1. Obsessive Control
If a romantic partner is attempting to control the clothes you wear, the friends you have, time spent with family, or even the words that come out of your mouth — it’s time to reassess your situation — pronto.
I once had a boyfriend who tried to control what I wore so that other men wouldn’t find me as attractive. He wanted me to constantly be covered up. Even though it sounds ridiculous, I took it as a sign that he was really, really into me.
That boyfriend was really, really into himself and how he looked to the outside world. He was stunningly insecure and irrationally jealous. He wanted everyone to see that I was completely within in his power. I was nothing more than an accessory to his own ego and a pawn in his game of power and control.
If a partner ever tries to manipulate you by threatening to take their love or affection away unless you look or act a certain way in public or with family and friends, you can bet the relationship will be detrimental to your overall health and well-being.
This kind of behavior is actually a form of abuse and it’s not acceptable under any circumstances. It’s a deal breaker and non-negotiable.
2. Emotional Manipulation
We all get our feelings hurt in relationships sometimes. We all get sad and occasionally pout for a while. Most of us get over our grievances within a reasonable amount of time and are able to act in a mature, adult manner toward our partner(s).
But some people take it to the next level. They shut down — completely. They may stop talking to you for days, maybe even weeks. They essentially cut you off.
The issue at hand could have been a simple disagreement or even a seemingly minor offense, but an emotional manipulator doesn’t offer the ability to explain their actions or hash things out in a reasonable, respectful manner.
While you may think that emotionally shutting down is much better than outright physical or verbal abuse, this is actually a form of mental terrorism at it’s most insidious.
When you’re in a relationship with someone and they just shut you out without warning and you have to sit around playing a guessing game as to what went wrong or beg them to talk to you, then you’ll need to pull the plug on this kind of relationship.
Unless a person like this is seriously willing and able to fix their issues or go to therapy — move on. Worrying about stepping on emotional landmines throughout your entire relationship without any improvement on the horizon is energy draining and non-negotiable.
3. Unreasonable Aggression
This one is probably the most obvious of the previous points, but that doesn’t mean it’s the easiest to break away from.
When you meet and get into a relationship with someone who starts to exhibit characteristics of an extremely bad temper — pay attention. This kind of behavior is potentially dangerous and even life-threatening.
Look, everyone gets mad. Even furious sometimes. But over what? Someone cheating or someone lying perhaps? Possibly. But getting to a level of anger over something as simple as a change of plan or the waiter bringing the wrong dish to the table while you’re out to dinner is another story entirely.
It doesn’t matter if the person you’re dating has “a sweet side,” is smoking hot, or amazing in bed. If they constantly lose their mind and start screaming over small issues then they have a problem. It’s not you, not what you said, not you may have done. It’s them.
It’s not normal to yell, scream, punch walls, or physically assault anyone on a regular basis. If you’re in a relationship with someone who does these things or even threatens to, please make sure you have a good support system around you and seek help right away.
This also includes sexual aggression where you don’t feel 100 percent safe during sex or feel forced into any act in any way. Totally non-negotiable.
More from Michelle: How Being A Mistress Changed My Perception Of Marriage
Catch more of Michelle’s blogs at The Pondering Nook & also listen to her co-host a weekly Podcast at The Broad’s Way discussing relationships, marriage, divorce, parenting, step-parenting, body image, politics, hot topics & much more!
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline .