Have your boyfriend's signs of possessiveness progressed into obsessive behavior? Has be become very controlling? Does he expect you to behave in a certain way or wear certain types of clothes?
Has your individual personality been wiped off? Does he feel jealous even when you speak with your friends? If you have been nodding along, read on for tips and advice on how to deal with a possessive boyfriend.
What Is Possessiveness? A Practical Approach to a Common Problem
We will stay away from textbook definitions as this post is a practical approach towards possessiveness and subsequent behavior. From the perspective of an adult relationship, possessiveness is a compulsive need of one partner to be overtly attached, controlling and in some cases, even be dominating of his or her partner's life.
Possessiveness in its harmless form is in fact, a sign of a healthy relationship. It is human nature for someone to be caring and protective of his/her partner in a relationship. It is the way our brains are wired. In fact, lack of possessiveness may be a sign of a partner who is emotionally detached from a relationship.
Possessiveness turns from being an innocent and cute display of love to something ugly when partners take their protectiveness to the next level. This behavior, when intertwined with the feeling of jealousy can result in a lethal combination. Partners can become controlling or even dominating which can lead to emotional torture or break up of even the most adorable relationships.
As this post talks about dealing with possessive boyfriends, below are a few examples of overtly possessive, controlling and demanding behavior on the part of boyfriends in a relationship.
- A boyfriend restricts his girlfriend to meet her male friends, because jealousy and possessiveness make him believe that all her male friends have ulterior motives – This is a common cause of friction in many relationships
- A boyfriend unreasonably asks his girlfriend to 'cover up', even if she wears clothing that is normally and morally accepted by the society
- A boyfriend asking his girlfriend to give up all her individual personality traits and then expecting her to behave in a manner deemed appropriate by him
- A boyfriend not allowing his girlfriend a single moment of alone time by bombarding her with calls and messages even when she is working or out with her friends
- A boyfriend making decisions on behalf of his girlfriend – Even decisions revolving around her personal or work life
More likely than not, a possessive boyfriend may not even realize the trauma inflicted upon his girlfriend. On the other hand he may be under the false belief that his actions are out of love, care and concern. Additionally, a possessive boyfriend may even think that he is doing his girlfriend a favor by making her dance to his tunes, because 'he knows best'.
How to Deal with a Possessive Boyfriend
This post strives to be direct in every possible way. In line with the no-nonsense approach, the below tips to deal with a possessive partner contains examples, situations and dialogues that may be commonplace in relationships around the world.
1) Make Your Boyfriend Meet Your Male Friends
One of the first things you need to do to deal with a possessive boyfriend is to make him meet your male friends. Possessiveness, jealousy and lack of trust are often driven by the fear of unknown. Allowing your boyfriend to get familiar with the guys you speak to and hang out with on a daily basis will remove the element of 'unknown'.
However if one of your male friends is your ex, it may not be a good idea to put the ex and the current one in the same room. The last thing you want your partner to do is worry about your past. For everyone else, chalk out a friendly gathering at your apartment or at a cafe, and allow your boyfriend to mingle and mix with your friends.
Once he gets to know your friends on a personal level, he will feel much safer and more secure when you are with them. So the next time he calls you and you say "I'm with Mike", he knows you are with Mike, your introverted and shy work colleague - As opposed to the image of a hot and handsome Mike who has his arm around your waist.
2) Use Verbal Affirmations to Reassure Your Boyfriend
Verbal affirmations are cues that instill a sense of reassurance into your partner's psyche. Such lines of reassurance could be something as simple as I Love You to other situation based dialogues.
While these lines may sound cheesy, such reassurances can have a very calming effect on jealous partners. Make it a point to say lines often and most importantly, say it with a lot of love and emotion as you look into your boyfriend's eyes. Below are a few examples.
- I'm all yours
- I Miss You even when don't see you for a few hours
- I keep thinking of you all day long
- You are the only one on my mind
- No one in my class is as good looking as you are
- You are every girl's dream
- None of the guys at work look even half as good as you
- You are the sexiest person I've ever met
- I am lucky to have a boyfriend like you
- I think I'm getting more committed to you day after day
Even the most jealous of partners understand the language of love. If your boyfriend really wants to let go of his possessive nature and build trust in your relationship, he should at least attempt to absorb and understand your loyalty towards him.
For all you know, your boyfriend may be insecure for being too skinny or too fat. As he makes a mental note of these reassurances, his should sense your commitment towards him and the relationship. This should lay to rest many insecurities and issues revolving around the fear of losing you.
3) Tell Your Boyfriend How You Feel When You See Him With Other Girls
Confused? Don't be and allow Princesswithapen to spell it out. Every now and then, tell your partner something on the lines of "I feel so jealous when you mingle with other girls. I'm sure they want to get up close and personal with you" or "You are so hot. I would feel worried leaving you alone with a group of girls. They would pounce on you"
By saying this, you are indirectly assuring your boyfriend that you are starry eyed about him. It will give him a self confidence boost and will also help him loosen up a bit. We all hold our heads high when someone tells us how attractive and sexy we are, don't we?
You can also use this as a pitch and say something on the lines of "I feel very jealous when I see you with other girls, but I try to control my feelings because I know you would never do anything that would harm our relationship. And that's exactly what I want you to understand as well" This will make any wise man think "If she can control her jealousy, why can't I?"
4) Tell Your Partner the Specific Things That Bother You
If your boyfriend's disapproval of you wearing a certain type of clothes is a problem, tell him. If your boyfriend's continuously pestering phone calls when you are out with your friends bother you, tell him. If you don't like how your controlling boyfriend expects you to behave in a certain ways, tell him exactly that.
The bottom line is to have a heart to heart chat with your boyfriend and tell him the specific things that are bothering you instead of something vague like "You are being too possessive" Don't leave anything for him to just assume how you are feeling. More likely than not, your boyfriend may not even be realizing the fact that his actions are coming across too harsh.
Pinpoint the little things that he constantly keeps tugging at. Make a desperate attempt to show him how ridiculous some of his demands are. As you indulge into the specifics, he may realize that his possessiveness towards you is negatively affecting your mental psyche and the relationship.
5) List Out the Things That Are Unacceptable
Once you have had a chat with your overtly possessive boyfriend and have told him the specific things that bother you, it is time to go one step further. Make a mental list of the things that he does, which are totally unacceptable. These are the issues that you are not willing to compromise on.
Don't be ambiguous and don't mince your words as you say something on the lines of
"I like my friends and under no circumstances am I going to stop hanging out with them just because you feel jealous. Don't ask me to choose either, because that's very unfair" or
"I will not tolerate the fact that you keep telling me what to wear and what not to wear. I will wear what I want and that's the end of it"
In dealing with a possessive boyfriend, you will need to put your foot down tell him the things that you are unwilling to compromise on. Once you have set the boundaries, the ball is really in his court. It is now up to him to let go of his controlling and overtly jealous behavior if he wants to save the relationship.
6) Last Move: Give Your Boyfriend an Ultimatum
Have you put in all possible efforts to get your boyfriend to become less possessive, less controlling and less jealous? Is he not willing to even make an attempt to be less possessive? Does he shoot down all attempts to fix your relationship? Does he show no signs of making even the slightest of compromises?
If you've been nodding your head side to side to say NO as you read the above questions, it may be the time when you gave your boyfriend an ultimatum. Make a final appeal to your partner and tell him that if he does not get a grip over his obsessive behavior, it will be the reason why you will break up with him.
And as you give him an ultimatum, you must too, start preparing for the inevitable. While we all wish that you never have to go down the break up road, you must mentally start preparing yourself to do so. And as you reel under the pain of making one of the toughest decisions of your life, remind yourself that you gave it your best shot – It just wasn't meant to be.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Lilly Doberman on August 17, 2019:
Best advice on relationships I red and highly recommend this book:
How to marry the man of your choice by Margaret Kent.
She was a lawyer and was married to a psychiatrist for many years until he passed away.
Best of luck
Annette Harris on May 24, 2019:
Wrong! There is only way solution to a relationship with a possessive and controlling man, and that is to LEAVE. Get the hell out.
Anthony Hall2304 on November 05, 2018:
I am a controlling and jealous partner. Not as bad as you think.
But I am working on it, I can see some of these traits in me.
Had a violent upbringing I love my partner and need to change my insecurities and emotions.
Any advice or support would be welcomed.
Jane on June 28, 2018:
My friend tried it on her bf and the verbal affirmation thing DIDNT WORK!!!
Lilly on January 24, 2018:
My boyfriend is two years older than me. He does all of these except the problem with my clothing but only cause I always wear a sweater or hoodie
LaTrice from Las Vegas, NV on December 31, 2017:
I tried to keep an open mind while reading this article, and unfortunately, I disagree with your opinion. It's not necessary to reassure your significant other on a daily basis that he's the only person for you, when actions speak louder than words. Why bother trying to change your personality as well as your overall appearance in order to ease his insecurities?
There's no need to waste another second being in a relationship with someone who's controlling and possessive. Even if his behavior were to be addressed, it's not enough to encourage him to change. You're giving him more power over you.
I have zero tolerance for controlling, insecure and possessive men. I'm not obligated to change anything about myself, and their insecurities aren't my problem. If my significant other has issues regarding myself and the relationship, we shouldn't be together.
It seems you're part of the problem than the solution. Ultimatums and stroking his ego to put his insecurities at ease won't solve anything. This is going to lead to abuse, so it's best to leave.
idigwebsites from United States on June 06, 2013:
Very well written hub. I won't tolerate extreme possessiveness. If you can't make him change his mind just break up with him even though you know you still love him. Your freedom is more important than your love for him.
Elizabeth from ATLANTA,Ga on March 28, 2013:
Being over controlling and possessive to the point where you can't be yourself, is a sign of abuse to come. Great hub
aboutaustralia from Newcastle, New South Wales on July 01, 2012:
My daughter spent many miserable years with a controlling, possessive and dominating boyfriend. Thankfully she was finally able to find the strength to break away, which was amazing considering he had just about stripped her of all her self esteem and self worth with his cruel and demeaning words both in private and in public.
She has gradually regained her identity and is now happily with a nice man who treats her well and with the dignity and respect she deserves.
You offer some great advice here and I hope your hub connects with those readers who need it most. Voted up, useful!