Jump to content

Where do you draw the line between control and respect?


WomanWriter

Recommended Posts

This has always been a tough one for me. My ex used to tell me what he wanted me to wear and then sulk if I didn't wear it. He would tell me what wood I should buy for my bookcases and get upset if I didn't consult him first (we didn't live together). I thought it was controlling when he told me what I should order in a restaurant. Well, I reacted in hissy fits and tantrums one time and he got super angry at me. I was reacting like a spoiled child, protesting everything he would say, acting rebellious. He told me as much and I knew I was being immature.

 

Before it got to that point, he simply would tell me what clothes looked nice on me. I didn't care and just dressed sloppily, didn't really take care of my skin, and gained lots of weight. Essentially, I let myself go physically, then I lost all my interests, to boot. So I can see where he got resentful. He felt like I was stubborn and disrespectful and didn't want to please him. I just cared about what *I* wanted, when I wanted it and didn't care what he wanted.

 

Well I don't want that to happen again with my new boyfriend. I see that he has a stubborn streak. When I asked what his biggest turn-off was, he said it was "being controlled." He said his ex used to tell him what to wear. Well, I would never actually TELL someone what to wear, but I can see how dressing sloppy with holey, dirty, unwashed shirts is not only gross but a statement of how someone feels about themselves (if they wear them in public). He admitted that sometimes he even wears PJs to the store and he has no apology for it.

 

I explained to him that my ex used to tell me what to wear, also, BUT that how now I realize that he had a point...no the way he SAID it, but he was right that dressing sloppily was disrespectful to myself and others. If I could dress up for work and not him, what did that say about my feelings for him? That I took him for granted? Yes. He had a point. So my boyfriend says he doesn't mind doing things for people but they have to be on his terms.

 

I don't think that's love, is it? Just doing things on their terms? He says he hates double standards and doesn't like being "selfish" which is why he doesn't ask for things, but in my opinion, the people who seem like the most giving are the most selfish. Hopefully, I am wrong.

 

Now I don't know him well enough to know how stubborn he is or not. He hasn't been that stubborn with me so far, but I do see how he makes excuses a lot with his sister. That might be a sign of how he will treat me. She keeps asking when he's going to fix his car (so she doesn't have to give him rides to work) and he makes excuses. I heard her say "You are so stubborn! You are always like this!" and she stormed away. Not a good sign, eh?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Controlling is about wanting to affect change in your partner, to improve your life. Anyone can ask for anything but if a partner refuses, then you have to back off or walk away, if the issues are important enough.

 

Acceptance is key and looking to potential, is looking for a project relationship, a fixer-upper. Look to the now. Is this a partner who is willing and able to meet your needs, within a relationship?

 

As for his sister, all she needs to do is to say, "no more rides" and the issue is resolved, at least from her perspective.

 

We have full control over our lives but no control over other's lives.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, you make good points.

 

And it makes me realize I have been far too passive in my relationships. We teach people how to treat us and I guess I treat guys how to take advantage of me. I need to take off the rose-colored glasses and confront issues as they come up. For example, my boyfriend seems to not have a problem with me paying for him when we go out (even though I make less money!)...but I shouldn't even offer. I should just pay for myself and talk to him about this before it becomes a huge issue. And if he still takes advantage, just like in the last thread----I can't trust him, which means I can't love him. And I will have to move on. But for now, I haven't even done much to be assertive with him directly.

 

I thought I was falling in love with my boyfriend, but I am falling in strong infatuation. This makes me realize more than ever that love is a choice and an action, not a feeling. My feelings for him are strong, as they were for my ex as well. But they don't matter if there are trust issues. Until I can say I fully trust my boyfriend's intentions, I don't love him.

 

Thanks for your response. : )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think controlling people by wanting them to make changes for your own purposes is wrong. If those changes are in their general best interests you still have to be careful. But nitpicking someone because you don't like what they do is not good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you're sabotaging this by analyzing it to death. Why not trust yourself that if red flags - true red flags not "he treats his sister this way, that is how he will treat me" - present themselves, you will see them loud and clear and be able to make a decision. Infatuation/like/lust/love - it's a new relationship, why not just go with the flow more, and decide that when you've been dating 4-5 months steadily you'll check in with yourself and let yourself do a half hour of overanalyzing to see how you feel about the relationship.

 

Where I draw the line - if I feel that behavior is controlling I address it as needed (I choose my battles, so to speak). Feeling respected and being treated with respect is an easy one for me to figure out, and essential if I am to be serious with someone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like your advice, Batya. I do overanalyze and my boyfriend has pointed that out...in fact, I think it is causing trust issues on his end...which is why I come here when I should really be talking to him upfront about certain things as they come up.

 

I will do that--wait until April and check in and analyze things. Because for the most part, we have fun, but I tend to mentally compile lists of things in my head to analyze. I need to just go with the flow, you are right.

 

Thanks to all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Reading your threads about your relationship - there are a myriad of things that have come up that you have talked to him about and that he has changed. If there are even more that you have not yet addressed or are still discovering then surely the incompatibility issues outweigh by far any compatibility that you have. Now you are convincing yourself that you need to address these as well. So far your relationship seems to be based on a continuously increasing litany of complaints about him that you want to address and for him to change to suit you.

 

It is no wonder that he is starting to not trust you - I am amazed that he has not already walked away from someone so intent on challenging, criticising and controlling him. I think you need to do some serious self analysis with a view to change before you analyse him any more for him to change to suit you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't mean to bring up every little thing with your bf, especially if you tend to overanalyze. It's not fair to him if he's guilty until proven innocent, you know? While you don't have to be pollyannish, your attitude will hamper you two just having fun. And being able to laugh together and have fun together is essential to growing closer and more serious. Talking about "the relationship" especially this early on gets old and boring very fast.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you ever had issues with OCD?People with OCD often have troubles with overananlysing every little detail of everything and can not see the forest for the trees. They also tend to nitpick every detail to death and want others to participate in this. Myhusband has had a lot of therapy for OCD. He had a lot of issues with rummination and basically working himself into an anxiety driven frenzy when he could not control details.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...