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Problems with "controlling" label. opinions please


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Just wanted some outside thoughts on the subject. I am in a happy relationship and haven't been labeled as the controlling boyfriend but I see a lot of articles that seem one-sided and a little unfair. Maybe I am old fashioned but I don't understand what constitutes controlling behaviour anymore. Me and my girlfriend are happy and the issue has never came up until recently when I have come across a few articles shared on Facebook on the subject of controlling relationships. I then asked my girlfriend if I am controlling because according to the articles I seem to meet the criteria and it made me nervous. I guess the biggest thing that worried me was being labeled as controlling for not wanting her to keep in touch with exes and past hookups. I understand I can't tell her who she can be friends with and I never have. I have just mentioned I'm uncomfortable with the thought of her talking with guys she has a sexual history with. This isn't a one sided thing as I also cut ties with any past hookups or girlfriends. To me there was a reason it didn't work out and I am happy with her now so I have no need for someone else like that in my life. She agreed and it has never been an issue since we had that talk. Another one was that I like to know who she is with and where she is. I don't mean on a stalker level where I am texting or calling every 10 minutes. I just mean I like to know what's going on because I am a naturally anxious person and it helps to ease my mind. I also tell her where I am and who I'm with just out of respect and because I know how I feel. I do tend to get jealous if I see her acting overly friendly with a guy that I don't know also. I blew up one time and we talked about it and I agree I handled it terribly and she agreed she probably was too nice and flirty with the guy and she apologized. We have been fine ever since with no more issues like that. All of these things fell under insecure and controlling though. Please help.

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Could you post some of these articles to give context? From what you write here you are not controlling as you AND you girlfriend freely agreed to the boundaries in your relationship. I do think it's odd that you need to know where she is/who she is with at all times. And it sounds like you have some issues with jealously that you should work on.

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To be honest, this is usually covered in the exclusivity talk and expectations of what that means to each. Knowing generally where someone is kind of what couples do but keeping track constantly is a little creepy.


It sounds like you both handle agreements and conflict well.

not wanting her to keep in touch with exes and past hookups. I like to know who she is with and where she is.
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Whatever works for you and your SO is what matters most. Stay away from constantly reading articles and analyzing the relationship - it will only make you crazy.


I do think you sound a bit jealous/ insecure. It seems like you have some baggage re: her talking to exes. I get that some couples lay out those ground rules and stuff, but to me it does signal to a certain lack of trust that she is fully committed to you and wouldn't engage in anything inappropriate with an ex. Same goes for when you see her act 'overly friendly' with another guy. Does she give you reason to doubt her faithfulness to you or something?

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It sounds like you have some anxiety. I think if you want your relationships to be successful you need to get a handle on that anxiety. Maybe try looking deeper into why you feel you need to know where and who your girlfriend is with at all times. I don't think you are controlling, but it might be misread as being controlling by your partner.

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The ex's thing is perfectly normal. Some people have an issue with it and others don't. You both talked about it and agreed that staying friends with ex's isn't good for your relationship so that is not controlling.


Now wanting to know where she is and who she is talking to is controlling. You need to get a grip and figure out your insecurities or the thing you fear most will come true at your own hands.


You sound young, how old are you?


I like that you want to improve your relationship skills but don't read to many "articles" because there are some really bad advice out there. Instead learn about what your girlfriend cherishes most. Also words are nice but actions speak volumes. Show her that you trust her to handle herself when she is not around you. She did fine before you came along so let her live her life away from you and if something comes up that bothers you calmly talk to her about it so she knows how you feel.


Relationships are built, they don't just happen so stop with the checking in stuff and focus on what makes her feel the most loved and happy.



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I'm actually not very young. I'm am 26 she is 20. I am however new to a committed relationship and anything long term. I have always done my own thing and was happy single. First time I've ever really felt this way about anyone. There have been things early on that made me question trust but they were very early in the relationship where it wasn't even possible to consider us very serious or in love. I guess I know that I still hold it against her that she was exchanging flirty messages on Facebook with a past fling from the college she doesn't attend anymore when we were a month or 2 into our relationship. I know I need to let it go because I do love her. A little info on the conversation she had without making this too long. There were heart eyes emojis shared back and forth. He then asked to see her, which she did decline by saying "she isn't worth the drive" there was no mention of me or the fact that she had a boyfriend. It tore me up because I didn't find out until much later on when I was already in love with her. After finding that out my anxiety did get worse but I try not to hold it against her but sometimes I can't help it creeping into my mind. I do trust her to not cheat on me but sometimes I get a little nervous she likes male attention too much. She is very good to me though and has always been honest..

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I guess the biggest thing that worried me was being labeled as controlling for not wanting her to keep in touch with exes and past hookups.


I'd be suspicious of any article that puts that as "controlling" behaviors. I mean, seriously most people want nothing to do with exes and past hookups anyways. And all too often such will vulture an ex's current relationship or they have past issues that aren't resolved or they do the whole, "We're just friends" when they're screwing them behind your back anyways.


I don't see that as controlling. I see that as common sense.


Controlling is the person who doesn't want you to go see your mom and have your best friend come over. Who gets upset when you go out with your family, because "you might meet a guy when you're out with them and leave me." Controlling is when you tell your partner what to wear, what kind of job they can or can't have, tell them they have to be home by 5:00 p.m. and they know if they're in the door at 5:01 p.m. you're going to accuse them of cheating and possibly smack them around.


THAT'S controlling. I know, because I worked in women's shelter. Controlling is a very clear set of red flag behaviors. Not wanting someone to stay in touch with people they slept with in the past who probably aren't going to be keen on a past bed partner having someone new in their life, is not controlling.


That's just called common sense. So is not wanting your partner to be messaging or on the phone hiding their conversations with opposite sex people. It's not controlling to see cheating type behaviors and decide these aren't okay with you.


What is controlling is if you go into a relationship knowing the other person has a history of this, or you catch them cheating on you, and then you try to control their behavior by insisting they drop all contacts, you get to monitor their electronic devices, regulate their schedule etc.


At that point you've become a parent to their child, and that's just you desperately trying to deny you have someone you can't trust anyways. Shouldn't trust, and that by being their jailer somehow you can control them into not being cheater instead of them just proving they aren't going to do that again by drastically altering their own behaviors, doing amends to you, and working out why they cheated in the first place and you both working on it together as a couple.


Me? Yeah, after being cheated on a few times by the whole "I know she's my ex, but we're best friends and I still sleep over at her house/take sexy texts and messages from her," I didn't become controlling. I just simply walked away from anyone that had a different boundary than me in the first place.


That's not controlling. It's called "These are my boundaries and our boundaries need to match or this is simply too much trouble for me."

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That's all that matters. Listen, if she's friendly, nice looking etc. guys are going to hit on her, so? She's saying no. Keep the focus on the two of you and building your relationship. There will always be other people out there flirting, etc.. Apparently you are both confident enough to communicate well resolve conflict and move forward. Relax. Smile. You have a good thing going.

she did decline
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Thank you for the replies. I am willing to admit my short comings and issues and I see your guys' points. Since I am new to a long term relationship I don't want something stupid like me being insecure ruin my relationship. I guess the advice I need now is how to control my own jealousy and not bring it into our relationship and hurt her.

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