How to Deal With a Controlling Girlfriend

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You love your girlfriend. It’s great that she’s hot. She may be a beauty, but there’s something about her you hate. She tends to be the controlling type.

Your significant other likes to be in charge of the relationship. It’s as if she’s always in the driver’s seat. Now you ask: how should you deal with a controlling girlfriend?

Signs of a Controlling Girlfriend

When people hear the words “controlling girlfriend,” they can think of many things. One may think that a girlfriend, who likes to be in control, physically intimidates her partner.

Others may visualize an aggressive girlfriend. Still, others think a girlfriend is a war freak.

Psychologist and advice columnist Dr. Andrea Bonior writes that stereotypes don’t apply to controlling partners. A toxic relationship can come in different shapes and sizes, so to speak.

Below are some of the signs of a controlling girlfriend:

1. Keeping You Away from Friends and Kin

A controlling girlfriend keeps her boyfriend from his friends and family. According to Dr. Bonior, this is usually the first step for a controlling girlfriend.

Your girlfriend may often complain about how regularly you talk to your friends. Or she may dislike your brother. She may even tell you not to hang out with your pals.

You might not know it, but she wants to be in control of you. She’s getting rid of your support network. In the end, you won’t be able to stand up against her.

2. Frequent criticism

A controlling girlfriend likes to criticize even the smallest things. Like isolation, criticism can start small. Your girlfriend may convince you that her criticisms are for your own good.

However, criticism can affect your relationship. It’s been called a toxic habit that can ruin relationships. Relationship expert John Gottman calls it one of the main predictors of divorce. It could also affect non-married couples.

Psychologist Steven Stosny says that criticism devalues a person. It can also imply that the partner criticizing you is better. She’s suggesting she’s smarter or more morally upright in some way.

Don’t you just hate it when your girlfriend criticizes you? It’s as if you’re not good enough for her. It’s as if you are under scrutiny all the time. It can ruin your confidence. And you’ll feel bad about having a controlling girlfriend.

3. Sending Overt Threats

Veiled threats can be against you or herself. It’s a common misconception that threats are physical in nature.

But it can also be a threat of leaving you, cutting you off your privileges like hanging out with your gang.

You might have heard of stories of people stuck in a relationship. They fear that if they quit, their partners will harm or kill themselves.

Whether the threat is real or not, it is still a way for the person to control their partner.

4. Being overly jealous or paranoid.

It’s acceptable to be jealous once in a while. Some people may even say these are signs of being caring. You can also argue that she’s being attached to you.

But if your girlfriend is overly jealous and paranoid, then you are both in a controlling relationship. It’s a different story altogether.

Being too jealous and paranoid isn’t healthy. It’s actually scary and possessive. Your girlfriend can view your interactions with other women as flirting. She can also threaten other people who get close to you. These are signs of being insecure and anxious.

5. Not giving you privacy.

Make no mistake about it “me” time is important. Psychotherapist Deanna Richards believes in it.

According to her, having “me” time is valuable in a relationship. It lets you go out and experience life on your own. You can share new ideas and perspectives when you reengage with your girlfriend.

So, when your partner doesn’t honor your personal me time, she’s not respecting you, too. She’s sapping your own strength. Worse is when she makes you feel guilty about it. She’s even making you look like the villain.

6. Not trusting you until you ‘earn’ it

Your girlfriend’s trust is something you must earn. It’s akin to playing a game on a computer. You need to ‘earn’ points to reach a certain level. It’s a weird set-up that shows trust is not inherent or assumed in your relationship.

For example, you must detail your whereabouts every hour of the day. If you fail to say where you are, she assumes you’re up to something. If you’ve been consistent in telling her of your whereabouts, then you’ll likely have a good weekend with her.

Your girlfriend, too, demands that she has access to your email password. She also expects you to give your phone when she asks for it. These are scenarios that show your controlling girlfriend doesn’t really trust you.

7. Presuming you’re guilty

Controlling people can make you feel guilty most of the time. Your girlfriend has this knack for presuming your guilt until proven otherwise.

You often walk in the door with her angry about the unreturned phone call last night. Or maybe it was because you failed to text her last night.

Now, she’s accusing you of being with someone last night. She insists that you weren’t able to call her because of your hanky-panky.

Worse, she has already put this as an ‘exhibit D’ of her mounting pieces of evidence against you. It seems like she’s already judged you for doing suspicious things. Your controlling girlfriend believes you’ve been up to something bad.

8. Exhausting you

Your girlfriend’s relentless about arguing. She always has a point against you. She wouldn’t accept your arguments. And she doesn’t believe in every word you say. It has come to the point that you’ve been exhausted. You’d no longer fight back.

Your partner loves arguments. It seems she’s chronically arguing. She doesn’t dodge conflicts. In fact, she embraces it. And it doesn’t help you’re the passive type of guy. You’ve always been laid back.

Your controlling partner, thus, always wins in your arguments. It has come to the point that you don’t even want to argue with her because you’re tired of arguing!

9. Belittling your long-held beliefs

Your significant other likes to belittle your long-held beliefs. Maybe it’s your view on politics. Or your faith. Maybe she thinks your traditions are stupid. And worse, she laughs and belittles you for it.

Sure, it’s nice when your girl challenges you with healthy discussions. This can teach you to see different perspectives. But it’s deplorable when she makes you feel silly or stupid.

It’s also unacceptable when she tries to change your mind about long-standing beliefs. Your controlling significant other wants you to think as she does.

10. Being egoistic

This could be the most common trait of manipulative partners.

Your controlling girl is egoistic!

She always thinks first of herself. She puts her aims, desires, and thoughts ahead of yours. And even other people for that matter.

She lacks compassion and sympathy.

Dangers of Having a Controlling Partner

You may be dating a hot girl, but it comes at a price. Because she’s the controlling type of person, you tend to suffer from the following:

1. Poor self-esteem and self-confidence

Our relationships impact our self-image. When controlling people question your beliefs, it can affect how you see yourself. More so when your girlfriend regularly criticizes you.

As mentioned earlier, you would likely question yourself. It’s as if you aren’t good enough for her.

In short, having a controlling partner will greatly flatten your self-esteem and self-confidence. It can ruin your life in the long run.

2. Lower energy

Relationship expert Susie Miller likens a toxic relationship to a marathon. She says it’s like one partner is exerting too much effort to make the other party happy. Is this also how you’re feeling?

When you have a controlling partner, it’s as if you’re always on your toes. You scan her moods and needs. You anticipate anything that could disappoint her. And you might feel like your time together is all about her.

It’s possible you feel that there’s no time or space for your feelings. Your controlling partner wouldn’t care much about what you think and feel.

As Miller puts it, being in a relationship like that can make you feel woozy. You’ll feel less energy. It’s like being on a roller-coaster ride sans the fun.

3. Negative thoughts and emotions

Being with a partner like that can turn you into a negative person.  Your girl always sees something wrong with you.

From your friends to your family and even to your work, it’s as if you’re doing everything wrong. You may try your best to be better, but you can’t please her.

This, in turn, can turn you into a pessimist. You may develop the thinking that everything will go wrong. You may rarely envision a great outcome. And you could blame your partner for that.

4. Increased stress levels

Frequent arguments with your controlling girl can increase your stress levels. Her frequent criticisms can also do the same. And not giving you enough privacy further complicates matters.

You may be young, but stress can negatively impact your health. And medical experts call stress the ‘silent killer.

Dealing with a Controlling Girlfriend

Now that you have an idea of what a controlling gf is, your next question would be: how to deal with her?

1. Find it early on

A relationship expert says the best way to deal with this dilemma is to find out about it early.

Kevin Thompson advises that you watch out for the early signs and then take things slow.

He adds that controlling behavior usually shows up in the later parts of a relationship.

Therefore, observe if she’s really the controlling type of person. If you’ve been only dating your girl for a few months, then decide now if you can tolerate her behavior.

2. Talk with her

But what if you’ve been with her for years? You can start with a good, ole open communication.

Find a good place and time to talk about your problems with her behavior. Be clear about your concerns.

Identify the things you don’t like with her. Tell her what you what from your relationship. Tell her about your needs. Be specific. Be as open as possible.

Of course, you should also allow your girl to address your concerns. If possible, take a piece of paper and write down your concerns.

You can also put down your fears and desires. This way, you and your girl can have a better perspective of where you’re at.

When you’re talking with her, think as logically as you can. Don’t let your emotions ruin the conversation. That’s why it’s important to talk when you’re both in a relaxed and rational state.

3. Seek professional help

If the heart-to-heart talk didn’t improve things, then you can seek professional help. Seeing a psychiatrist is a good start.

Couple’s counseling can help partners like you in resolving complex issues.

With a psychiatrist serving as a guide, you and your girl can improve your communication quality. You would likely better understand where she’s coming from, and vise versa.

A psychiatrist serving as a third party in the discussion also gives an objective perspective on the relationship.

After all, he or she isn’t part of it. The professional’s views can be healthy and insightful. Perhaps you can better understand existing problems with the help of a counselor.

Seeing a psychiatrist also favors you more than your controlling girl. The counselor could point out the improper behavior of your partner during the session.

4. Take a break

You and your girl may also decide to take a break. Perhaps you can agree not to see each other for a few weeks or even a month.

Taking time off can be beneficial to both individuals. You, for one, would get a much-needed rest. You won’t have to be emotionally exhausted. Your sweetheart may also find the temporary separation a welcome break.

It’s not uncommon for couples to separate for a certain period. It’s a healthy approach to saving or improving a relationship. It doesn’t mean that you don’t want to see each other. It simply means you’re giving each other space.

You can do other productive things during the lull. Spend time with family. You can learn a new skill. Or you can take a vacation. You can also meet your friends.

This break should also give you ideas on how to solve your relationship problems and completely fix your controlling relationship.

5. Reconnect and set new goals

Finally, you should reconnect with her. This is assuming, of course, that you still want to continue the relationship. Once you’ve reconnected, you must set achievable goals for your relationship. You must do this with her.

Define the reason why you’re still together. From there, you can set goals for your relationship. Is it about becoming a more trusting couple? Or perhaps being more open with each other?

When setting goals, be as constructive and rational as possible. Remember that you are partners and not enemies.


You may love your girl, but if she’s the controlling type, then you’re likely in a toxic relationship. This can ruin your life in the long run. 

Watch out for the red flags. Be observant of the signs of a controlling woman. Address these as soon as you can. Be open to her as much as possible. This way, you can tackle and resolve the issues as early as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the signs of a controlling woman?

A controlling woman is egoistic. She also frequently criticizes her partner. She likes to keep him away from family and friends. She doesn’t fully trust you. And she always argues that you have gotten tired of it.

2. What is considered “too controlling” in a relationship?

When a partner is too controlling, she expects, compels, and requires you to cater to her needs. She targets you. She dominates you in a self-serving manner.

It can severely impact your relationship.

3. How do you deal with a controlling woman?

You can start by having a heart-to-heart discussion. Say the things that you don’t like. Be as open as possible.

If this doesn’t work, you can seek couples therapy. The professional can aid you in sorting things out. You can also take a break before things get out of hand.

4. What is a controlling woman like?

The signs of a controlling woman include being egoistic, fault-finding, and frequent criticisms.

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