Do You Have A Boyfriend Or A Wannabe Boss? 13 Signs He’s Trying To Exert Power Over You

He seems like a great boyfriend, but are you sure he’s not a bad CEO in disguise? He might not be barking orders at you or undermining you in front of other people in the way a toxic boss might, but he could be doing other unhealthy, controlling things. Here are 13 to keep an eye out for when you start dating someone.

  1. He mansplains all the time. You might ignore when he mansplains once, especially if he apologizes after and seems genuinely unaware that he was doing it. But if it happens more often, you need to see it for what he is. He thinks he knows better than you and this is his way of feeling like he’s more powerful than you.
  2. He talks over you. The controlling guy will use communication to exert power over you, so don’t be surprised if he talks over you, interrupts you, or rolls his eyes when you’re trying to get your message across. It’s all about him and his words carry more weight than yours in his eyes. Of course they don’t, but the dude’s delusional.
  3. He contradicts you. He always knows best and he has no shame in telling you you’re wrong. He won’t only do this with your thoughts and feelings, but also with the people in your life, especially with people he considers a threat, such as your ex-boyfriend with whom you’re still good friends. For example, he’ll insist that you have feelings for your ex, even though you don’t.
  4. He checks up on you. He sends you a “sweet” text to see how it’s going at your friend’s engagement party. Great. But then he takes it too far by sending you texts every hour or checking in again when you get home. It’s like he can’t get the hint that you can take care of yourself. There’s that, sure, but this behavior also points to how he wants to control everything about you down to your movements.
  5. He shows up unannounced. When the guy you’re dating rocks up at your house on the weekend without first texting to see if you’re available, you might be a bit annoyed but you’ll probably overlook it (after informing him that you’d prefer he text first next time, of course). But it’s a whole other thing if he’s rocking up at your folks’ place when he knows you’re there or your place of work when you haven’t invited him. He’s pushing the boundaries.
  6. He exaggerates his boundaries. While he has no problem dissing your boundaries, he’s quick to emphasize how important his boundaries and standards are. It’s all about exaggerating his importance. So, for example, if you don’t reply to his text or accept a date invite within half an hour, he’ll get angry or talk about how precious his time is. Meanwhile, he’s being totally unreasonable.
  7. He doesn’t listen to “no.” Yeah, it’s exciting when he persuades you to take a ride on his motorbike, but if he’s always trying to turn your “no” into “yes,” even when he doesn’t get the hint that you’re clearly uncomfortable, it’s a red flag. He doesn’t respect you.
  8. He came on too strong. A controlling guy isn’t going to waste his time. He’s going to meet you and want to date you ASAP. Although that might make you swoon, soon you’ll see that rushing you into a relationship is all about locking you down.
  9. He tries to “protect” you. Yeah, he’ll say he was just trying to look out for you when you discover that he’s been keeping secrets from you or he logged into your Facebook account to check who was messaging you. But that’s just to make it seem like you need him. The truth is, he’s nuts.
  10. He’s got no gray areas. It’s a red flag if the guy you’re dating has a very black-or-white mentality with others. For example, if his friend upsets him, he’ll cut him off and ghost him without any shame. If he’s controlling with other people in his life, such as his co-workers or friends, then chances are he’s going to start being that way with you.
  11. He looks bored when you talk. While his eyes light up during conversation when he’s in the spotlight, the opposite happens when you take the stage. He fidgets, looks away, or totally zones out. It’s like he can’t wait to go back to talking again. The controlling guy is all about his views and he loves the sound of his voice. He approaches conversation as a way to teach others something, instead of it being a healthy exchange. The biggest problem? He never has an open mind to learn from you.
  12. He always boasts about what he does for you. He loves to sing his own praises, and he might even remind you how much he does for you when you happen to confront him about his bad behavior. He’s always focused on what he brings to the relationship in order to guilt you, without realizing that with his controlling behavior, he’s actually taking away your happiness and wellbeing.
  13. He jokes about things that hurt you. Does he respect things that are important to you? If he always finds ways to bring them down, such as by joking about them, then that’s his way of exerting control. His underlying message is that what you value isn’t as important as he is, so you shouldn’t value it.
Jessica Blake is a writer who loves good books and good men, and realizes how difficult it is to find both.