They say love is hard to find, but that doesn’t mean you should settle for anything less than someone who truly cares for you.
So what happens if you’re in a relationship with someone who you thought might be the right person, but things just aren’t quite right?
Your relationship might have moved fast, even faster than you were comfortable with… But they seemed so head over heels for you, they were basically worshipping the ground you walked on. Only lately, it hasn’t felt like that at all. Lately, it’s been very different.
If you’re reading this and nodding along, you might be dealing with an overbearing partner, someone who dominates in their need to be central to your life. They confuse love with possession, blame bad behaviour on their strong feelings for you, and generally make you feel like something isn’t quite right. Is it love? Or is it the sign that your partner might be dominating?
We’ve put together a list of things you might look out for, which overbearing and dominating partners seem to do quite often. Be warned if your partner…
1. Gets in the way of your friendships.
If you’ve been looking forward to catching up with your mates for ages onto for your partner to come up with some random reason that you absolutely can’t go, that’s a red flag. It’s even more of a red flag if they’re constantly criticising your friends, and picking at their faults. Being in a relationship is about supporting each other’s individuality as well, and that means having your own friends and having time on your own.
“I’m not feeling well, please stay home and look after me. Your friends don’t appreciate you like I do. I really need you!”
2. Snoops in personal communication (messages and phone calls).
We don’t really care what anyone says. In our eyes, there’s no good excuse for someone going through messages on your phone or listening in on your private phone calls. So, if your partner is doing it, regardless of the reason, it’s a sign of overbearing that you should be paying attention to. Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you lose all right to privacy, so don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!
“I was just checking that you weren’t speaking to that fella I saw you talking to last week. My ex did that and look what happened there!”
“There should be no secrets between us, you can read my messages if you like!”
3. Automatically dislikes opposite gender friends.
Most of us have a lot of friends who are the same gender as us, generally because these people share our history and our interests. However, in some cases, you might have friends who are of the opposite gender to you, which is a great way to broaden your friendship horizons. Providing there’s no romantic connection, your partner should have absolutely no issue with this. If they dislike them on principle alone, and act as though they’re competition, it can be a sign of a dominating and overbearing partner.
“Melissa had been friends with the couple next door for six years. Melissa had a new partner that met the couple next door, and automatically assumed Mel was having an affair with the husband, because they were comfortable in each other’s company. When a few months later the relationship between Melissa and her beau went bad, Melissa’s partner blamed it on the neighbour’s husband, threatening Mel that she had been ‘shagging’ the husband all along and THAT was the reason that they had broken up. Not that he had isolated Mel to the point where she didn’t even see her family anymore, or could call anyone without him checking. It escalated until the police were involved and Melissa had to take out a DVO.
4. Constantly checks up on your activities.
Partners should want to know what you’re up to. After all, they’re invested in your life and hearing about your day should make you happy. But knowing what you’re up to is very different from knowing where you are at all times and constantly checking up on you. Invasive questions about who you’re meeting and how long you’ll be, as well as any attempt at making you feel guilty for leaving them is a definite sign of an overbearing partner, and it’s not healthy.
5. Gets really angry when your opinions differ.
It’s unusual in relationships for both parties to hold exactly the same opinions. Sure, similar beliefs and viewpoints can draw people together, but it’s a fact of life that you won’t always agree. A key sign of an overbearing of dominating partner is the feeling that you can’t speak your mind lest you feel your partner’s wrath. So if you’re holding back on saying something that you believe, because you don’t want to be criticised and condemned, or straight up yelled at, it’s not a good sign.
6. Calls you repeatedly, ESPECIALLY when you don’t answer.
Oh boy, this is a real hassle, and surprisingly reported quite often to us by friends dealing with overbearing partners. Calling back once just to make sure you’ve heard the phone is fine, but constant hounding of you via phone calls and text messages, often under the guise of checking up, quite simply is not okay. Neither is anger at not being able to get hold of you, so don’t accept it.
7. Gets jealous and lacks trust.
Trust is very important in a relationship, and while your partner might spin you some story about how their ex-partner cheated on them or treated them badly, that’s no excuse for them not to trust you. If you’re fighting about your interactions with members of the opposite sex, even when they’re totally innocent, or they’re constantly jealous no matter what you do, you need to sit up and pay attention. These are definitely signs of an overbearing and dominating partner.
Pay particular attention to what he says about past partners, how they broke up, and how he took it. Because this is a good indicator as to what will happen if you break up! If he’s talking about it, listen up!
8. Is needy…
When you’re in a relationship, helping each other get through hard times is part of the package, but the day-to-day emotional management should fall on the individual. If your partner is on the emotional equivalent of a rollercoaster all the time, snapping at you one minute and sobbing the next, that isn’t on you. Overbearing partners often use these emotional weak spots to prey on your humanity so you won’t leave them. But that neediness and those clingy behaviours, are not on.
“Please don’t go, I want you here with me. If you love me, you’d stay with me!”
9. Tries to control you.
Any kind of controlling behaviour should always be a red flag, and it is often present in overbearing or dominating relationships. We’ve already talked about some aspects of this, like wanting to control friendships and your activity, but even things like the clothes that you wear, the food that you eat, the way you spend money, can all be impacted by a controlling partner. If you feel that your relationship contains this kind of overbearing control, it’s time to stop it.
“I prefer that top that doesn’t show so much cleavage, you are showing WAY too much than is appropriate.”
“Don’t wear high heels, what are you trying to do, pick someone up?”
10. Displays calculating behaviour.
There’s nothing more difficult to deal with than a partner who constantly calculates your worth in the relationship based on past actions. Everyone makes mistakes, that’s life. However, one common aspect in overbearing or dominating relationships is constant calculating. By this, we mean, your partner keeps track of all the money that’s been spent on you, and is constantly bringing it up to influence you. Or, that all your past failings are aired every time there’s an argument, but if you did the same, it would be a totally different situation. Not on.
“But look at all the stuff I have done for you!”