10 Early Signs Of A Controlling Man

A controlling man doesn’t enter your life barking orders and telling you how he wants to change you. He usually arrives as though he’s a charming prince, the perfect guy you always wanted. But you know what they say: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Stay empowered by scrutinizing the new guy you’ve met for small, subtle signs that he’s going to be a controlling BF. Here’s a rundown of the 10 early signs of a controlling man and why you should run in the other direction.

1. He Orders A Meal For You.

You’ve been on a few dates and the guy surprises you by ordering a meal or drinks on your behalf. Um, what is this, the 1950s? He might be trying to come across as charming, but it’s insulting. Although you might not want to throw a glass of wine in his face just yet, it’s good to file this moment away as a small red flag that he likes to be in charge, especially if he’s showing other signs.

2. He Plans All The Dates.

A guy who likes to take the lead can be refreshing – who wants to have to chase anyone, right? But there’s a potential problem if he’s taking charge of everything. For example, if he plans all the dates, does all the calling, and organizes all the vacations. Woah. You don’t want to feel like he’s taking you for a ride to an unknown destination. You’re supposed to be taking the lead sometimes too.

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4. He Sulks When He Can’t Have All Your Time.

From when you met each other, you wanted to be stuck to each other 24-7. But life has to go on. You have your career, friends, and hobbies. You can’t be with him all the time. Pity he doesn’t know it. He not only pushes you to see him even though you just had dinner two nights in a row, but — even worse — he gets angry or sulky when you tell him you’re busy. Looks like you’re dating a man-child.

5. He Checks In Multiple Times A Day.

When a guy you’ve started dating likes to “check in” with texts during the day, at first you might think it means he’s missing you and thinking of you. But it can also be a sign that he’s controlling if he’s trying to keep tabs on you. For example, if you tell him you’re going to a work meeting and he checks in as soon as it’s over or he sends you messages when you’re out with your besties.

6. His Mood Flips When You Mention Male Friends.

You have lots of friends and enjoy spending time with them, but does it feel awkward when you talk to your new guy about them? If you find yourself not mentioning your male friends specifically because you’ve noticed how your guy becomes quiet or a little pissed whenever you do, that’s a troubling sign. Does he expect you to cut out all your male friends? Is he jealous? It’s worth talking to the guy to find out what’s going on.

7. He Negs You And Plays It Off As A Joke.

If you don’t know, negging is when a guy gives you backhanded compliments. He might say your floral dress looks good on you but would look better if you had a tan, then pass it off as a “joke.” Ugh, negging is the worst. When guys do this, it’s their way of trying to control your mood, confidence, and reliance on them. They’re so insecure.

8. He’s Protective Of You.

You might feel like a princess when the guy you’re dating is being protective of you, like by covering your cold shoulders with his jacket on a windy night or opening the car door for you. That’s great and all if you like chivalry, but if the protectiveness feels a bit OTT, it can be controlling. For example, if he does things like monitor your texts or tell you who you shouldn’t hang out with because he “doesn’t want you to get hurt” or he “doesn’t want others to take advantage of you.” Hmm. Take some time to suss out his deeper intentions.

9. He Comes On Strong.

Is it really flattering when a guy seems to fall in love with you on a first date? It should actually make you take a few steps back and allow yourself some time to see if he’s being genuine. Throwing tons of praise and attention your way can be a manipulative move to get you to lower your defenses and fall in love with him. He seems to be in a rush to get a relationship started, as though trying to lock you into it.

10. He Never Accepts “No.”

Before you start dating someone seriously, you should know how they deal when they hear the word “no.” Controlling guys aren’t going to like that one bit, so it will be interesting to see what his reaction is. Does he get angry or give you the silent treatment for a few days when you can’t see him? It’s a huge red flag not to miss or excuse if he flips out when he doesn’t get his way.

11. He Doesn’t Respect Your Boundaries.

Linked to the previous point, a guy who’s got controlling tendencies will often want to steamroll over you to get what he wants. So, when you say you can’t hang out because you’ve got to catch up on beauty sleep, he’ll still pitch up at your house to see you. And, when you say you don’t want to go camping, he’ll surprise you with an impromptu two-night camping trip on your birthday. Ugh, what? He might cleverly mask these controlling tendencies as romantic gestures, but you know better.

Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.