Young girls are often taught that when a boy is being rude, he actually likes them. Growing up with such screwed-up ideas can mess with anyone’s head, so much so that controlling behavior might start seeming sweet when they start dating as adults.
Men, as well as women, are often guilty of using certain methods to control their partners without realizing that they are doing so. Since we’re taught to normalize this kind of abuse, it’s difficult to differentiate between control and genuine concern.
Here are seven signs which show that there’s more to your partner’s sweet, loving concern than meets the eye.
1. They show unsolicited concern for your diet.
It’s worrisome if your partner decides your diet and forces you to adhere to it. If they get angry when you go off it, it’s a definite sign of control. Unless you have some serious medical ailment for which you need to be on a particular diet, your partner has no right to give you hell for what you eat. Even if they insist that they are doing this for you.
2. They make you feel guilty for not spending all your time with them.
Go out, meet your friends, spend time with your family, and enjoy yourself! A good partner will happily hear stories about the fun you had, provided you spend quality time with them as well. They won’t sulk and make you feel bad for not including them in your life 24/7. Wanting to spend all your time with your partner is often seen as romantic, but think Twilight.
3. They are experts in benevolent sexism.
Straight women in heterosexual relationships often experience this. He says he believes in equality, but his first instinct is to think that a woman is lying or exaggerating when she complains of harassment. He also believes that his partner should stay at home to maintain a harmonious home-work balance.
4. They are dogmatic about their opinions.
And they get genuinely pissed off when you disagree. They make you feel stupid for not sharing their opinions about every freaking thing. If you have kids, they insult you in front of them. Then they tell you they’re trying to make you smarter.
5. They make light of your feelings.
If you ever get offended by their behavior, they always defend themselves by saying that they were only joking. The joke’s on you again because, according to them, you don’t have a sense of humor. If they insist that you’re making things up in your head every time you confront them about some problematic behavior, they’re gaslighting you.
6. They remind you that no one else will ever love you this much.
It’s sweet to think that there’s someone out there who loves you unconditionally. But when someone repeats that to you like a mantra every day, especially during fights, they want you to feel like you owe them something for their love. It’s not sweet. It’s messed up.
7. They don’t really trust you.
Every time you talk to them about something, carefully observe their reaction. Is it often disbelief? Are they always trying to verify what you just said by cross-examining you? It might be a force of habit if they happen to be a cop or a lawyer, but otherwise there’s no excuse. If you ask them why they don’t trust you, they will simply say you’re imagining things.
If any of this seems to be happening to you on a regular basis, try to figure out if you are being manipulated or if they’re doing it unconsciously. If it’s the latter, you need to talk.
This article was previously published on Vagabomb.