My Insecure Boyfriend Is Controlling!

Think your boyfriend might be a bit too insecure and controlling? Look out for these red flags:

• Criticising, belittling and shaming. Says lots of things that lower your self-esteem and confidence (everything from the trivial to life-changing) and talks down your accomplishments. In general, he will try to make it known that he’s the better “catch” in the relationship.

• Does not like you having “your own life” whether it be friends (especially male), family or any activity where he isn’t involved, and will either make you only meet people or do things he approves of or work to remove them from your life altogether (especially anything that involves improving yourself – but self-destructive habits may be encouraged). Usually this is insidious and happens slowly.

• Doesn’t like it when you”think for yourself” or have your own opinions or preferences – he would rather you adopt his worldview and tastes in everything (e.g. if he likes a particular brand of coffee he won’t accept that you prefer a different brand).

• Doesn’t tolerate personal boundaries (so he might hack into your email because he doesn’t trust you), privacy (always needs to know where you are and what you’re doing) or secrets (“I deserve to know your bank account PIN”), personal boundaries which are necessary for a healthy relationship.

• Double-standards regarding what is and isn’t acceptable in the relationship or how you should treat each other – does he freely do things that he doesn’t let you do (like having friends of the opposite gender or being late)?

• Everything has to be to his schedule – you may be expected to drop whatever you’re doing if he wants to see you (in his free time of course).

• Gives the impression that he’s with you for what you can give or do for him rather than for who you are inside (e.g. is quick to “borrow” money from you but is never interested in your needs or thoughts).

• Guilt-tripping and blaming. Does he make you feel like you did something wrong for no good reason, or accuse you of things without proof? Even worse, does he do all this even when he’s the one who has wronged you (in which case you’d find it hard to ever complain about anything to him)?

• If you’re lucky enough for people around you to notice and tell you that your boyfriend seems insecure and controlling, perhaps it’s worth listening to them.

• There are no signs of “unconditional love” – for every favor he expects something (often more) in return (e.g. he uncharacteristically takes you out to someplace nice, then asks to borrow some money).

• Tries to make everything about him. You mention you had a bad day, and instead of comforting you he goes on about how he’s had it worse.

• Tries to structure your life so that you rely on him more and more for different aspects of your life, so that eventually it becomes difficult to function without him (like discouraging you from getting a driver’s license and insisting that he can pick you up and drop you off for everything).

• Unreasonable and uncalled for jealousy. A little jealousy in a relationship is a good thing, but when it shows itself too frequently and in benign situations it’s not.

How to Make an Insecure Woman Feel Secure

• Always try to be forgiving of mistakes and wrongs (whether big or small, accidental or intentional), and be accepting of her flaws (whether physical, mental or situational).

• In general women are physically smaller and have less muscular strength than men. Make her feel safe physically, not necessarily by being big and strong (though that helps – time to renew that gym membership!) but by showing that you can protect her with wits and wisdom (for example by demonstrating an ability to defuse confrontational situations with words).

This isn’t limited to interactions with people – something as simple as catching her if she stumbles or trips can also help. Speaking of the physical, she must feel that you find only her beautiful – at the very least, don’t let her catch you blatantly eyeballing anyone else (this includes celebrities).

• Be honest, reliable and predictable. Always stay true to your word, no matter how trivial the matter. A forgotten promise to you is a lie to her. On a related note, always be open and transparent about everything in your life – a good start is to involve her with your family and friends. Imagine you’ve been with someone for years and you only just find out about a longtime friend or family of hers – it happens and really it’s not a big deal as long as no deception was involved, but it doesn’t change the fact you might feel at least a little hurt.

• Money matters, but it’s not about being a billionaire. Demonstrating that you can handle financial matters with good judgement and decisions (doesn’t mean you need to be a cheapskate) and showing that you can plan for the future are more important that any dollar amount (e.g. finding good deals on hotels and flights for a trip).

• Never put her down or demean her, whether it’s directly at her or indirectly through a third party (e.g. telling her or friends that you’re too good for her). That’s just the start though – constant positive comments that increase her self esteem will complete the magic (be specific and genuine).

• Life is unpredictable. Be a solid rock for her when she goes through emotionally unstable times (exams, family issues, work problems, etc.), and ensure that she feels it’s safe to express her feelings when with you without feeling shame (letting your own vulnerabilities be visible to her too helps, especially if it’s related to what she’s currently going through).

Patience is often necessary as low points usually take time to pass – refrain from the temptation to make her “snap out of it” using logic (e.g. if she talks about a conflict with a coworker, be supportive and listen rather than direct her to a website about conflict resolution skills). In a situation involving a disagreement with a third party, make sure you firmly take her side.

• Be in touch with how and what she thinks, and make sure she knows this and that you are “on the same wavelength” with her so that she knows there’s always someone who understands and “connects with” her in any situation. There are times in life when your actions have to be in sync without exchanging a single word.

• Let her know that you love her – not just with words, but with sweet behaviors (and gifts) too. Little things add up to paint a big picture of just how important she is to you, and she will see it. Even better, show that she’s more important to you than anything else in your life.

• Make sure you have your own life together – saying you’ll support her weight-loss efforts when you’re a fat slob yourself isn’t going to instill much confidence.

Insecure Boyfriend Signs

• Too much commitment too fast. Telling you you’re the love of his life when you haven’t even gotten to know each other may seem cute on the outside, but screams insecurity on the inside.

• Constantly asks you if you love him, because he needs to be SURE (for the 10th time today). He also needs your praise and approval about everything and anything or he will break down in despair (and often even if you do provide them).

• He excessively plays push-pull with the relationship, and constantly questions your dedication to him.

• He spends unreasonably large amounts of money on you (based on how much he has/makes) and it’s not based on a healthy mindset as he’s scared that you might abandon him otherwise.

Similarly, he might spend WAY too much time or money on vain self-improvement like bodybuilding or expensive cars. He might also embellish (or even outright make up) details about his life or his past to impress you.

• You are his primary (or even only) focus in his life. Perhaps he had a well-rounded life before, but he may have thrown it all away to devote himself to you (friends, jobs, hobbies).

His mental and emotional well-being depends on you – if you happen to be in a rough period of life or even just having a bad day and it shows (or worse, you make a passing remark that could be misconstrued as criticism), he will be WAY too sensitive to it and will likely think that it’s about him.

Now if it IS about him and you (nicely) point things out that could be improved, don’t expect it to get through to him – he’ll just make you look mean and cold-hearted.

• Jealous and suspicious. Any person you meet that’s not him makes him feel neglected – even if the subject of your attention is an inanimate object or even something abstract (like being TOO into a TV show).

He will contact you frequently and ask you who/what/when/where/why (don’t even think about replying late or -gasp- ignoring him!) – and if that person happens to be a (attractive!?) male friend or acquaintance, expect the questions to increase exponentially.

Suspicions can also lead him to invade your privacy – things like secretly checking your messages. And no matter how much you tell him you love him, he just can’t get rid of the suspicion that you may still be thinking about your ex(s).

• He is very conscious about and sensitive to people (especially other men) being “better” than him – whether that be financially, physically or otherwise.

• Negative stories about his past lovers – he may rant on about how he was mistreated by his past girlfriends, which quite frankly isn’t any of your business nor your fault.

What to Do When You Feel Insecure in a Relationship

• Don’t let feelings of insecurity or past life experiences negatively affect your perceptions, thoughts or behavior towards your partner, especially those that can damage his/her trust in you. Learn to recognize when your resentments, jealousy or suspicions are unfounded (distancing yourself from drama queens/kings would be a good start) – don’t worry about things that probably won’t happen, try to give the benefit of the doubt and always be patient, understanding and positive.

However, don’t hesitate to bring up genuine problems or issues you think needs to be discussed (and in a non-confrontational manner) – this includes things involving the future ranging from the trivial (such as whether how much, if any, contact with exes is acceptable) to important life decisions that you may need to make together. Clear communication in both directions is essential.

• Think of yourself as a worthy partner who brings your fair share to the table in what makes the relationship work – you’re not “dating up” or “less valuable”.

• Remind yourself (and more indirectly and subtly to your partner) that there are others who would like to be in his/her place. On a related note, don’t be envious of other relationships as more often than not it’s only the positive sides that are visible – all relationships has its low points, including yours, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

• Don’t be too reliant on your partner for too many aspects of your life – the less the better. Imagine that he/she could disappear from your life at any moment and structure your life accordingly (and that includes sufficient “alone” time). It’s nice to know that you can 100% rely on yourself (emotionally, physically, financially and more) if you ever have to face a struggle on your own.

Similarly, you can’t depend on the words or actions of your partner (or anyone else) to help with your feelings of insecurity; you need to become strong and confident from the inside. One important part of this is simply accepting and being at peace with that fact that not everything is in your control (including other people’s feelings).

• Increase your confidence in other areas of your life by not being too hard on yourself and acknowledging (and further developing) your strengths.

• Do your best to look your best (exercise, dress up, do your hair, etc.) – it will help with your self-esteem and your partner will appreciate it. DON’T use it as a crutch though, nor as a mask to hide your true self behind. Neither should you force him/her to dress or behave to your liking.

Is He Insecure or Not Interested?

Even insecure guys will unintentionally give away their feelings through their behavior – the following are some signs to watch for:

• He goes out of his way to accommodate your preferences (and to learn about them in the first place), and starts adopting them himself.

• He enjoys having interesting and deep discourse with you, and invests time and energy into debating and discussing disagreements with you rather than simply not giving a damn (apathy is worse than hate – not that he necessarily hates you). He will however, avoid talking about his past lovers.

• He won’t bail at the first sign of you playing hard-to-get – play games with him (to a reasonable extent) and he will play along and keep pursuing you in the face of (to him) temporary setbacks and trivial obstacles.

• He responds positively to any sincere signs of interest you send his way, and doesn’t explicitly “friendzone” or “rule you out” as a potential romantic partner.

• Random gifts and favors!

• You might see signs of small-stakes commitment, like signing up to the same yoga class together.

• He is always eager to make plans to see you and puts a lot of effort into arranging interesting dates (often a long time in advance) to make sure you have fun when you’re with him – its unlikely you’ll hear him asking you to come up with ideas for what to do or eat.

And he will rarely, if ever, flake – if he does, there will be a very good reason behind it and you can count on him to be apologetic and/or make it up to you in a big way.

• He’s quiet around you but loud and chatty around other people (note though that he shouldn’t be depressed or unhappy).

• He makes positive comments about seemingly mundane (to you) things about you, especially things noone else notices.

You know your hair looks good today because you got a record amount of Instagram likes on a hair selfie after you spent an unholy amount of money at the hair salon, but he happens to notice and compliment you on the dimple on your left cheek when you laugh. He also doesn’t mind your (own perceived) “flaws” – be they physical, behavioral or circumstantial.

• He dresses up when meeting you.

• He might be a little touchy-feely and up-close-and-personal, and in general his body from head-to-toe will be “facing towards you”. Emotional openness will also be evident, though tread carefully as some guys can get a little sensitive.

• He frequently contacts you first, out of the blue – just for the sake of talking to you. When you contact him, he will usually be available or at least get back in touch with you later – you definitely won’t be ignored. And it will usually be voice or video calls – too much text-based communication is a bad sign.

• He sometimes makes fun of you in a playful way.

• There’s a good chance he’s told at least one friend that he’s interested in you. Even better if he’s introduced you to them in person, and bonus points for meeting his family. On the other hand if nobody around him so much as knows your name or your existence (or worse, you hear about one or more other women), don’t get your hopes up too much.

• He seems curious (almost nosy) about various aspects of your life past present and future, and seems to have an amazing ability to recall random details from past conversations with you. Start going on a long rant about your life’s problems? He should be all ears. At the same time, he’ll tell you all the details about his own life without you even asking.

• He shows signs of jealousy about other guys in your life.

• Overall you find him attentive, predictable, available and comfortable (in a good way).