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Why Is My Boyfriend So Jealous?
Is your boyfriend controlling and possessive? Does he expect you to behave in a certain way or wear certain types of clothes? Do you feel like your wants and needs are not as important as his? Does he get jealous when you hang out with your friends?
If you have been nodding along, read on for tips and advice on how to deal with a possessive boyfriend.
"It's quite possible that a possessive boyfriend may not even realize the trauma he is inflicting upon his girlfriend. On the other hand, he may be under the false belief that his actions are out of love, care and concern."
What Is Possessiveness?
From the perspective of an adult, mature relationship, possessiveness is a compulsive need of one partner to be overly attached, controlling and, in some cases, even be dominating of his or her partner's life.
Possessiveness vs. Healthy Attachment
Possessiveness is not the same thing as a healthy attachment. 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, a lack of attachment may be a sign of a partner who is emotionally detached from a relationship.
Possessiveness, on the other hand, is a twisted form of attachment. The attachment becomes ugly, and the possessive partner becomes controlling and dominating. This leads to emotional abuse.
Examples of Controlling Behavior
Below are a few examples of overtly possessive, controlling and demanding behavior on the part of boyfriends in a relationship.
- Restricting her from meeting 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.
- Asking her to "cover up," even if she wears clothing that is commonly accepted by society.
- Asking her to give up all her individual personality traits and then expecting her to behave in a manner deemed appropriate by him.
- Not allowing her a single moment of alone time by bombarding her with calls and messages, even when she is working or out with her friends.
- Making decisions for her, even decisions revolving around her personal or work life.
What makes a man want to control his girlfriend?
It's quite possible that a possessive boyfriend may not even realize the trauma he is inflicting 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 article strives to be direct in every possible way. In line with the no-nonsense approach, the below tips to deal with a possessive partner contain examples, situations and dialogues that may be commonplace in relationships around the world.
1. Make Him 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."
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 should feel much safer and more secure when you are with them.
Read More From Pairedlife
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.
Avoid Having Him Meet Your Exes
If one of your male friends is your ex, however, it may not be a good idea to put the ex and your current partner in the same room. The last thing you want your partner to do is worry about your past.
2. Use Verbal Affirmations to Reassure Him
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 them often. Most importantly, say them 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 I 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 by day."
Conveying Your Love and Fidelity Can Help Allay His Insecurities
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 or some other perceived flaws. As he makes a mental note of these reassurances, he 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 Him 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."
It's also important to try and phrase things in terms of how they're affecting you, such as "When you do x, it makes me feel y," rather than something more directly accusatory about him as a person, such as "You're a jerk!"
Don't Make Him Have to Guess How You're Feeling
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 concerted attempt to show him how ridiculous some of his demands are.
As you indulge in the specifics, he will hopefully realize that his possessiveness towards you is negatively affecting your mental psyche and the relationship.
4. Establish Boundaries by Listing 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 that 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 along 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."
- "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 and tell him the things that you are unwilling to compromise on—along with the consequences of what happens if he does not respect these boundaries.
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.
"While we all wish that you never have to go down the break-up road, there comes a time in many relationships where that becomes inevitable and you must mentally start preparing yourself to do so if that happens."
5. Last Move: Give Him 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 shaking 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.
Mentally Prepare for the End of the Relationship
As you give him an ultimatum, you must start preparing for the result if he does not respect you or your boundaries.
While we all wish that you never have to go down the break-up road, there comes a time in many relationships where that becomes inevitable and you must mentally start preparing yourself to do so if that happens.
But 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.
Additional Advice for Self-Care
- It's critical to maintain a network of friends and family members that you can trust. This will help in three main important aspects: 1) they will help you feel less alone and isolated, 2) they can provide a sounding board for you to share things in your relationship and get some outside perspectives, and 3) they can offer you support and help give you the strength to hold firm and stand by your boundaries.
- Consider getting some professional help. A therapist can help you see the larger picture of your relationship and also provide valuable expertise and advice for how to improve it. You can even try couples counseling too, so that you can work things out together. Additionally, your boyfriend getting his own therapist can be beneficial as well, especially if his controlling behavior derives in large part from previous trauma at the hands of a similarly controlling person in his life.
For More Information
- Is My Partner Too Possessive? 8 Signs Of Controlling Behavior | ReGain
- Unhealthy Relationship Behaviors Series: Jealousy l One Love Foundation
- Get Help l The National Domestic Violence Hotline
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.