What are the 13 most common signs of a controlling boyfriend?

This article will discuss what are the most common signs of having a controlling boyfriend. Aside from that, the article will explain how that can affect you, and what you should do once you realize that your boyfriend is controlling.

What are the 13 most common signs of a controlling boyfriend? 

If you are asking yourself if your boyfriend is controlling, here are some signs to help you identify it.

He isolates you

This may be the first clear sign that you are with a controlling boyfriend. Little by little he can start to say he doesn’t like the way you talk to your friends, or even to your family. And to not make him upset you may end up changing the way you act with them, and may even begin to see them less and less.

He may do that in such a skilled way, that it takes a while before you realize that you have become stranded from the other people you love. And as you distance yourself from others, your controlling boyfriend may gain more and more power over you.

He is overly critical 

You can also begin to realize that your boyfriend is overly critical of you. He can begin to judge and criticize small things, it can start with what you wear, how you paint your nails and care for your hair. And with time those attitudes will be more intense.

This is set to make you start to question yourself, your judgment, and your individuality. So if you feel you are unable to make a good decision on your own, they will have full control over you. 

Some people may not realize this at first, and think that this is a way to show love, but it is important to keep in mind that a healthy relationship is one in which you are loved for who you are.

He threatens you 

You may often think that threats will only happen in physical abuse, but it is important to keep in mind that your controlling boyfriend can also threaten you by saying that they will take their love away if you don’t act the way they expect you to.

This will lead you to behave as they wish, so you don’t fear losing their love. And it can even get worse, at some point, if you ever decide to end the relationship, they can threaten to harm themselves, to keep you close to them. Showing just how unhealthy the dynamics of this relationship are.

Caring is conditional in your relationship 

A controlling boyfriend will also be someone that puts it in your mind that his love or care for you are always conditional to something. 

They can begin to tell you they wouldn’t love you as much if you did something they didn’t approve of, and with time, afraid of losing his love you will do only things that will guarantee you that he loves you, giving him complete control over your life.

He keeps scores 

Being in a relationship with a boyfriend that keeps score of everything can also show that he is trying to control you. If he keeps tabs on how many times you went out with your friends because this allows him to do things as well, it is a clear sign he is controlling.

It is important to learn the difference between reciprocity and keeping score. When your controlling boyfriend is keeping score it can be a way for him to try and keep the upper hand. In those situations, your boyfriend may always want to show you how you are in debt with them, which allows him to do anything he wants.

He makes you feel guilty 

A controlling person is often one that can manipulate others extremely well. To keep you under their thumb they will often try to make you feel guilty. As you begin to feel that you are constantly on the wrong path and that things are your fault, it may be easier for them to get you to do whatever they want.

He wants you to constantly know what you are doing 

Keeping tabs on every little thing you do is another way to control. Your controlling boyfriend may often ask where you are, who you are with, and what you are doing. It can be so intense that your boyfriend may go through your phone without you knowing it.

To make what they are doing okay, most people will say that if you are not hiding anything, you shouldn’t worry. But having your right, and need for privacy is not a sign that you are doing something wrong.

He displays jealousy, or even paranoia too strong

Although sometimes a little jealousy can be a good thing in a relationship, too much of it, to the point it makes your boyfriend paranoid is not good. It can be a sign that they are not only controlling but extremely possessive over you.

He doesn’t respect your boundaries

A controlling boyfriend will have complete disregard for your boundaries or even your need for space. When you ask him to give you some alone time, they will often say that you may be wanting that to get a chance of doing something bad.

They will never be able to grasp the idea that you require some time because people have their individuality. And this can lead to constant trouble in your relationship.

He wears you out with fighting 

A controlling boyfriend will even be one when the two of you are fighting. They can be so argumentative that sometimes you can just give up discussing something that matters to you.

With time, you can notice that your controlling boyfriend is taking the wheel of the relationship because you have just given up fighting for what you want or need.

He questions your beliefs 

Aside from being controlling, your boyfriend may also be unsupportive, and not care for your ideas, or values. As a way of controlling you, they may begin to try to disprove all of your beliefs. It can be your religious beliefs or even political ones.

He will never be open to an open discussion on the matters at hand, and if you express yourself, they will quickly criticize your point of view making you question yourself.

He makes you feel unworthy, or doubt yourself

In the same way, they will not only be unsupportive of your belief, but also your hopes, and dreams. As you build a life together, you may share with them what you expect from life or your career. 

If you have a controlling boyfriend, they can be so scared of losing their control over you, that they can begin to tell you that you won’t achieve those things. They can also do that by making you feel less attractive, or even desirable. 

He doesn’t care to listen to what you have to say

In the same way, as your controlling boyfriend disregards your boundaries and desires, they will also not be interested in what you have to say. You can start to notice that you don’t remember the last time that your boyfriend asked you a meaningful question and that they listened to what you answered.

What should I do if I have a controlling boyfriend? 

If you realize you are in a relationship with a controlling boyfriend it may be time to assess if that is the type of relationship you want to be in for the long hall. Trying to talk to them about how you are feeling may be the first step towards understanding if this relationship can change.

But if even after you have tried to communicate it, or even went through a couple’s therapy, they are still acting in a controlling manner, it may be time to walk away. This controlling behavior may just seem strange to you, but that can often escalate and become more abusive, and lead you to extremely traumatic situations.

If you feel you need support to get out of this relationship, get in touch with your friends, and family members. Talk about it with them, and listen to how they perceive this relationship. 

Chances are they are worried about you. If you still need professional support in getting out of the relationship, look for a therapist that can help you through it. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): What are the 13 most common signs of a controlling boyfriend? 

What is the difference between care and control?

Caring will often come from a place of selflessness, support, and love. But when someone is controlling, they will likely base their actions on resentment, and their need to keep you under their helm.

What are relationship red flags?

When someone says they see red flags in a relationship it means that the person has observed some signs or behaviors of the person they are in a relationship with, that they think should be carefully thought, about and assessed to know if it is possible to move forward with this relationship even though there were red flags.

Having a controlling behavior, or an abusive one is often called a red flag in relationships, for example.

Being controlling can be a sign of insecurity?

Yes, when someone is controlling of the other person, it is often a sign they are insecure about what the other may feel, or do. It can come from a severe fear of abandonment, that causes the person to keep everything in check, all the time.

What is a toxic relationship?

A toxic relationship is always one that makes you feel like you are not supported, intimate with your partner, or cared for in that relationship. It is not necessarily only abusive behavior, but all forms of relationship in which you feel you need to adjust yourself too much for it to work.

How to break up with a controlling boyfriend?

The first thing to do is realize that your boyfriend is controlling. Understanding that this relationship is not a good one for you to be in is the first step. Assess how you can tell them you are leaving, and if you feel you are in danger, you may want to just leave without letting them know at first.

Once you are out, you must care for your emotional, and mental health so this relationship doesn’t define who you are.


This article focused on discussing what are the most common signs of having a controlling boyfriend, and how it can impact you. Aside from that, the article explained what you should do once you figure out you have a controlling boyfriend.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.