17 Signs The Man You Love Is A Low-Key Control Freak

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controlling boyfriend yelling at girlfriend

Control freaks are surprisingly common in today’s society and that’s not good for those of us looking for true love. When you’re dating a control freak, you end up having less and less control over your life... and then abuse starts.

It’s inevitable with them, and unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to fix people like this.

If you notice that your partner has control issues, you need to make a run for it — quickly. The first signs are usually barely recognizable, primarily because most control freaks stay low-key for as long as they can.

Worried your boyfriend is a controller? Look for those subtle signs he's a control freak.

Here are 17 signs the man you love is a low-key control freak:

1. He regularly makes “suggestions” about how you dress, where you work, or who you hang out with, and pouts if you don’t agree with them

This is one of the most common signs he's a control freak as well as a potential abuser. In one of my past relationships, the guy got fed up with me not listening when it came to what I ate, and literally swatted popcorn out of my hand. Needless to say, that relationship is now over due to control issues.

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2. You’ve caught him “dropping by” just to make sure you’re home

If he doesn’t believe you when you say you’re at home, there’s nothing you can do to establish trust. No amount of restricting yourself will make him feel better because he’s projecting on you.

3. He’s installed cameras, put a tracker on your phone, or started to add your Facebook friends without your permission

Yes, I’ve heard of guys doing this. Yes, it’s always low-key and at times, many women don’t even realize they’re being monitored until it’s too late. Yes, these three things are more common than you’d imagine and are definite signs that you need to nope the hell out of that relationship.

4. Any time you get your way (and it’s not his way), he makes a point of making it unenjoyable for you

You know what I’m talking about. Going to meet your friends and him refusing to smile or talk to them. You go to the movies, only to hear him whine about what a waste of money it was. You don’t need this joy-suck in your life. Just saying.

5. You’ve seen him get controlling with other things, too

A good sign that he’s a low-key control freak deals with how he works with other people. At work, is he a micromanager? Among friends, is it his way or the highway? If so, he’s probably got control issues that he needs to address before he can be a suitable mate.

6. He’s flipped out when you were late or didn’t reply “in time”

There are certain signs on this list that always seem innocuous at the start, but this shouldn’t be one of them. This is the kind of sign that screams, “DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!” Should you notice this happen when you’re still just talking to him, you need to drop him like a rock.

7. You have heard stories about him stalking his exes

Oh, dear. Stalking is definitely a control thing, and it’s also one of the top indicators that a man will turn abusive later on. If you hear about this going on, you shouldn’t ever talk to him again.

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8. When you tell him “no” to something, he seems okay, then asks for it a couple of days later

This is a sign that he’s trying to push boundaries, and that in turn tends to mean he doesn’t care about your comfort or feelings. Do you really want to date a guy who’s more into controlling you than into you being happy and comfortable around him?

Boundaries are a mandatory part of a healthy relationship, and if he keeps trying to eliminate yours, then it’s not going to be a fun ride for you.

9. You worry that you can’t bring him around your friends, because he tends to get controlling around them, too

Not a good sign, even if it’s something as stupid as “needing” to dictate what you all do together. If you can’t bring your boyfriend around your friends, then you shouldn’t be dating him.

10. He constantly “remarks” on your lifestyle choices, even though he seemed okay with it at the beginning

They might not be criticisms, per se, but you know you don’t feel comfortable with hearing them from him. Or, maybe they are criticisms. Or negging. Whatever it is, this tends to be a sign that they are not as relaxed about you living life your way as they claim to be... and that’s a sign to call it quits.

11. Friends who you never thought would bail suddenly stop seeing you

A great rule of thumb to stick to is that a good relationship will not burn your other bridges. If your own friends tell you that he’s asked them to stop talking to you, or if you notice that your boyfriend keeps making disapproving jokes about them, it’s time to call your romantic relationship quits.

12. He claims that he’s “a dominant” or an “Alpha”

I want to note that I’ve never, in all 29 years on this planet, ever seen a guy who claimed he was one of those who was actually capable of having a healthy relationship. Food for thought, right?

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13. He needs to know where you are at all times, and will not stop calling you OR your friends to find out if he doesn’t

This is one of those signs that’s no longer cute, but a sign of serious control issues. Your man should be willing to give you space, and shouldn’t ever feel like constant phone calls are okay. It’s a sign that he’s flipping out because he can’t keep you under his thumb.

14. If you ask him for space, he will not give it to you

Neediness is a big clue of insecurity or controlling behavior. Every human being needs space, and also needs healthy boundaries in their relationship. If he’s giving you neither, he’s not healthy for you.

15. He often “protects” you from everything, by refusing to let you make your own decisions

This is one of those actions that is rooted in old-school misogyny and really is a thin veil for abusive and controlling behavior. No one needs to be babysat, controlled, or told what to do by a delusional Knight in Shining Armor. Anyone who thinks differently tends to see women as fragile, lesser beings.

We’re adults and are capable of handling our own affairs, thank you very much. If he “can’t help but do things” you don’t want “for your own good,” ghost him. It’s for your own good.

16. During arguments, he often puts his beliefs or behavior on moral or logical high ground to yours

Been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt. Yes, this kind of posturing is a sign of an abuser, and a very delusional one at that.

Abusers who can’t face the fact that they are hurting their partners will act “holier than thou” as a way to establish control and rationalize their behavior. I suggest giving this guy the boot the minute he acts this way.

17. He’s misogynistic

Men who hate women do not love women; they love controlling women. That’s why they are so threatened by “wimminfolk getting jobs” and why they blame feminism for everything.

If he’s making disparaging remarks about girls, you need to understand he’s the problem, not you, and that you can’t fix a poisonous man. Sadly, you can’t save misogynists; the only person you can save is yourself. So, if you see these remarks happen, dump him. It’s time to grab a lifeboat for yourself. 

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer who mainly focuses on lifestyle, food, finance, and relationships.