11 Signs Your Boyfriend Thinks He Owns You And What You Can Do About It

If you’re stuck with a controlling boyfriend, you’ll know how frustrating it can be. Does he really love you or is he just obsessed? It’s not cool and it’s not love, so keep your eyes peeled for signs that he’s acting like you’re his possession so that you can put a stop to it as soon as possible. After all, you’re looking for a partner, not a boss.

  1. You’re fighting with your loved ones. Since getting with this guy, does it feel like you’re isolated from your loved ones and even arguing with them more than you used to? Does your boyfriend regularly say that your bestie treats you badly or your parents don’t really listen to you? Hmm. Make sure he’s not the source of why there’s so much drama in your life by paying attention to what he says about them.
  2. You’re always turning to him. When you have a problem and need some advice, do you turn to your boyfriend instead of your loved ones? While that’s cool sometimes, it’s healthy to have other people to chat to and to get objective opinions on your issues. If your boyfriend always says you should talk to him and only him, that’s a red flag you’re dealing with a controlling guy.
  3. You’re always apologizing. Kudos for being woman enough to apologize, but if you’re doing it all the time in your relationship you have to take some stock of what’s going on. Maybe your boyfriend is trying to make you feel like you’re always the bad one/always hurting him/always to blame for things that go wrong. It’s a classic sign of someone who wants to be in control. The next time you’re about to say, “I’m sorry,” take a step back and ask yourself if you’ve done anything wrong.
  4. You’re changing a lot. A guy who treats you like one of his possessions will make you feel like you have to change to be the best partner for him. But you might not even notice that he’s making you change. You can look out for some hints that it’s happening, like if he says that you’d look so much better with blonde hair or you’ll be so much healthier if you exercised, or even “You’ll push me away unless you tone down your relationship expectations.” What the hell? If you feel you have to jump through hoops to keep him, he’s trying to keep you under his thumb.
  5. You feel like a kid. He makes you feel like a child by telling you how you should go about things or what you should and shouldn’t do. It’s not cool and it can make you start to hide things from him – even stupid little things – because you’re afraid of how he’ll react. That should be sending you out the door!
  6. You don’t have any privacy. You should have your own privacy in your relationship, no matter how close you and your boyfriend are. If he has your login details for social media and accesses your phone like it’s his, those are big red flags. He might dress this up as relationship transparency and openness, but it’s not on unless you’re keen on it. You shouldn’t feel like you have to limit your privacy to be with him.
  7. You’re always criticized. If your boyfriend criticizes every little thing, no matter how small, that’s not okay – yes, even if he says he’s just kidding. It can wear you down. The next time he laughs about how you like to wear your hair or he says you’re cutting the steak wrong, tell him how it makes you feel.
  8. You can’t have male friends. He might have said that your friends aren’t good for you or don’t treat you right. It’s similar to how he might try to isolate you from everyone so that you only have him. If he told you that he doesn’t like you having male friends, don’t just do what makes him feel comfortable. Express how you feel about it and stick to your guns.  He should be adult enough to handle the fact that you have friends, male or female, and trust you.
  9. You can’t say no. Does it feel like your boyfriend never accepts it when you say “no,” whether it’s about going on a camping holiday or going on a date even though you already have plans with friends? He might try to persuade you or charm you into changing your answer, but it’s still draining. It’s also worrying if he can’t handle “no” because it’s almost like he expects you to never speak back or have your own opinions.
  10. You can’t have fun without him. You should have your own awesome times without your boyfriend around as it’s part of being independent and having your own life. If your boyfriend always gets in a mood when you’re having a good day, that’s a red flag. He might be upset that you didn’t reply to his messages because you were out or he might just seem like he’s put out because you weren’t with him. Ugh.
  11. You feel guilty when he breaks down. After being so angry or put out, when you stick to your guns – which you should – your boyfriend will suddenly become a little lamb. He might become emotional or say that you don’t understand him or even that you don’t love him as much as he loves you. Don’t fall for it. It’s all part of his manipulation. This guy’s toxic.
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.