Relationships ought to be based on the paradigm of equal partnership. The fact that two people in a romantic relationship are called ‘partners’ attests to that fact. However, a departure from this balance isn’t unheard of. This leads to one of the partners assuming a controlling or more dominating position in the relationship. When we speak of such dominating relationships, more often than not it is the man who seeks to seize control – thanks to centuries of patriarchal conditioning. If you live with the constant feeling that he is dominating in the relationship, it is important to take a step back and recognise the red flags.
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What is a Dominating Relationship?
To know for sure if he is dominating in the relationship and learn how to tackle this toxicity, you first need to what a dominating relationship is. This becomes imperative as signs he is dominating you can manifest in the form of minor behavioural aberrations. Anything from telling you to change a dress to cutting you off mid-sentence or telling you who you can and cannot hang out with. While such occurrences can give you that gut feeling of something being amiss, it is hard to immediately conclude that you’re with a dominating boyfriend/husband.
A dominating relationship can be best explained as one where one person overwhelms the other emotionally and tries to control how their partner is supposed to think, feel, react and behave. You can be certain that he is dominating in the relationship when this need for control is accompanied by a quick temper, blame-shifting and a total disregard for your emotions, feelings and needs.
The very essence of a dominating relationship is the need to curtail the other partner’s power as a way of dealing with one’s deep-rooted insecurities. It is vital to be aware of these toxic behaviour patterns as a dominating relationship can quickly spiral out of control and lead to physical and sexual abuse.
Related Reading: Why Do Women Stay On In Abusive Relationships?
7 Signs He Is Dominating In The Relationship
Living with a dominating boyfriend or husband can be an extremely frustrating experience. Their edgy behaviour and tendencies to lash out can trigger deep-seated anxiety in the person who is at the receiving end. These things might seem very cute, endearing at the beginning of the relationship. As time passes by, you will hate his attitude and loathe this behaviour.
Take corrective measure before things get to that point of no return is the wise thing to do. To be able to do that, you need to start by looking for signs he is dominating you. Here are 7 classic red flags that he is dominating in the relationship to watch out for:
1. He is suspicious and snoops into your personal space
You have caught him checking your phone more than once. Oh you forgiving soul, look closer. Snooping into your personal space incessantly is not care, but suspicion. He will reason with you that you are a gullible doe that needs protection. And he becomes your self-appointed protector.
More often than not, he will throw a fit of defensiveness when asked about this curious habit of snooping in your personal space. ‘What to do yo have to hide?’ ‘Don’t you trust me?’ ‘What personal space between partners?’ – are some of the common passive-aggressive refrains he uses regularly to make you feel guilty about his actions. If you’ve experienced this up close too often, know that he is dominating in the relationship.
Related Reading: What is abuse in a relationship?
2. He is unreasonably jealous
Yes, it is cute if your partner turns green with envy every time someone flirts with you openly. That’s natural too. But envy and jealousy, though confused as interchangeable emotions, are markedly different. Jealousy is a negative emotion that has no space in a healthy relationship.
When his jealous tendencies border on compulsive behaviour it is a definite red flag. If you’ve had to curtail on time for friends and family, and virtually pluck out every man from your life, then it is one of the classic signs that signs he is dominating you. Such unwarranted suspicion is not to be tolerated no matter what the book of male ego says. Do not change your life to fit his unjust demands.
3. You’re always at his beck and call
He is a dominating man in a relationship if you find yourself compelled to be at his beck and call at all time times. If he requires you to be there, saying no isn’t even an option. Not without all hell breaking loose, anyway. You have to be available to meet him whenever he asks, answer his every call and respond to his every text message within seconds.
When your schedule becomes attuned to his needs you can be certain that he is dominating in the relationship. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that this is because he loves you to a fault and his life revolves around you. It is the other way around.
Please realise yourself as an individual and recognise this unsolicited behaviour from your boyfriend as emotionally abusive.
4. A dominating boyfriend is critical of your loved ones
Everyone in your life is unworthy. Your parents are at fault, your friends stupid, anyone but he is a terrible choice. He cannot find anything good to say about the people you love and care about. He doesn’t stop at that and even tries to manipulate you into thinking the same.
This is an indisputable sign that you have a dominating man in a relationship. Being overly critical of all your other relationships and associations is his way of ensuring that he is the sole support system in your life. You’d be wise to recognise this as a toxic indication and reconsider your decision to put up with such a dominating boyfriend (or husband).
Related Reading: Is Your Jealous Boyfriend Being Possessive And Controlling?
5. He finds a way to blame you for everything
Every time some random dude on social media sends you those creepy “wanna frannnship?” messages, it is your fault that you attract such attention. If someone on the roads gives you a second glance, your choice of clothes is to blame.
It is your fault that you were teased by an unknown lecher on the streets. That the sweet kid from your college fell in love with you. Or that the earth quakes and that ice caps are melting.
You’re with the new age patriarch who won’t have you wearing short skirts but within the walls of his own house or let you drink in any public place but with him. This sort of victim-shaming and fault-finding points toward a dominating relationship where your own love story becomes your torment.
Related Reading: My partner is controlling. I feel like I am losing my individuality
6. Possessiveness is a sign of a dominating man in a relationship
Let’s concede that weird are the ways of the heart, and we all find it endearing when our significant other says things like ‘you’re mine’ or ‘you belong to me’. But there is a difference between a figure of speech and taking these words literally. If your partner’s possessiveness borders on that worrisome level where he is convinced that he owns your life, then it is a foregone conclusion that he is dominating in the relationship and wants to control your life.
Extreme possession that leaves him triggered every time you spend time with your best friend or stay over with your parents is a red flag begging you to bolt as fast as you can.
7. You can’t be yourself around him
This is a definite indication that something is off the balance in your relationship. Are you walking on eggshells around him? You cancel plans to meet friends or visit family just because you’d much rather quell your desires than face his anger. If that’s where you’re at, it is time to acknowledge that abuse comes in different shapes and forms. And this dominating relationship is now bordering on emotional abuse. Things will escalate from here, consider leaving before your relationship with this dominating boyfriend or husband hits the rock bottom.
If a relationship starts to suffocate you, encroach on your personal space and requires you to change who you are, it cannot be a healthy, stable one. The signs that he is dominating in the relationship will only become more potent as you get more deeply involved with such a partner. So take note of these warning signs and handle your relationship accordingly while there is still time.