasn’t sexy enough. He wanted his friend to see my “great body” and I was hiding too much.

It didn’t matter what I did; I was wrong at each turn.

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2. Control freaks like to control everything — but especially their environments

I admit to being an obsessive cleaner and very neat, but all the control freaks I’ve dated had me beat to a T.

Nothing can be out of place, all things must be orderly, and god forbid you to be the poor fool to make things slightly untidy. If that happens, be prepared to get a whole bunch of attitude.

3. Never try to do something on your own

When you try to do something in a controller’s environment — like at their apartment or if you two live together — you will come under fire. It’s not because your boss man doesn’t appreciate you trying to do something by yourself; you just didn’t execute the task perfectly. Yes, perfectly.

Did you dust and miss a spot? Did you do the garden and forget a few weeds? To the emotional guillotine, you go! Truthfully, I don’t think control freaks criticize you because they want to be mean but because ...


4. Order is the only thing that relieves anxiety for them

The Head Control Freak In Charge needs precise order to alleviate anxiety. The problem with that is the anxiety never really goes away.

Controlling a person or situation just helps to reduce it at the time, but there will always be another time when the controller will feel stressed. Basically, it’s a false relief and so the cycle continues.

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5. Get used to feeling not good enough

Whatever you do, it’s not quite good enough. You will rarely hear praise from a control freak ... not because you are an inept idiot but because the controller’s high standards are impossible to meet.


If you do happen to “meet expectations” you will hear another way in which you could have expanded on this success.

6. They're secretly insecure

Your ineptitude is a problem for your control freak partner because inside, he or she feels less than you. Even the narcissist, pretty boy control freak I dated harbored feelings that he wasn’t okay "as is" deep down.

I recognized this the one time I challenged his safety net and noted that perhaps he lacked self-love due to his parents. The way he bristled upon hearing my words was confirmation that I struck a nerve. Your bossy control freak secretly (or not so secretly) feels insecure.

7. Sex is strictly on their terms

Most likely, your sex life will be dictated by the Boss Man or Lady. It’s not that the control freak doesn’t want sex; he or she wants to decide the kind of sex you both have and will want to be the dominant partner more often than not.


Even if he or she wants you to call the shots, if you’re already weak enough to be in the arms of a control freak, you will probably feel too scared to initiate or suggest the sex you want.

Yes, I said weak. I let myself get involved with control freaks because I was vulnerable — plain and simple.

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8. Don't even think about having sex when YOU want to

A control freak is going to want sex when he or she wants it, not when you're in the mood. Sure, even control freaks can put down their guards and let you lead in bed but it won’t happen too often.

9. Punishment follows when things don't go their way

When you make a "mistake," whether it’s serious or imagined, be prepared for punishment. Control freaks might withhold sex and affection from you. They might cancel dates or do things to make you jealous.


My pretty boy wanted me to do something wild sexually and when I said no, he lashed out by screaming at me in front of friends, deciding to end the night since he didn’t get his way.

You’re not supposed to say no to the control freak; you’re not supposed to have your own wants.

That night, as I left with my control freak in a cab, he belittled me and then refused to talk to me for a while after. Of course, I should have been glad to never speak to that man again but he had me believing I was the one at fault.


10. Vulnerability is a control freak's enemy

In the end, a control freak can get help if he or she wants to and is willing. There are numerous issues that may compel someone to hold the reigns 24/7 but one of the more prominent issues is a desire to avoid vulnerability.

Being vulnerable makes you susceptible to hurt and pain — and the control freak will do everything he or she can to avoid that possibility.

If you love a control freak, strongly suggest therapy for the two of you (both together and separately) to achieve a healthy life. Realize this may mean breaking off from this person forever.

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Laura Lifshitz is a former MTV personality and Columbia University graduate currently writing about divorce, sex, women’s issues, fitness, parenting, and marriage. Her work has been featured on YourTango, New York Times, DivorceForce, Women’s Health, Working Mother, Pop Sugar, and more.