Is He Caring Or Controlling? 11 Ways To Tell The Difference


It can be difficult to discern the line between caring and controlling in a relationship. Genuine caring stems from love and selflessness, while controlling behavior often arises from insecurity or resentment. Such manipulative behavior typically has an ulterior motive and can be a red flag if left unchecked. Thus, it is crucial to recognize the warning signs of your partner's behavior to avoid potential trouble.

1. He creates "rules" for you that don't apply to himself

While he might insist that you text him when you go out or stay in on Fridays, he may have no qualms about doing those very things himself. Similarly, he might forbid you from talking to your ex-partners, yet indulge in such communication himself without remorse.

2. He won't let you talk to your friends

To avoid becoming overly reliant on one another, it is crucial for both partners to maintain healthy relationships with their friends. If your partner insists that you stop seeing your friends, it can be a sign of a codependent relationship, which is cause for concern. There is no valid reason for a partner to restrict or forbid their significant other from spending time with their friends.

3. He checks in on you excessively

Receiving a brief message from your partner to check in on your well-being during a night out with friends or a cold morning commute can be a pleasant gesture. However, if your partner feels the need to monitor your every move and becomes upset if you fail to reply, it may be excessive.

4. He makes you hesitant about disagreeing with him

In a healthy relationship, disagreements are expected and can contribute to open communication. If you are feeling uneasy or self-conscious about expressing disagreement with your partner, it may indicate the presence of emotional manipulation.

5. He watches your social media activity

It's common to check our partner's Facebook page occasionally, albeit unintentionally. However, if your partner actively monitors your page to enforce their rules, such behavior is unreasonable. Whether it's a request to avoid contact with a specific individual or to refrain from posting certain content, it's an overstep of boundaries.

6. He loses his temper over little things

If your partner becomes upset over breaking arbitrary "rules" or excessively reacts to minor issues, it can be concerning. It's hard to predict what he might do in such situations. Even if his anger is only limited to verbal outbursts, it is not acceptable behavior.

7. He resents the fun you have without him

At first glance, it may seem innocuous, but indulging in this behavior frequently can lead to a loss of independence and even friends. Your partner may use excuses such as "You didn't call enough" or "I felt ignored," but the underlying message is "You are doing things without my control, and it bothers me."

8. He's never at fault

In your partner's eyes, you are always to blame, even for things outside of your control, such as a poorly-performing work meeting. However, if you do make a mistake, he will not let you forget it.

9. He gives you backhanded compliments

A controlling partner often struggles with low self-esteem or harbors resentment towards you, making it challenging for them to provide authentic compliments. Their intention is usually to diminish your self-esteem, and they may disguise an insult within their compliments. For instance, "Oh, that haircut actually looks nice – I'm shocked."

10. He breaks down when you take a stand

When confronted, a controlling partner may become anxious and resort to manipulation tactics. They may plead with you not to leave them and attempt to justify their behavior by suggesting it stems from their deep affection for you.

11. You no longer know what you want

Concerned friends and family may inquire about your relationship, leaving you unsure of what you want. Although you know deep down you're unhappy, your partner may have convinced you it's not his fault. In fact, he may have manipulated you into thinking he's your only source of happiness.

Your partner may not always be aware of their controlling behavior, and in such cases, it's essential to communicate and work on the issues together. However, if you feel unable to talk to your partner, it could indicate a controlling relationship. In such situations, it's crucial to seek support from friends and family.