13 very early warning signs that your new partner may be a controller

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The best way to escape a controlling or abusive relationship is to get out before you are emotionally hooked. But how can you tell when a new romantic interest may turn into a problem partner?

Here are 13 very early warning signs that may precede later abusive behavior.

  1. Your new partner monopolizes your time

You are spending all your free time with your partner – perhaps even seeing him or her every day. If you spend any time with someone else, your partner seems hurt, annoyed or even angry.

  1. Your new partner calls or texts constantly

You may get calls and texts 24/7 – even if you are also spending a lot of time with this person. If you don’t respond immediately and your partner demands to know why – well, consider this a serious warning.

  1. Your new partner plays for your sympathy

Your new partner may talk about an abusive childhood, scheming boss or treacherous previous love interest. This warning sign is especially relevant if he or she tells you that a previous partner was cheating, abusive or mentally unbalanced (very common accusations for abusers).

  1. Your partner overreacts to a trivial or nonexistent slight

He or she becomes angry or sullen over nothing at all, or accuses you of saying or doing something that simply didn’t happen.

  1. Your partner is worked up, and says it’s your fault.

During debate, discussion or argument, your partner is combative and says, “You made me say it,” or “You made me do it,” or, “You made me crazy,” or something like that. If your partner blames you for his or her behavior, this is a classic controller technique.

  1. Early on, your partner buys you extravagant gifts

You’ve only been dating a short time, but he or she buys you an expensive gift — like jewelry or electronics — or offers you money, and it just feels inappropriate. This may be an attempt to make you feel indebted.

  1. You see a sudden flash of nastiness that seems out of character

Maybe it’s not directed towards you – perhaps your partner is rude to a waiter. If your partner has been treating you like gold, and suddenly you see a mean streak, well perhaps the person’s mask has slipped, and revealed what’s behind it.

  1. “Where did that come from?”

Your partner says or does something negative, and your immediate reaction is, “Huh? Where did that come from?”  If you are shocked for any reason, do not overlook the incident.

  1. All your interactions are on the your partner’s terms

You spend time at your partner’s house, with your partner’s friends and family, doing what your partner wants to do. You never seem to get to what you want to do. If your partner does finally agree to what you want, he or she makes the experience so miserable that you never ask again.

  1. Your partner is starting to criticize you

In the beginning your partner continuously told you how wonderful you are. Now, he or she is finding things about you to criticize, although the criticisms may be presented in the context of “helping” or “for your own good.” Remember, romantic partners are supposed to be supportive.

  1. Your partner physically assaults you, even if it doesn’t hurt

This is major, major, major. If your partner shoves, hits, scratches or chokes you, even lightly, you should assume that he or she is testing you. Your partner may claim it was an accident, he or she didn’t mean it, it will never happen again. Actually, your partner may be taking the first steps towards training you to tolerate physical abuse.

  1. Your partner pushes your sexual boundaries

Your partner may make suggestions or demands that you find just uncomfortable, all for more “fantasy” or “excitement.” Well, it may be just the beginning of uncomfortable demands, and the depravity of the demands may escalate.

  1. You feel drained

Perhaps your partner is being demanding, although the demands are hidden in the context of wanting to spend so much time with you. Perhaps you feel like you are constantly defending yourself. Whatever the reason, this relationship leaves you feeling drained. Keep in mind that controllers suck the life out of you.

What should you think? What should you do?

You may be inclined to interpret overly attentive behaviors to mean that your new partner is really smitten with you. Or if you see some nastiness, you may feel like you should cut the person some slack, because we all bad days, and we have wounds and baggage.

So how do you know if one of these episodes is an aberration, or a warning?

Listen to your instincts. If you have a nagging intuition or a bad feeling that there is something wrong with this person or the involvement, and you also see these behaviors, consider yourself warned.

More importantly, act on the warning and end your involvement. The sooner you get out, the safer you will be.

Do you know more warning signs?

If you’ve experienced a controlling partner, did you notice any behaviors that, looking back, you now realize were warning signs? Please share your insights with Lovefraud readers by posting a comment.

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9 Comments on "13 very early warning signs that your new partner may be a controller"

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  1. Erdelyi says:

    Here’s a variation of the “monopolizing” your time: He monopolizes YOUR time, but if he needs time away from YOU…this may because he is married OR in multiple relationships OR still “playing” and patrolling for targets. He is gaslighting. He knows that if he is briefly or extensively “unavailable” the gaslighting will emotionally keep you exclusive while he is with someone else or on the prowl.

    There may be a very specific time period. If he “disappears” for, say, the weekend (though he may call and text constantly, giving you the impression that he is “available”)- this is a sure sign that he is cheating on a spouse or another woman- even perhaps a guy if he’s bi.

    Be warned if there is a specific pattern of “unavailability” and he starts punishing you for contacting him, or if he is only seeing you or sleeping over YOUR place on say Wednesday. And don’t be fooled by the “I’m with my kids” excuse. It may only be true SOME of the time.

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    • regretfullymine says:

      one of the first times I spent any time with him; he blew up and called me a name..I got up and left..turned around and told him “nobody talks to me that way, I don’t want to see you anymore”..that lasted 3 days..and he called me at my dorm, “to talk”..to my regret, I did go and talk to him. He gave me a ‘semi apology for his temper’, but insisted I said something that ‘set him off’. That’s a red flag when they say that YOU caused them to do or say something bad..NEVER let anybody tell you that its YOUR fault they act/talk back to you!! If they do, don’t have any further contact with that person..

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  2. Reb53 says:

    For all the ladies out there with life experience concerning their own love-fraudsters, it is a constant vigil and we have to pay attention no matter how old we are.

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  3. Reb53 says:

    Woops…here’s the rest of my comment…a couple of years ago (I was 51) I was introduced to a man (he was 62) by some close friends at Thanksgiving at their home. He is a neighbor of theirs and they said he was really nice and his wife had died suddenly in her sleep three years before. He asked for my number after we talked that evening with my friends and others who were invited, and I gave it to him. We had an O.K. first date but, the first red flag was not agreeing on where I should park my car to meet him at the restaurant and his insisting that he pick my up at my home. I heeded the warning (because I’ve survived TWO relationships with what I now know to have been sociopaths) and I told him I don’t give out my address until I get to know a man fairly well and I also have an unlisted number. Anyway, to make a long story short…he rubbed on my back and started snuggling up to me at the movie we went to and I told him since we had just met to please not do that so, he stopped. In the week following that date I got numerous calls, texts and emails from him checking in on me, asking me to do things when he know I would be working, and one phone message – demanding that I call him back asap so he could buy tickets to a play at a local playhouse – this call was also on my home phone while I was working. I was feeling absolutely stalked by this dude (keep in mind, I was NOT the first person he had dated since his wife’s death and he had lived with a woman about 9 months after she died and this woman, apparently broke it off – according to my friends that introduced us and told him she wanted just her family members to help her through her upcoming cancer treatments – another possible red flag). Anyway, I send him a polite email after over 10 contacts from him that week, none of which I initiated, and thanked him for the date we had and told him I was not looking for a relationship at the time and wished him well on his quest to find a partner. He responded with an angry phone message and an email that told me: “You never even gave us a change to be friends, I thought you’d want to date a respectful, considerate, nice guy but, I guess not – good luck to you!”. So, any man at any age can act like a horny teenager with no boundaries and no real respect or consideration for us as individuals with our own lives. My friends thought I was crazy for not wanting to date him because he was financially well off and not bad looking. When I told them what happened, they said “He just really likes you, you’re not going to find anyone who’s perfect”. I trusted my gut and since that time, this guy has gone through several women who dumped him and whenever I see him out and about he gives me an angry stare. Trust you gut, ladies – no matter what your friends of family think…they may not understand the warning signs of a personality disorder and you don’t need their permission to take charge of your own life and make appropriate decisions for you. God bless.

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  4. satya says:

    This is kind of weird, but it made me think of something this boyfriend I had when I was in my late teens used to do. We were in college and walked a lot. He very often would put his hand on my neck like a leash. It made me feel very uncomfortable and embarrassed for both of us. I would try to get him to stop but he’d just keep doing it. It wasn’t like holding hands or arms around each other (I wouldn’t have liked that much either-don’t like PDAs) It seemed definitely set to humiliate me, like I was property and not my own person.

    I saw a man doing that to a woman earlier this year. I stopped to glare at him but they were across the street and didn’t see me. Her body language was definitely uncomfortable. Probably had the same thought I had had, “Why does he do this?”

    Seriously, if a man ever does this to you, run like heck, or better, become the grey rock and slowly ease out. We were both very young, but it was definitely a red flag. I don’t want to go into too many details but I eventually had to go to the police to stop him stalking and harassing me. He wouldn’t get that I left him. He also used to hit me, not super hard but I rightfully felt then as now any hitting was too much. I’m glad you included the caveat even if it doesn’t hurt (although his punches did hurt). Ok, since I’m divulging, I’ll also mention he used to hold me outside windows to see if I “trusted” him, even off 8 storey buildings! Obviously, I didn’t trust him but how insane? Do something so untrustworthy and cruel to see if I was dumb enough to trust him. I shudder to think of what he does now…I added that last bit to emphasize my point- that weird crab claw hand to the neck leash is definitely a huge warning sign.

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  5. Beth_K says:

    So my partner and I were in a loving relationship for 3 years, 1 ofthem married together. We spent all out time together and if I’m honest I’d get jealous when she spent time with her other friends too, but that’s cause I didn’t feel connected to anyone except her, I often get anxious and depressed.
    I’m used to people leaving me so I’m scared of that happening. We message each other all day every day cause she has anxieties too, it’s like support network for each other. I was abused sexually when I was a child and she has clinical depression and schizophrenia so we need each other.
    Ok so a month ago I was visiting family for a few days over the weekend. Come back really excited cause I’d been shopping with mom and got my wife a really nice necklace… and find her sat on the couch with a guy. Yes I’m a girl but we’re both bisexual. And his hand was on her thigh and her top was ruffled like she just put it back on, her legs over his legs too. She said they were just friends and playing videogames and I am not proud but I shouted at her, it really looked like something had happened.
    I just couldn#t look at her the same for the next week, I ended up blowing my top over stupid stuff like she’d borrow some money from the emergency gas money tin and I’d just lose it. She said she didn’t take it but that was a lie, who else could it have been? I think she needs to check her meds but I called her doctor and they seemed really odd about something and called me “Rebecca” my name is Beth. He could have got it wrong but my wife has said she talks about me so he would have known my name. He corrected himself super fast too like he’d slipped up. I don’t want to think she’s seeing some other woman but she’s acting shifty and I don’t feel like she’s leaving me any choice but to assume that.
    She gets snappy when I try to talk to her about this. She slapped me when I told her I felt like her going off and seeing ‘friends’ a lot was suspicious and I told her I saw our stash of condoms had gone down by almost half in the four days I’d been at my family’s. She pushed me and she walked out saying they were out of date so she threw them away, calling me a paranoid bitch and saying i’m getting paranoid cause i#ve put on weight.
    Talking to her now leaves me so tired and all I do recently is sleep all day can hardly leave my bed. She comes home and she sleeps on the couch she brngs her friends over whenever she likes now as though shes rubbing it in my face. i do all the chores she does nothing when i ask her now, its like living with a moody teen.
    we had sex two nights ago and we’re both switches meaning dom and sub but she didnt talk before she just tied me up and it was pretty rough and she choked me during sex.
    After she was very loving and cuddled me for hours like old times, even cried saying she wished it was like this all the time “if only I (me) wasn’t like this” but in the morning she was out seeing ‘friends’ again

    i don’t know what to think. I can’t go see friends without her getting nasty with me. I think she likes having control on me and might be a sociopath when i told her she was controlling me she SMILED.
    i’m so sorry for long post
    id love to know opinions and any help is appreciated

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    • NoMoreWool says:

      Beth – the fact you found your way here should tell you something. A relationship should build you up and inspire you to be the best You you can be. If your partner is treating you like an object and the relationship is not fulfilling, maybe you should consider if it is worth remaining.

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  6. regretfullymine says:

    these 13 reasons are extremely important..there ARE a lot of ‘jerks’ out there, no matter their looks, financial worth..young or old. Every woman who IS dating or wants a relationship should measure him by these 13 reasons..and don’t back off from ANY of them..it will save your emotional and physical future.

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