10 Warning Signs You’re In A Controlling Relationship

signs you're in a controlling relationship

In a healthy relationship, both partners feel respected and have the freedom to express themselves.

However, in a controlling relationship, one partner seeks to exert power and control over the other.

Do you often walk on eggshells around your partner?

Do you feel like you can’t be yourself anymore? If yes, chances are that you have a controlling partner.

Controlling relationships can happen to anyone, and the signs aren’t always obvious.

But if you listen to your instincts and pay attention to how your partner makes you feel, you can tell if you’re being controlled.

Some of the biggest signs you’re in a controlling relationship is that your partner tries to limit your freedom.

They may monitor or restrict your phone calls, texts, or social interactions in an attempt to isolate you from your loved ones.

In this article, we explore 10 warning signs of a controlling relationship and how to know if you’re in one.

signs you're in a controlling relationship


You deserve to be in a relationship where you feel happy, supported, and free to be your amazing self.

If you feel like you can’t be yourself around your partner, here are some telltale signs you’re in a controlling relationship.

1. Your partner is excessively jealous and possessive 

Jealousy can be a good trait in relationships, but if it happens frequently, it becomes unhealthy for both partners.

Does your partner often check your phone, interrogate you about where you’ve been, or accuse you of cheating?

These are major red flags that you are in a controlling relationship.

If your significant other exhibits extreme jealousy and constantly accuses you of infidelity without any valid reason, it can be a sign of control.

A controlling partner may insist on always knowing where you are and who you’re with.

They’ll blow up your phone with calls and texts if you don’t respond right away. This behavior shows a lack of trust and respect for your independence.

Staying in a controlling relationship will only damage your confidence and self-esteem over time.

You deserve to be in a healthy relationship where you’re respected, trusted, and free to be your true self!

If talking it out doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to make a break for freedom.

2. They isolate you from friends and family 

Isolation is a common tactic of control. A controlling partner may insist that your friends and family don’t care about you, only they do.

They’ll also try to discourage you from seeing your loved ones regularly.

At first, it may seem like they just want to spend lots of quality time together.

But then those movie nights turn into guilt trips when you do make plans without them.

Does your partner talk trash about people close to you? Do they insist your family and friends are “bad influences” or “don’t have your best interests at heart?”

These are obvious signs they’re trying to isolate you from your support network. Watch out if:

Your significant other makes you feel bad for wanting to do things without them.

Your friends and family start commenting on how little they see you.

You find yourself making excuses to avoid social plans so you don’t upset your partner.

Controlling partners often attempt to isolate their partner by discouraging or preventing them from spending time with friends, and family, or engaging in social activities.

This isolation can make you more dependent on them and limit your support network.

Don’t let this happen to you. Maintain your outside relationships to avoid total dependence on your partner.

Visit your friends regularly and invite family over whenever it’s convenient.

Stand up for yourself and set clear boundaries. Let your partner know their controlling behavior is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated.

If they refuse to change, don’t be afraid to get out of the unhealthy relationship. Your happiness and freedom are worth fighting for!

signs you're in a controlling relationship

3. They criticize and judge you constantly 

Controlling individuals often use criticism as a means of control.

They may belittle you, undermine your self-esteem, and make you doubt your abilities and worth. Nothing you do seems to please them!

This constant criticism can destroy your confidence and make you more reliant on their approval.

Does your partner criticize or judge everything you do and say? Do they pick apart your choices and actions?

Controlling partners feel threatened by your success and independence.

Rather than celebrating your achievements, they make you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough.

When you achieve something great at work or reach an important milestone, your controlling partner will find a way to downplay it or make you feel like you could have done better.

They can never just be happy for you – they always have to knock you down a peg.

You deserve a partner who celebrates your wins, not one who makes you feel like you’re never good enough.

If your partner calls you cruel names under the guise of “just teasing”, but their words cut deep, damaging your self-esteem and confidence, that’s a sign you’re with the wrong person.

No one who truly cares about you would subject you to this kind of verbal abuse. Stay strong and remember that you deserve so much better than this.

Don’t let their hurtful words define you and work to build your confidence from within.

4. Your partner makes all the decisions 

If your partner insists on making all the big and small decisions in the relationship, that’s a major red flag.

A healthy relationship is based on mutual trust and respect, not control or manipulation.

Watch out if your partner chooses what you wear, who you spend time with, how you spend your money, or what hobbies and interests you’re allowed to have.

Their need to dictate every little detail of your life is a sign they don’t respect you or value your independence.

Stand up for yourself and set clear boundaries about what is and isn’t okay.

You deserve so much better than to feel trapped in a relationship where you have no voice!

There are many kind and caring people out there who will treat you as an equal partner.

Don’t waste another second with someone who makes you feel small or insignificant.

If you’ve tried communicating with your controlling partner to no avail, don’t be afraid to make your exit.

5. They monitor your every move

Does your partner want to know where you are and who you’re with 24/7?

A clear sign you’re dating a control freak is that they bombard you with calls and texts to check up on you.

When you don’t respond immediately, they accuse you of avoiding them or not caring enough about the relationship.

If your partner constantly checks in on you, monitors where you go, and demands to know details about how you spend every minute of your day, that’s a big red flag.

Controlling partners will insist that their behavior shows how much they care about you, but in reality, it’s a way to exert control and strip away your independence.

Don’t tolerate this kind of domineering behavior. A healthy relationship is built on mutual trust and respect, not control or manipulation.

Your partner should trust you to live your life and respect your need for independence.

Their obsession with monitoring your every move signals that they care more about having power over you than building a loving connection.

Let your significant other know their constant monitoring and lack of trust in you is unacceptable.

You deserve to have a life outside of the relationship without having to account for your every move.

Don’t let their controlling behavior make you feel guilty or like you’ve done something wrong.

Their actions say more about their insecurities and need for control than about you.

Stay connected to your loved ones, and make sure to spend time doing your own hobbies apart from your partner.

Maintaining your independence and self-confidence will help ensure the relationship dynamic stays healthy and balanced.

Signs of a controlling relationship

6. They threaten and intimidate you 

Another sign you’re in a controlling relationship is that you feel afraid, anxious, and unsafe around your partner.

Controlling individuals often use threats, intimidation, or emotional manipulation to exert control and maintain power over you.

This can create a climate of fear, making it difficult for you to assert your independence.

Don’t accept threats, aggression, or violence of any kind in your relationship.

This controlling behavior will only get worse over time and severely damage your self-esteem and mental health.

You deserve a caring partner who treats you as an equal and supports your freedom and happiness.

If your significant other refuses to treat you better, find the courage to leave this toxic situation and surround yourself with people who love you.

Choosing to end an abusive relationship is one of the best decisions you can make for yourself.

7. Your partner dictates your appearance 

Does your partner constantly criticize your appearance and demand that you change your style to suit their tastes?

Do they criticize your makeup, hairstyle, and accessories if you stray from their preferences?

If your partner insists on controlling how you dress, style your hair, or present yourself, it can be a sign of their need for dominance.

While it’s normal for partners to make requests, in a healthy relationship it’s always your choice whether to comply.

A controlling partner will turn their requests into demands and punishments, robbing you of your autonomy and freedom of expression.

Stand up for yourself and set clear boundaries. You deserve a partner who loves and respects you as you are, not one who sees you as a doll they can dress up and control.

Don’t let their criticism make you question your fabulous and unique fashion style!

8. They restrict your access to money 

Controlling partners may exert control over finances, restricting your access to money, or requiring you to account for every expense.

This financial dependence can make it difficult for you to leave the relationship if necessary.

Does your partner monitor how you spend and restrict access to your own money? That’s a sign they’re trying to control you.

Controlling partners will scrutinize every penny you spend and demand justification for any expense. They may:

Insist on controlling the finances and household bills.

Require you to ask permission before making any purchase.

Criticize you for how you spend your own money or income.

Threaten to cut you off financially if you don’t do as they say.

Having financial freedom and control over your money is essential for independence and self-sufficiency.

If your partner exhibits these toxic behaviors, it’s a sign they want power over you and will use money as a means of control. Don’t stand for it!

You deserve a healthy relationship where you have equal access to shared finances and the freedom to spend your own money as you choose without fear of repercussion.

signs you're in a controlling relationship

9. They gaslight you all the time 

Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic used by controlling partners to make you question your own reality in order to gain power over you.

They may deny events or conversations, manipulate facts, or make you feel like you’re going crazy.

This can lead to self-doubt and a heightened sense of dependence.

When your partner constantly gaslights you, it’s a major red flag you’re in a controlling relationship.

Has your partner ever denied saying or doing something that you clearly remember happening?

Do they insist that events happened differently than how you recall them?

This is a sign they’re trying to make you doubt your perception of reality. Don’t fall for it! Trust your memory and instincts.

Their behavior may seem playful or teasing, but gaslighting is a serious form of emotional abuse that aims to make you feel insecure and dependent on them.

The more they gaslight you, the more confused and helpless you’ll feel. Stand up for the truth and call out their lies.

If talking to them doesn’t work, spend less time together and build your confidence from within.

10. They disrespect your boundaries 

In a controlling relationship, your boundaries may be consistently disregarded or dismissed.

Your partner may push your limits, invade your privacy, or pressure you into doing things you’re uncomfortable with.

Does your significant other constantly check up on you or show up unannounced? Do they force you to engage in unpleasant activities?

Controlling partners have trouble respecting normal personal boundaries.

Do they demand to know where you are and who you’re with at all times?

While it’s normal to want to know some details about your partner’s life, demanding constant updates is a huge red flag.

Does your partner get angry when you spend time with friends or family? Isolating you from your support network is a controlling tactic.

Do they read through your messages or snoop through your belongings? This shows a lack of trust and respect for your privacy.

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, you may be in a controlling relationship.

Controlling partners erode your boundaries and independence over time through manipulation and distrust.

Don’t ignore these warning signs – you deserve to feel free and supported in a romantic relationship.

Speak up, set clear boundaries, or consider ending things if nothing changes in your love life.


If you recognize any of these warning signs in your relationship, it’s time to take back control of your life.

You deserve to be treated with trust, respect, and support – not control and manipulation.

No one has the right to isolate you, make you feel worthless, or dictate how you live your life.

Stand up for yourself and tell your controlling partner their behavior is unacceptable and needs to change.

Set clear boundaries and don’t accept bad behavior from your significant other.

You are strong, you are brave, and you deserve better. Don’t waste another day feeling trapped and unhappy.

Seek support from trusted friends, family, or professionals who can help you navigate the difficult situation safely.


Recommended Reading:

10 Subtle Signs Of Disrespect In A Relationship

10 Signs Of Lack Of Trust In A Relationship

12 Warning Signs Your Partner Is Taking You For Granted

About The Author

Jennifer Dagi
 | Blog

Jennifer Dagi is happily married to her best friend and the love of her life.

As a relationship coach, she is passionate about helping couples build healthy and happy relationships.

She strongly believes communication and intimacy are the most important ingredients for building a successful relationship.

Join her on a fabulous journey to improve your love life one step at a time and don't forget to subscribe for weekly blog updates.

error: Content is protected!